Finishing Up: Computer Lab, Network on Udot, and Teacher Sessions
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August 8th, 2012
Once again, the team had to split up to achieve all of their goals for the day. As six headed across the lagoon early in the morning to Udot, two more headed back to Chuuk Highschool for the Summer Institute to present on their survey work. The rest remained at the Trukstop to set up the other side of the wireless connection on Weno aimed at Udot.
With the Solar Computer Lab-in-a-Box weighing down the boat, the ride over to Udot was slow and bumpy. The front-facing winds and high waves made it even more difficult, soaking those in back while leaving those in front with sore muscles.
The effort was well worth it, though, as the lab went up in almost no time at all; within twenty minutes of removing the side panel, the table was bolted together--all thanks to the incredible help provided by the local community members and school officials. Slots had to be drilled for the security locks and power cables, which was finished shortly after. The computers were quickly set up and plugged in, and ready to be used. With empty hands with extra time, the team gave a brief introduction to the programs and computers in general to the school officials. Before the end of the day, they were typing away in a word document and fiddling with the carnival-tune children's games.
|Meanwhile, the other team members were hard at work setting up the network on Udot. While the antenna had been set up the day before, the local networking hardware still needed to be installed and configured.Six hours passed with three technology experts staring at and tapping into dos-prompts for the duration. They installed wires on the ceiling. They drilled numerous holes into concrete. They mounted, removed, and remounted numerous pieces of hardware. They did it all. And by the end of the day, tiny packets of information were reaching their computers from Weno.|
Eleven miles separated the Udot and Weno antennas, making it difficult to coordinate and ensure a perfect connection. The team members left behind spent half the afternoon on the roof of the Trukstop. The other half was spent dashing for the ladder to dodge the rain. Showers blew in suddenly and violently, cutting their time on the roof dramatically. After working through some misbehaving hardware, they successfully connected the Udot school to the local network, then connected them to the internet that evening.
The education team was able to make a presentation on the project to the entire Summer Institute to roughly 400 teachers and administrators. The audience's excitement was tangible, demonstrated by their countless questions posed throughout the day. The example from Macedonia was explained, as the presenters had previously collaborated on research focused on the development. Macedonia went through a ten-year program in which ICT was successfully integrated into their educational system.
This caught the Chuukese teachers' attention and conveyed both the incredible work necessary for success as well as the potential benefits. They strongly believed that technology was the key to a successful 21st century education, enabling learning and furthering education. Technology also has the potential of structuring the out-of school experience, with the community utilizing and benefiting from the internet and computers.
One young teacher expressed his aspiration: "I would like to keep the students out of the streets, to keep them studying, to be engaged in education activities." Inspired by this, the team encouraged the teachers to open their classroom computers and the internet at Udot and their own schools to the larger community, so that they might organize after-school and summer programs.