Success Story #1: pt. 2
1 January 2019: School Visit
First thing in the morning, on the first day of the new year, Dr. Wehmeyer, one of our tour guides and I were dropped back off at the Kangagani School while the rest of the class set off to see the flying foxes.
As it was New Year’s Day, a holiday, schools were not in session so we did not know exactly what to expect. Walking into the classroom we were greeted by approximately 25 students and 8 teachers, all of whom were so eager enough to work with the tablets, they came in on their day off. All of the teachers and students were sitting at the desks with about three people per tablet. Wehmeyer pulled out his camera, and I was directed to the front of the classroom by our tour guide who would be acting as a translator.
We started with a quick demo of the hardware to make sure they knew how to use it and to give them a chance to become a bit more familiar with the basics before we dove into the software installed within. One of the teachers said, “You’ve got to understand for most of us this is the first time seeing these [tablets] in person.” Despite this, they all caught on quickly, especially when they learned the monitors were touch screen enabled.
Once they understood how the hardware worked on a basic level, we moved onto the software. As we walked through the preinstalled software it was amazing watching their faces light up with smiles as they got more comfortable with the technology.
After I had explained where to find all the different applications we gave them time to play around with the tablets on their own. I hovered around waiting to see if anyone wanted help or had questions. This is when things got fun.
There was a group of three girls surrounding a tablet in the corner of the room giggling to themselves, they called me over three times for the same issue. Somehow they kept ending up on the change password page… I pegged them as the future cybersecurity students. There was also a group with three students and a teacher that were writing some kind of story in LibreOffice’s Writer (like Microsoft Word) and wanted to know how to add spaces. A couple of teachers that had found the Sikana Channel (an application which includes educational video programs) we had installed on Kolibri (a teaching application where we downloaded resources the students and teachers may access offline), called me over to tell me how interested they were and how grateful they were for the tech. There were two girls who had found the math videos installed on Kolibri that called me over to ask how to play a different video.
Then, one group of students found a video of a person playing the violin under the Touchable Earth Channel (an application which has information on different cultures all around the world) in Kolibri which caused a chain reaction. Suddenly all of the students were raising their hands trying to get my attention by calling out, “Ms. Teacher! Ms. Teacher!” They all wanted to watch videos with children around their own age from different cultures, doing different things like playing instruments, sports, traditional activities, or talking in their language. The students were fascinated and the classroom soon was filled with a cacophony of different sounds: violins, drums, a tea ceremony, someone talking in a different language, soccer, etc.
Overall, it was such a touching and amazing experience and I can not wait to go back and see how they have continued to learn and explore the technology. After one day, they had already figured out most of the applications on the tablets, think about what they could accomplish in a year. Now that, is what techdren was founded upon: giving others the opportunity to reach their dreams and maybe create new ones.
Chief Operations Officer