Imagine not having a computer of your own, but instead sharing one with 70 other people. Now imagine not having Internet access to save your work to your e-mail program or the cloud. How would you safeguard your files? How could you confidently pick up where you left off the day before? It's likely you'd use want to use a thumb drive.
Ah, the humble thumb drive: a tiny stick of flash memory storing many, many megabytes of data. I've got more than five thumb drives scattered throughout the house, ranging from less than a gigabyte of storage to 32 gigs, and I've depended on all of them at various times for transferring photos and safeguarding essential files.
The students and teachers Technology Partnership works with in Meru, Kenya, need those thumb drives more than I do. Unlike those of us with our own computers on which to store essential data and work, students in Meru face major obstacles to creating long-term projects and building on their previous work because they can't store their data reliably. Though they now have access to computers, thanks to our generous donors and our partners' matching contributions, each school we work with only has between 10 and 20 computers for every 600 to 800 students. The students who have thumb drives are able to save their work, continue important projects and port their files to a computer that has Internet access to send assignments off to their teachers or save them online. Thumb drives provide a sense of control.
For our partner teachers in particular, thumb drives are essential tools for success. They use the tiny devices to store students' records and their own project files and information received remotely from their peers in Colorado or downloaded from the Internet to use in class. The more online courses our teachers can participate in, and the more information they can save to work on as they are able, the more knowledge they bring to their own classrooms, and the more globally savvy and technically skilled everyone in the community can become.
Our Kenya director, John Kamwara, works at a school called Fred's Academy, which is one of the few schools in Meru with reliable Internet access its computer lab. All of our partner teachers in the 35 schools with which we work are welcome to take advantage of the technology amenities at Fred's to advance their own learning and teaching. Ensuring that they all have thumb drives to save and transfer their work and files with confidence is a goal of ours right now, and you can help.
Thumb drives are inexpensive here in the U.S. - only about $5 for an 8GB drive, or $13 for a 32GB drive - but they are harder to get in Meru, and the costs can be prohibitive to our teachers, who earn only about $400 per month. Proceeds from the Fabulous 42 Formal will contribute to our ability to provide essential tools like thumb drives to our partners. Come join us on October 4th in Denver for a great party and make a big difference in the lives of students and teachers in Meru!
* This is the second of 6 #TPTuesday posts focusing on Technology Partnership, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization, on whose board I serve.