Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Pen Pals

The older girls of St. Mary's are currently typing out letters to exchange with students in the USA. Watching the girls improve on their typing has been such a rewarding experience. At first, my friend, Emily, and I had to constantly remind the girls to use capital letters when starting a sentence or pressing enter for a new paragraph. Now, the girls know when capital letters should be used, how to start a letter and end a letter. Knowing how to write a letter is extremely valuable for these girls and it has been great watching them improve!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Kids are Back

It's a new week and the kids are back from school holiday...

The kids were eager to get right back on to the laptops and since it was a nice, warm day outside, I decided that the kids shouldn't be stuck indoors. What's cool about these laptops is that they can be taken outside and still be able to connect with one another. I came up with a scavenger hunt for the kids in order to get them running around outside while still using and having fun on the lap tops. The kids ran around with a list of clues, finding the answers and taking pictures of them. The kids then had to rush back inside and cut and paste the pictures into a word document and title each picture. I figured this was a fun way to get the kids moving around and, more importantly, have them continue practicing how to cut and paste and work on typing!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Holy Cross

While the centers are on break, I now have enough time to talk about some of the things we are doing at Holy Cross. Holy Cross recently got a new volunteer who will be there for the year, and one of his responsibilities is to continue the laptop program after others leave. We are happy that we are able to spend time with him to teach him about the laptops, as well as to develop learning projects with him before we leave. His first wee at Holy Cross we had the students, and the new volunteer, do the "XO Scavenger Hunt." This is the same thing we had the St. Mary's volunteers learn in the training session. This is a great way to see all of the things that the XO can do, as well as make people more comfortable with the activities.

At Holy Cross the children usually do their homework before they use the laptops, except on Friday which is a laptop only day. As a part of this, we have been encouraging the children to use the laptops to help them with their homework, making use of the Wiki Activity in particular. This helps the students understand the many ways in which the laptops can be used, as well as helps develop important research skills. To encourage the use of the laptops for homework purposes we have done a few projects where the students had to use the Wiki Activity. We asked about 6 students to report on and make a presentation of a planet. They had to tell us how often it orbits the sun, how large it was, if it had any moons, what it was named after, and two unique attributes of the planet. They were also asked to draw the planet in paint and show the picture as they presented the information. The students are seeing that they can use their laptops to look up information, whereas before they had to ask the volunteers to tell them
or look it up for them on the computer at the center. We hope that the students will continue to explore the many uses of the XO, and that they will continue to use it to assist them with their homework.