Report Creating Learners Online and On the Ground (46459)
GlobalGiving OpenmindProjects, Creating Learners Report April, 2022
OpenmindProjects and Volunteers bring Interactive Online Learning to Poor Students with Donor Support.
Covid is still affecting OpenmindProjects, work in SE Asia, students, schools and volunteers. As always, the most vulnerable; village, migrant and disabled children suffered most from disrupted education. Some 40 000 Thai school children dropped out! The children in rural Southeast Asia are poor, lack good education opportunities and access to internet. These students suffer more than other students from the Covid-19 effects and lockdowns and are left behind even more!
We have gone online and we prepare for the opening of Thailand, for school children to be able to go back without interruptions and for volunteers to travel to help at schools, camps, a new center, and other projects! Now we add online education with online volunteers and will also restart school projects and welcome volunteers, when possible, in 2022.
This offers opportunities to mix online learning and volunteering onsite! And this can enhance the impact of our support to poor students.
OpenmindProjects has over the years helped many young people to better education opportunities, focus English, IT, in Southeast Asia with the help of international volunteers, the use of IT/internet and using our own version of task/problem-based learning by doing.
Covid disrupted. We had to adapt, cut costs, close our Center and discontinue most work, no trainees, campers, volunteers or staff. We will move, restart the center at a new location, school offering space there.
Previously we relied on volunteer contributions. Now we have to find new funding and prepare several fundraising initiatives with the help of volunteers.
Since 2021 we have started offering interactive online education to the young and disadvantaged in Thailand, Laos. This is new to them! Online to them has so far meant a monitor in the classroom with an online teacher teaching, one-way communication.
Our first program was launched last fall for schools around Thailand, schools for disabled ethnic minorities and village kids.
And we are now conducting our first Holiday Online Camp together with online local (alumni) and overseas volunteers also modelled on our learning by doing pedagogy.
We will run more online programs and restart onsite, welcoming volunteers back. How much and fast depends on funding, so we work hard on fundraising together with volunteers.
We have also arranged workshops online with alumni and volunteers, training and discussing ways to work online. We also managed to arrange some onsite minicamps for schoolchildren and the non-formal education dropout students together with our alumni and friends as volunteers!
Our ambition is to scale up, more camps, reach more students and schools in Thailand and Laos using online solutions, Cisco Webex. Our ambition is to restart onsite, when possible, later in 2022. All with the support from volunteers and donors.
Our ambitions for 2022, with donor and volunteer help.
- Interactive Online Programs with online volunteers for students, schools, in Thailand, Laos, possibly even Myanmar.
- Interactive Online Camps with online volunteers. The first one now in April. A second planned in May.
- Online Train the Trainer for local students to prepare to help in future programs , online and onsite as camp and program leaders.
- Invite overseas volunteers to online and onsite projects.
- Online training for volunteers and interns.
- Fundraising, via GlobalGiving and Google Grants, asking previous volunteers to help fundraise.
- Online Center for students, teachers, volunteers, students.
- Restart Onsite, camps, a center with donor support when Covid is over
OpenmindProjects work to support poor students in Thailand and Southeast Asia depends on volunteers and donations!
Thank you, donors and volunteers for your support so far. Without you we cannot go on!
- How did we design our Interactive Online Learning for this group of students, poor village, ethnic minority and migrant students?
It was natural that we emulated our successful learning by doing, adapted it too interactive online learning. With our and trainee alumni and volunteer experience and skills, we are able to help students online too.
We held an online training with a number of alumni to prepare an online program for teenage students. We and alumni learned to use WebEx and other digital tools for online training. We discussed how to go online with alumni and volunteers from Cisco using their WebEx, to find best ways to engage students online in an interactive way. Nd designed a first prototype Online Program for schools
We tried a weekly Open House Online where students could meet, listen to volunteers, guest speakers, culture exchanges, practice English. We plan to restart this project later in 2022.
