Eshibinga village in Western Kenya has all the hallmarks of a rural setting. The day starts with the cocks stretching their necks, ready for their morning wake up calls. The cattle belch out their sickly morning groans ready to be reunited with their calves, the chickens in their agitated restlessness, are ready to call for the freedom morning brings. The sun, majestic master of all, stir and readies itself for its upward thrust, which is never a timid motion on the equator.
But that is where its remoteness ends for now! Thanks to the new digital intitiaves of Ms Wanja, now the local schoolchildren will be are able to learn new literacy skills and get to interact with other students in other parts of the world . The teaching community in the village will also be enlightened as they will be able to learn of developments many miles away, while eventually the farmers in the area will learn from what farmers in other parts of the world are doing to make their farms more productive.
Recently, I was introduced to http://www.playgroundgallery.org/ managed by Wanja a student at Post University in the USA. She was undertaking a project that sought global connections. Jane envisioned a project that would introduce use of technology to support instruction in education among rural schools in Kenya. Alongside, Jane successfully wrote a proposal to laptop contributors that approved laptops for Eshibinga school to promote literacy skills among learners. After reading her thoughts, I decided to involve students of Eshibinga School in Western Kenya. I picked on a class of 55 pupils and I showed them a laptop. This was the beginning of technology stampede! Every student wanted just to lay their hands on the laptop.
My first assignment was to patiently teach the students a basic computer skills. I showed the kids how to get a computer started, how a website looks like and how to open email account. I wanted them to participate in a Personal Learning Environments and share their experiences of their first encounter with technology. At first I read aloud some of the experiences of other students in the USA had written about technology.What a gap!
Having these kids post their emails and thoughts on the internet has been one of the greatest joys of my life. I now cannot stop and the kids won’t stop craving for more! I want to continue teaching them. What I lack are the means to do it since I only have my personal laptop.
As a professional teacher, I think integrating technology in education would make a huge mark in learning and teaching. We need people like Jane and others with similar passion to put technology across. Technology is here with us, we cannot wish it away. We can only pass it on to generations that will come after us. Hopefully Eshibinga will not be left behind.