Mobile Lab

The Mobile lab project is a cutting-edge initiative the pilot stage of which was implemented throughout June 2004-July 2005 within the framework of Armenia School Connectivity Program by Project Harmony Armenia Filial. Starting in July of 2005, administration and leadership of the project was transferred from Project Harmony to its partner organization, Harmony Information technologies and Education Development Fund (visit to find relevant information on further developments of the project).

The Mobile Lab project was not only the first of its kind in the Transcaucasus but also in the Republics of the Former Soviet Union and has been providing connectivity to schools which cannot receive Internet because of their remote location. The geographic coverage of the School Connectivity Program was significantly expanded by the introduction of the awareness-raising opportunities of the traveling IT resources within this project. The key resource of the Mobile Lab Project was a special vehicle transformed into a computer lab, equipped with 5 workstations, a printer, a scanner, a digital camera and satellite connection. The scheme of the project is that the two trained specialists, through trainings and support to students, teachers, and the general community, were to introduce the practical benefits and general value of the technical resources that the Traveling Internet Computer Lab offers to the remote communities of Armenia in a region selected through open merit-based recruitment.

The winner region of the first Recruitment (Yerevan was not eligible) was Gegharkunik with its 20 communities in Chambarak and Vardenis sub-districts. Applications were distributed to Regional Administration officials during a presentation of the initiative. Regional Governors and officials of the Department of Education were responsible for each region's application. The second round of selection, which includes supplementary documentations and interviews with Marzpets and Heads of Education Departments, followed the submission of applications. The Selection Committee considering the results of interviews and applications submitted made the final decision in which Gegharkunik was chosen to host the Mobile Lab for the project first phase.

The first cycle of community trainings started in June 14 and ended in October 16, by which time a total of 99 days of teaching had been recorded in 21 villages (16 in Vardenis region and 5 in Chambarak region), including more than 1000 hours of software use and over 700 hours of training/computer use. 516 people benefited directly, 361 of them children. There has been a basic training program developed for the first cycle of the project aimed at people who have never used computers. This is a 6-7 hour training program which covers the following: how a computer works, computer maintenance, Word processing, the Internet and e-mail etc. To reinforce the results of the introductory cycle and to provide users with continued development of the skills acquired during the 1st phase, the project offers a second cycle to previously served communities. The second cycle of the Lab in Gegharkunik started in February 01, 2005 and was completed on July 06, 2005. The supplementary computer trainings were conducted in 11 villages of Vardenis region and 4 villages in Chambarak. The Mobile Lab staff spent 132 days in total in both regions.

For many of the beneficiary communities, the Mobile Lab provided an expanded world view, exposure to information and communication, allowed teachers and students from rural communities a connection never before possible, and gave them the opportunity to apply for and secure funding for higher learning and professional development, as well as other opportunities.
Currently, the Mobile Lab Project, serving the same development goals for an extended pool of recipient Armenian communities, is being successfully administered by Harmony Fund.