My first interaction was with students from Kahuho Primary School. Despite numerous challenges facing Kenyan schools in terms of access to quality education, poverty, among other issues, these students exhibited a sense of hope of brighter futures ahead. A close interaction with the school’s deputy head teacher revealed that most of the students had not interacted with technology previously. This being the case, the students were excited with the thought of interacting with technology curated with education materials from RACHEL Plus as well as using Smart Phones for basic research in their communities involving bits of things in Science that they have studied in class. I could tell the excitement as I looked out the sea of young eager faces.
Whereas many Kenyan households have access to mobile phones, it was clear to me that these students had not interacted much with technology. The surprising part, however, was that upon introduction to Rachel education materials in the tablets, the students could constantly raise up their hands indicating that they had discovered Mathematics questions and that they wanted me to guide them in solving difficult questions. Another surprising bit was the way the students choose to work together in groups to solve problems either in Mathematics or Science.
Kenya, like some of her African peers, has been on the forefront in championing for the adoption of technology in learning. Indeed, one of the promises by the current Jubilee government was to introduce laptops to learners from all schools within the country. The project is now in the early stages of implantation in some schools around the country. The project has faced many hurdles from the start with some critics bringing forth arguments such as schools do not have necessary infrastructure such as classrooms, desks etc and so why should the government prioritise on laptops instead of building schools. What this group of critics failed to consider was the voices of the teachers on the ground.
During a visit to Tuyoo Kony Primary School, an intimate interaction with the school’s headteacher revealed to me that the schools are in need of technology more than other facilities. In his own words, “the world is not stopping, shall we wait until we have classrooms and desks? Students can learn using these gadgets in the field (the students were mapping their school using GPS Essentials) or even in small groups”. We, therefore, cannot afford to wait until all schools have better infrastructure in order to distribute these gadgets to students. Just like the school’s head teacher said, the world is not stopping, we must equip our learners with the necessary skills and one way is through the adoption of technology in learning.