Selecting Partner Orphanages
As an extracurricular program providing computer training to children in orphanages, selecting the right partner orphanages is very important. We have a rigorous selection process, including application, survey, interview, and site visit. We only select the orphanages who are committed to working with us to create an environment that affords us an opportunity that we believe will lead to success, which ultimately benefits the children.
We ask each partner orphanage to provide a suitable classroom with ventilation, electricity, lighting, and internet, as well as a point person who is responsible for communicating with Orphan Impact on a regular basis and working to solve any issues that may arise during the course of the program. In turn, we provide the equipment for the computer lab, classroom teachers, and all curricula and lesson planning. In the rare event that both parties decide that the program will not continue, the computer equipment belongs to Orphan Impact and stays with us for use in another orphanage.
We have decided to manage the program in this way because we have seen far too many cases where an “equipment dump”, however well-meaning, results in a computer lab that falls into disuse. We know how much discipline it requires to program necessary to help increase the likelihood that a genuine impact will be made in the lives of the orphan children using these computers.
We do not believe that by simply bringing computers and internet into Vietnamese orphanages we will magically help each child to be successful. But we do believe that with the right balance of fun and challenge, mentoring, encouragement and discipline – as well as a carefully planned curriculum and properly trained teachers, we can begin to help the children develop many of the digital literacy skills they are currently missing to be better prepared for today’s fast moving and tech-focused society.
AFTER-SCHOOL EDTECH PROGRAM
We are teaching orphan children how to learn, rather than what to learn. As an extracurricular program where we have limited hours with each child, we can’t teach everything we need to teach to every child. But because the internet can be a powerful source of information and learning, our program is designed to give students the chance to learn how to use the internet to teach themselves.
Critical Thinking. Problem Solving. Time Management. Collaboration and Creativity.
Because the children are already attending school through the Vietnamese public school system, the Orphan Impact program needs to complement the education they are receiving, not replace it. We have created an environment within the orphanage where we are inspiring an interest in learning and motivating the children to take proactive steps in preparing for their futures.
- Our curricula is centered around Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Students are researching solar systems, creating paper mache models, and presenting their findings to the class. Students are using Lego robotics to build out a design and learn the functions of various motors. Students are learning to code. Students are learning to type and create charts and graphs and reports. Students are using cameras and flip camcorders to create documentaries and learn how to edit and upload video clips, while also learning narration and presentation skills.Students are using Skype and email to connect and communicate with others.. Students are learning word processing and how to research content, refining content, and present content.
- Some projects are team-based and collaborative and others are independent. Whether the children are researching countries in Africa, cities in Vietnam, or determining point-by-point directions for the nearest pizza location in Ho Chi Minh City, each student must learn to follow a set of directions and use the tools of technology to complete the project.
- Lessons and exercises are designed to encourage student inquiry based learning. Children naturally have questions about the world around them. We know how important it is to teach kids how to think through issues, engage in discussions, and find solutions. We believe that by encouraging children to ask questions and learn how to seek solutions we are equipping children to be much more prepared for their futures outside the orphanage.
THE ORPHAN IMPACT CLASSROOM
- 1 Lead Teacher/Trainer. These are salaried Orphan Impact staff who have undergone extensive training.
- 1-3 volunteer teachers. These volunteers have received at least 25 hours of training.
- 8-12 Google Chromebooks, enough for 1 computer to 1 student.
- 1 projector, screen, and whiteboard
- DSL router with 3G backup internet
- Carefully planned 90 minutes lessons, using Understanding by Design framework, tying back to the yearly curriculum goals and the Orphan Impact Technology Standards.
- All classes are highly interactive, designed to motivate an excitement for learning, while also teaching important skills and concepts of digital literacy.