VFV Volunteer Philippe made a shock discovery at Mohon elementary school when he first arrived. He found a locked classroom containing brand new computers that had never been used!
The computers had been donated when the school was renovated after hurricane Yolanda, and had been sitting there for almost a year. They were now covered in dust and looking sorry for themselves.
Unfortunately none of the teachers were trained in computer science and had not been able to start using the machines with the children. Now Philippe (a software engineer) has come to the rescue!
I joined Philippe’s very first lesson to find out how to get children excited about computer science:
- Set good conditions for learning
Philippe sets his expectations for the class:
- Hands up if you have a question.
- No running.
- Respect the expensive equipment.
This means that the children will get the most out of their lesson.
- Summarize the lesson
Philippe outlines what will be covered in the lesson and says that if they behave there will be a game at the end. This motivates the children to listen.
- Make sure the children can relate to the presentation
The lesson begins with a history of computing. Philippe uses short, clear sentences and uses photos of local places and objects that the children would know. This engages them in the lesson.
- Keep them interested
To maintain the children’s attention and make sure they are following Philippe asks questions throughout the presentation.
- Reward good behavior
The children listened carefully during the lesson and responded well to Philippe’s questions- so as promised the session ended with a maths game.
The lesson went down so well with the children that they did not want to leave the lesson when the lunchtime bell rang! When Philippe finally persuaded them to go to lunch they gave him a round of applause!
Philippe will run 2 lessons a week for the children. He is also teaching the teachers how to use the computers so that they in turn can continue to teach the children after he has left. This is vital for sustainable learning.
The computers are now clean and shiny and have come to life now the children are finally using them. It was great to see the smiles on the children’s faces. They left their very first computer lesson wanting to come back for more.
Schools in Tacloban and surrounding areas desperately need people with IT skills to train their staff and pupils.
Photos and story by Liz Avery – VFV Media Intern