Most of you likely remember our crowdfunding project to raise money to buy Chromebooks for Syrian Refugees, providing them with Chromebooks that could be used for everything from children’s homework to practicing English to staying in touch with friends and family around the world. The project was fully funded very quickly and thanks to a sale on a particular model, we were able to buy not only the original five we’d hoped to buy but an additional two for a total of seven Chromebooks.
I’ve been working with a friend who also works with many newcomers to iron out the logistics. Not only are we now providing the units themselves, we’re working on setting them up as “managed devices” so that we can make sure that we’re able to provide a uniform user experience for everyone and include some standard extensions like Adblock Plus and Google Translate. We’re also in the process of designing a web portal for them to point to so that the useful sites for everything from learning English to helping with schoolwork to reading the news to communicating with friends are easy to find in both English and Arabic within a click or two.
We know, however, that we won’t be the best judge of what newcomer families are needing in their user experience. For that reason we are starting by rolling out the first one on its own as a “pilot test”. We’ll get some feedback on what works, what doesn’t work, what they needed to add or what they didn’t use. Even tonight as we set it up we learned some of the logistics of things like setting up keyboard switching between Arabic and English. Once we have a bit of that feedback, our tester will expand their role, becoming a liaison in the community, giving us more feedback as to how we can make these even more useful. I wouldn’t be surprised if we ended up doing a few small sessions on how to do some common tasks.
So over the next few weeks watch for more updates as to how the project is going. And thanks so much again to all of you for your support. You are helping to make a difference.