Last July the Marilog Elementary School in the Southern Philippines launched its first solar-powered PC laboratory. Today, students at the school are enjoying an improved educational experience courtesy of the computer lab.
To help support the initiative, Intel provided five netbooks and one laptop and trained 17 teachers on the ‘Intel Teach: Getting Started’ program, an introductory course for teachers with little technology experience. The school accessed electricity to power the computers through solar energy provided by the AMORE Program.
Since August 2010, the laboratory has seen a constant flow of students completing assignments and teachers preparing new lesson plans. Many students at the small school are using the laboratory at least once a week to complete class projects.
Joel Mamparo, a grade five teacher who had previously never operated a computer, is now able to prepare unit plans and integrate music and English in his classroom programs.
“My hands were shaking the first time I touched a computer. It was very challenging for me but I learned as I continued to explore the many uses of a computer,” said Mr. Mamparo.
Laurence Rae Lopez, a 12-year-old student, said: “Computers are important to us. At first I had mixed emotions about operating a computer or even just touching it. I was afraid and nervous to operate it. Little by little I learned and now I can say I know how to operate a computer,” she said.
Honor student Elmer Suarez, also in grade five, participated in a district-level competition on computer literacy in September 2010. He was chosen to attend the competition to demonstrate his outstanding computer operation skills and his design capabilities.
The school is one of many off-grid schools in Marilog District of Davao City, Southern Philippines. The pilot is helping to inform a deployment guide to build cost-effective solar PC labs, fuelling future ICT use.
The laboratory is the result of a partnership between Intel, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Philippine Department of Energy, the Philippine Department of Education, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and SunPower Foundation.