Guatemala is currently ranked close to the bottom of a list of 138 countries rated for the quality of their STEM education. The 1bot initiative is changing that by providing schools with affordable hardware supported by an engaging and up-to-date curriculum. The focus is on robotics, programming, and entrepreneurship.
Climbing the ranks
1bot founder Juan José Asensio’s ambition is to transform Guatemala into a leading science and tech country. He wants Guatemala to place in the top ten on that list on which they’re currently ranked at #134. Upskilling the youngest learners and breaking the cycle of lacklustre STEM education is how they’re working towards this goal. JuanJo also hopes this new generation will create engineering and computing jobs in their own country, so those coming up after them won’t need to leave Guatemala to use their STEM skills.
Bridging the gap
Bridging the gap in education quality between rural and urban areas in Guatemala is a primary focus, and 1bot’s one-for-one business model supports this. Every time a private school purchases a robot building kit, for example, 1bot funds a public school to receive the exact same hardware and level of service.
Weaving STEM into the curriculum
1bot partnered with Universidad de Valle in Guatemala to design a STEM curriculum around their hardware. It had to be compatible with the local education ministry’s requirements, while also offering up-to-date elements around robotics, coding, AI, and 3D printing. By tying their in-class offering so tightly to the national curriculum, 1bot ensures that teachers don’t have to treat 1bot projects as an extracurricular activity; they can weave it into their existing classroom timetable, saving time and resources, as well as ensuring access for every single child in the class.
How does Raspberry Pi help?
Raspberry Pi helped 1bot solve the challenge of connectivity in rural schools. 3D-printed “classroom fairies” house a Raspberry Pi 4 acting as a local server which provides access to 1bot’s educational platform. Student data uploaded to the fairy tracks how well the initiative is working to upskill real children in real schools.
4700 children are currently using the Raspberry Pi-powered platform. We can’t wait to see that number climb as Juan’s 1bot initiative gains momentum across Guatemala.