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Biblioteca’s New Science Club Brings Technological Knowledge to Rural Children

Students learn to build electronic circuits and solar cell kits

By Karla Ortiz

Children growing up in San Miguel’s rural communities often face daunting challenges when it comes to receiving an equal science and technology education. While their counterparts in the urban area typically receive computer science classes from a young age, children in rural communities often don’t have any access to computers, the Internet, or sometimes even electricity.

For the last four years, Juan Saavedra Chávez has been trying to correct this imbalance, promoting scientific and technological knowledge in children in these communities through the Biblioteca’s Science Club. Each year, the club serves at least 20 students from six communities—Presa Allende, La Huerta, Villas de Guadalupe, La Luz, El Batán, and Agustín González.

Saavedra Chávez is a licensed digital electronics and computer systems technician and has a degree in business administration.

“The main objective of this club is to close the digital gap that exists and to make sure that children know the technologies that exist in computing and science itself. Although for us the main objective is their future [technological and academic] preparation, this club is also designed to help children become professionals and support their families. [We want children] to not only have the idea of going to the US for work; it’s true that you earn money there, but you also abandon your life here,” he said.

Students take responsibility transporting themselves to the classes every Saturday and arriving on time. “They are so committed that they arrive even before the library opens,” he said. “They are the most punctual.”

Each year, the club makes a required presentation to Guanajuato’s Secretariat of Innovation and Higher Studies, which financially supports the club and about 60 other similar clubs statewide. All the clubs present student projects each year to the Secretariat, and the location where these presentations are made rotates annually. Last year, the presentations took place in San Miguel, with about 2,000 children presenting innovative and creative projects.

To introduce the students to technology, Saavedra Chávez starts out by teaching them the basic concept of web pages and their uses, then moves on to more advanced topics, such as The Internet of Things. Students learn to build electronic circuits, then choose to create kits to move electronic objects around or create solar cell kits.

“All the material is provided by the Biblioteca through a budget plan that we present to the administration,” he explained.

Liliana Peralta, supervisor of the library’s children and youth departments, says the library is very happy to support them.

“The library is not just for coming here and reading, it’s for inviting children to gain more tools for their education. We have many workshops—English, computers, painting, music, and this club,” she says. “The Science Club has had a great response from parents and children. As soon as we put out a call for enrollment, the slots were immediately full.”

The Biblioteca’s Science Club has stood out among the other 60 science clubs around the state: last year, Secretary of Education Eusebio Vega was amazed by the young Sanmiguelenses’ project, saying it was the best Science Club he had seen so far during his tenure.

“He offered the entire club a trip abroad,” Saavedra Chávez said. “It was a great success, and hopefully this will help the students see that through science, children can achieve great things.”

 

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