Shoulder to Shoulder, Inc. has been working with Kolibri in rural Honduras for almost five years. Before Kolibri, we used KAlite. Most of this was utilizing a classroom model. Before COVID Kolibri was being used by over 100 teachers with 4000 students in 35 schools. We were also using it to support the country’s Math Olympics by providing Beta copies of the Android App to local students to help them study for the events. The students seemed to like using Kolibri to prepare and our municipalities were over represented in the national medals awarded.
Then came COVID and all the schools were shut down
We utilized our early experience with the Math Olympics and grant money from the US Embassy in Honduras to gain some expanded experience by allocating 100 tablets to our STAR Teachers and scholarship students to study at home during COVID. We also gained some further experience in our Reading Program. One of our staff, Nely Vasquez, had located multiple sources of free books in the Spanish language and we equipped our tablets for home study with a small library so the kids could read. This lead to a further cooperation with Learning Equality and the publishing of a public channel with over 1000 titles arranged by grade level: Biblioteca Elejandria.
With limited ability to treat potentially large number of COVID patients, Honduras locked down hard. In the rural areas near El Salvador where Shoulder to Shoulder has worked for over 30 years, this meant that each village stationed guards at the entrance 24*7. Many of our Kolibri trained teachers were pressed into service. One of these is Marbyn Zuniga, a math teacher from Magdelena. He began using KAlite and distinguished himself an innovator in the creative use of it to reach students. When we converted out installed base over to Kolibri, we has one of the first to make Kolibri fly heard here from off camera calling to his class: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UikX9PYJW0g
Using additional grant money from the US Embassy, we developed a digital version of the official Honduran textbooks blended with other channels for further enrichment. This is the CREE public channel now on its 10th edition. We distributed tablets to capable teachers like Marbyn to give to their students so they could study at home. The tablets are loaded with Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint, plus CREE and over 300 books for the students to read. Marbyn sent home instructions on what videos to watch and what exercises to work.
Marbyn, like most adult residents was required to take his turn at guarding the village and blocking entrance of nonresidents. One of his students reached out to him asking to come to school to get personal help with a lesson since his tablet was no longer functioning. Marbyn had to tell him that it was not permitted since school was closed.
Marbyn relates, ” Yes, at that time I recorded the videos from Kolibri and sent them over using WhatsApp. Since we had no access to meet with the students, I compressed them using the application panda. In the picture, I was explaining to him how to watch and download the videos”
Kolibri videos are being used directly on tablets running the new Android App and additionally being sent to many other students to view on their phone.