Inititated OLPC projected in Bura tana region school, In rural area of Kenya
The main objective of this workshop was to provide a comprehensive introduction to OLPC. The workshop also explained the tremendous milestones achieved to date in providing educational opportunities to children in developing world.
This workshop introduced the XO, its preloaded content and the Sugar learning platform to people from organizations who will be involved in preparation and implementation of large teacher trainings and deployments in South Africa.
The workshop also examined what has been learned in Rwanda during the past four years. The OLPC team from Rwanda shared its experiences, achievements, challenges and perspectives moving forward in its ongoing effort to integrate OLPC technology into the Rwandan education system.
OLPC South Africa Foundation invited some of its friends, associates and colleagues who will be instrumental in furthering the OLPC cause in South Africa. Invitees included individuals from the National Education Department and other thought leaders from various organizations. Approximately 25 to 30 individuals attended the workshop.
The dreams has become true no illiteracy in Rwanda any more. Following a growing concern about the lack of a reading and writing culture among Rwandans in general. Rwanda library services project was established to develop literacy and a reading culture in Rwanda. The library was officially opened to the public on 5th October 2012 by the Rwandan First Lady, Mme Jeannette Kagame, in presence of other minister in Rwandan government.
In his speech the Minister of Culture and Sport said that “ One Laptop Per Child program is key project with a radical impact to eradicate the lack of a reading culture and writing in Rwanda”. Arriving at the library entrance, the first thing you notice is a very nice premise with a larger picture of Rwandan kids using OLPC laptops, that is the outside view of OLPC’s part of the library, branded by OLPCA and opened in collaboration with the Ministry of education of Rwanda and Rotary Club Virunga.
The Rwanda Library Services Project was started by Rotary Club of Kigali – Virunga with the aim of creating the first ever public library in Rwanda. The members in recognition of ignorance as one major contributor to the horrific genocide against Tutsi in 1994, decided to come up with a project that would contribute immensely to the reconstruction of the country.
This is the place where kids will be learning basic computing skills but also enjoy a constructionist approach to learning. It will also offer t scratch and turtle art lessons, logo materials, robotics for the kids to acquire an analytic approach to problem solving. OLPC sees this as a great opportunity to share the OLPC program with the rest of the country. Given the school servers being installed in schools countrywide OLPC program in Rwanda will echo the library in all OLPC schools through the eBooks they have acquired.
As this OLPC corner in Kigali library will be open for all user of sugar learning environment, free wireless internet connection will give an opportunity for private schools students who are not privileged by the government’s deployment of OLPC laptops countrywide which targets mostly the public schools.
OLPC being a part of the first public library open in Rwanda is not surprising because President Paul Kagame has been among the first believer in OLPC technology in education, since 2009 Government of Rwanda is fully engaged in getting OLPC technology to each Rwandan child in primary education, before the end of year 2012 will be closing the deployment of 200 000 Laptops deployed in all 30 districts of Rwanda.
Primary students in Kicukiro schools, using OLPC Laptops to study and aware the community the effects of an emerging drug” Datura Inoxia” locally know as 36 ( trente six) in Kicukiro area.
The whole idea of holding this five days camp came from an observation made by Pauline Nyirahirwa (working on learning side of OLPC project in Ministry of Education of Rwanda). During her time voluntarily working with some students in holidays, helping them to learn more about uses of their laptops, she observed a strange movement of youth in school neighbouring forest( called ETO), and curiously she asked students about what happens in that forest, students told her about drug users taking this forest as their hidden place to practice this risky acts. She was inspired by this to suggest “Drug” as one of the themes for the three OLPC’s students camps were being organised by OLPC project -MINEDUC. Finally a five days Camp Started 16thApril
with title “ Children’s Voice Against Drugs”involving totally 24 students from two primary schools ; KICUKIRO & Nyanza both neighbouring this forest. This camp helped students to use their XO Laptops to research, gather all information about different types of drugs found and used in this area. Students also had to use the gathered information to teach other students and community members about impacts of drugs use on health, security and country development in general. Four days, students interviewed ( recording pictures, videos, writing answers using their laptops) community member, parents and invited police officer. On the last day of the camp during the campaign at school in which students were presenting their findings, a new emerging drug , declared to be famous in youth and most used was 36 ( Trente six, named after the maximum number of seed you don’t have to exceed as dose taking this drug). This plant is actually a poisonous helicinogen plant scientifically called Datura inoxia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Datura_inoxia, which is normally prohibited to be grown, sold, or bought in some countries mostly in Latina America.
