Introducing Basketball to Horizon Academies

Introducing Basketball to Horizon Academies

Children at Horizon Academy - Ralapanawa playing basketball

Horizon Lanka Foundation promotes 10 sports at its academies. They are cricket, volleyball, soccer, American football, handball, baseball, rugby, elle, basketball and martial arts. Students fell in love with basketball after watching the Hollywood movie “Coach Carter.”

Miss Clara Charrière from France brought a few basketballs and she also teaches the game to the students. Still we don’t have proper courts and hoops for the game. If any of you want to help us with them, please contact us.

Prabodha Kalotuwawa – Prabodha.sandeepani.kalotuwawa@horizonacademy.lk

Students playing basketball at Horizon Academy - Ralapanawa
Students playing basketball at Horizon Academy – Ralapanawa
Coach Carter Poster
Coach Carter Poster

ICT Workshop – 1 (May 05, 2018) at Horizon Lanka Foundation by CompSoc of University of Colombo

ICT Workshop – 1 (May 05, 2018) at Horizon Lanka Foundation by CompSoc of University of Colombo

Sumedhe Dissanayake

The Horizon Lanka Foundation (HLF) has had strong links with CompSoc, and the University of Colombo since the inception of the HLF. The CompSoc of University of Colombo was the very first university to hold an ICT Workshop at the HLF. This happened 16 years ago. Dr. Kasun ……… , then a representative of the CompSoc of University of Colombo, communicated with me and held the very successful first ICT workshop at the HLF, Mahawilachchiya in 2002. After this, other universities also followed suit.

These workshops helped the students of the HLF enormously and most of the students continued their higher education in ICT and became ICT related professionals and entrepreneurs.

On May 05, 2018 the HLF resumed the partnership with the CompSoc of University of Colombo. I wrote to my friend whom I am yet to see in person, Dr. Hakim Usoof, an ICT lecturer of the University of Colombo in March, 2018 and he immediately arranged the first workshop at the HLF with the support of Mr. Sumedhe Dissanayake, the Vice-President of CompSoc of UoC and also an undergraduate of the University of Colombo. On May 05, 2018, a team of undergraduates comprising he Vice-President, Secretary, Assistant Secretary, Junior Treasurer and one Committee Member of CompSoc were there.  of the CompSoc of University of Colombo. I thank Dr. Usoof, CompSoc and the University of Colombo for all the hard work done. We also hope the partnership continues in the long run and the students of the HLF are benefited like it happened in the past.

Nanda Wanninayaka – The Founder and Chairman of the Horizon Lanka Foundation.

Sumedhe Dissanayake addressing the students and the staff of Horizon Lanka Foundation
Sumedhe Dissanayake addressing the students and the staff of Horizon Lanka Foundation
Students of Horizon Academies at the workshop in Horizon Academy - Anuradhapura
Students of Horizon Academies at the workshop in Horizon Academy – Anuradhapura
Members of CompSoc, University of Colombo and the students and the staff of Horizon Academies after the workshop
Members of CompSoc, University of Colombo and the students and the staff of Horizon Academies after the workshop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Horizon Virtual Academy – Draft

HORIZON VIRTUAL ACADEMY

CONCEPT PAPER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By

Nanda Wanninayaka

Nalaka Gunawardene

Mark Frazier

 

 

This concept paper developed by Horizon Lanka Foundation (www.horizonlanka.org) is aimed at creating a web-based repository of instructional and educational videos initially for free access to anyone, anywhere through a virtual academy. The project will also livestream both indoor and outdoor classrooms through the project’s website for anyone during its first year (2018) and for a nominal fee from 2019 for its subscribers. We propose to do this in the local languages of Sri Lanka – English, Sinhala and Tamil at the beginning and later add more languages using the 100+ foreign volunteer teachers who volunteered at Horizon Lanka Foundation since 2004.

 

THE PROBLEM

Since Independence in 1948, Sri Lanka has been trying to improve education in the country using various ways. Though education is free in terms of not levying fees, the money spent comes through the taxpayer. It has long been debated how Sri Lanka’s impressive rates of primary and secondary schooling can be matched by a corresponding increase in the quality of education.

The disparities in the public education system mean entrance to ‘popular schools’ entails much competition. Given the limited number of places, entering university is even harder. On average, only a small percentage of those who enter Grade One enters university.

Both students and parents are constantly looking for better educational facilities but the options available in Sri Lanka are limited. There is a big void in the education system.

Private tuition classes respond to this void. It is a thriving business so much so that the students and the parents pay more attention to private tuition than to regular school teaching. Students spend a significant amount of time – and their parents, money – for private tuition.

