Our final day at Aurora is tomorrow. It has been a jampacked three months here, bringing the school into the age of computers. Prior to our arrival, the school operated in a paper-only environment where student details were stored in binders in a filing cabinet, and monies brought in to the school were manually tallied each week and debited when items from the tuck shop were purchased. Attendance lists and mark tallies were hand written in books with ruler-created gridlines. Now, our student records are stored in a networked Access database system where the staff can look up monies stored in student accounts and quickly print out class lists or export them to Excel. We've issued students ID cards on which their student numbers are encoded as barcodes to make purchases from the tuck shop quick and relatively secure.
Previously, communally watched videotapes on a TV held seniority as teacher of mathematics (none of the human teachers here like teaching math), but now students can watch the videos at their own pace in a 9-computer Windows 98 computer lab through a web site which holds 60 hours (40gb) of mpeg video. The same videos have been backed up to VCD to allow for both conventional DVD players and the cd-rom equipped computers to still be able to play them in the event of a network outage/hard disk crash.
I've installed the "Tux" line of open source educational programs in the lab to help me teach mouse dexterity, math, and typing three times a week. Our school fees are very low, but extra-curricular activities, such as computer lessons, are fee-based, so student order is determined via a loose FIFO algorithm combining the date of their last payment and their latest computer lesson. It remains a very popular activity, as the waiting list is about 2 weeks long.
To celebrate the last day of school tomorrow, Dora and I will host a dance contest to show off rhythmic skills of the kids here (seriously, everybody has rhythm here).
Dora's a little busy sleeping now, so she'll post her report "just now" (South African for "eventually").