School field trips most often bring back fond memories of fun bus rides, picnic lunches and historical spots.
Unfortunately, for underprivileged children, field trips like these are a luxury they can't afford.
Most of us would have had the opportunity to join a great number of field trips back in school, from visits to museums, historical places and nature spots, our learning experiences were enriched with all these educational trips.
However, with most children out there still struggling to attain even the most forms of education, going on school trips, no matter the benefits, is not a practical possibility.
Give.my is a crowdfunding site that focuses on education based projects for teachers looking to enrich their students' learning experience.
Its mechanism is pretty simple: teachers who are in need of donations for interactive projects for their students, only need to submit their ideas, plans and the cost breakdown for their pet projects.
After the projects are registered with Give.my, interested donors can pitch in any amount that they wish to donate, which will in turn be used to fund the project. Once a project is successfully completed, photos and updates on it will be posted on the site.
Past projects include bird park trips, aquatic therapy for special needs students, refurbishing classrooms for a better learning environment and other breakthrough projects that have been transforming the idea of education for many young minds in the nation.
While speaking to SAYS, Felix Chong, co-founder of Give.my, said that this brilliant idea popped up when he was volunteering for one the projects, a class trip to the zoo
The zoo trip, 'A Walk in the Safari Park', was organised by Cikgu Nazira Roslee, an English teacher from SK Putrajaya Presint 9(1) that wanted to improve her students' literacy skills through a fun learning trip to the zoo.
"I am teaching a class of 23 students that sadly have not grasped basic literacy skills. The upcoming topic we are going to learn is “A Walk In The Safari Park”. What better way to learn about animals if not at the zoo?" explained Cikgu Nazira.
The passionate, young co-founder, believes that outdoorsy and interactive trips like this work wonders with helping students discover new things and widen their horizons
However, knowing that organising educational trips isn't easy and can be costly, Felix found a way that allows kids from all walks of life to experience a more interactive learning style.
Google Cardboard, a low-cost, Eco-friendly virtual reality (VR) tool, can help children that are unable to travel for school trips or any other educational excursions enrich their worldview.
A Google Cardboard unit + a compatible phone creates a virtual reality experience. Cardboard uses the accelerometer sensors in your phone to understand where you’ve turned your heard and adjusts your view in the viewer.
Apps like VRSE (with virtual reality documentaries), Google Earth, and Google Street View can all be used to put students nearly anywhere in the world.
Give.my's Google Cardboard VR Project:
Thanks to Google's generosity with providing 30 units of Google Cardboard to Give.my, all they need now to get this project up and running are, 30 smartphones that need to be inserted into the Cardboard for the device to work.
The kind folks at Give.my tried out this idea during an empathy-building workshop at an orphanage in Klang sometime back and the kids apparently had an amazing time with it.
Using the Google Cardboard, the girls got to watch an eye-opening virtual reality documentary about a 12-year-old Syrian girl living at the Za’atari camp in Jordan. The camp apparently houses 84,000 refugees from the ongoing, bloody Syrian civil war.
Inspired after watching the girl talk about a day in her life at the camp, the girls at the orphanage even wrote her letters.
This innovative project is a collaboration between Give.my and Girls For Good, a local organisation that strives to build confidence and educate young girls on the importance of speaking up for what they believe in
Started by two friends, Fiza and Izzaza from Kuala Kangsar, who strongly believe in empowering young girls with confidence and faith in their abilities, Girls For Good basically runs workshops in local schools on ways to build confidence, with clear cut methodologies on how to start acting on their passion and dreams.
The duo kick-started this program after they realised that young girls most often choose to remain silent instead of voicing out their thoughts and opinions. Eager to change that, they have since been teaching girls to be more vocal with their ideas and working on materialising their dreams.
How can Google Cardboard's virtual reality device help this project?
Virtual reality is a technology that create a three-dimensional (3D) environment, packed with images and sounds, giving the user the ability to feel like they are part of the scene, movie or activity that they are viewing through the VR device.
Commonly known to enhance gaming and movie experiences, this technology is now being used to conduct medical procedures, psychological therapies and training.
With Google Cardboard's virtual reality technology, students can experience the amazing joy of "travelling" to a different time and place, from the comfort of their schools and homes.
What can you do to help Give.my realise this project?
If you want to help fund this project, all you need to do is donate any old smartphones that are no longer in use to Give.my.
The phones must come with functioning batteries and still be in workable condition as they do not have the funds to repair the smartphones.
You can check out their site for the donation methods and more details on the project here.
Here's a list of phones that are compatible with the Google Cardboard device:
Who is this project aimed at?
For starters, Give.my wants to try out this project with the kids at the Agathians Shelter, that will be the first, official beneficiary for this project.
Felix explained, that in the long run, they wish to expand this program to children in rural schools and other orphanages in the country.
The Agathians Shelter is a welfare home that houses 40 young boys, that are either orphans, abandoned or from broken families, between the ages of 5 till 20.
They not only ensure that the children are schooled, but they also provide them with extra-curricular activities including character building, technology, martial arts and other classes to develop their soft skills and increase their general knowledge.
You can make the donations for Give.my's Google Cardboard VR Project here
Despite the shortcomings in our education system, local educators have been going the extra mile to ensure that the young minds of Malaysia get the best education:
100% Project, a visionary crowdfunding site has also been helping local teachers fund their pet projects: