Sr. Pamela Marie Buganski
“God is always talking to me when I am in Guatemala.”
Many groups of children are using our 55 Dell computers in the Peten. Some are participating in formal instruction in the use of the computers, some are using the computer to strengthen their thinking skills, and everyone is learning ALOT! Most of these children had never used a computer before. Thank you, Dell!!
Before we show you how the Dell Grant is being used, let's show you a few pictures of the Peten.
The six-year olds at the kindergarten in Purushila use the Dell computers for an hour on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Their teacher is their instructor. Livi has used the Dell computers to teach the children letters, sounds and the spelling and recognition of simple words. She has also engaged the children in Ubuntu games which help the children to learn letters and numbers while at the same time becoming familiar with the keyboard and other things like capital and lower case letters and how to erase a mistake or change the font size. The children have colored and played numbered dot-to-dot puzzles on the Dell computers and have challenged their memories with matching games. Each child has his or her own Dell computer to work on. The children seem very comfortable at the Dell computers and eagerly participate.
The same Dell computers are used later in the morning by the dozen or so young teens who come for two hours of English and mathematics on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Computer skills relating to English and math are integrated into the lessons which are conducted outside under a tree because there is no more room in the inn. Tables, chairs, a large white board, a projector and extention cords were purchased to allow class to go on for these junior high and high school students. I have also been able to program an Ubuntu game with the English words that we are studying, thus the students practice keyboard, word recognition, spelling and speaking skills of English as I have them say aloud the words as they are typed. We have used spreadsheets to take notes and also to study perfect squares and square roots.
These same Dell computers are used for an hour in the afternoons of Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays by the 40 telesecondary (junior high-high school age students) in Purushila. The group is split in half, and they alternate days of computer instruction. Since there is only one of me and their teacher and lots of them, we have started working in groups with the goal being that someone in the group would be able to help the others. We have practicied particular skills such as cutting and pasting, adjusting column width, making charts and graphs, using various colors and fonts, and other such skills in both word and spreadsheet programs. The students are also being introduced to programs that will strengthen their math, thinking and typing skills and encourage their creativity.
In the early afternoon of Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesday, Thursdays and Saturdays, and in the morning on Wednesday and Saturday, a different set of Dell computers are used by children in Santa Ana. About 45 students from ages 6 to 18 come for various activities to our clinic in Santa Ana. Commonly the Dell computers are used to practice math facts or thinking skills such as sequencing and patterns. The children also enjoy drawing on a paint program and creating their own designs. The older students do research using the internet which is available there.
The Dell computers get a different kind of workout on Tuesdays and Thursdays in Purushila. Each morning from 8:00 - 12:00 five groups of students from grades 1-6 have computer instruction. In total 10 classes or about 200 students get 35 minutes of instruction. These classes began only two weeks ago, and already I am thrilled with the skills that are being used. The Dell computers are stored in the neighboring kindergarten and are carried over by the students to a classroom that is dedicated to computer instruction.
And then, we use the Dell computers in all kinds of places for notes, meetings and organizational purposes.
All of this has been accomplished with $20,000 of SewHope's Dell Grant. Our future hopes for use of the Dell Grant include putting the medical records of our clinic patients of multiple communities into a computerized data base, getting internet to Purushila, holding adult computer classes, having open time in a sort of computer cafe and perhaps introducing them into a business, introducing our programs into other schools in the Peten, and eventually putting a computer lab into the community center to be built in the future on a piece of land that SewHope has purchased in Santa Ana.
Dell, when you gave SewHope this grant, you asked us to take Dell computers into places they have never been. We continue to accomplish that in the rural Peten of Guatemala. Thank you for believing in the mission of SewHope. Thank you for giving the children this opportunity to leap into the world beyond the Peten.
Sr. Pam Buganski
Sr. Pam joined SewHope as our first American Project Coordinator in 2012