As I collect my computer pupils from their classroom, a trickle of bright blue Stella Maris Primary uniforms quickly becomes a flood. We walk up across the campus to the main building where the computer room is. I stop outside the closed door of the room and wait for the 40 of them to gather. The girls are buzzing. Maybe because they’re having me as their teacher, or maybe they’re just excited to work with computers. I go through the plan for the lesson, to learn where the letters of the keyboard are and to type their names.
Knowing from past lessons how lively the girls can be, especially coming after their break, I lead them in some deep breaths before we enter. The breaths help as their chattering recedes, but their anticipation is still in the air. I open the door and they fill the room like opening a faucet, slowly at first, then all at once. I stand up on a bench so everyone can see me in the small room and tell them we’re going to go through the alphabet on the keyboards together.
There are only nine computers working right now for a class of 40 so not everyone gets a lot of time with the computers. As we go through the alphabet I pass around a keyboard to the children who don’t have a computer to share so they too can at least get a sense for where the letters are on the unfamiliar QWERTY keyboard.
The students in my computer class, including some girls sponsored through CARITAS' child sponsorship programs.
As we move on to typing names they give a big cheer. With the class so large, it turns into me as a referee in making sure the children share and give everyone a chance to type their name. I hop from computer to computer to help facilitate the students taking turns with each other.
As the period nears its end, I give them warnings of five minutes and one minute left and make sure those who haven’t had a chance to work on a computer get one. The class ends and I send them off to their regular classroom giving them high fives as they leave the room. I take some time afterwards to see if I can get more computers working in the classroom. If I can get a couple more working it’ll be a bit easier to make sure everyone gets a fair amount of time with the computers!Editor’s Note: Students sponsored through CARITAS’ child sponsorship programs are fortunate to attend Stella Maris Primary School as it is one of the top schools academically in Uganda. The school administration recognizes the need to better prepare the students in technology as it is a skill necessary to succeed in today’s modern world. The school is constructing a new library which will house a more modern computer lab. Details of this project will be discussed in future blog posts.