Huge savings on books as KIE rolls out online learning
The Kenya Institute of Education has put learning materials for Form One and Two into a digital format, paving the way for a new schooling experience and an era of huge savings on text books.
The institute has teamed up with computer micro-processor manufacturer, Intel and software and computer parts maker, Mustek East Africa, for the provision of software and hardware to make it possible to deliver the e-learning content in schools.
Mustek is providing mini-laptops (Netbooks) in conjunction with Intel.
“We have digitised all form one and two curriculum and science and mathematics for primary schools from class four to seven,” said John Kimotho, Kenya Institute of Education (KIE) deputy director.
“Effective use of ICT can more fully engage students, enable dynamic curricula, and provide the freedom to soar beyond textbooks and classroom walls. It can ignite student learning, improve educational outcomes and equip children for the future to compete successfully in the knowledge economy.”
E-learning was mostly adopted in higher learning institutions mainly because of lack of local material and poor infrastructure.
However, this is changing as more public institutions adopt it following partnerships with computer manufactures and re-sellers and drop in computer prices.
Improved telecoms infrastructure such as TEAMs and SEACOM cables paving way for fall in Internet prices has also boosted e-learning.
Mr Kimotho said the new technology—Intel Teach Programme— is a tool for building skills and advancing individual and national competitiveness.
Education experts say technology, connectivity, and digital content will provide the infrastructure that facilitates transition from teacher-centric to student-centric classrooms.
In a student-centric approach, students work together in groups to share information, learn interaction skills, and create projects.
Students increasingly become independent, self-directed learners that build their knowledge and explore new topics.
Experts credit the Netbook’s appealing combination of compact size, light weight and low price for its popularity.
Mustek’s sales manager, Albert Kigada, said by adopting the mini- laptops the government will be able to cut costs on acquiring the hardware by nearly seven times while parents will benefit by not buying text books as pupils will rely on online content.
“We have a number of school representatives that have already been taken through this solution and some are ready to have this rolling out,” Mr Kimotho said.
Kamiti and Mangu High schools are among those that are already using the online materials.
The Intel Teach Programme has an educational environment that uses technology to create a one-to-one relationship —not just between the student and computer – but between the student and a broad set of learning resources, Intel Corporation corporate communications manager, Suraj Shah said.
“The programme will also make Internet accessible to rural areas as it is knowledge-based and if utilised well could add value to what many students have been able to gain from teachers,” said Mr Shah.
The programme helps teachers to be more effective educators through professional development focused on how to integrate technology into their lessons, promoting problem solving critical thinking and collaboration skills among the students.