Different students publically gave their testimony, how they came to know about this drug, all memories mostly started last three years ago. Some students admitted to used this plants seeds as drug many times, and now still seeing their friends using it. They described the effect of this drug on their health, as lost of their sensibility, temporal unconsciousness, hallucinations, vomiting, throat pain and headaches. Rutembesa Peter, P5 at Kicukiro primary school said” my brother used it, and many times he felt unconscious, passes his nights in toilets or bushes, he use to come home in the morning acting like crazy, insul
ting people, etc”.
All students confirms a high level of use of this plant seeds by students, street children and community members, mostly Bicycle taxi-men (Abanyonzi), man-power at Kicukiro market (Abakarani), and other people in this neighborhood. From the information gathered by students showed that Datura plants (36) contain dangerous levels of poison and may be fatal if ingested by humans and other animals, including livestock and pets.
Teachers confessed to not knew about this plant, which
is robustly growing every where around the school, neither the history of it being used as drug by students. The school authorities are now eager to conduct more extended awareness activities using these students work on their laptops to make sure all students and community members know about the poisonous effects of this plant.
This camp has been a great success. Besides knowledge constructed by these students about drugs, this camp helped students to build some 21st century skills , like communication skills, creativity through team work, information searching, preparing presentations using Portfolio activity and confidently present their findings to the audience.
I am writing this as reply to the comment made by Dr.Blaise Talla on the post ” Good learning environment for better job creator” in his comment he asked if I don’t think that we may also face the problem of quality in education if the curriculum keeps changing?
Even though my point was not necessarily to change/keep changing the curriculum rather than change the way we implement it by providing a learning environment spaces/time/tools/opportunity for learners to construct their entrepreneurial knowledge. let try to see, what is the contribution of the curriculum itself in teaching&Learning:
- Curriculum meaning you have to learn this on a given day, example; At the ninth of May in your eighth years. It guides teachers what to teach one after other as well as to test whether students retained something within the framework of curriculum. Does this really regulate or ensure the student learned ..let say it is! then how do we regulate the quality of learning ? is it by testing how many right & wrong answers they can give to questions picked from the curriculum? We both know that this method of evaluation doesn’t help in testing some important intends of education like; managerial skills, problem solving, decision making, negotiating skills..etc.
I think the curriculum just gives better/orderly/easier ways for the teacher to instruct in given time period, but it doesn’t give better opportunity for learners to learn/construct their knowledge on curriculum’s content, because knowledge …is not the information, a commodity to be delivered at one end (teacher, book,..) and received, unchanged, at the other ( learner) but the lesson from experience. Knowledge is about which new or more lucid understanding constructed/retained by learner from the learning process.
As teaching never be direct and as learning does not occur always as result of teaching, changing curriculum or increasing specialization ( new subject disciplines) …etc will not sufficiently solve the lack of creativity, innovation, managerial skills..in our graduands, unless our learning environment expose our learners to situations that require them to resolve the unresolvable tension between being embedded in situations and emerging from embeddedness, which is actually the definition of human development.
I would like to say that today’s teaching ( in Rwanda, I think is the same in many countries too) is its not effective in the sense the students are not in the position to apply what they have studied in the practical way, which shows that we don’t exactly creating a better learning environment rather an easier teaching environment that focuses only on percentage means mugging up and flushing out every thing after exam.
This shows that our teaching system should reform the way of educating their student for instance following analogy coaching, smart classes were the students can analyse and they can be think in a realistic way,Initiative taking ( even those involving funds uses & project implementations), construct their knowledge mainly based on their interest instead of limited curriculum in terms of time and credits. Make a life in school a pathway to build an experience of problem solving, initiative taking, managerial skills …which are core of successful entrepreneurial character. Otherwise we will be asking our graduands to show/prove what we prevented them to have access to. The quality of education should not be much regarded in how we teach, delivering curriculum content rather than how leanrs are building knowledge from both the process of teaching and learning.
Thanks again for reading and sharing this blog,
Since 2009, Rwandan Government through its One Laptop Per Child program is deploying countrywide the learning laptops to primary aged students, the target is to reach each Rwandan student in grade four of primary school. This distribution is only free to public schools. The deployment is being done following equitable geographical distribution, both rural and urban. At least five primary schools in each district received laptops to each child from grade four to six (P4,P5 & P6). At the end of 2011, more than 141 schools countrywide were benefiting this program, among them 12 private schools mostly located in three districts of Kigali city privately bought laptops through ministry of education. On this Google map, you find the exact location of schools with laptops, each yellow icon represents a school and shows their respective number of laptops.
This deployment follows or quickly being followed by deployment of basic infrastructure like electricity or solar energy, internet connectivity, school server for content and anti-theft protection. For capacity building ,a stream of teacher trainings on how to use these laptops in teaching have been carried out by a special team trained for this purpose.