| Feb 23, 2015
Taking preschool into the 21st Century
New Curriculum And New Technology For Classroom Teachers, Rural Libraries, And Promoters
We are taking preschool into rural areas and into the 21st century with leading edge technology, not only to deliver the programs, but also to eliminate cumbersome printed user manuals, and allow the teachers using the programs to suggest improvements to the content through the internet. This will result in constant improvement and provide the most current programs in the hands of the teachers though out the school year.
- There will be a home screen on a tablet (like an ipad) where the teacher accesses to tools she needs through a simple, easy to use interface common to apps in use on tablets and smart phones everywhere today:
- Teachers will connect their tablets to bluetooth speakers and use the mp3 players imbedded in the tablets to play the programs.
- They will choose from over a hundred activities for the day from a screen on their tablet that contains the objectives, materials needed, and methods to make the experience meaningful for the kids.
- They will choose a book and review the tips for reading to the kids.
- After the session, they will rate the programs and activities using their tablet, adding comments and suggestions for improvements by typing or using modern dictating technology.
When not using their tablets for teaching the kids or making recommendations for improvements, they can study English on free internet apps, or take pictures with a flash camera and write emails to their sponsors. They could even call them on Video Skype!
Playing the programs, planning from the suggested activities, filling an evaluation form, and writing suggestions for improvements can all be done without a connection to the internet. To update the programs, send their ideas for improvements or to Skype and send the pictures and emails they have written, they will have to at some time go to a wifi enabled area. These areas are accessible to most rural Guatemalans while on trips the nearest medium sized pueblo to go to the market, visit family and do other errands common in their lives. The items remain stored on their tablets until connected to the internet, no matter how long that takes.
The tablets and speakers do require charging. In areas where there is not electricity we are providing special mp3 players with solar chargers. Too, we are installing at least one 10 station solar charger and LED light bulbs in a centrally located school for use by the teachers and community members who will pay a fee that will go towards buying replacement storage batteries.
It is quite a jump from the CD players, printed manuals and notebooks that we have been using, but cost effective and will result in much faster development of the programs, using the ideas of the people using the programs in the classrooms. Printed color manuals (good for one year) cost $45. The CD/MP3 player cost $30.
A tablet and speaker can be purchased for around a $100.