ASU SolarSPELL Samoa Peace Corps Volunteer Site Visits Part 2: Upolu Island

The ASU SolarSPELL Team’s second day of visiting Peace Corps volunteers’ sites took place on Upolu Island. We first visited Cynthia’s school, and got a tour of the school’s library.

Once again, the ASU students got to spend some quality time with the primary-level students. We even got to demonstrate the SolarSPELL to these students, including a Virtual Reality field trip.

As a post-script highlight, Cynthia let us know that our visit has re-inspired interst in the SolarSPELL at her school, and sent us pictures of her students using the digital library in the following days.

Our next stop was to see Zack. We had let him know we were on the way, so he had asked another teacher to take over for him once we arrived. Thus, we were delighted to be able to watch Zack’s host mother leading a class on environmental issues.

When she excused the class to start working in groups, the ASU students again had the opportunity to interact with the students, helping them brainstorm about how and why erosion takes place. We got a tour of Zack’s house, and spoke further with him about using the SolarSPELL at his school.

Finally, our marathon-of-a-day ended with Craig, and he gave us a quick tour of his school and library.

After this (and a quick dip in the Piula Cave pool), we returned to Craig’s house where he kindly allowed us to interview him. In fact, we interviewed all of the volunteers we went to visit, and our videographers made a fantastic couple of videos from this footage. Those will be highlighted in separate posts.




Posted in Arizona State University, Pacific Islands, Peace Corps, Samoa, Solar Digital Library, SolarSPELL | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

ASU SolarSPELL Samoa Peace Corps Volunteer Site Visits Part I: Savai’i Island

In May 2017, the ASU SolarSPELL team traveled to Samoa to carry out a training on the SolarSPELL digital libraries with both Peace Corps volunteers and their local counterpart teachers. Before this training took place, however, the team had the opportunity to visit some volunteers who had received SolarSPELL libraries (and training) one year prior, in their local schools and communities. We had the chance to catch up with these volunteers, receive feedback on some of the challenges and victories they’ve had vis-à-vis using the SolarSPELL in their schools and communities, and got a much better idea of what their lives are like as Peace Corps volunteers.


On May 27, the team had the opportunity to travel to Savai’i Island and visit two Peace Corps volunteers at their schools. The day began with a ferry ride across the ocean, from Upolu Island to Savai’i Island, which was breathtakingly beautiful.

Once arriving at Savai’i, we headed to Kiana’s school, where students were still in class. Kiana showed us her library, and we talked further about the SolarSPELL, while also providing her with an updated SD card with all of the new content we’ve been collecting over the past year.

The team was so fortunate to be able to interact with the students at this school, once class let out. A number of the SolarSPELL university students got to read to the primary schoolchildren, as well as play some games, including playing hide-and-seek, and dancing.

Other heretofore-unknown talents were demonstrated, as well!

Next, after a quick barbeque lunch along the side of the road, the team visited Patrick’s school, where we learned about how he is in the early stages of incorporating use of the SolarSPELL into recently launched computer courses. We also updated the content on Patrick’s SolarSPELL.

The team had many other amazing experiences on beautiful Savai’i Island, and some of the more breathtaking photos are below.

Posted in Arizona State University, Pacific Islands, Samoa, SolarSPELL | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

ASU SolarSPELL Team at ICT Days Conference in Vanuatu

The ASU SolarSPELL team’s final two days in Vanuatu were spent at the national ICT Days conference, May 17-18.

The conference proved to be a fantastic opportunity for the team to explain, demonstrate, and all around talk about the SolarSPELL and the Library Lab.

The team never would have imagined such a level of interest! I do believe our table was consistently the busiest one there! There was regularly a crowd of people around it, excited to learn about it, eager to use the tablets we provided, to surf the library’s content.

We had an eager audience in the Smart Sistas ICT Camp for girls, when the whole group came over to visit us.

We had a few groupies who spent quite a bit of time with us.

Longtime collaborator and friend of SolarSPELL, Ian Thomson, from the University of the South Pacific, took some time to talk with the team.

There was even an opportunity to demonstrate the SolarSPELL to the Australian High Commissioner to Vanuatu, Jenny Da Rin!

The team so greatly enjoyed being able to talk with so many ni-Vanuatu people about the SolarSPELL.

The team wondered many times whether there was a language barrier, as we explained everything in English, and there are a number of technical terms. However, the rate at which people returned to the table, after listening to the explanation once, and then explained to their friends and relatives how SolarSPELL worked, and how to surf the library’s website, showed us that language was no real barrier.

There are so many great pictures from this fun event!

Posted in Arizona State University, Pacific Islands, SolarSPELL, Vanuatu | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment