I am training and working with 28 teachers of which 5 of them are teachers on teaching practice helping them acquire the knowledge to effectively work with tablets. With a set of 20 ipads, Rachel pi that has about 64GB of teaching and learning content, we are helping teachers to seamlessly incorporate the Tablab to support and enhance student engagement in meaningful learning and attainment of curriculum objectives.
Simply placement of hardware and software will not make learning to naturally follow. I have been enhancing pedagogical design for effective use of resources on the Tablab in teaching and learning of the various subjects taught. We have already had more than 30 sessions where teachers sit together and carefully plan lessons. They then go ahead to teach the lessons they have prepared and in some case while the other teachers observe other teachers teaching. We then sit together and discuss how the lesson went on, the strengths and weak points of the lesson and then finalise on how the lesson could be improved next time it is taught. This way, teachers have been learning a lot from one another. I have also seen a paradigm shift towards student learning since integration of the Tablab requires a teacher to think carefully and reflect on the role he or she plays in the classroom.
I have worked with teachers showing them how to identify teaching and learning tools. Them using the well thought out Khan Academy videos has been able to bring reality in the training sessions, in classrooms and is making learning more meaningful.
Students too were not left behind! During their extra time, evening hours and on weekends especially Saturday’s, I have been working with small groups these enthusiastic students. Today’s learners are born into the knowledge society and all they see around them including mobile phones, tablets, computers etc are just but tools they can use for learning. I help them by ensuring they have access to the TabLab and show them how to access a variety of resources, information and useful software for learning. I also support teachers to integrate the tools into their lessons and into student learning activities across the curriculum. These is providing immense learning and teaching opportunities.
For example, I have seen students during maths lessons really motivated to learn subjects like mathematics which is not normally the case. The videos, interactive content and interactive software like GeoGebra are helping students interact and understand certain concepts by making abstract concepts clearer. I am seeing a lot of collaborative teaching and learning among teachers and students respectively. Teachers too are acquiring knowledge of various teaching methods to enhance active teaching and learning. The teachers are quickly getting and enhancing their pedagogical skills to take full advantage of the huge potential of the TabLab to enhance students learning.
This wonderful initiative is not lacking challenges. The teachers still need to be coached on strategies to meaningfully integrate the TabLab into the curriculum. In particular, teachers need long term skills and strategies for effectively using in the Tanzanian curriculum to enhance students outcomes and students learning goals. The ultimate student success depends on teachers using not only the TabLab but other teaching aids to support sophisticated, hands on/minds on and multidisciplinary learning projects. Teachers need a system of support at various levels for integrating technology and overcoming isolation as they grapple with new and unfamiliar approaches to teaching and tools for learning. They need real tiem technical support in resolving problems related to hardware, software. These are problems that are often interfering with and even derailing the teaching and learning process in the school. AMI is committed and dedicated to helping and supporting them.