Even with the option of private tuition, there remain gaps. Students are not able to access teachers/lessons when needed at their convenience. At present there is little opportunity for this.

Web-based lessons such as Dialog’s Guru.lk, Etisalat’s Web Patashala and Education Ministry’s, e-Thaksalawa have responded to this need. The Dialog and Etisalat solutions require payment, while the Education Ministry’s solution is only text and image based is not using voice – the most important element in teacher instruction. Besides, it doesn’t give an environment to interact with the teacher.

 

 

 

VISION

Our vision is to create high quality educational lessons based on video and upload them as both live and recorded files to a low-cost, public access video sharing platform so they can be available for anyone, anywhere, anytime.

MISSION

Our mission is to create video based educational content with the participation of talented teachers, and then promote their use as widely as possible.

THEORY OF CHANGE

Computer literacy in Sri Lanka is on the increase. Distribution of personal computers and mobile devices are also spreading throughout the country. Internet access costs are decreasing due to market competition. High speed internet, mobile broadband and 4G mobile coverage also are spreading fast. Both 3G and 4G coverages in Sri Lanka by the 5 mobile operators (Dialog, Mobitel, Etisalat, Hutch and Airtel) and the 4 fixed line broadband operators (Dialog, SLT, LankaBell and Suntel) are encouraging and there is already a pilot run successfully to test 5G coverage too.

This augurs well for disseminating web-based video lessons. Our inspiration and model is the Khan Academy www.khanacademy.org, started by Salman Khan, an entrepreneur of Bangladesh origin living and working in the United States. It was launched in 2006 as a non-profit educational website to provide a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere. (In fact, Horizon Lanka Foundation initiated creating e-lessons and disseminating it to the students in 2005/06 era with the help of Mark Frazier from the United States of America and his organization Openworld LLC, long before Sal Khan started his initiative.)

The Khan Academy website features thousands of educational resources, including a personalized learning dashboard, over 100,000 exercise problems, and over 5,000 micro lectures via video tutorials stored on YouTube. These offer lessons related to a wide range of subjects and topics such as mathematics, history, healthcare, medicine, finance, physics, general chemistry, biology, astronomy, economics, cosmology, art history, economics and computer science. All resources are available for free. Khan Academy reaches about 10,000,000 students per month and has delivered over 300,000,000 lessons according to Wikipedia.

 

 

 

 

 

THE SOLUTION

The Horizon Lanka Foundation will start a website named www.horizonvirtualacademy.org and will live stream some of the selected classroom and outdoor lessons the 5 existing Horizon Academies in Sri Lanka do with the local teaching staff and the foreign volunteer teachers. Streaming would be done through both YouTube and Facebook and if there is any, other channels that stream free of charge. The users (students, parents, teachers) could subscribe to both YT and FB feeds of Horizon Virtual Academy and watch the lessons live.

The other method is to have a free access, web-based video lessons repository at the same website. The lessons are to be created in English, Sinhala as well as Tamil, using suitably expressive and experienced teachers.

Lessons could be created from Grade 1 to Grade 11 in the first phase and that can be expanded to high school level (Advanced Level in Sri Lanka) at a later stage.

Talented teachers would be invited and involved from both the government and private schools for creating video lessons. They should be paid a reasonable fee for their services. The videos would be filmed and edited by a professional video production team on a voluntary basis.

The lessons, most likely hosted on YouTube (which has advanced video streaming features enabling easier viewing), would be promoted by a dedicated website to be built and operated by this project (www.horizonvirtualacademy.org.) It will provide lesson menus, video synopses and other information that helps users to systematically use this free resource. Downloading videos for later, off-line viewing will also be allowed and encouraged.

Access to both live and recorded lessons would be totally free of charge for the subscribers initially but a small fee (around 150 LKR -1 USD) would be imposed for a month once the project gathers momentum and wins the confidence of the users. The subscribers would be able to pay for lessons through Dialog Axiata’s (www.dialog.lk) flagship e-money solution EasyCash.

 

ONLINE EDUCATION

We will give modern information using modern technology which will attract students towards studies. Our aim is to standardize the education, keeping our rates low so that a maximum number of students can take advantage.

Aims and mission of video lectures It is proven from researches that video learning methods help students to learn better than conventional teaching methods. Students entice towards video lectures and this interest leads them to apprehend the content and concepts of lectures more deeply. Video lectures aim to enhance motivation level and the learning skills of students. Hence, it helps students in getting good marks. We will be making videos which will attract students to apprehend the lectures more deeply and enhance their learning skills. Their creative skills will also make students critical thinkers.

