This is my second year in One Laptop Per Child, so I have been able to skip many of the basic lessons and jump right in to the fun projects! We have already started using the program Scratch (pictured below). To use Scratch, we select characters called “sprites” and choose a background. Then we can program the sprites to do anything we like. Eventually, we will program the sprites to dance to music or create a maze for the users to lead their sprites through. The girls who went to St. John last year have more experience with Scratch, so they have been helping the rest of us, myself included, learn about the program. However, some of the girls are entirely new to the class, so I have been teaching them about Etoys and what OLPC is all about. So far, I’ve had a great time playing around with Scratch and creating fun scenarios with my sprites. I am very excited to begin all of our projects in the year to come!
When I sat in One Laptop per Child for the first time last year I imagined a class that would push me with my computer skills. I am so grateful that it turned into something so much bigger than that. In May, as the year was coming to an end, we took all the skills we had learned throughout the year to St. John. It was such a scary moment walking in to the first day of class. I felt like I had a chance to make a difference, but I was also terrified I wasn’t really up for the job. However, the minute I sat down to teach my first student every nerve quickly subsided. Day after day we got closer to these kids learning more about their lives, their hopes, and their inspirations. These moments produced so much clarity. I knew going in that we were going to have an impact, but the way some of these kids lit up talking about their futures was incredible. One boy I talked to started by saying he was not sure if he would end up where he wanted; all of his friends had told him he would never be something special. I saw someone with incredible intelligence, drive, and motivation I could only dream of. This trip made me see my life in a completely knew way. One can travel a few miles from CSG and find more kids that don’t have someone to believe in them. After coming to this realization, I decided to switch the type of service work I was doing and head down a different path. One that would allow me to support dreams of those who deserve so much more than being cast off because of hardships they face. I knew St. John would have a great effect on my life, but I never could have imagined how much it changed me.
As I try to convince more people to go, I also throw in that as long as you have 100% deet bug spray, and a good sunscreen you will have a truly amazing time.
Last day of classes selfie with some of the most inspiring kids.
Right now we are working on Scratch. Our class is all jumbled up this year. We have two people who have never taken the class, so right now we are trying to catch them up on the basics. Since I went to St. John’s last year, I am teaching some of the people Scratch. I am familiar with the program and I am familiar in teaching others. Sometimes it can be difficult because I don’t know how to do certain things on Scratch and I have to ask for help. However, so far my favorite thing is teaching the other girls in the class. I really enjoy teaching others.
During the school year, students will be blogging about their experiences approximately once a week. Please check back for updates.