What’s going on in the Lab today? 2017

On February 21, 2017 by heartchamber

1047016_10200233462550010_1370843755_o (1)The current situation in the labs I have started:

 

  • Today, there are four “portable” computer lab set-ups in four
  • different regions of Madagascar set up by Madagascar in my Heart.
  • The labs have old outdated miscellaneous laptops that have
    come in as donations from some independent schools in the USA
  • Each lab has between five and ten computers that serve 20-40
    school children. The children right now are working two per laptop. Due to expense of paying for Wi-Fi, children are using the computers to play education games that I pre-loaded onto the hard drive. The children are learning English and French, fluency in both languages is needed to leave the Island to obtain work on the mainland of Africa.
  • All children using the laptops have gone through the two-week
    intensive training program where they learn basics such as how to use a mouse
    and a keyboard.
  • Computers are charged with generators during their use as
    many of the locations do not have electricity. The generators work well.

 

The impact of Technology and the program:
At the start of the program we had 10 students. They lined up at the door and paid 1 ariary each to be a part of the class for one week. This is the equivalent of 1 cent. We attached a price to the computer camp because it was needed culturally and gave the families a pride in sending their children to get an education, something every parent hopes and dreams of for their child no matter how poor.

After the first day, over twenty children were lined up with their crumpled ariary in their hand after walking barefoot for one hour to and from the lab because he first ten children went back to their village to talk about the computers!

During the training children are taught through project based
learning and app smashing, something we have been doing since the first course in 2011,  long before these two teaching methods were popular in the USA.
.

 

An example project was a Keynote presentation about their country:
**Textbooks available to Malagasy children (donated from Europe) teach them nothing of local fauna (emphasis on European and African animals not lemurs, and chameleons) or much about their own country and unique cultural identity
Students took pictures of flora and fauna with our iPhones. We had also preloaded pictures and maps of their region on their laptops back in the US before travelling to work with them. We taught them how to use all of the utilities on their devices including how to upload sample music on the devices. Children created scenes in Paintbrush which they uploaded as well. They presented their projects with much pride.

At the end of the program we held a graduation where each child was given a certificate. The notion of being rewarded for a job well done doesn’t exist in Madagascar. Can you imagine a fifteen-year-old boy crying with pride and joy of his accomplishment?

 

Leave a Reply