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Inspire 1500 Honduran Children to Excel

by Shoulder to Shoulder, Inc.
Inspire 1500 Honduran Children to Excel
Inspire 1500 Honduran Children to Excel
Inspire 1500 Honduran Children to Excel
Inspire 1500 Honduran Children to Excel
Inspire 1500 Honduran Children to Excel
Inspire 1500 Honduran Children to Excel
Inspire 1500 Honduran Children to Excel
Inspire 1500 Honduran Children to Excel
Inspire 1500 Honduran Children to Excel
Inspire 1500 Honduran Children to Excel
Inspire 1500 Honduran Children to Excel
Inspire 1500 Honduran Children to Excel
Inspire 1500 Honduran Children to Excel
Inspire 1500 Honduran Children to Excel
Inspire 1500 Honduran Children to Excel
Kinder Class using Technology
Kinder Class using Technology

Honduran Implementation of Kolibri

The attached video shows Kolibri in action in Guatemala.

The day was Monday, April 8, 2019, towards the end of a 10-day assessment of our Kolibri Implementation Project, through our education mission, CREE.  CREE stands for Regional Center for Educational Excellence.

We start out from Camasca, Shoulder to Shoulder’s Educational Headquarters.  Camasca is one of seven municipalities that comprise the StS service area, and the central municipality.  These towns are located in the middle of Southern Intibucá, on the border with El Salvador.  This area is part of a UN designated area of extreme distress where farmers eke out an existence among steep terrain with poor soil where yields are getting worse as the climate warms and becomes drier.  

High School

This day our visit was to the municipality Colomonguaga where we work in the center of town, as well as in a village of the town called Santa Ana.  “Colo” is about an hour’s drive over very bumpy roads from Camasca; Santa Ana another half hour down roads even more severe.  My activity monitor records over 10,000 steps for the ride out and back. The going is slow and fatiguing as we bump over large rocks or jostle through drainage ditches in the roadbed.  I feel at times as though walking might have been easier. 

On the way to the High School, we met the Director.  He is a distinguished looking older gentleman who has been at this school for decades.  My staff shared that he is not generally in favor of technology and does not have a computer or cell phone.  He declined an earlier request to allocate a secure unused science lab space for use by Kolibri.  This left the teacher with only a rotating classroom in which to teach math and begin with Kolibri.

When we started with the high school in March 2018 the only equipment we had available for Colo was a server.  Our objective was to let the teacher learn the system and the team would return at a later date with additional equipment.  Our usual method is to begin with “presentation mode”.  This consists of a server and display device, usually a projector; sometimes a large screen TV.  The team monitors the progress of the teacher’s learning curve and requires the creation of lessons and student user names with passwords before they return with tablets.

In the case of Colo, the team’s reconnaissance trip a week earlier found an example of Honduran resourcefulness that led them to bring tablets for the class this day.  What they found is that the teacher, Veronica, had found a router locally and attached it to the server.  She then arranged her class into four-desk clusters and found enough students that could bring in cell phones so that she could utilize Kolibri to deliver Khan Academy videos. 

We get a tour of the school including the science lab.  After some discussion with the Director he agrees to give Veronica the use of the Science Lab!!  It is a good space with secure door and windows.  We move the equipment into this room. The Colo High School, like most secondary schools, operates double shifts, so our tablets will get plenty of use, about 500 students most days; plus an occasional chicken.

Kindergarten

Our next stop is to a Kindergarten which is only blocks from the colegio.  Here our team has collaborated with a local teacher to install two large Android tablets with HDMI connection, loaded with Starfall and other Apps aimed at teaching English letters and sounds, numbers and colors.  This teacher was able to successfully solicit World Vision for the donation of two large screen TV’s. 

English language instruction is a Honduran government priority and accordingly ours.  We have currently included a total of four Kinders with this experiment along with our bilingual school in Camasca and various other teaching aids in primary schools and junior highs. 

Centro Basico (Junior High)

The Centro Basico is the Honduran government’s new strategic effort to get more of the population to stay in school beyond the sixth grade.  These are 7,8 & 9 grade additions to the primary schools, located close enough for walking.   They are at best taught by one teacher per grade.  Some of our CEB’s are small and have only one teacher for all three grades!  The CEB’s are the focus of our Kolibri grant installations.  In addition to Khan Academy, we are deploying our new CREE channel which features the digital Honduran textbooks.

