Creating Learners Online and On the Ground

by OpenMind Projects Foundation
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Creating Learners Online and On the Ground
Creating Learners Online and On the Ground
Creating Learners Online and On the Ground
Creating Learners Online and On the Ground
Creating Learners Online and On the Ground
Creating Learners Online and On the Ground
Creating Learners Online and On the Ground
Creating Learners Online and On the Ground
Creating Learners Online and On the Ground
Creating Learners Online and On the Ground
Creating Learners Online and On the Ground
Creating Learners Online and On the Ground
Creating Learners Online and On the Ground
Creating Learners Online and On the Ground
Creating Learners Online and On the Ground
Creating Learners Online and On the Ground
Creating Learners Online and On the Ground
Creating Learners Online and On the Ground
Creating Learners Online and On the Ground
Creating Learners Online and On the Ground
Creating Learners Online and On the Ground
Creating Learners Online and On the Ground
Creating Learners Online and On the Ground
Creating Learners Online and On the Ground
Creating Learners Online and On the Ground
Creating Learners Online and On the Ground
Creating Learners Online and On the Ground
Creating Learners Online and On the Ground
Creating Learners Online and On the Ground
Creating Learners Online and On the Ground
Creating Learners Online and On the Ground
Creating Learners Online and On the Ground
Creating Learners Online and On the Ground
Creating Learners Online and On the Ground
Creating Learners Online and On the Ground
Creating Learners Online and On the Ground
Creating Learners Online and On the Ground
Creating Learners Online and On the Ground
Creating Learners Online and On the Ground
Creating Learners Online and On the Ground
Creating Learners Online and On the Ground
Creating Learners Online and On the Ground
Creating Learners Online and On the Ground
Creating Learners Online and On the Ground
Creating Learners Online and On the Ground
Creating Learners Online and On the Ground
Creating Learners Online and On the Ground
Creating Learners Online and On the Ground
Creating Learners Online and On the Ground

 Many thanks donors!

Now we work for after Covid-19, restarting local projects and inviting volunteers to local projects and  fundraising to restart our popular Learning Camps and a new training center.

We alsoprepare a special Code and English training program for disabled students. Ask our cofounder, Gaweechat Joompaula, for more information He and volunteers Stoyan and Dasha head that project!

So, we hope to welcome many volunteers back, but also plan for more online training programsand invite volunteers to help online and donors to help with fundraising, sharing this report, please! 

Cheers and thanks! Team OpenmindProjects

Read on

A ripple effect, a new hope, for young but poor. Once upon time OpenmindProjects had its first pioneer volunteers. Now it’s time for new, after Covid, pioneers!


It’s befitting. When OpenmindProjects, OMP, now restarts after Covid, we have new pioneer volunteers after three long Covid years.

Once upon a time OMP started as IT in Isan (the poor Northeast of Thailand) and we had some great first pioneers, volunteers. They came from Canada, the US, Italy, Colombia, energetic and friendly, joining two orphan homes and a village. and they inspired the  IT in Isan project to become OpenmindProjects, opening young minds to IT, internet and English, opening doors to the future.

They worked with Gaweechat, the OMP cofounder, mixing English with IT and creating some world awareness, opening kids’ eyes to a world outside. They made PowerPoints, in basic English and in Thai, showed them to astonished parents and staff, teachers. Who could use most PP features, best English, most exciting content, best pictures? They were proud. They showed their friends, creating ripple effects, more interested kids!

We called it ‘learning by doing’, the motto of OpenmindProjects!

Now, after three, too long Covid years, we restart, invite volunteers back to Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Nepal.
We worked with a small and poor school, Arunrangsse, during Covid, helped by local OMP alumni and their friends and this is where our first, after Covid, volunteers arrived!

Stoyan from Bulgaria/Canada, the clever IT man, was first to arrive, and he is not only helping TT with updating, improving our IT material, website etc. but also joining the school kids. He is big, so no kids want to mess with him
Then Sasha came from Israel, clever with many ideas how to engage with the kids. Not very big and some kids were naughty but she converted them and they became the best. She shared her ideas with young Paula and Luis from Spain who were happy to take over before leaving to go diving down South.

Our TT, Stoyan, Luis and Paula have visited the school for disabled where we are starting a pioneer Code training program for disabled students. ‘Learn about programming and improve your English.’ We hope some of them will one day go on to find jobs as programmers and also help and inspire their friends.

And we had a nice Stoyan, birthday, and bye bye Sasha dinner!

Sponsor John from Australia came to visit with his friend. He wants to help fundraise for a new a training center for OMP trainees, camps and campers and volunteers. Fundraising is a top priority to get going and restart more and more projects, so all help is welcome!

More Spanish volunteers, Gemma and her teenage daughters arrive this week. They will also go to help the students at the school for disabled! Veteran volunteer, longtime supporter, Shireen, is coming back, from the UK, to talk fundraising and go to the schools.
Another ripple effect, a new hope , for young but poor Thais!

And you help us help them!

To be cont’d.

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GlobalGiving OpenmindProjects, Creating Learners Report April, 2022

 

OpenmindProjects and Volunteers bring Interactive Online Learning to Poor Students with Donor Support.

