Teaching children in remote areas Papua New Guinea has its challenges.
Schools are very basic, teachers are limited, school books are hard to get, and facilities and equipment are hard to come by.
Rotary has recognised the opportunity that modern technology offers to improve access for school children to a wide range of learning opportunities.
The countries of PNG, Solomon Islands and Nauru are all part of this geographic District of Rotary International, and many members of the Rotary Club of Bribie Island have lived and worked in these areas.
The Past District Governor is a member of Bribie Island Rotary and during his regular visits has seen the opportunity for improving children’s education.
A relatively simple and cost effective package of computer hardware and software has been developed by the Khan Academy which enables Schools and Libraries to offer wonderful new opportunities.
It is known as “Teacher in a Box” ,and Bribie Rotary have raised funds and developed training courses to take this to the people in need.
Each Year the President from the 15 clubs in PNG, Solomon Islands and Nauru are brought to Bribie Island as part of their Rotary district training.
The Rotary Club of Bribie Island presented each of these Presidents with a “Teacher in a Box” kit. They were given instructions in the application and operation of the program before they returned home to their various clubs.
In recent months the “Teacher in a Box” program has since been demonstrated in several schools and community libraries in PNG and has been enthusiastically received, generating strong demand for further units to be delivered.
The “Teacher in a Box” package has the capacity to bring the power of on-line learning to the off-line world through a server which turn any Wi-Fi enabled device into a browser. People in remote areas and developing countries can now access the free quality teaching software of Khan Academy, as well as thousands of other quality educational resources.
This is all done without the need to access the internet.
Internet access is sometimes very spasmodic in rural areas of Papua New Guinea, so Students who have a smart phone or tablet can access the programs as long as they have Wi-Fi in them. Up to 50 students can log on to the one Teacher in a Box server, and all can be using different programs. The servers support self-paced learning as well as classroom teaching.
Schools and local libraries can have a server in operation to allow children to access a wide range of educational lessons and general knowledge. The big advantage is that it is all held locally rather than over the internet, and that is that it is free and permanent. By connecting the Teacher in a Box laptop with a projector and speakers, a teacher is able to provide a complete lesson to a classroom.
The Rotary club of Bribie Island is now applying for a grant from the Rotary Foundation to expand the program throughout the remote areas of PNG and are seeking donations of unwanted laptop and desktop computers which will be converted to a server, and sent by Rotary Clubs in regular containers dispatched in its “Donations in Kind” program, along with recycled school desks, chairs, hospital beds, and books .for distribution where needed.
Rotary Donations In Kind is a major recycling operation, run by Rotary volunteers, that sends container loads of suitable goods to people in need, for free.
A Donations In Kind (DIK) project is often the most practical and cost eﬀective way to help people in developing countries and it encourages new initiatives in local communities.
It provides Rotarians, the Public and Corporate Sector with the chance to make a meaningful diﬀerence in the lives of people who need our help.
Bribie Island Rotarians and members of other Clubs volunteer their time to sort materials and load containers for shipping from their Brisbane warehouse
There is an opportunity for everyone, no matter where they are located or the time available, to get involved and make a diﬀerence.
You can contact Mary at Bribie Rotary on 3410 7912 if you would like to help.