IESC Vietnam: Farewell

As part of Intel’s ongoing commitment to improving education through the effective use of technology, Intel’s Education Market Platforms Group (EMPG) launched the Intel Education Service Corps (IESC) in September 2009. This program is a short-term service and career development opportunity, for a select group of Intel employees to travel to a developing country to directly support the deployment of Intel-powered classmate PCs. In this blog, Sarah Frawley, an Automation Engineer from Ireland, recaps her team’s final days in Vietnam.


IESC Vietnam: Farewell

by Sarah Frawley

This is the final IESC blog from the Vietnam team. Our team will leave Ho Chi Minh City early in the morning to return to our “day jobs” at Intel. (See photo of team left to right: Ben, Gabe, Bao, Sarah, Marissa).

We had a busy final few days wrapping up and getting the Orphan Impact mobile teaching team ready to deploy new lessons to their centres, standardising Intel -powered classmate PCs, visting centres and also the Intel site in Ho Chi Minh City.

The team, along with Tad and two of the Orphan Impact teachers (Bang and Long), arranged a visit to Intel at the Saigon Hi-Tech Park. Oanh Nguyen in Intel Community Affairs at the site kindly arranged to meet us for lunch at the canteen and gave us a quick tour of the campus. It was really interesting for all of us to see an Intel manufacturing site, and it was great for the local teachers to get an insight into what goes on behind the scenes at Intel.

The LEGO WeDo lessons were rolled out to three other centres, and we got great enthusiasm and positive feedback from the classes. Some kids wanted to stay around for the next class as they were having so much fun. It was good to see this result as it may get kids interested in enginneering and technology in the future.

Our last Saturday was spent visiting two centres. The team split into two groups due to the distance between the two orphanages. Gabe, Marissa and I went to Vung Tau while Bao and Ben made their second vist to Lin Xuan.

Vung Tau was 2.5 hours away so it was an early departure to get to this centre for the 8:00am class. We taught two LEGO lessons and it went down very well with the kids here. When we arrived we were surprised by the kids running towards us, chatting and asking our names, helping us with our bags and running with us all the way to the classroom. It goes to show how much they look forward to their Saturday computer classes. The kids here are mostly orphans lodging full time at the centre; some are HIV positive also. You can see the kids embrace all the attention that they get. The girls were really curious to get to know Marissa and me, and they would take our hands when they wanted to show us something. We gave out some little gifts at the end of class – some Intel pens, lollipops, Irish erasers and some hairclips for the girls. They were thrilled to get the gifts and left the class with lots of waving and smiles.

Bao and Ben’s return to Lin Xuan went well with lots of the kids remembering them from last week. The classes were taught using the Intel® Learning Series classroom collaboration software, and they went very smoothly. They were given a tour of some of the other areas of the orphanage where they met some of the younger kids. These kids were also very excited when they received some small gifts from the Intel team.

Our last day was spent wrapping up and de-briefing with our local client, Orphan Impact. We were all happy with the results with the majority of technical issues resolved, classroom collaboration software deployed successfully to all the classmate PCs, new approaches to lesson planning and teaching transferred to local teachers, and LEGO classes introduced to the curriculum. The team agreed on how thankful we were to have had the opportunity to participate in the IESC Vietnam program. We are all sad that it has come to and end but we will have great memories to bring with us. We learned so much from the children that we met through the entire process, and they have inspired us with how quickly they learn and how interested they are in technology.

The Orphan Impact mobile teaching team have been exceptional to work with over the last two weeks, and they demonstrated 100 percent dedication to curriculum development and improving the classroom experience. We have two success stories within the Orphan Impact team: Diem and Thao who both were previous students in one of the centres. We hope to hear similar stories as the students progress in their learning of technology. Tad and his wife hosted a dinner at their house where we said our final farewells. Our work is now done at Ho Chi Minh City, and our whole team really feels that we have made a difference to the centres we have visited and the children we have met. (See photo left to right: Bao, Ben, Diem, Long, Tad, Thao, Bang, Marissa, Gabe, Sarah).

P.S. Click here to catch up on the adventures, experiences and learnings from the 14 previous Intel Education Service Corps teams and the other teams who are working right now in Kenya, India and Uganda.

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