Introduction

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.

Summary

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!

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………

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  1. 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’

  1. 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!

  1. 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.

  1. Fundraising

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!

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                        2021. Our Openmind Acid Test

                        Adapting to Covid. Bringing online learning to the underprivileged.

You build. Something disrupts. How to adapt, rebuild? Covid put a sudden stop to everything. Volunteers could not travel. Schools, our Center closed. Trainees and staff had to go home, no camps only restrictions, lock downs and costs, like so many other!

We miss them all, trainees, campers and volunteers! We don’t want Covid to be the end, too many NGOs and social entrepreneurs perished

But we don’t want to lose our network of amazing friends and supporters of local and overseas volunteers, trainee alumni, donors. So, rethink! Go online?

We worked with alumni and volunteers to find creative ways to help village, migrant and refugee children online! While we however managed to have some camps when still possible.

A Hybrid Camp. We prepared for a big hybrid camp. Students and local leaders onsite and volunteers online. But cancelled with more Covid restrictions!

A Center in Transit. We agreed to move our Center. Why pay rent and other costs when we cannot host young students or volunteers. We look forward to when they can return!

Taking OMP Online, with our accumulated experiences and skills. Together with talented alumni, overseas volunteers from Cisco, we prepared to go online using WebEx and finding best ways to engage students in inspiring online learning.

Trying an Open House Online for students to meet volunteers, guest speakers for culture exchanges, practice English and have fun. We will restart in 2022.

Engaging Students Online. How to engage disadvantaged students online, to encourage them to use their smartphones for learning!

A Virtual Camp. We set out to develop a program for teenagers with alumni and volunteers from Cisco, to develop engaging online activities. We learned to use WebEx, digital tools, whiteboards, breakout sessions, much more.

Many great ideas popped up! With WebEx we felt comfortable to host online programs.

Some voices 

Online collaboration is not new to us. Working from home is the new norm. We are excited to share experience, best practices and digital tools with OpenmindProjects,’ says Cisco’s Stacy Pereira, from the Asia Pacific, Japan and China Strategy & Planning Lead.

Michelle Jeong also from Cisco, adds, ‘I’m so glad to help children using our technology. When I worked with OpenmindProjects alumni, I was impressed with their passion to support their communities. We’re really looking forward and committed to this digital journey with OpenmindProjects!’

OMP alumni James, now studying international relations, ‘Covid, a new challenge? It is unable to stop us from learning! Me and my friends will help make students and schools highly benefit from this initiative!’

Says Peter Gardiner, volunteering 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’

Openmind Toto,It was heartwarming to work with these students, disadvantaged, stateless, many disabled, yet optimistic! They plan to be English teachers, programmers, small business owners. Who wouldn’t want to support them?’

Online Learning, based Openmind pedagogy - students learn English while learning about important topics with volunteers. Search, discuss, summarize, present, publish on social media.

We needed an online program hosted and moderated by OMP, where students meet volunteers in virtual classrooms. We needed a topic, a challenge. Why not the obvious, COVID-19?

We wanted to learn how easy or difficult it would be to go online! We agreed a pilot with some schools. Hoping to scale up next year. But we need more volunteers and donations for that!

Turn Covid into Opportunities - schools, student teams and teachers in an 8-week program. Enthusiastic Thai and overseas volunteers from Australia, China, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, the UK and the US. Challenge the students to suggest opportunities for learning and environmental protection, based Covid experiences!

This is what happened. We introduced our ideas to everyone. They wanted us to host this online program. Students attended from schools for disabled, migrants/refugees, mixed Buddhist/Muslim students in the North, South and West. Helped the students to learn and also to find out about obstacles, opportunities when going online!

Students and volunteers learned about the effects of COVID-19. Searched online and suggested - in presentations and videos - how to turn the Covid experiences into opportunities, to learn online, to protect the environment!

Some things we learned - students and volunteers were enthusiastic.

But moving from onsite to online learning for village students with limited English is a challenge! How to engage them online? Easier, face to face! How to compensate for that face-to-face time? 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 learned and bring those insights to future programs.

Tech issues too, yes, of course, many! Our village, migrant students are not as well off as city and middle-class students!

BUT - we do look forward to welcoming back volunteers sometime next year!

And, it was heartwarming to work with these poor, stateless, disabled yet so cheerful and optimistic students. Some want to be English teachers, some programmers or small business owners. It makes all of us involved grateful and want to go on!

This will be 2022, with your and other friends’ help.

More online programs for more schools.

More overseas and local volunteers. 

Online training for overseas and local volunteers/interns.

An Online Center, a community, to serve and support volunteers, students, school programs and training for local trainees and volunteers/interns.

A hub where volunteers meet  students, supporters communicate, exchange ideas, where we share free and useful information. Online Camps together with online volunteers. And finally.

Welcome back sometime in 2022, volunteers and young students!

OpenmindProjects, depends on volunteers and donations to support      disadvantaged students in Thailand and Southeast Asia.

