In many classrooms world-wide, the internet has become an indispensable tool in education – a tool that connects students with a variety of sources and opportunities to learn. Through the Internet Pilot Project, we and our partners at Hebbian have made access to this resource possible for the children of rural Las Lagunas primary school in Honduras.
The primary school is located in Las Lagunas, a rural community that sits in the mountains of Arada, Santa Bárbara. With one teacher, Lorena Jimenez, being responsible for teaching across all primary school grades, the school is termed an “escuela unidocente”. Two rooms make up the school: one classroom, and one educate.-supported library.
The initiative of the internet pilot was proposed by Lorena, in order to support the growth of the library and make it a space for children to learn how to use technology. Two laptops had been donated by educate. in 2020, with an additional one being donated earlier this year. Although internet installation was meant to begin in 2020, the closing of schools in Honduras due to COVID-19 from March 2020 to March 2022 meant the project was resumed this year. On March 15th it was officially installed!
In the first six months of the programme, the students have gotten familiar with how to use a computer – something that was new for almost all of them. Twice a week the children have computer classes, with the option to stay once a week after school to practice as an after-school activity. Their initial lessons have taught them their way around Microsoft Word for writing text, Google search engine to find information, Google Drive and Google Classroom. Aside from these computer skills, the students have been using literacy applications such as Duolingo, Lingokids, and word searches.
“Using the computers and internet has helped me learn how to use Word to create texts like stories, sentences and paragraphs,” says third grade student Axel Yudiel. “Also how to have different kinds of fonts, and add colours that I like best.”
The future of the project is looking bright. Lorena is working with the municipal authorities to request that IT be officially included in the curriculum for the next school year, starting in 2023. This would make it possible for the students to have evaluations and the classes to be formally recognized. The community has also been involved to sustain the project, by working to fundraise money for the next months of internet at the school, as well as talking to the municipal authorities to see if part of these costs could be covered by them in order to ensure the ongoing sustainability of the project.
We hope to continue to support Lorena and the school community in expanding STEM education at the school, and to explore broader opportunities in promoting STEM education through our network of libraries. These skills will support students in their short- and long-term development, and provide valuable skills for their futures.
Hear more from the students themselves in this video:
Written by Sara Sampson