Information-Computing Technology

Axim Girls Senior High School Internet-in-a-Box Project

Setting up the solar panels

In 2015, the AGSHS had many laptops and desktops, but no internet access. Facilitated by Ghana Together, a group called Unleash Kids stepped in to set up "Internet-in-a-Box." IIAB contains all of Wikipedia, hundreds of Khan Academy math and science videos, maps, medical information, books, and many other resources all on one small server. It is powered by solar panels and a 12-volt battery. For more information, go to

 http://ghanatogether.blogspot.com/2015/03/internet-in-box.html

This project gives the AGSHS a basic but extensive "library" of information. A bonus was teaching about solar energy to the science class, and giving the girls a chance to set up the solar panels, make the connections, and see the graph of the energy "flowing" into, and charging, the battery. All teachers and 120 students were trained on IIAB. One neat feature is that the teachers can also post class hand-outs on the server, avoiding expensive photocopying charges (printers are rare and paper is expensive in Axim!).

Leif Pederson Internet Cafe

Leif Pederson Internet Cafe

In 2014, Western Heritage Home, the Municipal Asssembly, and the Axim Library moved the Leif Pederson Internet Cafe to the very center of Axim in the Community Center, next door the Library. It is within easy walking distance of most.

The challenge is the on again/off again electrical power. They need a generator. Ghana Together helped with initial costs, but WHH runs this Cafe on a self-sustaining basis.

This Internet Cafe is named after Leif Pederson, one of our original Ghana Together Board Directors. Leif sadly passed away in 2011, but as a professional computer scientist, he served as project manager for all things computer. This is one of his dreams, realized! Thank you, Leif.

Children's Computing Lab

Ghana Together has accepted donations of about fifty One Laptop Per Child "XO" level computers over the years. XOs are specialized educational laptops, with "activities" designed for children ages 6-12, and are especially rugged to withstand tropical climates.

Initially, the orphaned children living in the WHH Children's Home used the XOs. Someday they will say, "I learned computers when just a child!"

The children were placed with families, and the Heritage became a dormitory for High School girls. SO...with Ghana Together's help, WHH created a Children's Computer Lab in the Commmunity Center, next door to the Axim Library.

Preparing the New Children's Computing Lab

It took a lot of effort: the District Assembly voted to designate the space---youth volunteers (some the original WHH scholars) worked to get the space up to speed---electricals were transferred from the Heritage to the new Children's Lab and hooked to the grid---XOs were brought over along with the child-sized tables and benches...and all that not even counting the Americans who provided some funds! A MIGHTY EFFORT!!

Children Using the XO Lab And finally, after a wonderful dedication ceremony, as of July 2014 children are using the lab!

The excitement is palpable! The Lab is in central Axim, within walking distance of most students. And, they will walk a long way for this! Most students have heard about computers, and although there are a growing number in the schools, the majority probably have not  touched a real computer.

By end of 2015, an Internet-In-A-Box was installed at the Children's Lab. Now schools are sending primary school level classes to the Lab for computer training. The XOs have many learning activities as well as access to Wikipedia via the IIAB---a vast encyclopedia of the world's knowledge.

Tom teaching XOs to Axim children


 This project was dear to the heart of Tom Castor, whom we sadly lost in 2014. Tom spent weeks refurbishing XOs that were donated to Ghana Together. He traveled to Ghana to personally lead the team in deploying them there, teaching adults, and especially teaching children. Tom enjoyed computers and his enthusiasm was infectious. Thank you, Tom, for all you did on this project. Your dream is realized!!

 

Teachers Learning OLPCs

 

In the photo at left, teachers are experiencing the OLPCs for the first time, in one of the rooms of the Community Center.

We also thank the cheerful, talented students in the Computer Repair Club at Marysville, WA Technology High School (and teacher Paul LaGrange) who have repaired and updated the OLPCs before they are placed in Ghana. (And, by the way, Ghana Customs does not charge duty for them--thanks Ghana!!)

We continue to accept OLPC XOs in any condition.