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Building Leadership Skills through
Project-Based Learning

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:

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

Chipiacúl students use PowerPoint to demonstrate to their families that peas are a more lucrative crop than broccoli.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.

Town Clean-Up

Computer students in Chiquilajá use their skills to organize a town clean-up.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.

T-Shirt Business

Cindy and her classmates established a viable t-shirt business during their computer classes.

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.”