The US Peace Corps in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) hosted the SolarSPELL team for a second year as the team carried out a workshop with this year’s incoming class of Peace Corps volunteers. The training took place in Pohnpei in July, 2016.
Laura Hosman and Bruce Baikie led the training, which included an overview of the SolarSPELL digital library’s hardware, website/educational content, and the tablet that the team included for each Peace Corps volunteer to be able to access the library’s content once in the field.
The training also benefited from a (surprise!) special guest talk by one of last year’s cohort of volunteers, Dana, who spoke to this year’s cohort about some of the potential and unexpected challenges they might face in using the SolarSPELL libraries at their schools, when the workshop transitioned to the discussion of teaching strategies, potential in-field challenges, and how to address them. Thank you, Dana, for sharing your insights and contributing to the training!
The SolarSPELL team is especially grateful to the Peace Corps staff in FSM, particularly including to Rodney Salas, who was an early champion of the SolarSPELL project and its implementation with the Peace Corps volunteers FSM. Not only was FSM the first country to receive SolarSPELLs, it is also the first to renew the partnership and invite the SolarSPELL team back for a second year. We’re very grateful for the opportunity and continued cooperation!
The Peace Corps volunteers in FSM, and indeed across the Pacific Islands, commit to two years of volunteer service, and are stationed at schools. Most of these schools will not have reliable electricity/power or Internet connectivity, so these libraries are designed to provide relevant educational content in these challenging environmental conditions. The Peace Corps volunteers’ responsibilities include teaching English, using technology where possible, and working together with the community and the school to help improve the education available at the schools where they are serving.
The SolarSPELL library was designed to help meet the needs of the Peace Corps volunteers, vis-à-vis enabling and improving education, in the field. It includes open access content, much of which is localized for the Federated States of Micronesia and for the Pacific Islands. The offline library’s content can also be found in on-line version here: http://pacificschoolserver.org
The library’s hardware is designed to be as simple to use as possible, with no moving parts in order to avoid overheating. The solar panel and plastic case are waterproof, providing an extra level of protection against the salt air and humidity that is ever-present in the Islands.
Thank you, Peace Corps FSM for a second year of collaboration and cooperation with SolarSPELL!