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, Anne Mieke Driessen, a business development manager for Intel in the Benelux region, recaps her team’s second week of experiences in Haiti working with L’Ecole de Choix.
Last week you may recall our focus on getting the school’s systems running smoothly and working closely with Jean-Claude, the computer lab manager. After that, we moved to our next major objective: to provide extensive training to the teachers with the goal of integrating technology more deeply into the classroom.
To start things off, we organized a teacher training party at Mary the principal’s apartment and invited all the teachers for food and games on our first Sunday in Mirebalais.
We used LEGO Education’s WeDo Robotics kits as an icebreaker. The second grade teacher Moise was joined by his 8 and 10 year old sons, who provided much needed expertise in LEGO assembly. After that we used the Intel Learning Series Classroom Management software to deliver a quiz on what we had covered. The teachers appreciated how this software lets you do real time assessments in the classroom.
We were struck by how motivated the teachers are. Many of them traveled a long distance for the party; in Jean Claude’s case, he had a two hour journey home, in the pouring rain, on his motorbike!
The following week, we continued working closely with the teachers, providing follow up training on a variety of software and content. The teachers love BrainPOP, which provides educational videos on a variety of subjects in English and French. We watched first graders learn how caterpillars turn into butterflies, while second graders got lessons in arithmetic. More importantly, the teachers practiced searching for relevant lessons and developed appropriate usage models for Haiti, such as playing a video with a projector, and pausing for Creole translation.
Previously I wrote about the Waterford Early Learning program, which contains thousands of lessons that students take individually with headsets. But Waterford didn’t forget about the teachers. In fact they created a powerful reporting tool that closely tracks the progress of individual students. A teacher can see that Christophe is doing well in letter recognition, or that Francine needs extra instruction in counting.
We also reviewed the science sensors and software donated last year by PASCO. These USB-powered probes can be used to perform science experiments with very simple materials like a cup of water, which is great in an environment like Haiti where not all supplies are readily available.
In addition to training, our team focused our final days on the unglamorous task of documentation. Our tri-lingual team was able to document important processes in English, French and Creole, and we even shot videos showing step by step how to connect, boot and shut down the Critical Links server.
On our last day, we received the best reward for our hard work, as the second graders demonstrated the LEGO robots that they created. The students called each other “Engineer Joseph” or “Engineer Whitney” which was so inspiring. These children are beginning to see a bright future ahead of them!
We also were treated to a message on the blackboards that said “Thank you Intel, please come back.” We would love to! In return, we would like to thank all the teachers and the students at L’Ecole de Choix for this wonderful experience.