People who face a challenge and overcome it, become smarter.
The spread of the pandemic COVID-19 last March has impacted all possible areas. Unfortunately, education has been one of the most vigorously affected sectors since millions of children and young people worldwide are involved in the total or partial closures of their schools. This has generated an unprecedented circumstance, in which education systems and schools have rapidly adapted their teaching processes so that the greatest number of children can persevere learning from home.
In the cities, the connectivity problem is mostly limited by economic resources, but here in La Frontera, it goes beyond this. Many areas have no phone signal or it is very weak. Many of our teachers and students must walk to specific spots to have at least some phones signal and low internet access .Amid the closures due to the pandemic, teachers have had to develop different forms of teaching that unfortunately cannot be taken advantage of by all students due to the lack of internet connection. However, the Kolibri platform has become a fundamental base in this process because students can at least continue learning through videos that the teachers are sending to them.
Due to connection difficulties, teachers are recording parts of videos and sending them to their students. It is worth mentioning that the videos have to be customized around the most important topic since the internet is limited and if the videos are too long, it takes a long time for the students to download them. Can you imagine how many contact numbers the teachers have on their phones? Well yes, there are a lot. On the other hand, can you imagine how many videos, images, texts, and audios do students receive daily? we cannot doubt that they are a lot as well! But where there is desire, there is a way! Teachers spend long hours planning classes, selecting and sending recorded videos. Tiredness and time consuming are only part of the process. Each day becomes a great opportunity to teach.
Daniel Márquez Amaya is the math teacher at the Santo Tomas de Aquino High School in Camasca, Intibucá. He has told us about his experience during this pandemic:
Mr. Márquez is creating material for offline students.
“This pandemic has caused schools to be closed since last March. We are giving online classes and this is a school model that is difficult to work with for us due to the connectivity limitations that our students have. We send them study and homework material in different formats as Word docs, PDFs, images, videos, etc. many of those materials are from Kolibri. For our goals to succeed We have to face many challenges, many of our students have no internet connection, because it is expensive (the country is closed and many people have no employment), Their regions have a weak signal or none, some students have basic non-smart-phones with no internet connection options. Even in this situation, we are doing everything in our hands to provide material, so the students can learn from home. We prepare printed material, and make sure they get it. We do follow ups and feedback through individual calls and text messages.
We are very grateful for the support from Shoulder to Shoulder, Learning Equality and the U.S. Embassy. Thanks for providing tablets with the curriculum to students with connectivity limitations, now, they are learning from home in a better way. Also, this August, the math Olympics start. In the beginning, because of the current situation, we felt that we could not participate but, now we are happy to say that we will. And in this project we say thanks again because this year once more they are providing tablets loaded with advanced math content for students to use during the whole competition.”
At the Francisco Morazan School in Magdalena, Intibucá, Marbyn Zuñiga Moran works as the Math and Natural Science teacher. Mr. Zuñiga shared with us how this experience has been for them.
“When it started, it was very difficult, this is an experience completely new for all of us. We were adapting little by little, we use WhatsApp for sending content, the content available in Kolibri has been very useful. I saw that some of my students were never online, so I decided to ride my motorcycle and to do individual visits to give them study and homework material, the visits were successful, so I continue doing it.
Some students, who used to be good students in the classroom, now, due to not having an internet connection, were frustrated. Thanks to Shoulder to Shoulder, Learning Equality & the U.S. Embassy for giving us some tablets loaded with the national curriculum, we can help these students. This made a positive change in their performance.”
Noelia using her new learning tool.
Noelia Gissell Amaya Portillo is a 12 years old seventh-grader in the Francisco Morazan School. Noelia told us that now learning is fun through books, videos, and exercises on the tablet. She seems very motivated to continue her studies and in the future learn more about the benefits of the informatics track.
At Shoulder to Shoulder, we are very happy to share with you these testimonies. Thanks to our conversation with the Frontera teachers we have noticed that students using Kolibri now have an advantage though in this new way of learning. This motivates us to keep moving forward expanding the opportunities, together we can make a difference! While our team works hard to support education, it wouldn't be possible without generous support from the U.S. Embassy and Learning Equality. Thank you.