Imara in Fiji: Equipping k-8 Schools with Computers and Teaching the Teachers

During 2006 Prof Daniela Rus and Jack Costanza coordinated a project aimed at bringing computer literacy and education to the 15 k-8 schools on Taveuni and nearby islands. The computers were equipped with educational software. This project was sparked by Daniela's several prior visits to this area and a desire to contribute to this community.
The goal of the project was to donate 1 laptop to each school in this group of islands, as well as printers and digital cameras. In order to
effectively use the equipment, several training sessions were organized to teach the teachers.
The first project trip was in April 2006, when Daniela and Jack traveled to Taveuni and coordinated computer training sessions from Maravu Plantation. Angela and Jochen Kiess and the staff at Maravu supported the project and coordinated the local logistics. A second project visit to Taveuni took place in August 2006. This visit included visits to the
schools, evaluation of the computer use, and more training for the teachers.
Each donated laptop was equipped with education software designed for learning math, science, reading, and writing. The software can be used
uniformly by all the teachers and k-8 students. For each application, a knob can be turned to select the right level of difficulty, mapping the exercises to the appropriate grade. The laptop was also equipped with basic text editing and data processing tools to facilitate the
teachers' classroom activities.
The Fiji laptop project was sponsored by a grant from Google, a grant
to Daniela Rus from the MacArthur foundation, and MIT CSAIL.
Jochen ad Angela Kiess generously sponsored the local expenses and
worked with the staff of Maravu Plantation to organize the logistics
of the project. All the teacher training sessions were done at
Maravu Plantation. We are grateful for all this support.
We had a great experience meeting all the wonderful teachers, children,
and staff in Fiji and are committed to continue in our quest to contribute
to education, computer literacy, and helping to overcome the digital divide.
In the near future, we wish to increase the breadth and depth of the
Fiji program. Our solution to bringing computer literacy and modern
approaches to education to the islands of Fiji is generic and can be
implemented in the context of other communities as well.
Please contact Daniela and Jack if you wish to help.

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