What does generation mean in a computer
What can a computer mean for a 13 year old girl in Malawi?
It can mean having time for yourself.
In the computer room at St. Mary’s Girls Secondary School there are enough computers and laptops so that each student in a class can work alone. That means having a moment in the busy school life at your very own workplace, far from the classroom and school desk.
It can mean expressing feelings.
Time at the computer means spending time with Word and creating documents with your own creative texts, shapes and colors.
It can mean being “up to date” with the rest of the world. The use of the PC is necessary almost everywhere in the world. Typing, creating tables, surfing. Skills that are becoming increasingly important all over the world.
It can mean being able to exchange ideas with others. Through the local server, the Digital Library, the students at St. Mary’s can create their own folders that they can access from any connected device. Classmates can also send files to this folder. Information can easily be shared.
I get all these experiences up close here at St. Mary’s Karonga Girls Secondary School. I've been here in Karonga on the girls' school campus for over 8 months now. As part of the Weltwärts program, I'm doing a 10-month voluntary service there, immersing myself deeply into the life of the girls' boarding school in Malawi.
The projects of Next Generation Africa have brought all of the possibilities described above to the St. Mary’s and thus opened up worlds. Literally. Because looking up in Wikipedia, for example, actually opens up a world. A world of information that is easy to get and share with others.
Together with my fellow volunteers and our colleagues on site, we look after the computer room and assist the girls in using the computers and laptops. It is astonishing how quickly even the pupils who had never seen a computer at the beginning of the school year were able to access the educational content after just a few days without any problems using the computer and since then have gradually discovered what the use of a computer is for she has ready. The girls read digital school books there, watch videos of experiments and use simulations to build their own electrical circuits. They love videos more than anything, of course. When the school received 26 laptops in addition to the computers it already had, the pupils first searched them for videos 🙂
The wealth of information on the offline Wikipedia is also very popular. “You can just check on Wikipedia.” A pupil gives this advice to a fellow student when she has a question about the current subject matter. It's that simple. And that's how the girls enjoy getting answers to their questions. Be it academic questions or questions of everyday life. Questions about current pop stars or questions about life. It is nice to see that the girls find the space to also raise questions like this away from the subject matter. Above all, this is where I see a very special value in the digital library.
The girls learn how to use the computer responsibly, using it as a learning aid and as a medium that turns them into individual women with strong characters and opinions.
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