Dec 1, 2016

Final Report - Computers in Elementary Schools

Students using computers to study biology
Students using computers to study biology

     By the close of the 2016 school year, we have installed 150 computers in 12 remote schools in San Martin, Jilotepeque. That's over 2,400 students using computers. They are able to access information to help them study geography, biology, reading, spelling, language arts, and math. Your support has enabled students to excell beyond their required curriculum.  

     The national government has neglected schools for years. I worked in a school in Tres Ranchos, a remote village in the Department of Huehuetenango in 1991. The same issues that plagued that school 25 years ago still are true today.  The more remote the school the less attention the teachers and students receive and the less support the national government provides.  They receive barely enough to purchase a few classroom supplies.  There are no teaching materials and no computers. Students attend school but learning is sparse, especially in elementary schools.

     The only way the students can excel is through technology in the classrooms provided by outside sources - people like you who support education.  The kids living in rural, remote villages want to learn and deserve a chance to move out of poverty by earning meaningful jobs.

      We appreciate your contributions to this project.  In 2017, we will initiate a project to install computers in junior high schools and advance the students through additional computer training. Watch for our next project in early 2017.

 

     

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Jul 29, 2016

40 More Kids in Rural Guatemala Receive Computers

Students learning computer skills, Las Escobitas
Students learning computer skills, Las Escobitas

     "They have never touched a mouse" exclaimed Garrett when he arrived in Las Escobitas last week to start computer classes.  Garrett was among a small group of young adults spending several days in this remote village helping the 40 students learn computer skills.

     Until last week there were no computers in this school and the kids had no idea the potential they would uncover during their computer classes.  None had ever touched a mouse or keyboard.

     Maria Jose, 13, learned she could write words by touching letters on the keyboard. Edras, age 12, discovered he could color houses with a click of the mouse.  Isabel, 9, liked listening to English words.  Alajandro, age 7, enjoyed counting fish and frogs to improve his math skills.

     Learning to use a computer in school in the U.S. is taken for granted.  But in the remote villages in San Martin, Jilotepeque, the students can't image a computer in their classroom.  Very few teachers have even used a computer.

     There are no books and scant teaching materials in these remote schools. Computers allows the teachers to expand their lessons.  "I was trying to show the kids what a whale looked like" said Alba, who  teaches 3rd and 4th grade.  "Until now I didn't have a picture but now, with the computers, I can explain sealife and more."

     To ensure teachers are well trained, they attend our classes so they become proficient and are able to teach their students.  Random visits are made to the schools to confirm the students are progressing.  Computers in elementary schools gives the students a head start if they advance to junior high school.  Unfortunately, there are very few junior high schools in rural Guatemala that have computers.

     We need to purchase more computers, train more teachers, and enable more students to learn computer skills.  With your help the teachers and students can go far beyond their small, ill-equipped classrooms and expand their reading, math, geography, and science lessons to the outside world.

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May 2, 2016

No Computer Skills Means No Jobs

Marco in computer class
Marco in computer class

     Angtigua is only 45 minutes from San Martin and is a  tourist destination where restuarant and hotel owners cater to visitors from the United States, Canada, and Europe. A high school dipolma, computer skills, and English is required to apply for work, however, young adults in San Martin, Jilotepeque cannot compete for these jobs. 

     Without computer skills their chances to advance are grim. They are doomed to return to the fields - a hoe and shovel will be their tools for the rest of their lives.

     We are assisting 20 young adults with tuition to attend a basic computer class.  This is a start. Unlike almost every household in the United States, families here do not have a computer, internet or a printer at home.  

     Recently we had a job opening for a part-time nurse and  interviewed several young women for the position. We couldn't hire any of them because they had no computer skills. They had never used a computer.  Even in the remote areas where we work computer skills are needed:  Excel - keeping track of inventory in our pharmacy; Word - to write simple reports; e-mail - to refer patients to hospitals and clinics in Guatemala City.  

     Basic English is required in some curriculums, however, the teachers do not speak English so they cannot teach it.  When students have computers in their schools they can practice English using software pre-loaded on the computers. Typing skills are also required so students can learn to type on the computers. 

     There are hundreds of students waiting for computers for their schools. Your contribution to our technology program will benefit young people far beyond their classroom and will assure them a better chance for a meantingful job.

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