Our next stop is to visit the Santa Ana CEB, and one of our Kolibri grant recipients.  This school has been running presentation mode and is about ready for tablets.  He then works the teachers through signing on with their cell phones for practice.    

At the conlcusion of this training, the team agrees that they are now ready for tablets.  The team decides to try out having this school come and get the tablets from our base in Camasca and configure them for themselves.  In another municipality they are trying out a still more aggressive version of self installation and local suppport that if successful will facilitate further scalability with our limited staff.

It was quite a satisfying, yet also exhausting day!!

High School Students Working in Groups of Four
High School Students Working in Groups of Four
Chickens Visit Classrooms Occasionally!
Chickens Visit Classrooms Occasionally!

Links:

Haley (Rapp) Chipol (back row, far right)
Haley (Rapp) Chipol (back row, far right)

Hello Friends,

I hope you're all well! I've attempted to write this reflection more than once, but I haven't made it very far.

I was a volunteer with Shoulder to Shoulder, in the department of Intibucá, Honduras, from January to August 2017.  My role was Assistant Brigade Coordinator. I helped organize medical service trips of professionals and students. We set up mobile clinics to assist those in remote areas lacking care. Maybe you're wondering, why write this now? My answer is, it's time. As we hear about immigration daily, I'm reminded of people I met and the reality of life there. Now married and with a newborn son, my ability to serve has changed. It might not be much, but I’d like to share more if you’re interested in helping.

There are so many stories I could write about, but the main word in all of them would be RESILIENCY. Just about every task is harder there, almost all work being done by hand. What a blessing it is to have running water in your home, showering when you want or washing clothes. How great it is to have access to medical care, especially for mental health. The lack of sufficient assistance, jobs, and water make for a difficult environment. Poverty is a reality that is often cyclical as people are just working to live. Individuals do what must be done to support their families, but also still give to others. The genuineness I experienced has left me with a deep sense of connection. With everything stripped away, our similarities were evident and helped us relate. I'll forever remember the conversations and food shared with strangers and friends. The fighting spirit of those I met is inspiring as is their example of sacrifice. It's hard to forget the woman in her eighties who walked four hours to receive glasses and ibuprofen or the parents who left kids behind to get better jobs. I have trouble reconciling that reality with my own as I look at my current surroundings, my heart won't let me.   

So, I'm asking you to consider helping Shoulder to Shoulder in their mission. They're working to provide medical care, running a nutrition program, and have a bilingual school. Full time employees are Hondurans and all US doctors and staff are volunteers. Maybe you can donate something or know someone who'd like to volunteer on a medical brigade or long term. I have yet to experience greater job satisfaction! I was certainly challenged personally and spiritually, but grew because of it. Above all, I ask that you keep the people of Honduras in your thoughts and prayers. Please visit Shoulder to Shoulder’s website (www.shouldertoshoulder.org) to learn more about the organization and the necessary work they're doing.

A fellow volunteer (Matt Tibbitts) created a great video; it will give you an idea of where I was: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=euFg0-x1RNs

Thanks for your support!

Links:

2018 Honduran Robotics Team Arriving in Mexico
2018 Honduran Robotics Team Arriving in Mexico

Dear Supporters of Shoulder to Shoulder’s Educational Initiative:

By way of introduction, I have been involved with Shoulder to Shoulder since 2001.  In 2018, I became president of Board of Directors.  I also sponsor the overall education program including our efforts in robotics.

In early 2017, Shoulder to Shoulder was contacted by FIRST to help them create a Honduran National Team for their new international robotics event. We were concerned that given the lack of overall technology exposure of the children from southern Intibucá, we would not be able to field a credible team. We tried unsuccessfully to partner with a private school in the capitol city, but they had no interest.   So, we went ahead and got lucky in obtaining an experienced coach mentor, Alan Ostrow (a High School physics teacher from Philadelphia). With his help, the local math teacher coached our team to a 40th place finish in a field of 160+ teams.

In the 2018 global robotics competition, we did even better, placing 16th. See https://first.global/.

