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General News of Monday, 22 August 2005

Source: Camp Amelia

Technology Literacy Camp For Youth Returns To Ghana

Accra ?August 22, 2005? -- On August 13, 2005, a team of a dozen American educators, engineers, and university students departed for Accra, Ghana to implement Amelia Software's second "Camp Amelia." Camp Amelia is a children's technology literacy program that has seen much success both in the United States and Canada, as well as in last year's pilot international program in Accra.

The team of American volunteers, comprised mainly of Stanford students and alumni, and working closely with local Ghanaian volunteers, are coordinating with local schools, government, and businesses to provide technology education for underprivileged students age 10 ? 13 in Accra, Kumasi, and Cape Coast. Camp Activities run the gamut from using origami to explain structural properties, to engaging with Amelia Software's flagship product, Interactive Storybook, developed by Amelia Software's technology and engineering team. In addition to learning basic computing and word processing skills, participants will also be exposed to the basics of computer programming. Students attending Camp Amelia should expect to learn the values of independent thinking and learning throughout the weeklong camp.

Amelia Software's Camp Amelia curriculum includes elements that emphasize long-term relationships and involvement with computers, such as setting the kids up with e-mail pen pals from various cities in Ghana, as well as a focus on aspects of science that can be observed in common objects present in the students' everyday lives, such as water droplets and coins. Camp organizers hope to ensure a strong and continued impact of science and technology on the students, keeping the campers coming back to the computers, and encouraging their interest in math and science. The skills and tools the camp provides for self-guided Internet exploration, communication, and basic computer knowledge should empower attendees for years to come.

This year's Ghanaian project marks the second year of international camps run by Amelia Software, which has sponsored dozens of Camp Amelia after-school and summer programs across the United States and Canada. This year's project is a continuation of last year's effort to establish groundwork for the long-term enhancement of Ghanaian primary and secondary education with technology. Because of the success of last summer's Camp Amelia?initially only twenty-five slots were allotted for campers; nearly four times the amount of students arrived for the first day!?this year's program has increased in size, funding, and personnel. A Camp Amelia will be run at two separate locations in Accra, Kumasi, and Cape Coast, respectively, for a total of six camps nationwide, and each camp can accommodate up to thirty students.

Erin Wilson, Stanford alumni and Amelia Software curriculum planner, is enthusiastic about this year's project and further success: "We are extremely excited to have the opportunity to return to Ghana and run multiple camps across the nation. Given the success of last year's program, we expect that this second iteration will not only accommodate more students, but also provide them with an even more enjoyable, valuable experience."

Shirley Somuah, a Ghanaian resident and Stanford student who has been largely responsible for assembling the local support for the project, emphasizes, "Camp Amelia is designed to propel the integration of information & communication technology with education. We are moving steadily towards the day when Ghanaian youth are empowered and in a position to take full advantage of the potential they have to contribute to Ghana's development."

Camp Amelia in Ghana is made posible by the generous support of Ghanaian Companies such as Scancom Gana Ltd, roviders of the Areeba cellular service, Global Media Alliance, and several media partners.

ABOUT AMELIA SOFTWARE

Amelia Software, formerly Camp Amelia Technology Group, is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to providing free technology education services for underprivileged and minority youth. Community partnerships, coupled with an emphasis on both high technology and well-established teaching methods, contribute to dynamic, highly successful programs. Founded in 2003 by Stanford Computer Science student Clara Shih, and managed by university students and recent graduates, Amelia Software is currently in its second year of running international technology literacy camps, known as "Camp Amelia." Their website can be found at http://www.campamelia.org

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