The conference started off with the Interactive Playground, which highlighted a number of educational resources for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), curriculum planning, virtual learning, personalized learning, family engagement and more. The PenPals Schools booth was jam packed with teachers eager to connect their students with peers across the world!After the playground, Mark joined a group discussing school leadership and budgeting. Mark oversaw the budget and leadership roles during his time as a teacher in Oakland, so he was happy to share his experience. “It was great to spend time with these young teachers and help them navigate the complicated world of grants, social media, and other opportunities,” he said.
Later that day Joe and Mark hosted a session for Corps Members to learn about PenPal Schools and how to implement it in their classroom. After hearing about the extremely challenging situations many corps members faced in their communities, we decided to connect them via video chat with an experienced teacher facing similarly difficult circumstances. Enter Rhodah Mutende, our global ambassador for Kenya. Rhodah lives and teaches in a rural area outside of Nairobi. Her students don’t have access to technology in school or at home, so Rhodah invites her students to her home in order to use PenPal Schools every week!
“We were both inspired and humbled by the passion and dedication shown by the Corps Members. The challenges that they face would be daunting even for the most experienced educators, let alone teachers at such an early stage in their careers,” said Joe. “I have incredible admiration for the Corp Members, and it was truly an honor to meet and learn from them. I’m humbled by the incredible work that they do, and hope that our work at PenPal Schools can help them in the classroom.”