Eric McGinnis, a senior at U. Delaware, took part in a visit to Haiti earlier this month coordinated by his school, UNC Charlotte, Waveplace, and Mothering Across Continents. After taking a course in game development, he built an English-to-Creole translator in Scratch which he distributed to students at the Waveplace school.
The UDaily covered the trip and his project.
Tim Falconer, back from his recent tour of his partner schools in Haiti, makes the case for focusing on learning in Haiti, rather than physical schools. This is not to say that schools aren’t important — when a community needs a central place for scores of children and teachers to gather, study, or break bread, clearly they need a comfortable space if not an entire school. But Tim notes out that many children never go to school. Ever. He asks:
[In Haiti] why are we still talking about building schools? Why aren’t we talking about training adults to use laptops instead of chalkboards? Why aren’t the teachers going to the children, to teach in small local groups?
I would like to see recent data on this that consolidates private and public school information; but it’s fair to say more than half of all school-age children are not in school at a given time. (I am reminded for a moment of the remarkable UNICEF game Ayiti: the Cost of Life , which deserves more development and attention.) If you have thoughts on home schooling, or community schooling and mentorship, stop by and leave him a comment.
UPDATE: Both made it back, after spending one of their weekends helping clean up after a fall storm. They managed to visit a number of schools and some of the groups that Waveplace and Haiti Partners are working with.
Mr. Holt and Tim Falconer are currently in Haiti, where they will be for the next ten days. Tim has been writing about their eventful travels, with more to come – see the waveplace blog for the illustrated story.
Tim Falconer and Waveplace are hosting the upcoming “realness summit” (about the realness of small independent pilots with XOs, which are quite different from OLPC deployments) on the Virgin Islands at the end of the month. It’s worth a look, though it aims to be offline – Internet junkies may have a hard time either attending in person (and suffering withdrawal) or following the four-day event on Twitter.
Update: Waveplace also regularly recruits mentors to help run their school projects, and have put out a call for mentors for the coming year, with a minute-long video spot.