Tuesday, June 30, 2009

First Trip to St. Mary's

Still jet-lagged, I arrived at St. Mary’s for the first time since my last trip to South Africa almost 2 years ago. The kids came rushing in, excited to continue playing and learning on the XOs. Aimee and I quickly realized there was no way we could have an organized lesson plan off the bat because the kids were too eager just to play around. We knew this was important for the kids to play around first themselves and discover things individually, after sharing with friends and us as well! Luckily, with 2 of us helping out, there was more time to work with kids 1 on 1, instead of leaving poor Aimee to all 8!

Watching the kids fool around and help each other out, I found myself fighting back tears. The smiles on their faces showed their excitement, and I began feeling the power of this program and the endless possibilities the children can have with these laptops. Wiping away the few tears that dropped, I enjoyed walking around looking at the programs the children decided to open up first and how they did not hesitate to show Aimee, myself and their friends what they have accomplished. We let the children choose the programs they wanted to open and we were able to assist them, teaching them how to use the program, which they then could teach their fellow peers.

The best part of my day was when I realized Robyn, a 12 year old girl, using the chat function to type the exact same sentences to 2 boys, Lloyd and Jurihin. I immediately called her out on flirting with both of them, and it became a big joke and laugh for the rest of the day.

After the kids had about 30 minutes of free-time, we showed the kids how to take pictures using the XOs. They quickly caught on, and were given 10 minutes to walk around the room taking picture of whom and whatever they wanted. After picking their favourite picture, we went around explaining how to cut and paste the image into a word document so they would be able to write about what picture they had taken. The kids loved the independence and freedom of being able to decide what pictures to take, which to keep and what to write about. Without realizing, the kids were working on typing and important computer functions, such as cut and paste!

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