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Waveplace Blog : Location - Nicaragua

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Success in Nicaragua   Thu, 18-Dec-2008 (teefal)

(by Adam Todd, from newsletter) Imagine for a moment a small school in a small town on the outskirts of one of the smallest cities in the poorest country in Central America. Imagine a school without electricity or running water, windows without screens or glass, roofs littered with holes and areas that have collapsed, tables and chairs that are virtually falling apart. With all of this in mind, we couldn't have thought of a better place to run the first Waveplace pilot in Central America. Only an XO would be versatile enough to adapt to these conditions and allow children...


May Your Light Shine   Thu, 18-Dec-2008 (teefal)

(by Mary Scotti, from newsletter) Wendy Garcia of Nicaragua was awarded the first Seymour Award bestowed by the Waveplace Foundation and we are proud. Her family is rightly proud. Buenos Aires school and Campo Alegria are proud. Her classmates are too. Wendy joined our pilot a few days into it and spent time catching up. Her first day she had figured out how to spin out stars and patterns of such intricacy with the pen tool that they mesmerized her peers. Geovany praised her abilities. "She is so smart! She just gets it." The principle nodded his recognition. Demonstrating to...


Winds of Change   Fri, 17-Oct-2008 (teefal)

(by Timothy Falconer, from newsletter) As I write this, Hurricane Omar is about to make landfall on the US Virgin Islands. From my talks with our friends, it's fair to say that everyone's scared. Guy Benjamin School has been closed all week. Ferry and mail service have been stopped. Mary Burks has moved her live-in boat to Hurricane Hole. Jan Kinder has been boarding up buildings since 6 AM. Everyone's braced for impact. Looking at the satellite images tonight, I'm reminded of our first Waveplace proposal, which starts: "Each summer and fall in the Caribbean, locals watch the weather with...


Teaching With Love   Fri, 17-Oct-2008 (teefal)

(by Mary Scotti, from newsletter) Each day the children in Nicaragua waited excitedly in the schoolyard. Others on their bicycles anticipated the first glimpse of my taxi as it rounded the bend toward Buenos Aires. Waving and calling out greetings, they would ride along the puttering cab towards the school. Boys gathered round, anxious to be the ones to unload the computers. A mad dash for the door ensued as the children jockeyed to be the first in the classroom. The mentors were usually engaged in playful banter with the children. During the entire pilot, this excitement never waned. The...


Nicaragua Day 42   Mon, 22-Sep-2008 (mscotti)

Saturday night through to this Monday morning displayed thunder and lightening storms of ferocious intensity and downpours to wash out the road and make pasture land look more like ponds then grazing fields. I wondered whether my taxi driver would be able to make it. A little late, his car caked with mud and tires that looked like chocolate donuts he puttered up to camp. He announced that he would never leave me stranded. I am indebted. We loaded up and slowly made our way through the water sodden roads often solely defined by the fence posts on both sides....


Nicaragua Interviews 16-22   Sun, 21-Sep-2008 (mscotti)

16. German Luis Romeros Alvarez There are six persons in my house. My mama and stepfather, me and two sister’s. one eight months old and the other fifteen years. We live in a southern sector. I like to play, also to help my mom, study and similar things. I wash dishes and sweep the house. I also amuse the little one who has started to crawl. My favorite sport is baseball and I like to watch TV., mostly channel 10. It has both cartoons and soap operas that I enjoy. I like the Simpson’s, especially Homer. I’d like to be...


Nicaragua Day 40   Sat, 20-Sep-2008 (mscotti)

The bus arrived promptly a 1:30 under cloudy skies and slight drizzle. The children, family members and friends poured out of the bus smiling and animated. Jose ran to be first to greet me feigning exhaustion as he claimed he had run the whole way beside the bus. He needs no antics to impress me. He’s already stolen my heart. I was delighted to see Aaron’s father present knowing that he would be so pleased with his sons remarkable new abilities. We had opted for no lessons today but rather to give the children the first opportunity to present their...


