Tech4Belize

We went on a mission trip to help with construction at a high school in Belize.

We brought tablet computers there for the students to use.

We helped make a positive difference in their lives.
History
In the summer of 2014 we were determining where to do mission work. We had already decided we wanted to go for an international trip, but weren't sure where. As fall approached it became clear we were to go to Belmopan, Belize. The United Methodist Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM) team located there was working on constructing and expanding Belmopan Methodist High School. Only approximatley half of all children in Belize get the opportunity to attend high school, primarily due to the lack of schools. If they lacked something as simple as rooms in which to teach, we wanted to do more to help the kids get the education they need for today's world. That's when one team member suggested bringing technology, in the form of tablet computers, to provide a learning enviroment that students of today need.
Technology
2015
We brought two kinds of devices - Android tablets and Raspberry Pi servers

The Android devices were 40 RCA 7 Voyager with Keyboard. These are inexpensive 7" Android 4.4 tablets that are user facing. The Raspberry Pi servers completed the system by hosting educational content, accessible via WiFi. These servers are slightly larger than a deck of cards. Since the school's Internet connection is a slow DSL line, the system is designed to work independent from the Internet. However, the tablets have the ability to connect to the Internet through the school's access point. Everything can be powered by microUSB, offering high flexibility.

The school already had desktop computers in use, some refurbished and some provided by the government of Belize, but not enough for every student in the class to use one.

2016
When we return this May, we plan to bring an enhanced server that will increase the capability of the tablets. It will continue to host the Khan Academy service as well as the electronic bulliten board, but with better hardware, will increase performance and decrease time spent waiting for content to load. We're also working on setting up the server to act as a remote destkop host, to provide a Microsoft Windows enviroment accessible from the tablets. This will allow the tablets to have equal functionality as the desktop computers, removing the need to share devices.
Applications
The primary content that the servers host is Khan Academy. It contains over 5,000 10,000 educational videos and exercises about Math, Science, Humanities and more. This is accomplished by an offline web server called KA Lite.

  Click here for a demo  

The servers also host a phpBB forum system and files can be uploaded by teachers for students to access.
Impact
We helped provide not just a building for the students to learn in, but an environment for them to learn with. Now that our first mission trip is complete, we plan on returning to Belize in Summer 2016.
  Our mission trip summary video