Menlo School

Post image for Menlo School students team with VillageTech Solutions to bring affordable technology to Nepal

For the 6th year in a row, students from Menlo School (plus a few others) worked at Haydi and David Sowerines‘ home this summer on projects for the couple’s non-profit, VillageTech Solutions, which provides safe, clean and affordable technology solutions to rural communities in Nepal and other developing countries.

Most of the Menlo volunteers are working on VTS’s educational solution, Looma, under the direction of Skip Stritter, VTS Board Chair. Looma is an affordable, low-power consuming audio-visual technology device which provides an interactive window to the internet and access to educational content to Nepalese village schools that have never seen electricity, computers, or in some cases, even books.

David provided InMenlo with some background on this year’s projects:

“Skip interviewed them, discussed the project options, and they settled into teams with specific goals. Very professionally, all had to generate a ‘PRD’ (product requirements document), and, if possible, stick to a schedule to meet the July 26 presentation date .

“The teams set out to:

  • Complete an English/Nepali dictionary for all words in the grades 1-8 English textbooks. This required defining more than 2000 words. Then they refined an app so that it’s now possible to click on any word in those textbooks and bring up the definition
  • Redesign the Looma box to hold new speakers, new Odroid computer, new power and audio board, new webcam and improved wiring
  • Create ‘history timelines’ to expand Nepalese students’ knowledge of their own history (earthquakes, Prime Ministers, Kings, holidays…) as well as Chinese dynasties, the scientific revolution and others
  • Expand the scope and detail of interactive maps of Nepal and the world

“And five individuals focused on:

  • A robust search function that will enable students and teachers to search the database for relevant content
  • An easy user interface for the webcam that we call “Cameo” that will record videos of students and teachers —for review, exchange with other schools, later viewing
  • A “Video Editor” that allows the user (teacher) to enhance a video by inserting other items into pause points, such as a list of review questions, or a picture or another video, making the whole video more effective
  • Core software management to make it easier to load the Looma computers
  • A simple application for assembling lesson plans

“The teams had a second assignment — to make lesson plans. Kathy Hoekenga, a recently retired teacher, coached the kids, and they created more than 110.”

Looma is just one of VillageTech Solutions programs; more information about the Menlo Park-based non-profit is available online.

Photos by Robb Most (c) 2017 showing (top) Julia Wang, Matthew Phua, Mohini Gupta and their Maps project; (middle right) Keeton Martin with a Looma box; (bottom right Kendall Weingart and her Dictionary & Apps project

{ Be the first to comment }

Sacred Heart to host forum on the morality of the nuclear age on April 3

Thumbnail image for Sacred Heart to host forum on the morality of the nuclear age on April 3

In partnership with the Technology for Global Security and Menlo School, Sacred Heart Schools, Atherton (SHS) will host the first of a two-part forum on morality and geopolitics in the nuclear age on Monday, April 3 at 7:00 pm in the Harman Family Assembly Hall. The panel discussion will focus on the morality of the […]

Click to read more →

Menlo Knights capture first state volleyball championship in school history

Thumbnail image for Menlo Knights capture first state volleyball championship in school history

It was a year of firsts for Menlo volleyball, and on Saturday, Dec. 3., the Knights picked up the ultimate first: a state championship. Through all the years of successful volleyball teams, this year’s team took the first CIF title in Menlo history. On the road to the state final, the Knights dropped just one […]

Click to read more →

Audience decides how Menlo School production of The Mystery of Edwin Drood ends

Thumbnail image for Audience decides how Menlo School production of The Mystery of Edwin Drood ends

Menlo Drama is presenting the five-time Tony Award-winning interactive, musical whodunit The Mystery of Edwin Drood, based upon the unfinished Charles Dickens novel of the same name. Performances run Friday, November 11 at 7:30 pm, November 12 at 2:00 and 7:30 pm and Sunday, November 13 at 2:00 pm in Florence Moore Auditorium at Menlo School. […]

Click to read more →

Menlo School freshman Aaron Morgan is semifinalist in international video competition

Thumbnail image for Menlo School freshman Aaron Morgan is semifinalist in international video competition

Menlo School freshman Aaron Morgan is a semifinalist in the Breakthrough Prize Junior Challenge. The community is asked to vote  on Facebook to help him reach the finals. The Breakthrough Prize Junior Challenge is an international math/science video competition founded by technology leaders including Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Sergey Brin (Google), and Sal Khan (Khan Academy) to inspire creative thinking […]

Click to read more →

Menlo School’s Robert Miranda runs the Summer Scamper to raise money for music therapy program

Thumbnail image for Menlo School’s Robert Miranda runs the Summer Scamper to raise money for music therapy program

Menlo School’s Robert Miranda, who is coming off a sophomore season in which he had a podium finish at state in cross country and took fourth in the 3200 at CCS, has been preparing for his next run for months. This Sunday, Robert will run the Summer Scamper at Stanford to benefit Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. […]

Click to read more →

Menlo School is hosting MenloHacks this weekend

Thumbnail image for Menlo School is hosting MenloHacks this weekend

Menlo School students are hosting a 24-hour hackathon this weekend in the Athletic Center. Dubbed MenloHacks, the event brings together about 250 high school students to build anything pertaining to software or hardware. MenloHacks encourages students of all experience levels to collaborate to create apps, websites, and other code-based projects. The event also features games, such as a Tapé […]

Click to read more →

Menlo School and Sacred Heart Prep host New York Times columnist Frank Bruni

Thumbnail image for Menlo School and Sacred Heart Prep host New York Times columnist Frank Bruni

Menlo School in partnership with Sacred Heart Preparatory is presenting a conversation with New York Times columnist and best-selling author Frank Bruni and Denise Pope of Challenge Success about today’s college admissions process. The event, scheduled for Monday, March 21, from 7:00 to 8:30 pm in the Menlo School athletic center, is free and open […]

Click to read more →

Vocalist and performer Lucas Loaiza inspired the launch of two popular glee clubs at Menlo School

Thumbnail image for Vocalist and performer Lucas Loaiza inspired the launch of two popular glee clubs at Menlo School

With more than decade of singing experience, Menlo School senior Lucas Loaiza was motivated by a friend to launch The Menlodies (Men of Menlo + Melodies) men’s a cappella group. Striving for an elite level of quality, he invited 10 singers and a beatboxer to comprise the inaugural ensemble. “We’ve already had a ton of […]

Click to read more →

Steve Young keynotes community-based concussion conference on Aug. 18 at Menlo School

Parents, coaches, students and educators are invited to a free, community-based concussion conference to learn about the latest evaluation and management of mild traumatic brain injuries in youth sports. The event will be held from 6:00-8:00 pm Aug. 18 at Menlo School’s Athletic Center. Space is limited, please RSVP. The conference is hosted by Menlo Sports […]

Click to read more →

Menlo School stages Fiddler on the Roof the first two weekends of May

Thumbnail image for Menlo School stages Fiddler on the Roof the first two weekends of May

In honor of the Menlo School Centennial and the 50th anniversary of one of the staples of American musical theatre, Menlo Drama is presenting the nine-time Tony Award-winning musical masterpiece, Fiddler On the Roof. Performances run the first two weekends in May: 1st, 2nd, and 3rd and May 8th and 9th at 8:00 pm outdoors in the quad at […]

Click to read more →