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IT in Isan.
The Poor Man's
Learning is Cheaper
computer literacy among young and underprivileged people by developing
self-paced computer learning models? Is it possible? Openmindproject
are trying to find out in the Northeast of Thailand.
digital divide between rich and poor is a fact. If you do not
believe it, check computer literacy in a village in Laos, in
Siberia, in Harlem N.Y.C. or an immigrant Paris suburb!
The digital divide is a fact and there will never be enough
teachers or money to give the poor a chance to catch up. IT
may however be the poor man's best friend. Why not use it? Imagine
the mushrooming of self-paced computer learning in simple, teacher
less environments! Learning is cheaper than teaching after all
so the Openmindprojects decided to develop affordable computer
learning methods based on those assumptions that could be distributed
to new places too.
Openmindprojects are now testing third world computer learning
methods in the fields. It started in the northeast of Thailand,
Isan, the poor region of Thailand, bordering to Laos.
objective is to create simple and cheap computer learning centers
emphasizing social rather than technical qualities, thus volunteers
are recruited into the projects. These ICT volunteers help learners,
acting as coaches, they demonstrate computer applications, encouraging
independent, self-paced exploration to discover and to learn.
Self-directed computer learning, D-E-D, demonstration,
exploration and discovery.
the IT in Isan computer learning ideas work? Yes!
computer learning, demonstration, exploration and discovery.
The natural way for young people to learn
After almost two years of work and tests in the fields, Openmindprojects has learnt much.
Openmindprojects presented their findings at an international conference in Bangkok, February 26-28, 2003, .
'Closing Gaps in the Digital Divide',
held at the Asian
Institute of Technology in
If these computer-learning ideas work then they may spread
to other countries and people too! Sustainable learning
at the grass roots level where true empowerment and poverty
reduction starts! Learning is cheaper than teaching!
Increasing Interest from Abroad.
In 2001 Openmindprojects started its Computer Learning Program
for poor children, the IT in Isan initiative, in
Since then many international volunteers have contributed
their time and talent. Due to demand Openmindprojects also arrange
other volunteer overseas placements in their international volunteer
They cooperate with the International Support Group,
a charity organization in Thailand and the Thai Department
An international volunteer may be young or old, when
going overseas. Working or unemployed, a backpacker,
volunteer, tourist or traveler, on an abroad gap year. Everybody
can contribute something and in exchange they make many new
friends and get to know another culture, a different way of
life too. Learn more about volunteering at the Openmindprojects website.
Needs - One Solution.
Projects Respond to Two Needs.
small scale projects at the grass roots have proven to be
efficient as well as cost-effective to bridge gaps of knowledge
and digital divides between rich and poor, an alternative
to large scale bureaucratic projects.
an increasing number of people want to travel abroad to
meet new people, to learn about other cultures. They want
to work abroad to make friends in a new environment. To
do something different, contribute, volunteer, to feel they
too can make a difference!
our newsletter about volunteer experiences,
ongoing projects and the latest and
hottest OpenmindProjects news, coming from all regions
of Thailand, and even from Laos :