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Primary School Video Project Guatemala



Can you read and write Spanish? If so, you can help build a distance learning infrastructure for primary school children in Guatemala, potentially saving thousands of them from lives of grinding poverty due simply to lack of education. In March of 2020, just two months into the academic year, schools in Guatemala were shut down, not to re-open until the following January and then only briefly. They are still closed. On-line classes are held for youth seventh grade and above, but primary school children are only given homework to complete without any instruction at all. In response, the teachers at Asociación Ventanas Abiertas (Open Windows), a free after-school learning center in San Miguel Dueñas, 20 minutes from the historic capital of Antigua, examined the national curriculum published by the Ministry of Education and identified the most critical components for grades one to six. They then created a YouTube channel, Aprende con Ventanas Abiertas, and began using educational software to produce video lessons in reading, math, science and social studies. A year later over 180 videos have been posted on the channel and viewed more than 160,000 times. The videos represent a new element of infrastructure for Guatemala: a permanently available cost-free teaching tool for primary school children that focuses on what they are required to learn. Any student in Guatemala, or in any Spanish-speaking country, can watch the videos on a cell phone or computer. But here is the rub, and why your help is needed: the videos lack interaction. The children cannot respond on-line to the questions the teachers pose and the teachers cannot identify what the children have and have not learned. Ventanas Abiertas is seeking volunteers who can devote a minimum of three months on-site in Guatemala to create interactive games and tests to accompany the videos. Volunteers will have free access to the necessary equipment and software as well as training on the software and ongoing support from the teachers while doing the work. Ventanas Abiertas will also help make your living arrangements, usually with a local family. The only requirements are being able to read and write grammatically correct Spanish (speaking need not be fluent), the capacity (with support) to learn the software and a commitment of at least three months on-site. For more information, contact Dennis E. Zeller, Ph.D., Volunteer Coordinator, at 1-518-992-8111 or dennis.zeller@outlook.com


Asociación Ventanas Abiertas

San Miguel Dueñas, Sacatepequez

Ability to write grammatically correct Spanish and to communicate orally at a basic level; ability to learn sophisticated software at an intermediate level; prefer some experience in education

Dates of program:
Year round except mid-December to mid-January

Duration of program:
3 months minimum

Age requirement:
Adults of both sexes 18+ unless accompanied by parents/guardians who are also volunteering

We have no fees, although we encourage the donation of US$250 in either materials or cash. Volunteers cover their own living costs, but we can arrange for them to live with a local family for about US$90 per week, and this includes three meals a day.

Other information:
During the pandemic primary school children are losing one and a half to two years of education in Guatemala because there is no infrastructure for distance learning. We are developing the beginning of that infrastructure with videos following the national curriculum in math, reading, science and social studies. The design of the quizzes we want to add to the videos will allow teachers across Guatemala to assign videos to students and to have the students take the tests and send the results to the teachers. And we expect this to continue after schools re-open, because the videos represent a free, permanent set of reference tools.


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