Monday, June 29, 2009
Friday, June 26, 2009
Projects I have completed:
- Cleanup effort at Guinsaugon Landslide Memorial Chapel involving 30 3rd year CAT-in-training students. Our students joined local government leaders and community members in picking up garbage from around the chapel site. This cleanup effort coincided with St. Bernard’s initiative to prepare the site for the 3rd anniversary commemoration of the tragedy. I am still gathering documentation of this project.
- I researched the possibility of creating our own printer ink in hopes of saving my school money on printer cartridges. After getting in touch with a friend well connected to the chemistry community in
, I have abandoned this project. They reported it to be impossible with the means available to us here. Minneapolis, MN
- Performed analysis of books, along with volunteers from the 4th year, in the SJNHS Library and wrote up a report explicating the data collected. This analysis is meant to serve as a basis for seeking book donations for the school. This was completed January 10th, 2009.
- Researched possible library management software, either free or open source. We have selected a final candidate and because of the value of using this program, the library will be getting its first computer.
- Worked with family and friends in the
and have thus far obtained 171 new books for the library, including fiction for all reading levels, a number of dictionaries and a complete encyclopedia set. U.S.
- Worked with other partners in the
for a pen-pal letter exchange and book drive. Fifteen students in the U.S. have collected books and school materials to fill five balikbayan boxes (potentially 350 or more books) and they should be in transit at the time of this writing (June 26, 2009). U.S.
- Implemented a firewall system that not only protects the computer lab, an invaluable asset to the SJNHS community, from many viruses, hackers and other malicious activities and software. This firewall also blocks inappropriate content, such as pornography and images of violence, from being available to students as well as harmful downloads that could infect computers on the network with viruses.
- Implementation of free software SteadyState, a means by which to protect the lab from students changing settings or installing viruses or other unwanted applications.
- My ICT co-teacher and I have already installed SteadyState on numerous computers throughout the lab, experimenting with configurations that suit the needs of our lab. SteadyState is “a tool developed by Microsoft that gives administrators enhanced options for configuring shared computers, such as hard drive protection and advanced user management. It is primarily designed for use on computers shared by multiple people, such as internet cafes, schools, libraries etc. SteadyState is the successor to the Shared Computer Toolkit.” –taken from Microsoft website
- We have already completed developing a 4 page document of instructions on installing Windows XP from scratch, installing all necessary software and locking it all down with SteadyState. This documentation is written in a way that someone with very little computer experience can fix a computer themselves without relying on the presence of the ICT instructor.
- Implementation of a PXE server in the school’s network. This server will greatly decrease the amount of time the ICT teacher will spend doing computer maintenance. Before, it took 4.5 hours to reinstall windows and necessary software per computer. This means that if a virus affects one or more computers, the teacher is already obliged to spend at least 4.5 hours on each computer, or exponentially more, fixing the computers. With the implementation of the PXE server, we can reformat a computer in a matter of ten minutes, thus being able to reformat the entire lab in one day. Ideally, if a student’s computer is misbehaving, we can reformat it back to the original, brand-new state in a matter of ten minutes, hardly interrupting the participation of the student in the class.
Projects I am currently working on:
- Developing a working, semester-long lesson plan, teaching fourth year students the basics of web design using open source, free software.
- My co-teacher and I are running a demonstration of the plan and will create the documentation so it can be replicated at other sites.
Projects on the back burner:
- I have a contact at the
Universityof Saint Catherine’s in Minneapolis, MNthat is interested in starting a book drive and donating books to . Because we are already working with YCS, we will also distribute any of the collected books fro St. Kate’s throughout San Juan National High School Southern Leyte, depending on the shipment size.
Projects in the pipe:
- I would like to develop an outline for a “ICT Lab Stewardship Program” wherein, during the school year, I will train 3rd year and fourth year volunteers on the basics of computer hardware and software maintenance, the idea being that, year after year, fourth year students will be able to train 3rd year students before they graduate. I intend to provide documentation with a basic outline of this program for others to follow.
