Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Belize Service Learning: Slim Technology

By: McKale Bakken

My time spent in Belize over spring break fits perfectly with the title of this blog “Slim technology.” During this service learning experience, I was able to get into the classroom in Belize. With little communication through SDSU and the school in Belize, it was tough knowing what to expect in the school. I was told that I’d be co-teaching a fifteen-minute lesson on insecticide, three different periods.  I was also told that I would be able to observe the mathematics teacher in their school. I was looking forward to this experience and ready to see the school in Belize!

The first day in the school we held a teacher in-service day for the teachers in the Belize school. This was a full day of school in Belize, from 8am to 3pm. During this in-service we were able to understand their school and teach them a few things about our schooling back in South Dakota. The Belize teachers had many questions based on the technology and the lesson plans that we create.  Their questions arose because their use of technology is very slim. During the in-service we presented our co-teaching lessons to the teachers.

When we presented our lesson plan on insecticide, the teacher’s faces lit up with excitement. The reasoning behind this is because the school had planted cabbage with their students and it had gone horribly wrong with cabbageworms. The teachers decided to change our original fifteen-minute lesson into an eighty-minute lesson. Yes, this means we went from teaching a total of forty-five minutes to teaching four hours! The reasoning behind the teachers changing it to an eighty-minute lesson was because they thought the students would enjoy the lesson. However, this brought up a few complications.

The lesson we had put together was very vague and it definitely didn’t have enough information within to make it an eighty-minute lesson. The teachers suggested that we should add different pictures of crops that had been infected by different pests. These teachers thought we had hotspots running for our own good, however this wasn’t the case.  Without Internet, we weren’t able to pull together pictures for our presentation.  Thankfully, we were able to add to the lesson we had put together and make our time in the classroom worthwhile.

In America, finding the faults of technology is pretty easy. Sometimes we need to sit back and relax, be thankful for the technology and the Internet were able to use daily. These are two pictures are of a video that was played in the school, the thirty-minute video was presented sideways on a whiteboard with very poor quality and the students in Belize didn’t think anything of it.