Building Leadership Skills through
All students who graduate from a Cooperative for Education Computer Center use the proven project-based learning methodology to solve real-world challenges facing their community.
Practical New Skills
Through this strategy, youths at our program schools learn to:
- Work cooperatively
- Think critically and creatively
- Apply their computer knowledge to practical problems, both in and out of the classroom.
The following three examples demonstrate how Computer Center students have used their technical skills to make a positive impact on their communities.
Broccoli Versus Peas
In the rural village of Chipiacúl, families subsist on the meager proceeds earned from cultivating either broccoli or peas. A long-standing debate among the villagers centered on which crop yielded higher returns. Students at the town’s Computer Center set out to settle the debate once and for all. Using their newfound computer skills and Microsoft Excel, the teens performed a detailed cost/benefit analysis of both crops. Then, using PowerPoint, they presented their findings to the community and helped their parents learn how to make their farms more lucrative. Most students at Chipiacúl had never touched a computer keyboard before the center came to their community. Now they use technology to help their families make better decisions for the future.
Students at CoEd’s Computer Center in Chiquilajá wanted to make a difference in their community. They used their computer skills to research methods for cleaning up litter and reducing air pollution. The students collected trash and sold the recyclable items. They then cycled their profits back into the town by purchasing brooms and garbage cans for future clean-up initiatives. The young people of Chiquilajá are grateful for the gift they have received in their CoEd Computer Center. And they remain committed to sharing that gift with their community.
It all started as a school assignment. As part of CoEd’s project-based curriculum, students from Tecpán, Guatemala created a plan to produce and sell T-shirts. They used Excel spreadsheets to calculate their budget and expenses, PowerPoint and Windows Movie Maker to create marketing pieces, and Microsoft Word to lay out their business plan. However, they didn’t stop there—they put their plan into action.
Renting some time on a factory’s silkscreen machine, they created a few shirts and wore them to school. Other students saw the tees and wanted to buy them. Soon a full-fledged business was born. The students have now continued on to further education and jobs, but they are still meeting on weekends to develop designs and new products to sell.
“Lots of students from other schools are taught the theory but not the practical use of a computer,” said Tecpán student Adriana Colo. “The hands-on projects we did are much more interesting, more fun—and better preparation, besides.”
- Learn more about projects completed by Computer Center students, including further details on the Tecpán t-shirt project and how younger Chiquilaja students continue to expand the town clean-up initiative (PDF).
- Read the results from CoEd's first annual "Making an Impact on my Community through Technology" award, established in 2010 to recognize Computer Center class projects that demonstrate exceptional ability to effect positive change in their communities (PDF).
- Read national Guatemalan newspaper Siglo21's coverage (with translation) of how one CoEd Computer Center teacher received international recognition from Microsoft for his students' innovative project (PDF)!