Alberta teachers have recently returned from the Bosawas biosphere reserve in Nicaragua as part of a pilot project in partnership with the Alberta Teacher’s Association (ATA). In addition to providing valuable workshops, ideas, resources, and support to local teachers, the group also provided training on the use of a Remote Area Community Hotspot for Education & Learning (RACHEL) using Raspberry Pi technology.
RACHEL provides the best of the web without an internet connection. Pre-loaded free educational content from the web is delivered directly into the classroom, library, or any other learning environment WITHOUT the need for internet and can be accessed and downloaded onto smartphones and laptops. The remote community of Pamkawas now houses the first trial unit and we (as well as the local teachers) are excited about its potential!
Visiting teachers began by completing a needs assessment whereby local teachers identified the challenges that face education in the Bosawas. Plagued by a lack of resources and teaching materials and challenged by competing priorities of a subsistence farming lifestyle, educating youth in the Bosawas does not come without its challenges. Dedicated local teachers, some simply volunteering their time, jumped at the professional development opportunity offered by the visiting Canadians.
Each visiting teacher brought along their skillsets and a veritable tickle trunk of information and resources to be shared. Through one-on-one discussions, group workshops, and activities, the visiting educators imparted ideas for dynamic classrooms and innovative instruction.
Together, the group created, interacted, explored, questioned, and even painted their way to stocking a toolbox of ideas to engage local youth, even with limited supplies. Alberta teachers left classrooms with brightly painted course content emblazoned on walls, teachers with new strategies and activities to engage, and came away themselves with an appreciation for the challenges of education in a context drastically different from home and an opportunity to share the experience, the people, and the work of Change for Children with Alberta students upon return to school in the fall.
Thank you Alberta Teacher’s Association!