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IT in Isan.
The Poor Man's
Computer Learning Chance.
Learning is Cheaper than Teaching!

Increasing 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.

The 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.

The 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.

Do the IT in Isan computer learning ideas work? Yes!

D-E-D Self-directed 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 Bangkok, Thailand,


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!

New Volunteers Arrive. Increasing Interest from Abroad.

In 2001 Openmindprojects started its Computer Learning Program for poor children, the IT in Isan initiative, in Thailand,

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 program.

They cooperate with the International Support Group, a charity organization in Thailand and the Thai Department of Welfare.

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.

Two Needs - One Solution.
Projects Respond to Two Needs.

First, 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.

Second, 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!



volunteer work  abroad, Teaching english in Thailand

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