Online English-Language Contest for Armenian School Students

  • Technology
  • Youth
  • Armenia
This project is led by Elizabeth (Liz) Barron, a Volunteer from Maryland

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$5,620.00
to meet goal
$50 $100

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Poetry students sitting and waiting in the auditorium.
Elizabeth works with her counterparts to facilitate the Online English-Language Contest for Armenian School Students project.

The National Poetry Recitation Contest (NPRC) gives Armenian school students aged 12-17 the chance to improve their spoken English, critical thinking and public speaking skills by studying, analyzing and reciting well-known poems and speeches in English. We would like your help to develop and launch a web-based app, allowing thousands of Armenian public-school students to upload their performances, taking part in the contest virtually. 1300 public school students will compete in NPRC 2019, the 9th year of the contest. This is the most we can cope with physically, but it is only one tenth of English-language learners this age in Armenia. Just think how many more students we could involve if the contest was truly inclusive and easily accessible to all eligible students? We propose to make this happen through the launch of a preliminary online round of this annual, national competition. To do this, we must develop and launch a web-based app so school students (forms 7-12) can upload videos of their recitations (famous poetry and speeches in English), plus their registration details, allowing online judging of their performance. Your support will allow us to use today's technology to really scale and grow. Online participation is also environmentally friendly, we will have fewer students in taxis and on the roads. Learning how to shoot and upload high quality video and audio will also help students develop multi-media literacy skills now prized by employers. Thank you for your support.

Our students were the first to suggest using phone videos as part of contest and camp activities. Armenia has almost 100% of internet coverage and even students who do not have their own phone, know someone in their family or class who does. Schools all have an internet connection and at least one computer so, if necessary, a teacher can help students upload their videos.

The beauty of this project is that once the app is built, it can be used for many years to come. Although technology is changing very quickly at the moment, apps can continue to be used effectively even when their design or build is no longer cutting edge. All the bidders believe that, based on current information, the app could be useable for 5-10 years. Our senior software engineer agrees that while an organization is likely to wish to redesign for aesthetic or speed/ease of use reasons, there is no reason why an app as simple as this should "wear out" or become bug-ridden after its initial launch. Ongoing fixes and enhancements can be paid for by our NGO as fewer students are transported to regional contests. Transportation costs are by far the biggest cost in the current format of the contest. Our brief budgets for technical support for 2020, the launch year, and the builder will provide the NGO with support training during that time. The project manager will manage students, judges, and library downloads single-handedly from 2021. The NGO will contract for fixes as necessary, using funds liberated from the transportation budget savings resulting from fewer students selected to participate physically.

Building an online contest app is probably the only way that NPRC can continue to sustain and grow.  We are already becoming victims of our national success. A local NGO will be responsible for administering the app, as we currently do with registration and our website. Any bugs in the 4 month annual period when the app is use each year, will be covered in a support contract with the NGO. This is outside the grant period as it will happen Jan-April 2020, but, FYI, it will cost 160,000 AMD/$320 and will include server costs. The costs will be covered by a local NGO and will be a saving on the money currently spent on transporting students to regional contests. While the contest size will increase through introduction of an online round, fewer students will be invited to participate in physical contests. Transportation is currently the most expensive element of our contest activities. Capacity development has been updated.  We are confident that support fees can be found in our regular, annual fundraising in future years because the overall costs of the contest will go down, due to having fewer contestants travel, and eat food at regional contests. We will have more contestants overall, but fewer selected to compete in person. 

Community Contributions
$2,156.56
Total Raised
$2,886.56
Goal
$8,506.56

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