REPORT #1 - May 19, 2017
Leon and I will be leaving tomorrow for another two-week trip to Liberia. We are eager to reconnect with our IEL teammates who have been working hard in the schools. We will be testing students in math, meeting with Samuel Morris Y-Clubs, and reimaging servers and laptops.
We are especially excited to announce to the Sinoe community a new component to our program, Sammy’s Amazing Learning Center. For two years we have focused on math, helping students learn using the KA-Lite program. Now we are “unwrapping” the rest of the RACHEL* resources. Five schools will serve as venues for the 8-week summer school program. Every 7th-12th grade student, teacher, and administrator in the county is invited to participate. Four 90-minute sessions will be offered each day to accommodate the various grade levels and adult participants. RACHEL is an amazing resource, including a snapshot of the entire Wikipedia! For students in this remote part of the world, it almost feels like they are on the internet.
*RACHEL (Remote Areas Community Hotspot for Education and Learning) is a battery powered mini-server that provides the content for our classroom laptops. RACHEL has a ½ terabyte drive containing Khan Academy, Wikipedia, CK-12 textbooks, Project Gutenberg books, medical encyclopedias, rural health guides, TED talks, map animations, music theory, computer programming, and even a typing tutorial.
We’re off on another adventure! Thank you for supporting us and praying for our program.
P.S. Would you like more exposure to our program? Consider joining us on the Experience Liberia trip coming up September 23-30.
REPORT #2 - May 23, 2017
We had a wonderful day at Seebeh Junior & Senior High School, a public school located across the river from Greenville. Seebeh is an even poorer community than Greenville, and their school is quite run down. While 30 students were being tested* in one classroom, in the adjacent room another 45 students participated in our launch of Sammy’s Amazing Learning Center. They all seemed happy that they didn’t have to do math today!
We directed them to Wikipedia and gave a few search tips. These girls could not contain their delight when they typed in Greenville, Liberia, and it brought up their town! For over an hour the students explored topics of interest including the history of their country, their favorite soccer stars and recording artists, and yes, one of the students asked me to help him look up America’s new president.
*For two years we have been using the highly-regarded Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) computer-based test to assess the results of our KA-Lite math program.
In late afternoon, 20 students returned to the school for their weekly Samuel Morris Y-Club meeting. Pictured above are two of the student leaders carrying the Bibles donated by the American Bible Society. Austin, the young man on the right, is a passionate follower of Christ and reminded me of what Sammy Morris must have looked like many years ago.
For the IEI/IEL team,
REPORT #3 - May 25, 2017
Today at St. Paul School we introduced Sammy’s Amazing Learning Center to a room full of 50 junior high students. They explored Musical Masterpieces, Fantastic Phonics, Scale of the Universe, Interactive World Map, and African Storybook Project, discovering a world of information they never knew existed.
REPORT #4 - May 28, 2017
IEI’s Open Learning Center concept is based on research by Professor Sugata Mitra at Newcastle University in the UK. We’re branding it Sammy’s Amazing Learning Center. For nearly 20 years Dr. Mitra has conducted learning experiments with children, beginning in his native country of India (Google “Hole in the Wall Experiment”). His studies have shown that even the most disadvantaged children have a remarkable ability to learn if they are provided three essentials: collaboration + internet + encouragement. With RACHEL servers substituting for the internet, we are able to provide these three elements in the most remote schools in Liberia.
Joe and Owen were not in the group picture. Two days earlier we deployed them to Juarzon, a remote town two hours away in the interior. For this coming semester, Joe has been assigned full-time to Juarzon Central High School and Owen to Whylie Christian Academy in order to provide better support for these schools.
Is your heart touched by these stories? Consider joining us for the September 23-30 Experience Liberia trip to see these programs first-hand.
For the team,
REPORT #5 - June 1, 2017
“Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, bless His name; proclaim glad tidings of His salvation from day to day. Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples. For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised.” Psalms 96:1-4
We believe the Lord was honored yesterday at the Awards Ceremony at Greenville City Hall, where students and teachers from seven Sinoe County schools celebrated the second year of the Samuel Morris Scholars Program. For those who arrived early, the Jesus Film was showing as a reminder of the focus of our program. The keynote message challenged students to become this generation’s Sammy Morris. A math and Bible quizzing demonstration featured the electronic system Leon built for the Y-Clubs. Forty-eight students won awards for their outstanding effort and achievement, with winners receiving brand new tablets.
Thank you for praying. God is answering.
REPORT #6 - June 2, 2017
As our trip comes to a close I marvel at what is happening in this community. Two years ago few in Sinoe County had ever touched a computer. Now, hundreds of students in seven schools are comfortable with the technology. Math skills are improving. The name Samuel Morris has become well known throughout the county. Samuel Morris Y-Clubs are active in nine schools. Sammy’s Amazing Learning Center program has been launched. Yesterday, Elijah and I visited four small Christian schools in town to let them know that all of their junior high students were invited to participate in the summer school program.
Another one of God’s provisions for our program is Thomas, a gifted young math teacher from Ghana who is leading the Y-Clubs at Juarzon Central High School and Whylie Christian Academy. Thomas brings skills in teaching and technology, as well as a deep love for the Lord.
Thank you again for supporting our program. Don’t forget the Experience Liberia trip coming up in September if you would like to join us for the next chapter in this grand venture.
Gary, for the IEL team