I want to try to tell you all the story of the Backpack Classroom. This is part one. I am going to need several attempts to tell this story. The Backpack Classroom was an initiative led by me to teach storytelling on iPads at the Tambunan Village in North Sumatra. I intend to publish an iBook on the whole project later. This blog will act as a place to get my thoughts organized for that iBook.
I am married to a Batak. His family comes from North Sumatra and we have been to visit our village several times. Our village is very remote. It takes about 8 hours (if there is no traffic) to drive there from Medan. Villages in Sumatra are quite small. There are about 40 houses in this village. Some houses are new and some are the traditional ones with the big curved roofs that look like boats.
The night we arrived the word passed around and to my delight our house soon filled up with children from Kindergarten to Grade 9. I am fortunate to have wonderful children of my own who were able to act as mentors. That night we pulled out the 5 iPads and introduced the village to interactive stories on the iPad. The kids were amazed and loved to read the stories that I had loaded that were all written by my students in Jakarta.
I knew that my best strategy is to lead by example so I decided to make a story about the house next door. This house is a traditional house. I decided to make a simple story about the four grand daughters of the house. Here is the cover of the book.