Bringing EdTech, Online Learning, to Village Children

OpenmindProjects Digital Journey to Learn and Volunteer Online

Young village students need help these days, more than ever! So OpenmindProjects is moving on. We do miss our trainees, campers and volunteers! How long will Covid prevent us from welcoming them back? We don’t know. Unfortunately, a new and worse Covid wave is harassing Thailand. Our local work remains disrupted.

Our work is however not interrupted. With Cisco technology and volunteers, our alumni and other volunteer friends we work to offer online learning opportunities to village children.

Since 2020 we have worked with a group of alumni and volunteers from Cisco to find innovative ways to help village and migrant, refugee children online! In January we did actually manage to arrange a camp for young students, many orphans. Our alumni were camp leaders. This spring OpenmindProjects and Cisco were preparing for an April ‘hybrid’ camp for village students. We agreed plans with schools and  education authorities. Alumni, previous OpenmindProjects trainees/campers and familiar with our learning by doing approach, would act as local camp leaders and Cisco volunteers from several countries would join online. We prepared for a ‘hybrid’ camp using Cisco technology (WebEx).

Songkran, Thai New Year celebrations, however, contributed to new Covid waves all over Thailand. Camp plans were canceled. Schools will not open until mid June, possibly later.

Due to the new Covid wave, we had to rethink! With alumni and Cisco volunteers. we decided on a completely Virtual Camp, developing online learning for village children. What can we do that will interest young students?  With our alumni able to judge what interests students and with Cisco volunteers able to judge what is technically feasible, we set out.

After a May Camp, we prepare next steps.

This is where we stand now. We have finished this virtual training and development camp with our talented Thai/Lao alumni, based in Thailand, Laos and Sweden together with a multinational team of Cisco volunteers located in China, South Korea, India and Australia.

We are now more optimistic and confident to be able to offer interesting and useful online learning to underprivileged youth. Going online offers new opportunities to reach out to a larger number of villages for a small NGO like OpenmindProjects!

Atichoke, Openmind Alumni, now IT student in Sweden taking part online. 

Vivien, Cisco volounteer from Malaysia, based in Australia, coaching alumni.

A Virtual Camp based on OpenmindProjects Real-Life Camps.

We like it when students learn English while they learn about an important topic such as climate change, search, analyze, discuss, summarize, present, debate with other camp teams and in English!

In this camp, surprise, surprise, we focused on online learning! We all met online from many different locations. Volunteers coached alumni who in their turn learned to coach young students, how to work use digital tools such as Kahoot, Poll Everywhere and OneMob. Finally, our alumni teams camwe up with online learning English initiatives for village kids. Initiatives that OpenmindProjects wants to support, using Cisco technology and with the help of online volunteers.

How easy or difficult will it be to work, teach and learn together online using OpenmindProjects pedagogy? Is it doable? Yes, is our confident answer!

Alumni Yeen, rice farmer daughter from Northeast Thailand, now an English student at university.

Cisco volunteers Stacy, Vivien, Chhavi, Soyeong, Anil from Cisco (volunteers Kerry and Ting missing) and volunteers Ana and Michael with Openmind alumni and cofounders.

Next steps. Finalize projects with alumni, volunteers to bring Online Learning Projects to village schools.

The camp teams will prepare Online Learn English projects with OpenmindProjects based on the work and ideas from the camp.

And much on our mind for 2021/22.

Brainstorming with alumni and volunteers.

Nutty, young English teacher and our alumni, presents her team project.

We will revisit the schools where  we once planned the canceled camps. We will present, show them how we can work with them with online volunteers and using Cisco technology.

Bring online learning to schools.

Scaling up means reaching more schools, helping more village children.

Go to more schools, camps and invite more volunteers. Our ambition is to provide engaging and fun online learning opportunities to more village children based on OpenmindProjects pedagogy, volunteers and Cisco technology. Cisco is an ideal online partner for OpenmindProjects.

Stacy, the Cisco Asia Pacific, Japan and China Strategy & Planning Lead, from Singapore, based in Australia.

‘Online collaboration is not new to Cisco. Meetings, workshops are done via Cisco WebEx solutions. Working from home is the new norm with Covid-19. We were excited to share our experiences, best practices and digital tools with OpenmindProjects,’ says volunteer Stacy Pereira, the Asia Pacific, Japan and China Strategy & Planning Lead.

And Michelle Seo-Eun  Jeong, from South Korea, another dedicated member of the Cisco team says, ‘I’m so glad we’re able to help children using our technology. When I met the alumni, I was impressed with their passion to support their communities. We’re really looking and committed to continue this digital journey with OpenmindProjects.’

Michelle Jeong, from South Korea, coaching her online alumni team.

Alumni James, far right, no 2 from the top, in engaged conversations about learning.

Adds OpenmindProjects alumni James, studying international relations at Mahasarakham University, ‘Covid, a new challenge? It is unable to stop us from learning! Me and my friends will make students and schools highly benefit, like I  have, from OpenmindProjects and Cisco’s initiative.’

OpenmindProjects has run camps for village children with international volunteers for many years.

We have a long experience engaging campers in learning activities. And we have a long experience introducing volunteers to local conditions, culture, teaching local students, even some language.

Some 2000 Thai, Lao and Burmese teenagers have taken part in our popular camps over the years. Now we want to offer innovative online learning English to village children. We bring pedagogic experience, alumni and volunteers. Cisco contributes technology, infrastructure, online work experience and volunteers.

We really look forward to welcoming back volunteers and village youth one day, post Covid!

Thanks a lot, volunteer friends from Cisco! Thanks a lot, our alumni! Thanks to all supporters, volunteers for our help!

We will come back, tell you more about our progress to offer and implement online learning to village children and their teachers once schools can open again after Covid!

Team Work Ideas.

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