Research Projects



Privacy challenges around digital payments for low-income sellers

Demonitization in India has pushed several communities to adopt digital based payment sytems. In this process, low-income sellers and service providers (e.g., auto rikshaws), have experienced a rushed adoption from the digital payment companies, pushing them to accept multiple digital payments via their own platforms using their agents. Today, these sellers display at least two digital payment apps, at an average, in their shops. This project tries to understand how such rushed adoption has compromized privacy of these shopkeepers, making them vulnerable to multiple entities including but not limited to dishonest buyers and commission agents from the digital payments.

  • Publications: [Research in progress]
  • Collaboraters: Independent

Wellbeing & motivation

Improving teacher wellbeing & motivation through WhatsApp coaching

With the push from millenial development goals, schools in developing countries have achieved improvement in increased students enrollment rates. However, this has put an indirect pressure through increased job demands (as opposed to job resources) on teachers who have received limited pre-service professional development. Consequently, teachers in low-income school experience stress, burnout that impacts their psychological wellbeing. However, our previous exploratory studies have shown that every day technologies with a strong facilitation can act as strong motivaters to empower teachers with coping mechanicsm (resources) that can improve their wellbeing. The aim of this research project is to create scalable but human-centered facilitation that creates a positive impact on teachers wellbeing.

Digital Agency

Exploring teachers' digital agency in low-income schools

In the last ten years, there has been an increasing concern around rote learning in developing countries, specially India. This interest naturally lead to many individuals, specially new non profit organizations to seek out different solutions, such as providing alternative education by establishing their own institutions. However, few organizations choose a different route - to improve the education system lacking in the current government and low income private schools, they started offering different services to support these schools at various levels (community, school, teachers, or children). These organizations provide services to their targeted level (e,g. organizations supporting teachers, train teachers in pedagogical activities) for free or a very low fees. Few such organizations working in this space are Akanksha, Teach for All, Pratham, 321, Meghshala, etc. (to name a few of many more).

These organizations often work longitudinally to provide school support. With presence of so many organizations in this space a natural question arises – what kind of role does technology, specially smartphones, play in assisting these organizations to achieve their ultimate objective – school transformation, as some of the organizations put it. Consequentially, we wanted to understand the role of technology in providing such longitudinal support. Two main questions were - (1) What is the role of smartphone technology in achieving school transformation by these school support organizations? and (2) What are the socio-technical challenges which arise between school faculty and the organizations in the support processes?

Information Sensemaking

Designing to Enhancing Financial Analysts' Social Media Use

Till 2016 (during the time of this research), understanding and awareness of social media pervasion in financial industry was greatly limited to quantitative exploitation. In particular, social platforms (such as Twitter) were used to understand investor’s sentiments and in turn possibly predict the trading price of a security. This growing algorithmic exploitation created a void in opposing space - i.e. consumption of social media by financial analysts themselves, as experts. This project was propelled by the generous grant provided by Bloomberg to understand these aspects. Based on this, following questions emerged in our study (a) How do financial analysts leverage social media in sensemaking to generate trade ideas and research? (b) How can we augment such practices of these analysts in leveraging social media (Twitter) in sensemaking?

Cognitive Apprenticeship

Making implicit design thinking strategies visible to young scholars

The role of design-thinking is gaining a huge momentum in schools, specially K-8 classrooms. This is evident with the upsurge of design based thinking as a learning technique in K-12 education. However, emphasis on such swift adoption has overlooked the implicit complexities which design experts bring in during various stages of such process; referred to as “habits of mind”. An example of such habits of mind is how expert designers cope with design failures and criticism. It is therefore important to understand such innate complexities and make them explicit in current design thinking practices. In our study, we wanted to understand the process of making these habits of mind explicit to children. For this purpose, we introduce Embedded Design Practise (EDP) - an approach for teaching design thinking practices to children using the technique of cognitive apprenticeship. Our study answers following research questions - (1) How can we use EDP to build habits of mind for children? How does an example study look like? and (2) What are opportunities for learning provided by EDP?