Teacher training sessions have recently expanded to three new communities in the BOSAWAS as part of the Technology for Improved Learning and Education project. Teacher training sessions open with the singing of the Miskito version of the National Anthem of Nicaragua. Previously unavailable, the anthem in Miskito is loaded onto the new digital libraries and teachers now use it daily — a huge leap forward in its own right when it comes to culture and language preservation.
During training sessions, the teachers become the students! Sessions include unpacking and getting comfortable with the chromebooks, getting to know the RACHEL, and navigating the digital library content. Teachers also participate in an interactive activity to demonstrate the Self Organized Learning Environment (SOLE) method of introducing students to a new topic in a creative and engaging way. As is the intent, the SOLE activity results in valuable discussion, but also a lot of dancing, fun, and singing too! Teachers indeed become the students!
The technology is certainly not native to the Bosawas, but its potential reaches beyond its utility as an educational tool. Its purpose is also to be a valuable resource in preserving and recording culture and traditions native to the Miskito people.
Elders as Teachers
Thanks to the participation of community leaders and elders, Miskito history, community history, stories and tales, beliefs and cultural traditions have been, and will continue to be recorded and preserved. Preservation of oral history on the digital libraries will create a valuable resource for educators, students, and communities alike.
With a focus on using the technology to preserve cultural identity, teachers share dances and songs and record them for uploading to the digital library! With a renewed sense of identity, teachers are also actively nurturing cultural traditions, through dances and presentations at schools.
Teaching in the Mother-Tongue was something teachers have been eager to do, but due to the lack of materials, it was not previously possible. With the newly available digital books and resources in Miskito, teachers can now prepare lessons and teach in the first language of students. “The reality of today is that we can teach in our own tongue with an enriched vocabulary, thanks to the materials available on Rachel.”