- Not only will this provide our highs school with basic computer technicians to service the lab after I leave SJNHS, but also
- To provide students with a necessary skill set that they may eventually use these skills outside of school as a means of income generation.
Personal Interest Statement:
As a volunteer with a background in and passion for ICT in the classroom, I see myself leaving a lasting impression on my community by developing easy-to-follow documentation for projects that bring ICT into the classroom in a sustainable way. A lot of online documentation requires a basic knowledge of computer skills and terminology. I intend to put the power of ICT in the hands of anyone who wishes to utilize its potential without the prior know-how. Hopefully this documentation will be easy enough to follow that PCV’s of all sectors can utilize these projects in an easy-to-follow manner.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Friday, June 12, 2009
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Stuffed and wondering where on earth my tolerance for junk food had gone, we ran through the pouring rain back to the pension.
Each group was assigned a continent (minus Australia) and each contestant represented a country from that region. But while it was a contest, it was all about having fun in the end.
Bayots can be found in the wild and are valued and productive members of Philippines society. They are praised for their work ethic, excellent English abilities and creative bents. They are active members of church communities, businesses and schools. However, there seems to be a subtle discrimination in the culture that excludes them as a novelty or utility.
There is no quarter given or wiggleroom whatsoever to explore the spectrum of gender and sexuality and are often viewed as women without the benefits. For example, bayots serve as most heterosexual men's first sexual experience, and this is considered totally hetero. I could be looking into this too deep, but they are also referred to as buok, or pieces, rather than as people. In short, they are often objectified and referred to as bayot rather than their real name. There is often times immense pressure to conform to heterosexual standards once a bayot grows up, leading to failed marriages in a country that does not have a legal means to divorce.
This is sad to me because so many people encourage and nurture their children to express bayot characteristics, as seen here. This child is four years old and, if you were to ask him, he would say that he is bayot and proud of it. He was a helper at the pageant; I couldn't help but wonder what the future has in store for someone of his disposition. Children seem to be given no or little choice and tend to want to gratify the expectations of friends and parents who reinforce the behavior with positive (as in applicative) attention.
Note: This posts relies entirely on observation and is by no means a platform for judgment or cultural realities.
Please be sure to check out the rest of my pictures here!
- The first is "white privilege." White privilege exists almost everywhere (yes, even in the States) and in so many different forms that it's almost too large a concept to cover in a simple blog post. Oftentimes, especially in former colonial countries, white people are seen as a higher class or priority than people native to that country in particular. This concept, in the Philippines is called "colonial mentality" in collegiate sociology books published by Filipinos for thePhilippines. Colonial systems often teach the indigenous peoples that they are inferior, thereby subjugating them to exploit labor, land and resources unquestioned. To be blunt, the only characteristic that makes me seem like more of a priority over those in my community is the color of my skin, a mishap and stroke of chance over which I had no control. White privilege can be as simple as only being able to find Caucasian-shaded band-aids or as elaborate as constantly being treated as a guest of honor simply because you are white. I experience the latter on a regular basis, being asked to eat at weddings with the V.I.P.'s, not having to stand in lines, being asked to judge pageants, being consulted for a word of expertise concerning a community matter I know nothing about, etc.
- "American privilege" is a very similar phenomenon though it is tied to nationality more strongly than skin color. There is still a tie to skin color as the broad perception (here in the Philippines) is that a "pure American" is white. Black Americans are not "pure." I don't even want to get into how preposterous a notion this is since a "pure American" was anyone living in North or South America before European colonization. But engaging these kinds of perceptions is another valuable opportunity for the Peace Corps and the diversity that exists within its ranks to dispel myths about the nature of people from the United States and the Americas in general. I do all I can to correct this but it's still an uphill battle.
- Thirdly and most optimistically, its because of the Compadre system, or system in the Philippines in which family members and close family friends are treated preferentially than the rest of the community. In all honesty, I think that this is the reason why I jumped to the front of the line. In Philippine culture, it would have been disgraceful, a loss of face and a source of shame to make me wait.