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iSchool

  As you know, one of the partners that I am working with is iSchool Zambia.  They are creating a complete curriculum for Zambian schools.  It follows the standard Zambian curriculum but is much more interactive, challenging, and prescribed.  By prescribed, I mean that it essentially provides a daily work plan for the teachers that gives them specific instructions on what to do with the class, what questions to ask, etc.  The typical Zambian education is very focused on rote learning.  The teacher tells the children something, the children repeat it back and then they repeat this process several times over.  Children are rarely asked to think for themselves but to repeat what they have been told.  iSchool changes that model but it is still difficult for teachers to teach in a new way (this is where the guidance and training really helps).

  Since I know nothing about education, I help with various technical areas.  For schools that don’t have electricity, I have been working on pulling together a solar solution.  It is a bit outside my expertise but I have learned a lot.  Thankfully, we now have a person who is actually knowledge in this area who is taking over that part of my work.  At the same time, the decision has been made to pursue using tablets in place of computers (about half of the curriculum is computer based).  This is something that I know pretty well so I have been working on this aspect of iSchool for the past several weeks.  We have identified an inexpensive tablet and I have locked it down so that the children can only use it for the proper purposes. 

   Yesterday we visited one of the schools and replaced their netbooks (small laptops) with these tablets.  I spent the day watching the children interact with them to determine the appropriateness and usability as well as other technical areas such as real battery life.  Since the kids were used to accessing the iSchool content on the computers, they very quickly adapted to the tablets.  There were several “hitches” but that is why we are there… to learn what works and what does not.  Another person with iSchool recorded the children using the tablets with a video camera and I was asked to take some photos.  The video does a much better job of showing the real interaction.  For example, the tablets are a bit slower than the PC so there is a lag between when the student hits the button and when the tablet responds (I have to work on that).  From the video, you can see the children repeatedly pressing buttons but with a normal camera, you just see a smiling child pressing a button. 

  Here are a few of the photos that I took…

IMG_1860IMG_1877IMG_1915IMG_1985

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Donna Moeller
    October 7, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    The pictures are great. The children look so excited and happy. I like the uniforms. I think it is so interesting all the different style, color and types of uniforms. Thanks, MOM

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