We believe success in the 21st Century depends on several fundamental skills: Technological expertise, fluency in English, and the self-confidence to assert oneself as an individual and as a member of a team.
We achieve this model through simultaneous public and private ownership of our projects. Our ideal formula is to obtain 40 percent of our financing from the national, regional or local government, 30 percent from private in-country funds, and 30 percent donated from the US.
We emphasize programs in technology and language that lead either to further study at the university level or technological training schools so that our graduates can be gainfully employed at the forefront of a new vibrant economy. Their expertise will also attract new businesses to the area and expand already existing industries.
We have developed an innovative curriculum for preschool through 11th grade using One Laptop Per Child in grades 1-5 and Intel Classmate computers and conventional computers at the higher levels. We emphasize English language skills, the use of computers for everyday tasks, and the use of the internet both for research and for exploration far beyond the geographic and psychological barriers of the students’ lives.
Beginning at the kindergarten level, our students are given computers to use in class, take home, take apart and learn from.
The foundation is currently developing the VUELA (Taking Flight) Project to use the laptops in innovative ways to improve education. We use computers to teach English, Spanish and Mathematics and to help the students to create 3D graphics, compose music, and take pictures.
We encourage both teachers and students to use the computers to improve their research abilities and to develop critical thinking and leadership skills. The students learn work as a team and to follow a plan from its inception to its completion.
English is taught using SMART Boards, interactive white boards that not only function like old fashioned blackboards but allow teachers to project anything from their computer screen onto the board. It’s erasable and can also save pages.
The Marina Orth Foundation has been training teachers in computer technology since 2005. Teachers now use computers routinely to communicate, assign homework, file grades and schedule meetings. The Foundation is also training the teachers to use educational software to enrich their teaching methods in the classroom.