Last fall we tested our learning pedagogy in a two-month program for disadvantaged, stateless, disabled, poor village students. We were encouraged to hear that some planned to be English teachers, coders/programmers, or starting small business. OMP wants to support students with dreams! In the pipeline is a training program for programmers with IT volunteers!
The online students in this fall program learned English while searching and learning about Covid and its effects on and opportunities related to education and environment. They searched, discussed, summarized, presented, and shared their findings and solutions on social media! We hosted and moderated this first online program. In virtual classrooms students met volunteers from Australia, China, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, the UK and the US.
Moving to interactive online learning for village students with limited English is quite a challenge! We and volunteers got a chance to learn about the many challenges and we work to overcome them step by step to scale up with donor and volunteer support.
How to engage and have them commit to attend online? Yes, quite a few dropped out. They found it too difficult, the English and too much work. Some thought it would mainly be a fun experience.
We found out it is indeed easier, when we all meet face to face!
So, how to compensate for these face-to-face opportunities? How to encourage interaction between volunteers and students when you don’t get to know each other the same way as face to face? How to get to know all the students, make them feel as comfortable as when face to face? We are now working on this with some of our alumni and volunteers and also consulting with other expertise, pedagogical expertise and experts on online work.
We learn, develop and will bring those insights to future programs!
There are tech issues too of course. Connectivity, village, migrant students are not fortunate as city and middle-class students!
Volunteer Peter Gardiner, from Australia, ‘I was blown away by the videos created by the students I worked with. Goal oriented so students worked towards producing a usable asset! Really loved working with students, local OMP, James and Toto, Thai volunteers Dow and Dream and overseas volunteers from Australia, Singapore, South Korea, China, Columbia, India and Japan’
- Why we believe in our work, trainees, campers and volunteers
OMP started running Learning Camps in Thailand in2007 and has since run almost a hundred successful learning camps in the Northeast, South and along the Myanmar border. The camps are based on learning by doing, solving problems while learning English, using IT/internet supported by volunteers from overseas.
We have trained over 400 long term trainees at our Center, arranged over 80 Learning Camps for some 3000 village, migrant children and trained over 2500 international volunteers to join our camps, center, schools. we aim to go on!
- Going online, offering interactive learning with previous volunteers
We work to find opportunities for volunteers to engage with local people online. We believe previous volunteers can share some of their time online to help local youth. So now we move on towards digital based education, supported by volunteers, donors and EdTech companies!
Our objective is to create an extra and online learning opportunity for rural students. We have have collaborated with Cisco and other professional volunteers to develop and use digital technology to facilitate this learning for poor village youth.
We develop an Online Community, together with IT expert volunteers, for online training not only for students but also for volunteers, trainers, teachers. They can meet, share, exchange ideas, information about volunteering, teaching/lesson plans.
We will do it step by step, depending on volunteer support and funding.
We will require considerable financial help to achieve our goals of going online and restarting onsite. So, we work and plan for fundraising together with expert volunteer and via GlobalGiving. Mewlions, a Thai support group for Thai celebrity Mew , fundraised in 2022 for OMP already.
We knew 2021 would be difficult and we struggled, but Covid came back in waves and has lasted into 2022, much longer than we ever expected. So, we work to and have gone online but without donations it's not easy! So now we need to ask our friends supporters for help raising funds for 2022.
We have fixed costs, legal, account/audits, El, Internet, insurance. Now, everybody works on a volunteer basis but in the future, we will need funds to reimburse local volunteers , Gaweechat/TT and Sven have contributed to cover costs and donated their time. Due to this situation, lack of income, funding, OMP has to work on a minimum budget and spend time on fundraising. We’re grateful for all support we’ve received and want to continue to help poor youth in Southeast Asia.
A donation contributes to
Online Programs, Online camps, Online Community, Online training for overseas and local volunteers.
And when Covid permits. Welcoming volunteers back to schools, camps, a center.Restarting a Training Center.Onsite Learning Camps.
Any donation, small or more, is appreciated by the students, their parents, teachers and us!