Nicaragua Days 37 to 39   Fri, 19-Sep-2008 (mscotti)

Once again storms and intermittent inter-net access prevented me from posting. This week Patrick introduced moving an object along a path. This was one of the most well received lessons so far even though it involved come complex scripting. The children saw great potential in this activity and its usefulness in enhancing their stories. After explaining the process by scripting a star to shoot across a wending path the children hurriedly booted up, opened their journals and began tackling this new activity. The room was abuzz with consultations. Small groups formed as children who ‘got it’ drew others around them...


Nicaragua Interviews 12 to 15   Wed, 17-Sep-2008 (mscotti)

12. Katherine Massiel Siesar Narljaez In my house there are six people in my family. one older brother, 2 older sisters, one younger and my grandparents. One of my aunts also lives with us. Our house is in the El Cacal sector of Buenos Aires. I like to watch the soap opera “El Patito Feo” (The Ugly Duck). Some of my cousins live by me but not many friends so I play with them. We play many games, mostly house and tag. I help with the dishes, sweeping, and run errands. I like to cook and know how to. My...


Nicaragua Day 36   Tue, 16-Sep-2008 (mscotti)

Vacation and yet all the children showed up for class. It was fun to see them out of their uniforms. A bit more of their individual personalities revealed in their day-to-day attire. Many were all ready waiting and others trickled in on their bikes. The greeting now is “Goood Afternooon” the ooo’s stressed and drawn out. We held the lesson outside once again under the mango tree. A breeze wafts through the courtyard every once in awhile making the atmosphere much more comfortable then the stifling classroom. Many parents were on hand today as a parent meeting was scheduled for...


Nicaragua Day 35   Mon, 15-Sep-2008 (mscotti)

Schools throughout Nicaragua are on vacation this week in honor of both Nicaragua’s and Central America’s independence. The weekend was host to parades throughout the country. School marching bands, colorful floats depicting scenes from Nicaragua’s history and uniformed children abounded. Today Buenos Aires pueblo, not wishing to compete with the larger Rivas, held its’ celebration. The march began at eight am and continued past one thirty in the afternoon. Needless to say it was misguided to hold class today. Still eight of the children showed up exhausted from parading but eager. Opting not to give a lesson the eight delighted...


Nicaragua Day 32   Fri, 12-Sep-2008 (mscotti)

Karen Ocon, a native Nicaraguan employed by the Peace Corps, visited us for an hour at the school in Buenos Aires today. We held class in a ramshackle room usually used to store bicycles. Our regular classroom had been transformed into a theater, the iron barred windows covered with paper to block out the goings on inside. A talent show was to be held there later in the afternoon and tickets were being sold – no peeking allowed. We had our own talent show on display in our makeshift classroom. The children pulled up their favorite lessons to date. Karen...


Nicaragua Day 31   Thu, 11-Sep-2008 (mscotti)

What is a present? A gift? Is it a bestowing of something valuable from one to another? Ideally a sharing or token of appreciation? What sorts of gifts live on? What is aid and what of this talk about sustainability? Geovany, Roxanna and David expressed that they have been given the opportunity to be engaged in their world. They feel empowered to make an impact in a few children’s lives, at a small school, in a small pueblo, in their beautiful but impoverished country. They now carry something special and relevant in their hearts – hope. They have been following...


Nicaragua Day 30   Wed, 10-Sep-2008 (mscotti)

Yesterday Roxanna’s computer was experiencing ‘the fritz’, simply acting erratic on it’s own accord so Geovany took over (quite happily – he may have put a jinx on her XO) with Lesson 21 – the joystick. I, as noted, was occupied with other issues so based on inquiry the children, especially but not only the boys were thoroughly engrossed. Still they found it a bit complex. We have decided by consensus to review this lesson in its entirety another day when a future lesson is readily grasped. I want to note both Roxanna’s and Geovany’s commitment to being prepared to...