In parallel with the First Global effort, we began putting robotics into our bilingual school. Last year, we expanded Lego Robotics to three area high schools and held a “coopertition” among seven municipalities. We are expanding the robotics program to other schools in our service area where we can find local coaches willing to run the teams.

The robotics program falls within our emphasis on STEM. Also in this program is our project to deliver Khan Academy math and science first to our bilingual school and then to 23 additional schools in our service area. We are using technology from https://learningequality.org/kolibri that delivers Khan, CK-12, and other curriculum locally without internet. We are working to expand this program substantially this year and have recently obtained the Honduran textbooks in digital form.

In addition to our main web site, we also maintain another dedicated to the education efforts: http://hondurasrobot.org/. This contains more detail on robotics and other education technology efforts.

In closing, I want to thank you for your long-term significant support of education.

Very sincerely yours,

Dick Buten

Children using technology at elementary school
Children using technology at elementary school
Teachers from many kindergartens gather together
Teachers from many kindergartens gather together

We called it the “Kindergarten project.” In early 2018, as a new school year was beginning in Honduras, a parent approached to say that their child’s kindergarten teacher was interested in being part of our computer-assisted learning initiative. At the time, our education programs focused on grades 1-9. Nonetheless, we decided to meet with the teachers.  At the end of the meeting, our team offered to help fund, along with their parent association, half a television set to project English learning programs to an entire classroom of children. Our vision was for the kindergarten to pay us back and offer half-funding to another school in the future.

In September, we visited and checked-in on the project and were amazed at how the kids interacted with the program through the television screen --  singing songs in both English and Spanish and learning to pronounce the sound of the English letters (see video).

In exchange for the assistance they received from Shoulder to Shoulder, we asked them to host a meeting with kindergarten teachers from other local towns to share their advances in the project. In mid-November when the meeting took place, teachers from 5 different kindergartens – representing 4 towns were present. The meeting was a success, and a number of teachers expressed interest in joining next school year!

We as an organization are very thankful and impressed with the success of our Kindergarten project and seeing the enthusiasm and gratefulness amongst the parents and the teachers causes us to also be excited to expand next year. 

We saw that empowering community members was fruitful for both parties. 

We’ve seen that finding community motivation, support and initiative is like hitting the jackpot.

Watch video: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1-dlFUJ7CS3TOxPU_EEEZtg7coMrvrg4Z/view

80 Teachers, from 23 schools, attend Training
80 Teachers, from 23 schools, attend Training

On August 30th, we held a training session on Educational Technology.  In attendance were 80 teachers, from 23 schools, in 7 towns.  Nine (9) of the schools were new to using the KA Lite technology.  We trained on the transition from KA Lite to Kolibri. Eight (8) schools were sent off with new equipment to start teaching in "presentation mode."   

 

For myself, it was a special meeting to have all of the teachers we have been working with over the last year and a half together in one room.  I believe we work with the absolute best from each school.  These teachers inspire us at Shoulder to Shoulder, and without their dedication to the kids' education, this project would not be successful.  

 

In September, we were lucky to have Dr. Dick Buten and Laura Manship come to Camasca for a week and a half. These two are treasured not only by us, but everyone in the Frontera. All year we hear “When is Dick coming?” “When is Laura coming?” We had another successful and productive week by their sides – visiting schools, talking with teachers and leaders, planning for the future, and deploying some extra equipment. Highlights from the trip include: 

 

 

** Talking with leaders in Concepcion and San Antonio about community proposals to expand the educational projects to their WHOLE municipalities;

 

** Working with the Regional Education Department to get all of the Honduran curriculum in digital form, and

 

** Encouraging the expansion of the robotics programs. In November, we are going to have a robotics competition between Concepcion, Camasca and Santa Lucia!

StS Volunteers -- Sandy (left); Grace (right)
StS Volunteers -- Sandy (left); Grace (right)

Links:

 

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Organization Information

Shoulder to Shoulder, Inc.

Location: Dayton, OH - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @StoSHonduras
Project Leader:
Laura Manship
General Director
Dayton, OH United States
$15,740 raised of $25,000 goal
 
126 donations
$9,261 to go
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