SHARING KNOWLEDGE IS POWER

Understanding student’s problems is a very crucial part in the learning process. Poor performance is one of the biggest challenges in most schools. Poor performance comes due to problems like poor reading and writing skills. Through our ICT training in schools, we have been able to come up with peer to peer learning as a solution to address this problem.We started by creating a collaborative learning environment where sharing knowledge and learning from each other is encouraged among the students. Since students had the desire to learn ICT, this was a very good beginning point. We started  by identifying quick learners and average learners and  grouped them with students with learning difficulties. This made sure that they all learnt from each other since they all had different learning abilities.

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A few weeks later, we realized that  those who were scared to even touch the computers at the beginning had started touching them and following what their friends were telling them to do in addition to getting some guidance from the trainers.Most of them were happy and excited to see this happening.

Apart from improving their performance, students have also developed skills such as; working collaboratively with others, leadership, problem solving, sharing, communication, critical thinking and how to make friends.

Peer to Peer learning is becoming  increasingly important and  is being used in a variety of disciplines in many countries.

Maendeleo Foundation continues to employ different strategies  so as to address even the most difficult problems that prevent learners from exploiting their  full potential  through using ICT.

Written by:

Kiddawalime Isaac (ICT Trainer Maendeleo Foundation)

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An Update on our MSCC

The Mobile Solar Computer Classroom (MSCC) is a project that was started in 2007 at Maendeleo Foundation, and has carried on ever since.

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The project was aimed at solving the problem of rampant load shedding and inaccessibility to hydroelectricity in rural areas of Uganda.

With the MSCC, Maendeleo Foundation is able to extend its computer services to the most remote areas in Uganda, even without access to electricity. This is important to us because these rural populations lack the resources to access computers. While some more urban school children may be able to travel a few kilometers to access an internet café or library, these rural villages do not have those same privileges.

This school term, the MSCC is used in seven schools in Uganda. In these schools, our training team moves with an all-terrain vehicle equipped with a minimum of 30 laptops, a solar system, projector, camera and other items. The team trains around 300 pupils in each school. The solar energy is used to power the laptops, projector and any other electronic devices that the team may need. Because the project is self sustainable, the schools visited don’t need to provide anything except excited and engaged pupils.

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The MSCC even allows teachers to use a solar-powered projector to show presentations.

Students are not simply learning how to turn on a computer, either. Our Maendeleo trained students are able to type, create documents, use software such as Microsoft Office and our own Maendeleo software, access the internet, and operate equipment such as computer mice and printers.

So, why is this project so important to us? Technology literacy and the ability to operate a computer are incredibly useful skills. With these abilities, individuals can find employment to create income, stay connected with other people, and even use the internet to find information regarding things such as health concerns, agricultural tips, and current events.

Through the power of solar energy, over 50,000 Ugandans have had a chance to learn and use computers, and 98% of these individuals have been from remote villages. We are excited for the MSCC program to continue to expand and reach even more students.

Students are back for the second school term!

6th June, 2016 was the official start of term two for schools in Uganda. It was an exciting day and the whole week has been busy with parents taking their children back to school.

There are public and private schools in Uganda. Parents are free to take their child to any one of these schools depending on what resources they have available to them and their personal preferences.

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Students travel by foot, bus, car, and even taxi depending on how far their school is.

During this period, business is highly booming in these private schools. The school fees in some of the private primary and secondary schools are the same as the fees for a university student’s semester. Clearly, parents really value their children’s education and understand how important it is.

I accompanied my younger brother to one of the private schools in Mukono and I was overwhelmed by the required items these children have to take to school! First of all, each class has its own color of jerrycans, basins, plates, cups, and mosquito nets. You can imagine walking the whole of Kikuubo looking for a pink 20 litre jerrycan! The list of requirements is long and includes items like brooms, toilet balls, and toilet cleaning detergents, toilet paper, scrubbing brushes, reams of printing paper and ruled paper, tennis rackets, barbed wire and much more. Of course, the schools need all of these items to accommodate the students.

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Students arrive at school with the many items required.

One would think that the high school fees would cover these items. However, parents have to buy all these items and more in addition to paying the school fees.

These materials are enough to put up a serious supermarket! I wonder if one student can use a whole ream of paper (500 sheets) in just one term. If a school has over 1,000 students, they are collecting more than 1,000 reams of paper! Surely that is too much. However, we must value education.

With the current economic hardships, most parents will face loans and debts in pursuit of quality education for their children.

As educators and an organization aiming to complement the education system, Maendeleo Foundation hopes to alleviate some of the stresses of students heading back to school by beginning our programs right away at the start of the term. We are already back in schools and excited to make every school day count for students, regardless of all of the materials needed and time spent getting back to school! In addition to the education pupils receive in their schools, Maendeleo provides them with extra training and opportunities every school term.

Happy second term of school to all students, teachers, and parents!

By Talemwa Charlotte, Volunteer, Mass Communication Graduate from Uganda Christian University (UCU)

The joy of teaching

Primary three students of Kiyunga Primary excited about using a computer for the very first time!
Primary three students of Kiyunga Primary excited about using a computer for the very first time!

When we started taking computer literacy to schools, we were not quite sure how long we would last. The first training team that consisted of  the two founders of Maendeleo Foundation; Eric Morrow and Asia, would be completely wiped out at the end of the lessons. Sweat would be dripping all over their faces from all the activity of loading up a car with chairs, tables, the tent, a 70kg Solar battery and assembling everything at schools and then teaching over 100 students  every day.

Continue reading “The joy of teaching”