Nicaragua Day 29   Tue, 9-Sep-2008 (mscotti)

The future of the pilot weighed heavy today. Adam and I have been discussing it. What can it look like ideally and what are the options with the resources at hand. Is it possible to turn the computers over to the children themselves? What actors do we have and what might support and/or capabilities look like that they may bring to the table? I spent the afternoon in discussion with the Peace Corps workers, discerning their commitment and making arrangements for their director to visit on Friday for a first hand observation of the project. Adam will be present and...


Nicaragua Day 28   Mon, 8-Sep-2008 (mscotti)

“Muy claros,” was the phrase of the day. Buenos Aires was sweltering. Vapor rose off the tin rooftops. There was neither faint hint nor whiff of breeze. And it wasn’t just me, a gringo in a different clime. Everyone moved slowly. Hand towels stayed in hand, not pocketed, to wipe the sweat from ones brow and neck and hands, continuously. I had brought cookies to tame appetites and found myself rueful that I had not waited and opted for popsicles. Still, the children beads of perspiration sliding down their foreheads and cheeks were present and smiling. After all it was...


Nicaragua Interviews 9 to 13   Sun, 7-Sep-2008 (mscotti)

9. Ruben Rivera Casanova I live in a white house just one block north of the school in section 7 of Buenos Aires. There are 8 sectors in the pueblo. I have one brother and a baby living in my house. We live with my father and Grandfather. I lived and went to school in Costa Rica for five years before moving here. After school I go home for lunch and then come back here for class and fun. In the evening I watch television, do my homework, have dinner and go too bed. I often play football and other...


Nicaragua Days 22 to 25   Fri, 5-Sep-2008 (mscotti)

This week saw a deluge of thunderous rainstorms at the camp. Electricity was out for whole evenings and nights and Internet service was intermittent at best. When electricity was available, I rushed to insure that the XOs got charged and fortunately the children saw no interruption in classes. This curtailed my ability to write as my computer was often lacking charge and the loss of signal severely limited my ability to post. All the rain also wrecked havoc on the road, still my taxi driver was stalwart and managed to navigate the swamped areas often forgoing the road altogether to...


Nicaragua Interviews 6 to 8   Wed, 3-Sep-2008 (mscotti)

6. Adan Jose Alcocer Monestel I live in El Cacal part of Buenos Aires. There are twelve of us children, four boys and eight girls. My mothers name is Sonya and my father is Juan. Yes, it s a very big family. I also have eight more cousins but only two grandparents. They are all near by. After school first I have lunch and then study for a while. I play both baseball and football but I prefer football. I do some errands at home. I draw water from the well, run errands for my mother or father and go...


Nicaragua Interviews 1 to 5   Tue, 2-Sep-2008 (mscotti)

Today I began interviewing the children one by one. We have reached the halfway mark of the pilot. These first 15 lessons are the foundation of Etoys and the rest are the "banquet" of skills and deepening explorations of the program and its possibilities. I thought this was an appropriate time to start. Basically I am asking them a bit about their family life, their dreams and aspirations, their pastimes. I am photographing each student individually and David and Geovany will translate their responses to be sealed in an envelope and delivered to them five years from now. Perhaps it...


Nicaragua Day 21   Mon, 1-Sep-2008 (mscotti)

Jose has become my eager helper. I arrived early today and he a tad late. He was disappointed that he was not there to unload a box of computers from the taxi. Two other children were busy calling out the laptop numbers for the children to claim. Seeing the bag holding the mice, he quickly snatched it and began passing them out. Tasks like these are physical was for him to show his appreciation. They are important to him. Geovany had endured an awful flu over the weekend. I told him he was free to go home if he wasn’t...


