African Maths Initiative Blogs

ICT and Learning: Huruma Children's Home

 

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Students at Huruma Secondary School playing a mathematical game.

The journey to Huruma Children’s home started with a long night travel from Maseno to Nairobi where we proceeded to the school for a two-day session with students and staff. After a warm reception by Mama Zipporah who is the school manager, we proceeded to undertake our first task for the day which is to install materials to be used in their spacious modernized computer lab.

Huruma children’s home is located in the slopes of Ngong Hills in Nairobi, Kenya. The home hosts a primary and secondary school which are unique in many ways. A majority of schools in the country do not have access to fully equipped computer labs but this group of schools not only does it have a fully equipped computer laboratory; it also has access to internet. This has enabled the children's home to embrace technology learning in this digital age. With stable internet provided in the school, teachers and pupils can be able to easily access online educational materials.

During introductory remarks, one teacher explained the remarkable difference that access to technology has enabled students to acquire basic skills in operation with computers. We were able to introduce students and teachers to open source software like Geogebra and not forgetting to mention scratch for beginners in programing that can make learning mathematics interesting. Thomas, my colleague, introduced the teachers to MOOCs and RACHEL which are vital education with technology. He demonstrated to them how they can be able to improve their skills and those of their students through MOOCs and RACHEL. They were challenged to learn that RACHEL has the capability of providing offline educational content and providing additional resources to the home’s library.

On our second day in the school, we introduced the students to Geogebra. I did an introduction to the software where students learnt how to navigate and familiarize themselves with the GeoGebra menus. I later did a demonstration with an aim of achieving a clear definition of the circle, this was demonstrated by putting infinitely many points which are equidistant from a central point. At the end of a demo students discovered by themselves true meaning of a circle.

I then did a simple demonstration on the rotation but now using playing cards just before the illustration on rotation using GeoGebra. At the end of hands on exercise, the students later realized how they can use simple cards demonstrate vital concepts in mathematics. Normally, playing cards are usually prohibited in Kenyan schools because of the negative attitudes towards cards. However, after demonstrating how the cards could be used to teach mathematics, the teachers were able to get insight on how they could utilize playing cards in classroom contexts. This will go a long way in boosting the student’s cognitive skills. These approaches make mathematics more practical and easy to conceptualize. This will enhance math’s understanding and its application in the real world.

The concept of card games was well elaborated when Thomas introduced the Monty hall problem which is a brain teaser, in the form of a probability puzzle. This game enables the students to discover by themselves how the probability concept is applicable in real daily activities.

Our last day ended with an exciting TED TALK video by Conrad Wolfram about teaching and understanding mathematics in the real world. Teachers and students were equally motivated after watching the talk, I believe that through these practical approaches will change the attitude in Mathematics. I look forward to my next visit to the school but before then, I hope that the school adds to their list of educational co-curricular activities cards games and puzzles like Monte Hall in their learning processes.

Written by Mike Mumbo

 

One thought on “ICT and Learning: Huruma Children's Home

  • Dickson Ochichi says:

    This is awesome. I could wish to join you in what you are doing guys. I am impressed wiith that. Bravo.

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