The COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenge worldwide and SolarSPELL has continued to find creative ways to overcome the obstacle of not being able to travel to the field to provide in-person training to our library users.

When travel is safe again, our team plans to visit with our local partners, trainers, teachers, and students to conduct additional training and impact evaluation. However, in the meantime, we were able to hold a virtual train-the-trainer training session with our partners at Kwajalein Public Schools in the Marshall Islands.

The original plan had been to travel to the Marshall Islands with 30 SolarSPELL units that would be distributed to schools on the remote outer islands of Kwajalein, and host an in-person training with school administrators.

However, because we couldn’t travel, we restructured our in-person training to a virtual format and held it via Zoom with eleven Administrators, Principals, and staff members from the Kwajalein School District, over the course of two days.

We incorporated trivia, scavenger hunts, and even a homework assignment, in addition to walking everyone through the history of SolarSPELL, how the hardware/software works, the process of content curation, and the importance of information and digital literacy.

Additionally, over the last year, our staff and a small team of students have been working on the development of an offline training course as one solution to provide training on how to use SolarSPELL, to those who couldn’t attend the training (mainly the teachers in remote areas). We went through the offline training course with the trainers, who will take the SolarSPELLs back to the schools and walk through the offline training with the local teachers. 

Although we did run into a couple of connectivity issues due to the less reliable internet on the islands, and because it was our first time hosting the virtual training, we learned some lessons that will be incorporated into future trainings, but overall, we felt it was a success! And it was a lot of fun.

We look forward to hosting future trainings and providing localized, offline educational information to learners across the world, whether it is in person, or continues to be virtual for the time being.