Astronomical Potential   Mon, 1-Sep-2008 (paula)

(by C.T. Kormann, from newsletter) The classroom is lit only by the mid-day sun, which angles in through the glassless windows of wrought-iron bars. Outside is a grove of plantain trees. The heat is heavy, the air dusty. Rubén, a skinny 11-year-old, is clicking and dragging his miniature mouse across the arm of his battered wood desk-chair. His toes just barely touch the floor and his saucer-shaped eyes are locked on the glowing screen of his XO laptop, where he has, on a whim, created the solar system. It was my third day in Nicaragua teaching 21 students, (six girls,...


Nicaragua Day 20   Sun, 31-Aug-2008 (mscotti)

I visited a very poor fishing village today with Adam, who runs the camp, and Oscar, whose wife is from that village, is Nicaraguan and lives here with his family at the camp. A church from the states had sent money to repair a roof on a church there and Adam needed to inspect it and take some photographs. It is a remote fishing village and the roads to it are in sorry condition. They were having a celebration of thanks for the new roof and served sandwiches of white bread and spaghetti. What is shocking is that every once...


Nicaragua Day 19   Sat, 30-Aug-2008 (mscotti)

Two children burst into the camp kitchen seven am on the dot as I was just pouring a fresh cup of brewed coffee into a cup. Yasser and his four-year-old brother were ready for an early morning swim. I downed a few gulps and we were out the door and down to the lake. After an hour or so of frolicking in the water they ran home to change and before I finished showering and dressing they were back wishing to work on the XO’s. Just quickly I would like to note how leisure time to explore and experiment enhances...


Nicaragua Day 18   Fri, 29-Aug-2008 (mscotti)

The prospect of delivering lesson 14, animation and holders, found Geovany bubbling over with excitement. “Yesterday was hard,” he stated. “We’ll probably have to go back over a lot of the startOver script stuff, variables and all, again and again. But today’s going to be easy.” I was impressed by his enthusiasm. He began by talking about cartoons and the amazing Walt Disney. The children were calling out names of cartoons they have seen and enjoyed. Geovany showed them a sample animation of a ball bouncing over its shadow and the children were entranced. “This is what we’re going to...


Nicaragua Day 17   Thu, 28-Aug-2008 (mscotti)

Geovany is a natural teacher. When I arrived, he greeted me as his usual upbeat self, telling of the challenging night he had had preparing. He had watched Tim’s video and reworked lesson 13. “This stuff is pretty hard,” he offered. “I hope I can do the kids justice.” And then he went on to do just that. Like Roxanna he employed the children’s direction to locate tiles and describe process. Never saying no, he would say, “maybe but how might I do this.” He went over the difference between variables and commands in several ways until the children all...


Nicaragua Day 16   Wed, 27-Aug-2008 (mscotti)

Roxanna seemed transformed today. During the last two weeks of teacher/mentor training she was serious and quiet, concentrating and applying herself to the lessons. Her soberness softened only when she mastered a task and then beamed with earned self-accomplishment. But today she was radiant. She had prepared well for the lesson and oozed confidence smiling and engaging the children. That was the key – the way she engaged. She didn’t just instruct but led the children through the lesson by urging and inviting their participation with questions and prodding. She overlooked no one in the class. With everyone working on...


Nicaragua Day 15   Tue, 26-Aug-2008 (mscotti)

Today marked the first day of my being solo here at Campo Alegria. I woke early and went for a swim and then made preparations for this afternoon’s class, reviewing the lesson, watching Tim’s video and checking that all of the computers were charged. Promptly at 12:30 my taxi arrived to transport me and the XO’s to the school in Buenos Aires. Marcial was away for the day attending a AIDS forum in Managua but Roxanna, David, Geovany and Patrick were all present. Jose and Marvin rushed to the taxi to fetch the XO’s and carry them into the classroom....


Nicaragua Day 14   Mon, 25-Aug-2008 (mscotti)

Some days are bitter sweet. Days of parting after sharing unexpected closeness are like that. Everyone felt it today. Carolyn and Bill are departing. The children's lesson began as usual. Carolyn led them through scripting. StartOver. A task. They listened and achieved. Ruben moved his desk aside and worked on a story about his brother’s birthday party. Cakes with chocolate and vanilla. A piñata. Pigs, swing sets, trucks, and stars rotated, spun. Got named. Still the real part of the day was the piquancy of parting. A singular hug started it. And then the freedom to hug took over. In...


