One of the coolest additions to the Mission School curriculum during this 2023-2024 school year is the first ever technology course!
We have wanted to add a technology course to the Mission School curriculum for a few years now. You may remember in 2021, we co-administered a survey to explore opinions and views of young local Ecuadorians with Fondation Botnar, a Swiss philanthropic organization focused on improving the lives of young people globally. Over 200 young people participated, with the large majority being between the ages of 15-18 years old. The purpose was to better understand the opinions of the young people our programs impact. Results around questions having to do with education were especially interesting to us. In 2021, many young people thought that training in English language, technology, and practical skills were lacking in their current education. And over 80% responded that having technology skills would be very important to their future.
While we are thrilled over the progress that our English program has made over the past few years, we are excited to finally address this specific request for technology related education.
Beginning this year, Mission Santa Maria hired a full-time technology teacher. The teacher is tasked with implementing the first ever computer curriculum at the Mission School. The class is offered to all grade-levels, for 1 hour per week. The course focuses on some of the most basic uses of computers including creating email accounts, using Microsoft Office programs and Google Docs, and conducting informed and reliable research on the internet.
The learning curve is steep. The technology teacher shares that at the beginning of the year, some students did not know how to turn on a computer, let alone use and manage email or Microsoft Office programs. Additionally, each student is only receiving 1 hour of computer instruction per week as curriculum mandates for other subjects does not leave room in the schedule for more hours of technology teaching. Despite these challenges, progress is being made. And hopefully, little by little, the technology course will grow and strengthen to support the preceived importance and demand for technology skills for the future.