E – Learning for Kenya.

Future Education Trends.

Dear Friends.

How many of you still know or have in your possession the notes you took as a young person on your first day in kindergarten or primary school? What about a record of all the quizzes, homework or notes you took while in your primary, secondary, high school or University education? Do you remember how much your parents spent on exercise books by the famous kartasi brand, sharpeners, erasers, pencils or speedo ballpens? Finally how much were your textbooks and where are they now?

http://www.nytimes.com/1997/04/06/education/for-college-classroom-blackboards-an-electronic-form.html

I ask this because recently I read something about the government of Kenya saying how much they would save by eliminating expensive telephone bills with Telkom Kenya once they link all their ministries on fibre-optic network. Now imagine how many trees where wasted on printing paper for textbooks, writing pads and the billions of shillings used by KIE [Kenya Institute of Education] in printing textbooks every year because they have revised something that is now outdated. Many of you might have heard that Pluto has ceased to be referred to as a planet. That means all Kenyan textbooks would have to be reprinted to reflect that we now have 8 planets and not 9.

So what can we do to address this problem? With the fibre-optic cables about to go live within a month from now bandwidth prices will reduce. In addition cellphones are becoming commonplace and everyone is talking of an e-society and the need for Africans to overcome their ignorance of technology. Sometime ago I heard PS Dr. Bitange Ndemo saying our youth need to develope local content and that it would be useless to build all this infrastructure in telecomms only for it to become redundant.

 ELECTRONIC BLACKBOARDS and E-BOOKS

Well technology once again has come to our rescue.Imagine you went to school and instead of the teacher having dusty chalk he had a light pen that wrote on an electronic blackboard that was connected to the internet and had the entire KIE syllabus. Imagine that instead of carrying several heavy books for seven subjects that you planned to study on a monday you walked to school with a single lightweight e-notebook. Now you would have the option once you got to school to slot your laptop to a port on your desk or connect wirelessly to the school e-board using their VPN, LAN/WAN or via WiMax or WiFi.

If you needed to buy a certain textbook you would pay for it using M-pesa and it would be instantaneously downloaded to your laptop or iphone. If a revision or typographical error was discovered it would be corrected easily and any new developments would be instantly updated.

In addition instead of you spending alot of time taking down notes (copying notes) from the blackboard or teacher they would just be automatically downloaded onto your e-notebook. This would save time and allow the classroom time to be used more productively explaining difficult concepts. In addition in topics such as science or geography you would actually be able to see a caldera, oxbow lake or tabletop mountain instead of having the teacher draw it or explain how it looks. This would be the ultimate audio-visual aid that could ensure students have a clear understanding of what they are learning.

In teaching languages the exact accents or pronunciation of words would be played back ensuring precise understanding without any ambiguity. Educationists are in agreement that visual and audio aids can dramatically improve learning to the young and adults alike. In addition since such a system would also be interactive it would stimulate as well as offer valuable feedback.

Eventually such a system would also be useful in distance learning ensuring that students studying in remote regions where transport links or weather conditions were difficult would continue learning unhindered and with less costs incurred. Think about it the potential for this type of learning is almost unlimited. It could allow African kids to attend a British English lesson taught by a very good teacher without leaving home. It could do away with the lack of trained teachers or substandard teachers.

Mexico has already started rolling out this system for it’s children and the developed world is taking notice. Right here in the Netherlands where I live the primary schools have begun adopting this technology for primary school kids.

 

Kenya I believe has a very well developed education system. Infact we are one of the few countries in the world who spend a very large percentage of our GDP on education. This is something every Kenyan should be very proud of. If Kenya took upon itself to introduce this type of e-learning we could leverage our well organized education system into one of the best in the world.

This adoption of technology would also see us develope tremendous local content as every school going child or college student would upload his or her experiences onto an electronic or digital platform. Imagine if every student in Kenya had a blog. It would be phantasmagoric to even imagine the level of creativity that would unleash on our knowledge economy.

Then if we introduced programming early in the school system we would produce kids who were so knowledgeable about IT that we would leapfrog advanced economies in a single generation. 

I am therefore asking my fellow bloggers to spread the word and lobby the govt to invest whatever is necessary to make this a reality. If this is done I can assure you Kenya will be unrecognizable 20 years from now. We will be many times better than India or even China because we have a smaller population and we can up-scale this much faster than they. Then think what this would do to our BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) sector. I can hardly imagine it. 

Sincerely

JellyFish.

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4 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Kenyan Music said,

    There is one simple reason this just can’t take off. Because of the low computer literacy levels in Kenya. It is all well and good talking about these kinds of ideas from your Nairobian utopia, but the reality is that not very many people can use computers in rural Kenya, which forms a large majority of our population

  2. 2

    Do not be suprised that this is bound to happen sooner than l8r

  3. 3

    jellyfishcoolman said,

    Thank you Kenyan Music for your contribution. I have always insisted on being optimistic rather than pessimistic. I know many people are poor and ignorant on computer usage but that shouldn’t stop those who can implement such noble ideas from going ahead and using them. Computer literacy should be encouraged and promoted by everyone including yourself when you visit those rural folks. Take sometime educating them on how a computer can improve their lives. Afterall many of the brightest kids in the country started from humble and rural backgrounds. Instead of complaining why something will never work let’s instead work to ensure it does work. Again, Barack Obama wouldn’t have become President if he hadn’t tried. Many black people had already dismissed him as a failure before he even started. Kenya Yes We Can.

  4. 4

    Roberto said,

    What’s up, I wish for to subscribe for this blog to get hottest updates, so where can i do it please assist.


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