For Sri Lankan and global organizations seeking to launch new systems that enable students to create open source eLearning resources, HVA will also offer sponsorship opportunities and chances to support pilot projects.

Early pilots may include an open source “Learning Landscape” app, now being developed by principals of Openworld (USA) and DigiPerfect (India), to create interactive 3D terrains for peer learners in any field of knowledge.

A key aim of this app is to give users the freedom to explore interactive “knowledge trees” along the pathways. Users will have freedom to create new trees – or help fill out branches of existing trees.

New trees in the landscape can be auto-created by importing structured text files produced by Mindnode and many of today’s widely-used 2D mind map programs.

Each Knowledge Tree will be based on a heart-head-hands pattern (aka emotion-cognition-action), with an early focus on preparing students and jobseekers to succeed in online markets.

HVA also will explore partnerships with Teachur (www.teachur.co), a new platform for global sharing of eLearning content with Blockchain-recorded certificates of accomplishment, and other pioneers in innovative uses of information technologies for skills development.

HVA intends to assist such partners in conducting globally visible tests of new peer learning systems, and record and share their experiences on social media. Such projects can help global innovators refine their offerings and prove their value and embark on crowdfunding campaigns that lead to further opportunities for HVA expansion.

LOCAL PARTNERSHIPS FOR SUSTAINABILITY

The Horizon Virtual Academy will also explore new ways to fund the growth of eLearning linkages with partnering communities. It will give preference in its expansion of the HVA model to communities that agree to commit sites for “Endowment Zones” to fund increased access to internet services and online learning resources.

These sites can generate revenues via startup ventures. A near term opportunity can come through helping local partners launch AirBnb ventures, in locations with appeal as short-stay housing for foreign volunteers and/or as ecotourism destinations.  A portion of the rental income can be allocated to good causes such as microvouchers for eLearning and eHealthcare for families participating in the HVA initiative. This could be a way to meet the costs of internet access, to fund student-created eLearning content, and to encourage youth and others to pitch in with community cleanup/fixups, art/music festivals, and other initiatives that make the area more attractive as a place to visit as well as to live in.

 

 

 

 

SOCIAL IMPACT

Sri Lankan students will immensely benefit by such a project as they can access the lessons from anywhere when they want. This will be different from attending a regular class in the school or at a private tuition center. The students will be able to access lessons through computers, laptops, tablets or mobile phones depending on their access device. Many of today’s students already use the web for games, social networking, music, video, etc., and the presence of a virtual academy will justify their internet access expenses.

 

THE TEAM

Project Leader

Advisors/Mentors/Consultants

Designers

Programmers

Teachers

Technicians

Operators

 

FINANCIAL SUMMARY

Equipment

Maintenance costs

Website Expenses

Salaries, allowances

Mini Concert to Say Goodbye to Foreign Volunteers Diana, Eagle, Sona and Monika – July 13, 2017

Mini Concert to Say Goodbye to Foreign Volunteers Diana, Eagle, Sona and Monika – July 13, 2017

Horizon Lanka VolunteersThe students of Horizon Academy, Mahawilachchiya, Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka held a Mini Concert, the first of its kind for 2017, on July 13, 2017 at the Academy to say goodbye to four of our foreign volunteers, namely, Diana Wong Yuen Sam and Eagle Man Ho Tin from Hong Kong and Sona Forstlova and Monika Salfická from the Czech Republic. They volunteered in July, 2017 and did a lot to educate the students both at Horizon Academy and Gamini Public School in Mahawilachchiya.

All the volunteers also took part in the concert by performing along with the students of Horizon Academy and Gamini Public School in Mahawilachchiya.

See the pictures and videos of the concert items below.

Primary students at Horizon Academy, Mahawilachchiya
Primary students at Horizon Academy, Mahawilachchiya
Senior students at Horizon Academy, Mahawilachchiya dancing with volunteers
Senior students at Horizon Academy, Mahawilachchiya dancing with volunteers
Senior students at Horizon Academy, Mahawilachchiya dancing
Senior students at Horizon Academy, Mahawilachchiya dancing
Man Ho Tin Eagle at the Concert
Man Ho Tin Eagle at the Concert
Horizon Lanka Volunteers after the concert
Horizon Lanka Volunteers after the concert
Diana Wong Yuen Sam with the kids after the concert
Diana Wong Yuen Sam with the kids after the concert

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Miss Manon Charlotte Zabot, an Angel from France to Horizon Academy, Mahawilachchiya

Miss Manon Charlotte Zabot, an Angel from France to Horizon Academy, Mahawilachchiya

