Why are we building computer labs again? Because computers and the internet can be powerful equalizers. A remote job in rural Kenya can easily take someone from $4 per DAY to $8 per HOUR. In short: we build computer labs to break the cycle of poverty.
Imagine that you’re a child going to school in Mogotio, Kenya. Your day starts at 7:00 AM, walking to school in your uniform for breakfast with tea. You spend months preparing for one of three tests every year. Your performance on the final test in class 8 determines if you can go to high school. Your performance determines your future, so classes are strict and repetitive.
The problem with this picture is that it doesn’t prepare you to prosper as an adult — maybe you can learn adult skills in high school or university. If you don’t make it that far, maybe you can learn adult skills on the job. The opportunity is that there are more jobs available online that there are locally.
We hosted 1,400 children in our “open lab experiment” in 2019. That experience shaped the way we introduce computers and software in our classes.
The first day of class, students are reserved and hesitant. We believe that most effective learning happens when you’re having fun. That’s why the first few classes are completely computer games. Kids learn to press the spacebar to jump and to use the arrow keys to move. They have fun playing together while using software for the first time. Once the kids are enjoying themselves and comfortable in the lab, we introduce fundamental skills like touch-typing.