Technology for Education

Information & communications technology (ICT) boosts student learning and performance at our school. This program prepares its young citizens with the knowledge and skills to participate in the digital world economy.

ICT is positively changing and shaping education globally in even the poorest countries. However, there are pervasive barriers to leveraging ICT in Tanzania. They include a lack of resources such as electricity, Internet connectivity, and qualified teachers who know how to use education technology (EDTECH). Precious Project's approach addresses these challenges and more.

Technology

The technological tools we use at the Precious English Medium Primary School were selected for their ease of use, proven to facilitate learning, and non-reliance on electricity or Internet. They are designed to improve student performance, develop independent discovery and thinking skills. These tools build self-confidence and inspire each Precious student to discover their strengths and passions. They include:

Tablets (iPad Mini 4 with 128GB)

Tablets offer hundreds of e-books & educational software titles to build skills and reinforce learning. In addition to these applications, students use the tablets to connect to WiFi-enabled devices (see below) for accessing digital lessons, quizzes, textbooks, and other educational materials.

Learning Management System (Kalibri)

LMS is a small portable wireless device that provides digital lessons and tracks students' performance on math, science, and English. Up to 40 students can concurrently connect to the server with a tablet to take the lessons and quizzes at their own pace while teachers receive reports on each child's progress.

‍Offline Digital Library (RACHEL)

RACHEL is a collection of leading educational websites rebuilt on a Raspberry Pi server with a router so students can access the content offline. The library includes video lessons (Khan Academy), encyclopedia (Wikipedia), textbooks, e-books, educational games, coding programs, world geography, and even medical and agricultural information for students and their families.

A Modern Approach to Learning

Challenges

Despite Tanzania’s commendable efforts to increase education funding to provide primary schooling for all, the country's quality of education remains among the lowest in Africa.

Some of the reasons for this are inadequate teacher training and learning materials, and the use of decades-old methods focused on rural life skills and passive learning. Instead, Precious' ICT program encourages creativity, independent learning, and critical thinking in areas such as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math).

A Multi-faceted Approach

  • Integrating EDTECH in the classrooms combines active digital learning with traditional teaching. This is called 'blended learning'*1
  • Implementing technology that is easy and intuitive for children to use, not dependent on reliable electricity or the Internet, and simple to maintain
  • Deploying the technology in phases, collaborating with teachers in the selection, use and evaluation of courseware for each class
  • Monitoring and benchmarking student performance and development.
  • Ongoing teacher training in use of EDTECH and blended learning
Addicted to learning
Kids are playing word-games with iPads after school.
Assisting Students
This teacher is assisting a group of students with reading comprehension
Gamification
Two students are competing in answering the fastest in math questions.

Applying Blended Learning

Traditional learning involves one-way flow of knowledge from teacher to student. In blended learning, students actively learn with tablets and peer-to-peer work, combined with teacher instructional time.

Blended learning improves learning, creativity, self-confidence, and critical thinking, as students can progress at their own pace.

Accomplishments

  • First primary school in Tanzania to leverage tablet and server-based technologies to boost student learning and skills
  • Increased students' English and Math skills since ICT deployment in classrooms
  • Trained teachers in use of educational technology in their classrooms and 'blended learning'
  • Digital learning improved student outcomes and engagement in all grades (PreK-7th)
  • Educational software improved curriculum in English, Math, Sciences, French, Geography, and Technology.

Project Leads and Contacts

  • Allan Andersen, US
  • Ina Ghaznavi, US
  • Msafiri Songoro, Tanzania
  • Christian Wilson, Tanzania
For more information : ina@preciousproject.org

Newsletters

September 2018
Precious STEAMs ahead
Technology inspires students and advances learning
January 2018
Precious School Ranked #1
Precious Project Achieves 100% Pass Rate on Tanzanian National Exam