Monday, June 29, 2009

2 Schools, 3 Team Members, 110 Students, 200 Laptops (Winter Camp Day 1)

Winter Camp Day 1


We arrived at Driehoek over an hour early so that we could eat our lunches which consisted of a cliff bar and an apple. Over half of the students had already arrived at 11:00, but the camp didn’t start until 12:00. At the start of the camp we walked into a completely full classroom with people still trying to fit into seats. At some desks there were 4 students stuffed into seats that most wouldn’t have sat more than two Americans. We had over 60 students in one small classroom. As we walked all of the students were singing their school song at the top of their lungs to welcome us. They definitely showed how eager they were to be there.

We passed out the laptops and posed for some photos to be taken for Driehoek’s Eco-Schools competition, which is a world-wide student involvement program that encourages students to make their schools environmentally friendly. We had the students take pictures just like at Mmaweshi’s, but luckily we didn’t have the same complications. The students were slightly slower at Driehoek which might be because they are a bigger school so laptop use is more limited than at Mmaweshi, but they were still very bright and picked things up quickly after a little interaction. They all managed to upload their photo into the Write activity and then took the initiative to write 6-7 sentences about the photo. The students had snapped tons of pictures of Savanah, Gordon, and I and were then asking us all kinds of questions so they could add it to the descriptions of their pictures. The whole thing was a bit odd but flattering.

After giving the students a short break we worked in the Paint activity. They all tried out drawing their school and some of the pictures were really impressive: much better than I could do in Paint using a laptop mouse pad. They were really getting into the Paint activity so we stood back for a bit and let them work. The students were all over the classroom sharing their work and showing the younger students and older teachers who attended the workshop different tricks in Paint. Unfortunately with an hour left in day 1 over half of the laptops died at nearly the same time. We tried replacing them with other laptops, but they weren’t charged correctly either. We had to explain to them that we made a mistake and they would have to share the laptops for the rest of the camp because we had completely run out.

Lastly we had the kids explore the laptops so we could get a better idea of what they were wanted to learn. Just like in Rwanda and at Mmaweshi, the kids opened scratch and were asking all kinds of questions on how to use it. It was really inspiring to see that they are still all so excited about the laptops. We had to end a few minutes early again because of the lack of charged laptops (which will no longer be a problem because we are seeing to it that all of the laptops are fully charged). They all reluctantly turned off their laptops and handed them in and promised they would be back tomorrow.

It wasn’t the end of the day there though. We went back to Thusanang and are currently charging the 200 laptops (about 30 at a time) and making various phone calls to people to plan the after school sessions, check on the status of our routers, and plan for tomorrow’s camp.

1 comment:

  1. How about seeing some of those drawings the kids are doing? Any way you could save some and publish them?