The final highlight of the ASU SolarSPELL team’s time in Samoa was a two-day training with the Peace Corps volunteers and their local counterpart teachers. This was our team’s first opportunity to carry out a training with local teachers, and we are so grateful for the Samoa Peace Corps staff for suggesting it and then making it a reality!

The day started off with an introduction of the team from the Peace Corps country director, Sherry Russell.

It continued with a historical overview of the development of the SolarSPELL: it did not appear out of thin air! There was a lot of in-field “lessons learned” that went into developing it, and we’re never finished with development: the library is a living thing. The background also lets participants know where they fit in to the overall picture of the SolarSPELL, and that they are now part of the SolarSPELL family.

The team next distributed the SolarSPELL libraries, explained how the technology works, got everyone connected, and then allowed time for the participants to begin surfing and exploring the content.

The ASU students on the team subsequently gave a “highlights tour” of the SolarSPELL’s content, with each taking one of the website’s main categories to elaborate upon.

The following day was kicked off with a scavenger hunt. There were prizes for the winners, so the event turned quite competitive! Surprisingly, the smallest team won the competition.

Next, there were a few frank discussions of the challenges that the participants would likely face once they returned to their home schools and villages. The SolarSPELL is a disruptive technology, and introducing new technologies is always challenging. We worked through six “use case” scenarios, all from real-world challenges that previous Peace Corps volunteers had faced, in the field.

We took more time for questions and answers, and the participants (as always) had useful, valuable questions, insight, and advice for us. We will take this advice to heart and use it to improve the future versions of the library!