By Julia Tofan
Our partner, Cercle Social, is working to make technology accessible to students in Benin. Cercle Social runs computer training prograsm during the summer and school year and finds that computer skills give their students an edge in internship and career opportunities. The programs introduce students to computer basics, word processing, calculation, graphics, programming, and software. Currently, Cercle Social is switching from desktop computers to Raspberry Pi, an alternative computer that performs most of the same functions as a regular computer but is 10 times less expensive and 50 times more energy efficient than a regular computer! [url=https://www.givology.org/~trpproject/]Click here[/url] to support them in bringing Raspberry Pi to classrooms in Benin![font=OpenSansRegular, arial, sans-serif][img]/images/user/1842_8482432842187311163.png[/img][/font]
[font='Times New Roman', serif][/font]This is the opening ceremony for the computer lab they have built! [url=https://www.givology.org/~ctfthsotagouako/blog/11226/]Click here[/url] for more pictures.
But why is technology so important for education?
1. Computers allow students to access online courses. Coursera, a platform that offers free online classes from top universities, finds that [url=http://elearninginfographics.com/online-education-developing-world-infographic/]1 in 3[/url] of their students are from the developing world. Online courses are led by highly skilled teachers, suit a variety of interests, from computer programming to theater and dance, and engage a learning community that spans the globe.
2. The United Nations has declared access to the Internet a [url=http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/08/internet-access-human-right-united-nations-report_n_872836.html]fundamental human right[/url].
3. Around the world, many students lack access to the internet. The World Bank reports that in Liberia, only 4.6% of the population has access to the internet. [url=http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/IT.NET.USER.P2]Click here[/url] to find out what the statistics are for other countries too! In order to change this, we need to improve infrastructure and make computers available in schools.
4. The internet has the power to [url=http://siteresources.worldbank.org/EXTAFRREGTOPDISEDU/Resources/Osin.pdf]connect people[/url] all over the world, creating cultural awareness and breaking down stereotypes. It's an integral tool to enabling people to communicate across borders and promoting peace.
5. Technology can [url=http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2012/01/education-technology-winthrop]allow students to learn[/url] during school breaks or times when going to school is unsafe. Consider the Ebola epidemic, refugee crises, and violent conflicts.
6. Students are more likely to [url=http://siteresources.worldbank.org/EXTAFRREGTOPDISEDU/Resources/Osin.pdf]enjoy learning[/url] when computers are involved.
7. Technology gives students [url=http://www.pewglobal.org/2014/02/13/emerging-nations-embrace-internet-mobile-technology/]a voice[/url]. A survey finds that people in developing countries are using social media to share their opinions on politics, religion, and pop culture.
8. [url=http://siteresources.worldbank.org/EXTAFRREGTOPDISEDU/Resources/Osin.pdf]Studies[/url] find that technology helps students learn faster.
9. Today's global market is connected by the world wide web, and current [url=http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ855000.pdf]career opportunities[/url] demand computer skills.
10. Computers benefit students and teachers alike, [url=http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ855000.pdf]increasing the quality of education[/url]. Teachers can use computers to plan lessons, further their professional development, and track student progress.
In fact, Cercle Social has already reported amazing results from opening a computer lab and training their students to use the technology. Learn more in [url=https://www.givology.org/~ctonzhang/blog/tag/givology-frontpage/]an interview[/url] with Cercle Social's founder and stay tuned with [url=http://www.dreamsthatcouldbe.com/about]Dreams That Could Be,[/url] an initiative that will share the stories of children at Cercle Social.
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