More than 100 children living in poverty will soon have the opportunity to engage with technology – many for the first time in their lives. After months of hard work, Jamf recently unveiled an innovation pod that will give 150 kindergarten students at Hope School access to a variety of technologies, including iPads and digital curriculum. Located in Cité Soleil, Haiti, an impoverished, overpopulated area near the country’s capital, Port-au-Prince, Hope School is an extension of Healing Haiti – an organization that strives to improve the lives of the Haitian people.
“This project is part of a grand vision,” said Dean Hager, CEO, Jamf. “We want to get technology into the hands of kids as an avenue to a brighter future. It is our mission to not only introduce these kids to iPads, but more importantly, to get them excited about the possibilities that technology could bring into their lives.”
Jamf began their mission to bring technology to Haiti in 2017 with the creation of an Innovation Center within Grace Academy, also run by Healing Haiti. The initial project supplied the center with hardware. A subsequent trip provided internet access, additional hardware and more training for both students and teachers. Expanding the project to include an innovation pod allows even more students the opportunity to get their hands on technology.
Constructed by Modular Life Solutions, the pod is a hub for the innovative use of technology and instructional practices. Each of the pod’s five collaborative workspaces include an interactive display powered by Apple TV.
“Imagine a completely customized shipping container designed to create a student-centered learning environment,” said Dave Saltmarsh, M.Ed., global education evangelist, Jamf. “That’s what we created for these kids, and that’s what we’re excited to deliver.”
While in the unit, every student and teacher can access an iPad. Each device is housed in a Logitech Ruggad Combo iPad case, which allows students the affordances of a tablet solution, while also providing the flexibility of an integrated keyboard. The eSpark Learning solution, along with Apple’s Everyone Can Code curriculum, provide the students with vast learning resources.
Hager said it’s important to give the kids access to the same learning materials (iPads with internet access and a variety of apps) as what’s found in developed nations, like the United States. “Only then can we help deliver a truly high quality of education to these students,” he said. “Additionally, we’re specifically providing training on technology, because it can translate into job creation around the world.”
Students at Hope School will use a variety of apps, such as Swift Playground, Duolingo and Khan Academy, among many others, to gain access to a diversified library of content to complement every student’s interests and learning style. Saltmarsh explained, “It was important for us to give the kids resources that would not only meet them where they’re currently at academically, but also grow with them as they expand their knowledge base.”
And as a means to protect students from accessing inappropriate content on the devices, teachers will use Securly to set up specific filtering parameters. The innovation pod will also house Sphero SPRK+ - robotic balls that offer students hands-on activities with a focus on coding and STEM.
“Seeing everything included in the innovation pod is truly seeing our vision come to life,” Hager said. “These kids who come from virtually nothing will have the opportunity to engage with technology and resources that they likely never would have seen. It’s a privilege to be a part of something that has the potential to shape young peoples’ lives.”
Joined by a colleague, Saltmarsh traveled to Jacksonville, Florida to install and test the innovation pod’s equipment before an unveiling event at the Modular Life Solutions facility on Thursday, March 1. He said the pod will ship this spring.
Jamf is very grateful to all of the organizations who have pitched in to help make this project possible. Plans to replicate this work and deliver innovation pods to other areas of need are currently in progress. Any organization interested in supporting this project can reach out to Dave Saltmarsh at email@example.com.