On September 1, half a dozen American educators, engineers and university students [departed] for Accra, Ghana to run a pilot project for Camp Amelia, a children's summer technology literacy program already made popular on the North American continent. The team, composed mainly of Stanford students and alumni and funded by grants from Microsoft Corporation and Chicago's Beck Foundation, will be coordinating with local schools, government, and businesses to provide technology education for underprivileged students ages 8-11 in the greater Accra area. Camp activities run the gamut from using soap bubbles in explaining physics to engaging in "Internet scavenger hunts" and using interactive educational software programs developed by Camp Amelia technology teams. Participants will learn how to use word processors and even the basics of computer programming! These elements will teach the children the value of independent thinking and learning.And here's a note from David, having just arrived in Accra on September 3:
So I'm writing this from a computer lab in Accra; it's nicely modern, with about 50 pentium 4-2000 machines, but it's about 1500ms to anything really interesting on the Internet backbone and the speed's not that fabulous. But it works! And while we were hoping to have 50 students for the camp, it looks like we actually got more like 150 applicants; so we're actually having to select which student we'll take, which is bittersweet. The plane flights over were pretty brutal; a 10 hour flight from SFO to Amsterdam and a six and a half hour to Accra. I woke up this morning at four AM local time (having gone to bed at midnight) and was *wide* awake. Now it's 11am local and I'm feeling like I need to sleep some more. It's kind of wacky. We'll be working on setting up the camp's curriculum and so forth; the camp starts Monday! Keep your fingers crossed for us. People are friendly, the city is insane with traffic and potholes and vendors and goats...Link to Camp Amelia project home page. The group's stated mission is "Fighting poverty through science, technology and mentorship."
Link to David's personal blog -- where he's sending text dispatches (and soon, photos) from Ghana.