By Travis Thompson
We’re gearing up to give students in some of the most rural areas of Cambodia access to technology. And, to do that, we’re turning to some of our best tech teachers — our students.
Six days a week we offer intensive Microsoft Office courses at our Siem Reap computer lab for teachers and students from local public schools. We’re constantly working to get kids and teachers from the city and rural areas — who have the biggest challenges to getting a tech education — into our computer classes.
Over the past two months we welcomed to the PLF Siem Reap lab our first generation of students from the Srayang Dormitory (located in a hard-to-reach part of Preah Vihear Province and built by Ponheary Ly Foundation Canada). The two students, Dieb and Ravuth, spent time mastering Microsoft Word and Excel. After nine weeks learning in Siem Reap, we’re preparing to send them back to Srayang to share with their peers what they’ve learned. This is only the beginning of our push to expose students in some of the most remote areas of Cambodia to tech ed.
We’ve been thinking for a long time about the best approach to this endeavor and have begun to agree with Professor Sugata Mitraso, who says, when kids are provided with technology, they can teach themselves how to use that technology and become well-versed in many subjects. This is an incredibly amazing possibility for Ponheary Ly Foundation because many of our students are in places where highly-qualified teachers are hard to attract. As we take our first steps in bringing technology to very rural and hard to reach students, our greatest hope is that they have a better chance of knowing more about the world, finding good-paying work, or even the chance to start their own social enterprises.
In the video below, Professor Sugata Mitra gives a quick talk about his projects and his powerful way of teaching technology in some of the world’s poorest places. You can also check out his book, “Beyond the Hole in the Wall”.