Technology in education

Enthusiastic girl's interacting with educational apps on tablets

Immediately after reflecting about the just concluded very busy and satisfying 5th Maseno maths camp, I traveled to Nairobi overnight and then headed to Arusha Karatu, Tanzania to follow up on the TabLab education project in Banjika Secondary school. Teachers and students were equally excited as usual, to see me again when I arrived in the school. Calling me by my Tanzanian nickname “Mr TabLab” they greeted and spoke to me in Kiswahili obviously asking about the same questions they have always asked before but I do not get tired answering back. I also just remembered I was given nickname “Koffi” in Ghana by maths teachers during the “teachercreateproject” I facilitated at AIMS Ghana in July 2014.

While in the school for that week, I spent time discussing the difficulties and obstacles they encounter while using the TabLab and how they might overcome these problems next time. I spent time with the interested teachers advising and at times helping them prepare for lessons. I have always emphasized to them not just to use the tablets because they are there. Teachers have to find innovative, engaging ways to integrate tablets in their lessons. We spent the rest of the week exploring with the teachers how to plan enriching lessons with the tablets, by thinking about how they as teachers can give power to their students to control their own learning given the available RACHEL et al resources on Tablets.

Particularly, there is this maths teacher who has fallen in love with GeoGebra ever since I introduced it to her. GeoGebra is a very dynamic open source maths tool for teaching and learning geometry, algebra, statistics and calculus. She was preparing to start teaching her next topic - Transformations and did not know what to do. I immediately tasked her to think about one activity that will help her introduce the topic. In the activity she had to think of new ways about how to plan to use GeoGebra in her introductory lesson. Much of the time was spent discussing about her ideas and how effective the task was at promoting learning transformation. In the planning she had to think about the technological skills that her students will need before they can do the tasks. She had to develop short pre-tasks to help students develop and practice the necessary competencies in advance of her introductory transformation lesson. There are distinctive differences in the way different subjects use Tablets and by sharing together with other teachers we build a collective experience exploring new ways of teaching using the Tablets.