Student Computer Project

Introduction

Many government and community schools in the Siem Reap area are not able to provide computer facilities for students to learn basic computer skills or to use computers to enhance other teaching programmes.
This project is intended to provide laptop computers for children in the community schools with which our organisation is involved in providing other assistance.
The computers to be used have been purpose built for use by children by the international One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) organisation, and have been donated by One Education (OLPC Australia) as part of their local rollout of equipment. The computers are known as XO laptops.

A second phase of the project has involved provision of small server devices in the schools to provide access to material normally found on the Internet, but without requiring an Internet service. The RACHEL project has assembled a range of material specifically for schools and communities, including:
– Wikipedia for Schools
– Mother Tongue Literacy (MoToLi)
– Khan Academy
– Medline and Hesperian Health
– Gutenberg book collection
– Infonet-Biovision – agricultural, environmental, and health topics.
– Practical Action – technologies for the developing world
– CK-12 textbooks,
– and more

In addition, laptop computers will be provided to teachers to give them the opportunity to become more familiar with computer technology and thus better able to help the students in the computer classes.

Project Outline

  1. To provide a number of community schools with sufficient XO Laptops and teachers’ Laptops to allow their use in one or more classrooms.
  2. To provide assistance to the schools to establish educational programs based around the computers.
  3. To establish collaboration between the schools in order to share resources and knowledge in order to maximise the educational value of the computers.
  4. To provide off line access to Wikipedia for Schools and other material.
  5. To source new content that is appropriate for use in the schools.

Project Objective

To provide the community schools with the necessary resources to conduct computer based classes for students, both to teach the students in basic computer skills and to augment other teaching programs such as English and maths.

Anticipated Project Outcomes

  • Computer based teaching programs being run in the community schools, with a particular focus on Khmer and English language literacy.
  • Improved educational outcomes in subject areas such as English language and maths as a result of using specific applications on the computers.
  • Access to knowledge repositories such as Wikipedia for Schools with the information being made available both locally on the computers and via the Internet.
  • Pre-employment training in computer skills and software including word processing, spreadsheets, email and web browsing.
  • Improved employment prospects for students in the available workplaces including tourism and supporting industries, education system, and financial services.

Current Status

As of December 2015, around 20 XO laptops have been provided to each of five schools, following the pilot program to familiarise staff and students with the devices. Volunteers have worked at each school on several occasions to ensure that the devices are able to be used properly by the staff and students. Further laptops will be taken to the schools as they become available.

The VT RACHEL micro-server for making Wikipedia for Schools etc available in classrooms has been developed in conjunction with the VillageTelco.org project and has been deployed to a number of schools.

Ongoing work is focused on finding and developing additional relevant content, in particular in the style of the MoToLi learn-to-read material.

Overall Outcome

Many Cambodian children have little or no access to computers through their family or schools, both primary and secondary. Computer skills are essential to many employment environments and so the lack of computer facilities can severely limit employment prospects for students.
Within the school system, computers are also now an essential aid to teaching in many subject area, and for access to knowledge in information databases and via the Internet.
Providing students with computers that have been specifically developed for use in education has the potential to significantly improve students’ education and employment prospects.
Providing off line access to Wikipedia for Schools, MoToLi and other digital content will give students a greater library of learning materials.

VDCA-3

VDCA-2

Documentation

GettingStartedManual-v1d1-c

User Guide – XO Applications-V1D2