Well we've started training the students this week, and it's going very well. They are outrageously excited with the computers even though it's moving very slowly.
Day one: We introduced the computer to them. We showed them how to turn the computers on and how to open them. (the ears on the XO provide quite a challenge to the uninformed opener) We continued on to tell them about how you can't wash the computers like clothes, and how in general getting them wet is a bad idea, although the computers were designed to be water proof in rain. Finally we talked to them about keeping them clean and generally how these XOs need to be taken care of as they are very precious and will (hopefully) play a large part in improving their education in the future.
Day two: The girls were having a lesson on how to avoid rape and general lady's hygiene and safety, so we took the day off. It's hard for girls in public education anyway, so we thought it important to avoid them getting behind the rest of the class.
Day three: We began with teaching the program Write which is a basic Microsoft Wordesque program. Once we told them about how a key corresponds with a letter on the screen and that the blinking cursor is where the letter will appear, we told them to type a sentence. They all typed the tried and true expression, "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog." Introducing a capital letter for the opening T was difficult and in general the shift key is a tough one for them to get used to. The space bar was a quick pick up but most words had somewhere between 2 and 10 spaces separating them. We ended by centering "THE UGANDAN NATIONAL ANTHEM" and then had them write the first verse using punctuation like exclamation marks, commas, periods, and using the return key to separate each line. Some are learning faster than others, but having multiple teachers in the rooms helps a lot because with out a projector, and with 80 kids in each of the two classes that are taught simultaneously, personal aid is often necessary.
Day four: We taught them how to use the calculator and all in all this went well and they caught on quite quickly although learning the symbols on the keyboard, combined with further lessons in the ever difficult shift key brought some problems to the table. Regardless this lesson went well, although by the end of the day the kids had learned how to open up other programs and this led to a whole mess of questions about the camera, the music programs, one program where a man on the computer speaks what you type, and a few kids who found the computer programming applications were very insistent that I teach it to them immediately. There was no way to even begin with that especially the Terminal program, and Pippy, which are two of the more complex programs. They were disappointed that I was unable to teach them programs that are over my head in the last 5 minutes of class, but it shows curiosity, and desire to learn. Hopefully we'll be arriving there in the future.
Today (Day 5): We will teach them Record which is the camera program. We will have to talk to kids about the importance of not making pornography which may seem obvious, especially with them being in Primary 5 (Fourth Grade), but the parents when we talked to them were concerned about this, and with fair reason as girls start to drop out from pregnancy starting at about this age. I have high hopes for today although I predict they will overload the computer with the mass of photographs and video they will take, so necessary precautions will be told to them before we begin. Unfortunately I, Ian Wrangham, am sick today so I will be taking a day off and trying to recover quickly so I can be back at school on monday with ample energy and vigor. At least it gave me time to update my faithful readers.
(Please post any questions you have in the future)