IESC Senegal: Extreme Heat, New Skills

The Intel Education Service Corps (IESC) is a short-term service and career development opportunity for a select group of Intel employees to support the deployment of Intel classmate PCs in developing countries. In this blog, Brandon Mills, Danny Arati, Linda Kenworthy, Marieme Doukoure-Amoa and Shuo Li from Intel business groups around the globe recap their team’s first week in Senegal working with World Vision.

Teacher learns new PC skills while baby sleeps

IESC is back in Tattaguine, Senegal! Our assignment is to deploy Intel classmate PCs and train teachers at a primary school (Ecole Elémentaire El Hadj Moustapha Sarr) in collaboration with World Vision. 

We are building on the foundation of the last IESC team, which deployed classmate PCs at the local high school. Besides the age of the students and working with new teachers, the main difference with this deployment is the weather. At this time of year, Tattaguine (around three hours southeast of Dakar) gets extremely hot, note the “feels-like temperature” of 129 from our iPhone weather app (photo below)!

The community has welcomed us with open arms; teachers, students, Parent Teacher Association (PTA) members, and local leaders were anxious to begin using the classmate PCs. Their goal is to give students early exposure to computers and the Internet, enabling a smooth transition into the high school curriculum.

Note "feels-like temperature" of 129F (or 54C)!

The teachers are enjoying the combination of hands-on classmate PC training and the Intel Teach Getting Started program, which blends 21stcentury technology with pedagogical training.  “I’m excited to learn some new methodologies and incorporate them with technology into my classes,” said Professeur Augustin, one of the teachers participating in our training.

It’s also exciting to see the results of last year’s IESC training six months later. Two teachers from the high school are attending some of our sessions and one of them, Professor Ba, who is also the IT Manager at the high school, volunteered to present the Intel Learning Series classroom management software sessions. It’s great to see “train the trainer” in action.

IESC team with community members, World Vision staff and students after arriving in Tattaguine

Besides the heat, challenges we are working through include power outages, internet connectivity issues, and LOTS of dust!  As an experiment we left a classmate PC open all day in the lab to see how much dust accumulated:  the results are visible in the photo below… you might see a familiar logo!  Luckily the classmate PC is built to withstand tough conditions, and has even been used in the 4 Deserts race across Antarctica and the Sahara, Gobi and Atacama deserts!

Check back soon to read more about how the teachers incorporate their learning and technology into their lesson plans at the Tattaguine Ecole Elémentaire El Hadj Moustapha Sarr, the latest school in Senegal to benefit from the Intel Learning Series.

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