DAY 61 – Thanks for the Laptops #CircuitBreaker #EmbraceDyslexia
THANKS FOR THE LAPTOPS!
When home-based learning came into our lives, we all faced a steep learning curve on how to adjust to online learning. DAS Educational Therapists quickly re-developed lesson plans for online delivery. Before the circuit breaker started, DAS was able to provide our students with instructions for using online technology moving forward.
However, many students did not have access to computer devices at home. While the “Take Home Learning Packs” (THLP) provided by DAS were useful in helping them continue learning, these students were somewhat at a disadvantage as they did not have teachers to provide them with instruction and assistance. It also meant that their parents had to take up this stressful role. To improve the situation, we investigated the number of students without access to computer devices, with the aim of switching all of them from THLP to online lessons.
Our Learning Centre Managers reached out to DAS families and tallied up all those who needed devices. We needed to acquire 151 laptops and headsets to help our students learn online like their peers! We wasted no time in embarking on the challenge to source for these devices.
Surjati Soekraman, Assistant Director of Fundraising, Alumni, Volunteer Management & Outreach, was tasked with finding a kind donor to provide laptops for our students. She discovered Engineering Good, a non-profit organisation that “empowers disadvantaged communities by improving their quality of life through sustainable engineering solutions”. They were gearing up to help a number of organisations like DAS through their “Computers against COVID” initiative. Engineering Good was able to address our need of all 151 laptops! Surjati was overwhelmed with the generosity of the offer and swiftly went into action to receive this wonderful donation of computer equipment, laptops and headphones. Johann Annuar, Executive Director of Engineering Good, ensured the delivery of refurbished laptops in good working order and brand new headsets for our students. This was a strategic exercise because DAS learning centres have been closed since the beginning of the Circuit Breaker.
The next hurdle for DAS was the delivery of the devices to our students. We approached a few courier companies to quote for the delivery and Falcon Trans Agency, upon hearing the reason for the delivery, decided they would deliver everything for FREE! This was indeed another wonderful offer of help for our DAS families and for DAS!
Vickneswaran Thevathasan, the founder of Falcon Trans Agency, geared up for the deliveries and put in place all necessary safe distancing measures. The first 20 laptops were delivered on Friday, 8 May, and everything went smoothly.
One of the recipients is Tia, a Primary 5 student, who has been with DAS for four years. Tia had to use her father’s phone to attend online lessons. She struggled to connect with her DAS classes and her teacher, Miss Melody, and she missed seeing everyone from her class. The donated laptop solves all her online learning issues. Her Father, Mr Rosle, was delighted about it, not just because he can have his phone back but that his daughter can enjoy online learning now. “Online lessons were hard for her, but thanks to this donation, she no longer has problems doing her online lessons! We are incredibly grateful to DAS and we would like to thank everyone who has helped my daughter,” said Mr Rosle.
The next batches of laptops were sent out on, 11, 15 and 18 May, again with the support of Falcon Trans Agency and volunteers from DAS! A multi-divisional laptop delivery task force came together within DAS consisting of DAS Centre Managers Chris Chia, Bala Krishnan, Gopal Givanandam and Jolin Goh; and Administration staff member, Shamini Raj. All of them geared up for the hot and sweaty exercise of laptop deliveries!
Another excited recipient of a laptop is Nor Aisha Fitriah who is currently studying for her PSLE. Aisha has been with DAS since Primary 1 and was delighted to be one of the selected students to receive a laptop. Before the arrival of the laptop, Aisha had to borrow her mother’s phone and occasionally use her Auntie’s laptop to learn online. When these options were not always available, she had to miss classes. Both Aisha and her mother, Roskalzana, were emotional when the laptop was delivered. Both cried at being given the opportunity to access her classes online.
“Aisha has told me not to have high hopes on her grades for PSLE, but I know that she is doing her best and working hard. And now with this precious gift, I know she will be working even harder and will not let her teachers down. This has been a wonderful gift. We would like to thank DAS for giving us this opportunity. I tell Aisha, to never give up, and now we have the laptop to help her to study. It is something that I have wanted to provide for her but has been out of reach. I am so grateful for this gift. Thank you DAS!” said Mdm Roskalzana.
JAKOB & JOSEPH
Mdm Jasmine is the mother of five boys! Her two eldest boys, Jakob and Joseph, are one year apart in age and they both have dyslexia. Jakob is in Primary 3 and Joseph is in Primary 2. Their DAS classes were synchronised on the same day to save Jasmine travelling time to and from the DAS Learning Centre. When online learning started, this plan caused challenges for her in deciding who would be able to access their online classes. She had to juggle a small tablet between her two sons. Neither boy was happy about it and would even fight over who should attend online classes. They had an old tablet that provided limited access to the learning content, leading to a high level of frustration in the house with learning. After finding out Jasmine’s problems, DAS decided to give both boys a laptop.
“I was so taken back at being given two devices. But because the boys have lessons at the same time, I was always struggling as to who should get to go into class. It is wonderful they can both learn at the same time now. They both love their online classes. The DAS teachers are very patient with them and when I watch their classes I know that they really understand and enjoy what is being taught. I appreciate this donation and DAS to care for us so much and help us so quickly. I feel very blessed that my sons can learn without the fights!” said Mdm Jasmine, overwhelmed with the donation.
DALYA AND DANISH
Mdm Zaida was so happy that both of her children received a donation of a laptop. Zaida has four children. Three are attending school and have to do home-based learning. Her daughter Dalya is in Primary 2 and has been with DAS since preschool. Her son Danish is studying in Primary 3 and has been with DAS since Primary 1. Both Dalya and Danish attend lessons at the same learning centre and like Jakob and Joseph, were struggling to attend online lessons at the same time. Arrangements for physical lessons worked to help Zaida with getting her children to the DAS Learning Centre and home together. However, when it came to online learning, the clash in timings proved to be a real struggle. They were working with a borrowed laptop and the three children all jostled for a turn, even their 4-year-old brother wanted some of the action!
She felt overwhelmed trying to help her children. Although Zaida has attended many of the DAS Academy courses to understand how she can assist their learning at home, she was in a difficult position trying to choose who should have access to the laptop and when!
The donation of laptops has bought peace to the household and both children are delighted to join their classmates again in online classes. Zaida was surprised at how well they do with their online classes and that they were doing it all by themselves.
“Google Hangouts is easy to use and they can use the software really well. They have taken to these online lessons smoothly and it has been surprisingly easy for them to do their work! Thank you so much DAS for making learning for my children easy and we really appreciate this donation so much! Our family have been blessed!” said Mdm Zaida.
DAS would like to thank everyone who has contributed to this amazing project: Engineering Good, for their swift supply of laptops and headphones; Falcon Trans Agency who donated their time and delivery services; and the DAS staff and volunteers who came together to make this project a successful exercise.
DONT FORGET TO Join us for the UNITE SPLD 2020 CONFERENCE ONLINE!
Since the start of the COVID-19 situation, DAS has had to respond to delivering our remediation classes as well as all of our training online! We decided to go ahead with our Preschool Seminar as an online webinar and since then in March we have become quite adept at doing things online. So preparations have been going well for this next online experience and we look forward to having you as a participant at UNITE SPLD.
DAS has been overwhelmed with the support of our local and international colleagues and we appreciate their continued support of our SpLD community.
We look forward to delivering you a “different” conference this year, we will not let the virus stop us from learning!
Ticket sales will be available on 27 April 2020 @ $75 each. DAS Parents get a discount – call our hotline: 6444 5700 (Office Hours)
REGISTER NOW! tinyurl.com/UNITESPLD2020