IESC Vietnam: Engaging Orphaned Children with Technology

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, Erin Fria, a Staff Technologist in Intel’s Technology & Manufacturing Group recaps his team’s first week working with Orphan Impact in Vietnam.

Tri Tin, Tad, Erin and Duc setting up classmate PCs for new orphanage

One year after implementing Orphan Impact’s after-school program, administrators of an orphanage in Tam Binh, Vietnam have observed an interesting benefit: the “run away rate” has decreased.

Orphan Impact currently operates after-school programs using the Intel classmate PC in more than a dozen orphanages in Vietnam. The organization wants to ensure that they are able to impart the necessary skills and values on new teachers as they expand their program to new locations, which is part of the scope of work of our IESC team.

After observing classes at Tam Binh to learn more about their teaching methodology, our team returned to Orphan Impact’s office in Ho Chi Minh City to facilitate “train the trainer” sessions with three staff teachers. Our goal is to develop training content for bringing new teachers on board, with a focus on promoting skills in areas ranging from collaboration and problem solving to “love and care,” which includes showing respect for the children and recognizing their accomplishments.

No IESC teacher training is complete without Intel t-shirts!

It was very nice to see the kids so engaged, and it’s exciting to learn that a child’s ability to create something using the classmate PC and share it with their teacher and peers can have an impact on their desire to stay at the orphanage and continue learning.

Next week we travel to Can Tho, where Orphan Impact is launching a new program at an orphanage there. This involves training a new teacher, which will be a great chance for the teachers to practice what we are helping them to prepare this week.

Because Intel has a site in Vietnam, we were able to add two local volunteers to our team – Aikido and Tri Tin, who along with Duc (based in Santa Clara, CA but originally from Vietnam) have provided valuable Vietnamese language skills to our team. We have divided into two groups, one focusing on “train the trainer” sessions and the other configuring classmate PCs and setting up network connection protocols for the new site.

Trying a local umbrella on walk to orphanage

Can Tho is a three hour drive southwest of Ho Chi Minh city and the orphanage is in a much more rural area, so we are preparing for issues like power outages and intermittent internet connectivity. All of our hard work and preparation will be put into action as we set up the new classroom, meet new children, and prepare the next Orphan Impact instructor.