Miss Manon Charlotte Zabot with senior students at Horizon Academy, Mahawilachchiya Miss Manon Charlotte Zabot, a young volunteer from France arrived in Mahawilachchiya last week. She will be here for two months to teach the students. I wish she extends her stay though. She is a smart woman who loves teaching and has a born talent for it. In her own words, she describes her passion for teaching thus. “Teaching has always been a goal for me, especially to children and women (for women empowerment).” I am glad that we have her at Horizon Academy, Mahawilachchiya at the right time. I have not been in Mahawilachchiya regularly and the students’ education was disrupted as a result. This affected the number of regular students too. But now, I am relieved a lot because Miss Zabot has already been able to attract the students who left the institution and some new students too. She is very kind towards the kids (but not so towards me 😊 because I haven’t been able to do things on time due to the bike accident I met with last September. It kept my movements restricted as I was not able to repair it as yet. But now that this young teacher is at Horizon Academy, I can entrust her my role and I am sure she is confident in doing it a lot better than I did.

Miss Zabot has already decided to make the classroom better by painting the walls and letting the students to write, draw things related to her lessons. She has already prepared a list of things to buy from the city and she appreciates if you could send Horizon Academy some English books for the students to read. She is so caring towards the students, especially the primary students. She lives at our teenage student Prabodha Kalotuwawa’s house. Prabodha has been hosting quite a number of volunteers and her English too is improving as a result.

Apart from volunteering at Horizon Academy, Miss Zabot also teaches free of charge at the Seevali Primary School, a public school in the village. She enjoys it very much and dedicates more hours than we expected her to do. It is not an easy task to work extra hours due to the hot temperature in Anuradhapura district during these days.

I am sure all our other volunteers are also doing the same in other Horizon Academies but I just did not have the time to be with them during lessons to see their good work. I have planned to repair my bike this weekend and travel to all five Horizon Academies at least once a week and oversee the affairs. It is so heartening to see how our volunteers dedicate their time and knowledge towards the students in these rural villages despite the lack of facilities and harsh weather conditions these days. Horizon Lanka survived its bad times due to our brave volunteers. Right now, we have 9 volunteers from different European countries.

Nanda Wanninayaka, the Founder and the Chairman of Horizon Lanka Foundation

Miss Manon Charlotte Zabot with primary students at Horizon Academy, Mahawilachchiya
Miss Manon Charlotte Zabot with primary students at Horizon Academy, Mahawilachchiya
Miss Manon Charlotte Zabot with senior students at Horizon Academy, Mahawilachchiya
Miss Manon Charlotte Zabot with senior students at Horizon Academy, Mahawilachchiya

 

An IoT (Internet of Things) Workshop at Horizon Lanka by Coderdojo Sri Lanka

An IoT (Internet of Things) Workshop at Horizon Lanka by Coderdojo Sri Lanka

Prabhath Mannapperuma

A workshop on IoT (Internet of Things) for the staff and students of Horizon Academies was held at Horizon Academy, Anuradhapura by Coderdojo Sri Lanka on February 24, 2018. Mr. Prabhath Mannapperuma, the Founder/Secretary of Micro:bit SLUG coordinated the workshop and Mr. Shameera Prajapriya, Mr. Yasintha Perera and Mr. Dilupa Jayanatha Peiris joined Mr. Mannapperuma to hold the workshop.

The workshop was meant for the staff of the 5 Horizon Academies, ie. Horizon Academy – Mahawilachchiya, Horizon Academy – Tantirimale, Horizon Academy – Anuradhapura, Horizon Academy – Ranpathvila and Horizon Academy –Ralapanawa. Since the students also were very enthusiastic, they also joined the workshop.

The workshop covered a vast area of IoT (Internet of Things) related areas such as micro:bit based programming, Arduino, etc. and basic HTML.

Coderdojo Sri Lanka is part of the Coderjojo global initiative and does its activities on volunteer basis. The initiative helps encourage students from a very young age to coding and programming.

“CoderDojo Sri Lanka is the Sri Lankan network of “CoderDojo” – an international open source social education movement oriented around the running of fun, free and social coding clubs (Dojos) for young people aged 7-17 (Ninjas).

Dojos are run by coordinators (Champions) at businesses, schools, libraries, universities, councils and community centres. Dojos provide fun, free and social open learning environments where young people can meet others with similar interests, develop 21st century skills and build creative projects of their own choice using digital technology.

A Dojo is NOT a class or workshop. There is no curriculum. Instead, Dojos offer open, free and unstructured club settings in which young people can follow their own interests, meet like-minded people and develop self-directed learning habits with the support of Champions and Mentors.” – from CoderDojo Sri Lanka website.

