In this day and age, technological literacy is a necessity among almost all societies, third and first world. At Honduras Child Alliance, our international volunteers teach our students the basic technology skills they will need in the future. Some tasks may seem oversimplified to a kid living in the suburbs of New York or London, but there is also a populace out there – – out HERE – – whose lives do not revolve around technology. At HCA, our goal is to give students who would otherwise not have access to even basic technology, the essential skills they will need so that in the future they will have opportunities for further education or jobs that require those abilities.
Skills for the Future
Kindles (e-Readers) play a crucial role in our daily curriculum; these allow us to teach our students more efficiently. One of the key advantages of having kindles is that we are able to download a vast range of books, according to the different reading levels and language abilities of our students. Downloading these books, that we would otherwise not have access to on-site, allows us to switch gears fast, depending on the interests of the students to have books on hand that meet their needs. For example, we often download books in Spanish and English so students can reinforce the English skills they learn in our PEP (Porvenir English Program) classes.
Recently, we have acquired a RaspberryPi into our academic arsenal from our friends at the Muskoka Foundation / Do Good As You Go. It is loaded with the ‘KA Lite’ Spanish version from Khan Academy’s Learning Equality program. KA Lite is open-source software that mimics the online experience of Khan Academy for offline situations. One of the challenges we have in our area is the access and speed of internet. Thankfully, the RaspberryPi allows KA Lite to be run as a local server in our classrooms, far from an available internet connection. The Raspberry Pi is already loaded with a myriad of materials needed to teach classes from simple math to economics. This piece of technology will help our students for years to come.
The computers are something our students look forward to at every class. The current goal for the use of our laptops is to teach the kids how do tasks such as basic word processing. The kids use Microsoft Word to write sentences in class instead of on a piece paper. This helps them gain keyboarding skills and reinforces literacy. Laptops are also needed for our Level Up Village ‘STEAM’ (science, technology, engineering, art, & math) classes where the students use 3D modeling programs such as SketchUp and TinkerCad in conjunction with the 3D printer.
Technology has helped and will continue to give our students opportunities that were otherwise not there. It is amazing how even basic technology can make a vast difference in the aspirations of our students. We are always seeking to learn more ourselves about how to able provide even greater opportunities for the children, teens, and adults of El Porvenir.
During the next few weeks we will be running a fundraiser to update and add to HCA’s technology so that the kids and teens will be able to use it more often in their classes. Laptops will be the biggest push. We currently have 11 laptops. The volunteers put them in a backpack each day and alternate taking them to the various class locations. We hope to bring that number up to 30 laptops by the end of January so that the children can have more hands-on time with the computers. The laptops that we use cost between $160 – $175 each. They’re very basic but perfect for the students in our programs.
If you’re interested in providing laptops, please click HERE to donate. Thanks very much!
For more info on KA Lite and Learning Equality, check out: https://learningequality.org/about/
Edited by Acacia Ragona