Nicaragua Day 12   Sat, 23-Aug-2008 (mscotti)

Jubilance captures the description of the day. At one pm we heard the far rumble of a bus making its way toward Campo Alegria. Moments later 19 of our students with siblings, mothers and grandmothers tore off the bus near the main hall where we were waiting to welcome them. We gathered outside and Bill made introductory remarks and introduced Carolyn and myself to the crowd. We then invited them inside where tables were arranged in a u-pattern for the children with chairs situated behind so that family members could look on as their “computer whiz’s” showed off their new...


Nicaragua Day 11   Fri, 22-Aug-2008 (mscotti)

Six am we made for the beach to try to meet the fishermen setting out on the lake in pursuit of their daily livelihood. Bill had hopes of filming them in their preparations and launching of their vessel. As I had suspected we were too late. Five am is the hour. Still we met Will, a Nicaraguan from up north, who was rather familiar with English as he left for Miami in 1979 after his brother was killed at the start of the war. He was happy to practice his English and engaged us in his tale of his experiences...


Nicaragua Day 10   Thu, 21-Aug-2008 (mscotti)

Today I taught my first lesson to the children with David as translator. We felt it was time to begin the transition from Carolyn delivering all the lessons in Spanish to a new format that will feature a collaborative teaching approach in the weeks ahead. Carolyn and Bill will be leaving Monday of next week and the new mentors will have completed all 30 training lessons. From then on the mentors will take on the primary responsibility of presenting the material with my support and facilitation. By the end of the pilot the goal is that all of the mentors...


Nicaragua Day 9   Wed, 20-Aug-2008 (mscotti)

Today began with an initial review of yesterdays lesson. Many of the children had some difficulty getting their sketch to advance and turn to reach a target located in a opposite position on the top or the bottom of the page -- perhaps a fish diving into a lake below. After the review they set about it once again. By experimenting with increasing in increments the amount of turn most were able to accomplish this task. As time began running out two of the children independently discovered an innovative approach to solve the problem -- simply move the target to...


Nicaragua Day 8   Tue, 19-Aug-2008 (mscotti)

Today began with an outdoor activity designed to give the children a physical experience of being a sketch on the page responding to commands to advance and turn. Outdoors in the school courtyard the children were supplied with a paper compass to refer to determine the correct angle to turn upon command. As commands were called out groups of children responded to them intersecting and navigating the courtyard parameters. Despite the hot sun the children happily participated in the exercise. They responded well to determining the angle of turn and proudly strutted out their paces. Once in the classroom, the...


Nicaragua Day 7   Mon, 18-Aug-2008 (mscotti)

Today marks the beginning of week 2 of our pilot sans Jonathan and Daniel our two volunteer mentors from Camp Alegria. They need to get back to their obligations at the camp and then will be headed back home to the US. We are all grateful for their capable, good humored and helpful presence. They were a tremendous asset the first week. To fill their absence Patrick, a Peace Corps volunteer, has come on board. I hope that his involvement will prove beneficial to the ongoing sustainability of the project, as he will be in Nicaragua for another 11 months....


Nicaragua Day 5   Sat, 16-Aug-2008 (mscotti)

There were no absences today even though it was Saturday. The children were gathered at the school dressed in their uniforms and eager to start another lesson. They were introduced to the halo tool and the children were pleased to learn how to further manipulate their sketches. They practiced resizing, by both retaining the scale and not, duplicating, rotating, repainting and discarding. We had decided to first present the children with each tool through demonstration and then to have them experiment with the new tools by creating a pond and a fish. They appreciated that it was easier to draw...


