After an exhausting week, a day trip up to Kilifi (one hour north of Mombasa) helped a bit, but it created a new problem: I have the worst sunburn I have ever had in my life. No, I wasn’t wearing sunscreen, and as a result I know your pity ends there, but it is a bit odd because normally I only apply sunscreen to my nose and shoulders with no trouble, but in this case, my feet are burnt! So are my hands, and, well, everything, although my face is okay because it was shaded by the book I was reading.
I took this picture before I realized I was being slow-roasted:
So today I’m not teaching because my knees hurt so much from the sunburn and it pains me to wear long pants. So, while my students go neglected thanks to me, I thought I might as well update the old blog.
While I was in Kilifi I visited a volunteer who bought me a delicious mango and who also let me into her Deaf School’s computer lab, which has a dozen or so Pentium 4 machines, all donated by CFSK, putting my school’s library to shame. I brought my laptop along and with a little help I was able to load up the computers with an array of educational software, and the one machine that wasn’t booting at all worked just fine with my custom DOS Educational Disk, which is pretty cool, as I designed it, after all, to be a “quick fix” for times like these.
From the sustainability perspective, the experience was less than ideal, just because running all the separate installation programs would have taken too much time for a non-IT person, but nonetheless the students can now do more than just “learn computers.” They can use computers to learn all sorts of subjects. I wrote to the NGO that donated the computers to ask if I could help arrange a better suite of pre-loaded software for future donations.
Here are some kids who wanted a glimpse of what the grown-ups were doing in the lab:
Since I’m sidelined at the moment, I’ve been watching movies (I bought a war movie compilation a while back, so I don’t fall out of touch with violence while I’m in the Peace Corps) and I’ve been doing more research on educational software. For those of you with the interest and the time, I have really been enjoying one particular site. Here are a few pages from it that I found particularly relevant to what I’ve been researching:
- A history of educational game reviews and critical thinking about elearning
- The site’s editor’s PhD dissertation (which confirms my own observations)
- How his site reviews educational games
- (Lots of reviews here)
This is the only site I’ve found so far that actually reviews educational software in a meaningful way. It was a great find, because some 500+ educational softwares are released every year, so how the heck am I supposed to know which ones to look at?
In any case, I’ve started drafting a short design document for what I think will be best for teaching the kids here with computers. It’s a ways off from completion, but it’s nice to be entering that stage.
In totally unrelated news, I recently noted in my far-less-prolific movie blog that The Mustachioed Bandit Meets His End now has an IMDB page. I’ve submitted more info to them that’s not yet public, but even in its incomplete state, the page isn’t half bad. Unfortunately my name is in IMDB in two different places, so I’m waiting for them to merge the entries so my giant moviemaking ego can be consolidated into one easy-to-read page.