GVI and Ratu Meli Memorial School of Nacula Island have received 25 used laptops donated by School District No. 23, Central Okanagan, Canada, which was facilitated by volunteer Keddy and her father Dave Pavlik. Once the laptops were released from customs, GVI volunteers and staff set about developing an IT program for RMMS students and teachers. This generous donation to both the resources available to GVI volunteers and RMMS teachers and students will be used to enrich lessons, provide an interactive learning experience and of course provide basic computer literacy training. This new access to computers will help better prepare pupils for the transition into secondary school as word processing is a part of the national curriculum for all secondary school students. These computers have also helped the school to bridge the significant gap between the resources available to primary school pupils on the mainland and those available to the pupils of outer island school.
The first stage step in integrating the IT program into daily school activities was to gauge the pupil’s current IT knowledge. Pupils were asked to practice their laptop and word processing skills by asking them to copy text from their favorite books into a word processing program. It was clear from this test run across classes 5-8 that lessons would need to be arranged on basic computer literacy and word processing.
The second stage of the process was to liaise with the teachers of Class 6 to 8 and gather their recommendations on how IT could be worked into the current curriculum as a useful tool for lesson delivery. It was proposed that pupils would benefit the most from being taught on how to correctly use Microsoft word and Word Processing programs.
Once these skills have been mastered we would then be able to branch out into further tuition on office programs such as Excel and PowerPoint. Excel will be used to progress their understanding of how data can be organized and manipulated easily with computers in a way that would easily enable them to organize and collate their work. PowerPoint is also an extremely useful tool as it they will utilize it to create presentations aiding them in their understanding of English literacy and personal presentation skills.
IT lessons have now become a permanent part of the curriculum, with each class designated to an afternoon of word processing lessons. Volunteers work one-on-one with the children to aid them in their training and track each of their individual progress. They commence with basic laptop use, progressing through to two hand typing, up to creating and writing their own reports.
We are currently researching educational software that will further enhance subject specific engagement, such as mathematics games, electronic encyclopedias, and other subject specific software, which would help enhance and diversify the learning experience offered to the children of Ratu Meli School. Math’s games have so far proved an exciting challenge for the students and a fantastic alternative learning environment in what can be a challenging class for many of the students.
We hope to increase the children’s future prospects by enabling them to have access to computers, early exposure to which will be an asset to them in higher education and improve future employability. This is an extremely new and exciting addition to the curriculum of Ratu Meli School, and one that we can see making a dramatic change to the students learning abilities and achievements. On behalf of Ratu Meli School and GVI, we would like to express our thanks to the donors that made this possible through their donation to the GVI Fiji Charitable Trust. Vinaka Vaka Levu (Thank you very much)!