This week, I took a daily 1 hr journey to Rwamagana B Primary School along with two KIE interns Janvier and Pie. I was very encouraged to start training here because there are some new, young teachers who are eager and motivated to integrate laptops into their teaching. Unfrotunatley, since the training was postponed 1 week we only have three days with teachers and two days with students. Because of this, I decided it was best to focus on creating an Etoys book. This is more easy for the teachers to see how it can be used in their classes, as opposed to Scratch, where most teachers have trouble seeing how they can use Scratch. So the first two days we worked with the teachers we focused on a basic introduction to creating an Etoys book. The first day, they would create a short book about the topic of their choosing and the second day, they can develop a small book on malaria. It was great to see the teachers excited to create books on their own. Most decided to write about the school, one teacher even tried to create the school crest.They were very happy to learn a new activity as opposed to write, record and Scratch which we usually focus on in the beginning.
For the two days we made sure they could paint in Etoys, add text, import pictures, and add pages in the book.
But as always, the best part was on the third day when 100 students joined. This was the first time that we would have teachers teach the students what they had learned. This was a great idea and something I wish we had been doing all along because it worked wonderfully! Two teachers volunteered to run the classes the first day and they did a fantastic job! The allowed their students to have fun, explore and allowed them to creative without dictating every thing that had to do. One teacher repeated what we had done the first day and had students create their own book. He had them first write their names and showed them all the ways they could change the apperance of text. Students really liked changing their text!
The next morning I spoke to one of the teachers about how fantastic they did the prior day. He was very happy to hear this, but in our conversation, he mentioned that he does not see himself staying with the school very long. Currently, he is not being paid, and all he can do is write a letter to the district to inquire why he does not receive his promised salary. He is not sure when he will hear back from them. He also says that it takes him 2 hours to walk to school each day. He says it would be impossible for him to stay as a teacher in these conditions.
Once the students returned for the second day, it was so great to see what they had all done at home. Some students worked on their books, other painted pictures, took pictures, and some created projects in Scratch (which they had learned in prior trainings).
By the end of the second day, almost all the students had some great books started (some finished). I copied some of their work:
Another great thing was that the school allowed the students to keep their laptops for the rest of the vacation until school started back on Monday. They all applauded and yelped in happiness. While it was great to work with the students, one of the best things I saw was the teachers who worked on their own books with the students. Sometimes they asked their students from helped ans sometimes the students asked them. They seemed very happy and completley comfrotable with this exchange.
The last day of the camp was on Saturday, with just teachers. We started by talking to the teachers about their week. The teachers said they found teaching with laptop very easy. They said they thought they could easily use Etoys in their classes once school begins. This was fantastic to hear. They said they were very happy with the training and now that they see how to teach using the laptop, they wanted to continue learning. They were nervous that the support for the school would stop. Would told them that they would continue working with them in anyway they wish. So after some discussion, they asked our team to come to the school every Thursday and we could work with a teacher, in the class, and help them teach with the laptop, and after we could offer some technical training to fix the 100+ laptops that had been broken in 3 years.
We also had a visitor from NCDC (national Cirriculem Devlepoment Center), this was intersting because it was great to hear the great questions from the teachers. One question I really loved was “since our kids know how to uyse the laptops, and we will sytart uysing them in class, then why don';t we intergrate lapotop use into the year end national exam?” I really liked this question because it made me think about what I had heard earlier in the week from Mars and Sandrine, and shows what a major shift in the entire educational system is now needed since the laptops are now here.