NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 13 – “So class, what is a gift?, ” teacher Loice Auka poses the question to class one children learning social studies at Ilbissil Boarding Primary School in Kajiado County.
“Teacher, Teacher, Teacher,” they all shout trying to catch the attention of their teacher.
Yes Naserian, “a gift is a sweet…”
The lesson: “Dangers of accompanying and taking gifts from strangers” is being undertaken in the school’s first ever computer laboratory, where all 28 students are armed with a tablet.
Is the Jubilee Government laptop initiative effective? Does it improve the students learning skills or not?
In search for answers, Capital News crew visited the school, which is located some 60 kilometres from Namanga, the border of Kenya and Tanzania and 140 kilometres from Nairobi, to get a firsthand experience on effectiveness of the programme.
The school has three trained teachers and on this day, teacher Loice is in charge.
Once the class settles, she first asks the pupils to switch on their tablets so that she can connect them to the Internet.
From her laptop, she can detect all the tablets that have been switched on.
Once connected, the pupils can be able to view what is reflected on the projector from the teacher’s laptop.
To get the attention of the pupils, who are often glued to the screen, with the ‘know it all’ operating the gadget, she has an option of locking the tablets from the comfort of her laptop.
Every time she does that, it is evident from their facial expressions that they’re not amused.
Caroline Marasol is one of the trained teachers in the school and draws the picture of how different a class using text books is from that where the content is on the tablets.
“Tablets kill boredom in the classroom,” she says.
“It means the students’ attention is guaranteed and also they are likely to understand faster and better. All contents have visual and audio effects such that a student has to be fully alert. ”
After every lesson, the pupils are logged off from the internet server, asked to tackle questions on various topics offline and submit their answers on the tablets.
According to Marasol, all the schools class one and two pupils know the basics of operating the tablets.
“It means if the programme continues, the students will be more exposed to technology,” she says.
“Our school is within Maasailand, but we now have technology “.