E-LEARNING

Tech for education during coronavirus

Some institutions have already moved fast by providing an alternative of learning from home

In Summary

•The University of Nairobi has provided a way in which the students doing their thesis can interact with their supervisors online

•The online learning opportunities and other technologies in learning can increase educational productivity by accelerating learning reducing costs associated with instructional material or program delivery

Pupils display some of the Digital Literacy Learning Programme in Mombasa. /FILE
Pupils display some of the Digital Literacy Learning Programme in Mombasa. /FILE

After the directive given by President Uhuru Kenyatta for schools to be closed due to the three cases conformed of the Coronavirus, there is a need for them to find a way to reach the students so learning can continue.

Some institutions have already moved fast by providing an alternative to learning from home. The University of Nairobi has provided a way in which the students doing their thesis can interact with their supervisors online.

Recently Amref Health Africa launched a mobile learning solution for the health workers, Jibu. It was to help them learn from wherever they are at their convenience. Learning institutions in secondary school and primary school should provide their students with these technologies to help them learn at home.

Some of the technology they can use are; virtual classrooms, emails, blogs and discussions boards. The online learning opportunities and other technologies in learning can increase educational productivity by accelerating learning reducing costs associated with instructional material or program delivery.

Virtual classroom which is one of the ways in which learning can go on is an online environment that allows for live interaction between the tutor and the learner as they are participating in learning activities. Through the live interactions, there is an online whiteboard which is a learning space both for the teacher and student that allows them to write and interact with students in real-time via the internet.

It can be accessed through the laptop and tablets. With WhatsApp in our phones and laptops, the teachers and students can easily communicate with each other via voice calls and videos. The teacher or lecturer can create a group where he or she can be sending in the notes and videos of the related topic and subject that they are tackling. The student in return can send a question to the lecturer through the group.

They can also use the email to send heavy materials such as e-books which are huge and cannot be sent through WhatsApp. Though these types of technology in education are good for productivity and saves in the cost of material or programme delivery, there are challenges.

One of the challenges in Kenya is the internet connection in remote areas. Without internet connection, the students will not be able to access the information that the teachers will share online. Having access to a smartphone is also a challenge for some of the students in remote areas. They only have phones that are able to store phone numbers and send messages (kabambe). Having to send them notes through email and WhatsApp, they cannot access it. It puts them at a disadvantage.

But the government has put steps to ensure that primary school students have lessons ongoing through radio. That is a good step to help the students though they do not know how far the students have gone with the syllabus.