We've been working more with Scratch over the past week, designing projects and finding cool tricks and tips so that if the St. John kids want to go above and beyond, we'll be able to teach them. Monday we celebrated International Day of the Girl, and the whole school heard a speech from Sarah Naguib, a CSG alum from the class of '13 who took the OLPC program to a whole new level, raising almost $35,000 to buy 100 laptops to ship to Egypt. Her presentation was inspiring, and it was great to hear how much the work we're doing has an impact all across the globe, from Egypt to Lesotho to the Philippines. I've heard nothing but good things about the trip to St. John and I can't wait to go and get to interact with kids in a more hands-on way and teach them the Scratch skills I've been learning.
This past week in OLPC, we worked more with Scratch, and looked at previous projects to find new ways to create fun games and challenge ourselves at the same time. This year I have been really excited about One Laptop Per Child specifically because I am hopefully going to travel this year and want to retain as much knowledge as I can so that I can pass it on to the kids I'll be teaching. This project is such a great opportunity for all of the girls involved, and it is so nice to know that our work is being put to such good use. Right now I'm feeling very proud of myself for taking something somewhat challenging to me and making it fun. I have never been good with computers, but being in OLPC has taught me so much and made it a lot easier for me to have fun while trying to come up with and put together lessons.
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.