 

Donate to our 2022 programs -  https://www.globalgiving.org/donate/75647/openmind-projects-foundation/

 Volunteer, apply online from www.openmindprojects.net or send an email to info@openmindprojects.net

 

Sven and Gaweechat - Wishing you  a Happier 2022

It was heartwarming to work online with the students and volunteers in our first online project.

Poor village students should also get a chance to learn online! We bring programs and volunteers to them.

Thank you, donors and volunteers for your support. Without you we could not go on!

 

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online volunteering
online volunteering

Today, the International Volunteer Day, December 5th, is celebrated to recognize the contribution of volunteers, communities and organizations.

Therefore, OpenmindProjects celebrate and thank all our international volunteers and donors over the years and our local Thai volunteers too!

We also celebrate and thank our Online Volunteers, during these Covid-19 days.

        In the future OpenmindProjects will welcome more online volunteers to help disadvantaged, disabled and migrant children, students. And in 2022 we look forward to welcoming back volunteers to local projects!

Today is a chance to volunteer, contribute, support, donate to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The International Volunteer Day is celebrated by many non-governmental organizations, including OpenmindProjects

       OpenmindProjects, depends on volunteers and donations to continue supporting young but disadvantaged students in Thailand and Southeast Asia.

For info about volunteering info@openmindprojects.net

To  donate https://www.globalgiving.org/donate/75647/openmind-projects-foundation/

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Covid-19 is still affecting OpenmindProjects' work and students’ studies. But we go online in the meantime!

 

Thanks to our Thai alumni, who now volunteer with us,  previous and new overseas volunteers we are adapting to help using the Cisco WebEx and helped b volunteers from Cisco too!

OpenmindProjects has over the years helped many young people in Southeast Asia with the help of international volunteers and the use of IT/internet.

Covid disrupted our work. What to do? How to adapt? How to go online? How to find volunteers and systems, tools, to be able to go online? Previously we relied on volunteer donations. Now we had to reduce costs. How to find new funds? How to hibernate, to survive?

Covid will not go away, so we reluctantly had to reduce costs, close our Training Center. No point losing money on rent, repairs, other costs when we can host no local trainees, campers or overseas volunteers! With no trainees, no campers, no volunteers we were very sad to see staff friends leave! But we moved on to a new location, hosted by a school we have supported for many years and where we hope to welcome trainees, campers and volunteers next year.

 

We are now learning to offer online education to young and disadvantaged students in Thailand, Laos, later on also in Cambodia, Nepal and Myanmar, our program countries.

       

Together with talented and dedicated local and overseas Volunteers we look to turn  the Covid Experience into an Education Opportunity!

How to design online learning for isolated and disadvantaged village, ethnic minority and  migrant students?

Our first Online School Program has just started. Three schools around Thailand are participating: a school for disabled in NongKhai, another for ethnic minorities on the Myanmar border and the third in Krabi, the South. We have already learned quite a few things, about difficulties, opportunities, tech issues and been encouraged by the energy of many students and the enthusiasm of helpful and patient volunteers.

We use Cisco’s WebEx with the compliments of Cisco and are happy also to have many Cisco volunteers working together with other ‘old’ and new volunteers and previous trainees, campers. Gaweechat, our cofounder and James, one of our successful campers, trainee alumni are doing a great job hosting and moderating the program.

This first task-based learning project focuses on COVID-19 and its effects with a special emphasis on education effects and opportunities. Students search online to learn about COVID-19 and its effects with the help of local and overseas volunteers, summarize what they learn and will after 8 weeks present their findings including how they have learned from these effects and what opportunities for their own online learning they see in the future. They will share their findings online in presentations and videos.

OpenmindProjects and volunteers will also have learned more about how to offer future task-based learning programs to local poor students, villagers, migrants, ethnic minorities.

 

This is a small but truly global project with volunteers from East, Southeast, and South Asia, as well          as Australia, Europe and America.

 

We have also launched an Openmind Open House with young people online where we discuss important issues affecting Thai and other SE Asian youth: internet security, environmental protection, climate change, online education, even AI, artificial intelligence, and its opportunities, threats.  They learn about these issues while sharpening their English skills.

 

We are learning a lot and finding ways to scale up, reach many more underprivileged students who  suffered and lost precious education time during this pandemic.

 

We are very excited to continue online thanks to our volunteers and Cisco and are now looking to fundraise for our future work and projects to help the young but underprivileged in SE Asia! We know we have to learn a lot, to improve, and to find new ways to fund our work!

Together with local and overseas volunteers we can inspire students to learn about important topics while they improve their English and IT/internet skills, gain confidence and inspire their own friends.

We are grateful for all support during these difficult times and hope we inspire future support for our work to go online and one day welcome volunteers, campers and trainees back to help the young students!

                              OpenmindProjects Cofounders

                    Gaweechat Joompaula and Sven Mauleon

PS

Welcome to follow our online activities, contact gaweechat@openmindprojects.net  for an invitation. 

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Organization Information

OpenMind Projects Foundation

Location: A.Muang - Thailand
Website:
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Twitter: @openmindproject
Project Leader:
Gaweechat Joompaula
A.Muang, Thailand
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