The Horizon Lanka Foundation thanks CoderDojo Sri Lanka for partnering with the Foundation and the Foundation hopes to go a long journey with CoderDojo Sri Lanka by educating the future generation through the Foundation’s network of Horizon Academies.

Coderdojo Sri Lanka team teaching
Coderdojo Sri Lanka team teaching
Students at Coderdojo Sri Lanka workshop
Students at Coderdojo Sri Lanka workshop
Mr. Prabhath Mannapperuma introducing the program
Mr. Prabhath Mannapperuma introducing the program
Mr. Dilupa Jayanatha Peiris doing a lesson
Mr. Dilupa Jayanatha Peiris doing a lesson
Mr. Shameera Prajapriya doing the lesson on HTML
Mr. Shameera Prajapriya doing the lesson on HTML
The staff and the students of Horizon Academy, Anuradhapura
The staff and the students of Horizon Academy, Anuradhapura
Coderdojo Sri Lanka team during a break
Coderdojo Sri Lanka team during a break
Coderdojo Sri Lanka team with the staff and the students of Horizon Lanka
Coderdojo Sri Lanka team with the staff and the students of Horizon Lanka

The Country Music Foundation Donates Musical Instruments to Gamini Public School, Mahawilachchiya

The Country Music Foundation Donates Musical Instruments to Gamini Public School, Mahawilachchiya

Feizal SamathMr. Feizal Samath is a singer and a guitarist. His passion is country music. He organizes a “Country Roads Concert for Children” annually through the Country Music Foundation he founded 30 years ago. Last year’s concert was the 29th version of his untiring efforts. The concert was held on March 19, 2017 at Mount Lavinia Hotel with the participation of both local and overseas country musicians before a big crowd of country music fans.

The Country Music Foundation donates the proceeds of the show to charitable organizations and public schools in Sri Lanka. On the request of the parents and the children of Horizon Lanka Foundation, Mr. Samath donated oriental musical instruments that cost over 160,000 LKR (1,030 USD) to the Gamini Public School in Mahawilachchiya. The instruments were donated on February 05, 2018 at a simple ceremony in the school.

The students, teachers and the Principal Mr. Pathmasiri Wanninayaka appreciated the donation a lot. The dancing teacher has already started creating a school band and the school is waiting for a music teacher too to join the school soon. The main reason for the donation was the principal’s dedication and commitment to improve the quality of education in this small school.

The Foundation also donated 5 Dialog WinPad tabs to Horizon Lanka Foundation in May, 2017.

Feizal Samath
Mr. Feizal Samath ceremonially handing over the musical instruments.
Pathmasiri Wanninayaka ceremonially handing over the musical instruments to the students.
Pathmasiri Wanninayaka ceremonially handing over the musical instruments to the students.
Musical Instruments from the Country Music Foundation
Musical Instruments from the Country Music Foundation
Mr. Pathmasiri Wanninayaka, Mr. Feizal Samath and Mr. Nanda Wanninayaka
Mr. Pathmasiri Wanninayaka, Mr. Feizal Samath and Mr. Nanda Wanninayaka
Students of Gamini School, Mahawilachchiya
Students of Gamini School, Mahawilachchiya

EK ONG KAR MALOGA Yoga School from Spain Donates 90,000 LKR (500 EUR) to the Students of Horizon Academy – Mahawilachchiya

EK ONG KAR MALOGA Yoga School from Spain Donates 90,000 LKR (500 EUR) to the Students of Horizon Academy – Mahawilachchiya
Saying goodbye is never easy.
Saying goodbye is never easy.

Mr. Qurro Lopez from Spain volunteered at Horizon Lanka in October, 2017. He taught Spanish language to the students and the students were very fast in learning this totally new language. In addition to teaching, he brought a lot of gifts to the students at Horizon Academy – Mahawilachchiya. Tharushika Rathnayaka and Pramodhya Gunarathna received one tab each and the junior students got toys from him. Before he left Sri Lanka, he donated 90,000 LKR (500 EUR) raised by EK ONG KAR MALOGA Yoga School in Spain to be distributed among the students. This donation covers the academic and healthcare expenses of the students for the year 2017. (2017 was a bad year for the whole village as their parents’ farms did not yield any crops due to the drought. So, this financial assistance means a lot to them. It is the same for this year also since the village did not get sufficient rains for the third consecutive year.)

When asked to whom the credit should go for this generous donation, a delighted Mr. Lopez said, “Consider it came from God.”

The students, the parents and the Horizon Lanka Foundation appreciate Mr. Lopez and EK ONG KAR MALOGA Yoga School in Spain for assisting the students in a big way. Thank You.