Nicaragua Day 4   Fri, 15-Aug-2008 (mscotti)

The morning wind was blowing steady as Carolyn, Bill and I struck out on our first horseback ride on the shore of Lake Nicaragua. It had been far too many years for Bill or I to comfortably mention since our last equestrian experiences, and just a few for Carolyn. Once astride we coax our horses to head down the beach. It was easily apparent that the horses were far more in charge then we were. Heading back towards the camp Bill and Carolyn’s horses found the road that led back to their pasture and headed home. I circled back and...


Nicaragua Day 3   Thu, 14-Aug-2008 (mscotti)

All of the children were anxiously waiting in the gated courtyard when we pulled up to the school. We greeted them and their exuberance for a few moments until Marcial arrived and unlocked the classroom. Once inside they quickly scrambled to their desks eager to claim their computer for the second time. Without prompting or need for instruction they powered up and were ready to begin etoys lesson 1. For a better view of Carolyn's screen they moved their desks to form semi-circles radiating out from her and dove into the lesson. Once again the number of mentors facilitated the...


Nicaragua Day 2   Wed, 13-Aug-2008 (mscotti)

Around noon Bill, Carolyn, Jonathan, Daniel and I packed up the XO's and piled into the car to travel the pot-holed dirt roads past cattle grazing and sugar cane farms. In the distance spectacular volcano's vaulted with cloud-shrouded peaks never failing to impress by virtue of their mere presence. Passing nary another vehicle during the 40-minute drive, everyone in the pueblo rides bikes, horse pulled wagons or motorbikes, and we reached the elementary school in Buenos Aires pueblo. Marcial and Roxanna meet us at the gate to the school. We unpacked the suitcase filled with the xo's and entered the...


Nicaragua Day 1   Tue, 12-Aug-2008 (mscotti)

Spent the morning dealing with logistics - unpacking, numbering computers. Bill worked out glitches in upgrading them and trouble shooting that process that would continue well into the night. Meeting with Adam, getting his back story on the project and what he perceives his ability to participate due to all of his other responsibilities here at the camp. Issues arose concerning translators and transportation after the first 2 weeks. Possibilities included getting a local peace corps volunteer on board as well, hiring a local with a vehicle to drive every day (may be cheaper than the rental car option). Adam...


florida finishes & nicaragua starts   Tue, 12-Aug-2008 (teefal)

Last week, Waveplace finished our pilot in Immokalee, Florida. We'll be posting student storybooks soon, but for now you can watch our first Florida video, which gives a taste of our "improv theater" teaching style. There are also several newspaper and radio reports on our press page and a few articles in our latest newsletter. Today we start our pilot near Rivas, Nicaragua. We're using Spanish-keyboard XOs and solar panels this time, since the school has no electricity. Our three Waveplace mentors flew in last night and will begin teaching the teachers today. The kids get their laptops tomorrow. We've...


new courseware; new pilots   Wed, 18-Jun-2008 (teefal)

Waveplace has finished its beta "Squeaky Tales" courseware ... 30 lessons (with videos) that teach how to teach Etoys on the XO. To see examples, or to become a beta tester, visit here We took everything we learned in our first pilot (in the Virgin Islands) and started completely over. The pacing is much better, as is the storytelling component, which was crucial in St John. We're using the beta courseware in our three pilots this summer, and will then start completely over and make a physical textbook and DVD series (in English, Spanish, and French). All will be sold...


A Whole New World for Nicaragua   Thu, 15-May-2008 (teefal)

(written by Jeanie Haas, from newsletter) Nicaragua, the poorest nation in Central America, is a beautiful country which has suffered more than its share of woes in recent history; devastating earthquake and hurricanes, civil war, corrupt government. Still, its people are warm and welcoming, accepting and hopeful. Our family has been involved in projects in Nicaragua for about 15 years; micro-enterprise, schools, orphanages and more. We especially love working with children, as they are the future of this special nation. So it was a great joy to stumble upon Waveplace via friends in Sanibel, Florida, and we are happy to...



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