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September 26, 2018

Software promotes interactive, fun learning in Kenyan schools

a-Academy Education Director Dr. Martina Amoth showcasing interactive digital content on a-ACADEMY
a-Academy Education Director Dr. Martina Amoth showcasing interactive digital content on a-ACADEMY

Digital learning is becoming a reality in Kenya.

One of the innovative platforms that is contributing to this development is a-ACADEMY.

It is an interactive learning software that can be used by teachers as a teaching tool or by pupils as an engaging self-study tool at home.

Its digital curriculum features thousands of exciting and highly interactive learning activities, pedagogically structured into subjects, standards and units.

The comprehensive content is aligned with the Kenyan curriculum, and has officially been approved by the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development.

The content was developed in close collaboration between African educators, international curriculum editors and instructional designers.

A-Academy's founder and chief executive officer Dr Martina Amoth says the curriculum meets local educational needs and internationally recognised standards.

In an interview with the Star, Amoth said the software integrates teacher guidelines, which makes it easy for teachers to offer their students interactive lessons and to integrate the material into their lesson plans.

“The content motivates pupils by featuring a wide range of activity types such as ticking the right answers, filling in gaps, solving crossword puzzles or answering questions on integrated video and audio exercises,” said Amoth.

She said a-ACADEMY runs online and offline and the low system requirements allows it to be easily used in areas with limited resources and poor infrastructure. “We are bringing education to where it is needed the most,” Amoth said.

Amoth said the digital educational content has been successfully field tested in 15 schools including public, private and non-formal schools to represent all categories within Kenya’s education sector.

Amoth said all teachers and pupils who have participated in the project agreed that a-ACADEMY remarkably enhanced their teaching and learning.

Currently, a-ACADEMY is fully established in multiple schools and regularly used, on average three times a week.

More than 100 teachers have been trained in the application of the programme and over 4,000 learners in close to 50 schools have participated already.

To increase access, a-ACADEMY is now launching an initiative to bring high-quality digital education directly into the homes of all families, which have Internet access.

Amoth said although funds are a challenge, the programme is already being used in several schools in Nairobi, Kiambu, Machakos and Homa Bay counties.

She said the programme, currently with 27 different interactive sessions, is user-friendly and can be operated on cluster basis with a projector or television.

Moses Sumba, the head teacher of Valley View Academy in Mathare slum, said since the introduction of the programme in upper primary at the school, impact evaluation had indicated a 23 per cent improvement in learning.

Sumba said though they had limited space in their computer lab forcing them to teach between four and five pupils per computer, it had killed boredom and attracted immediate feedback from the pupils.

Mathare Community Outreach School deputy head teacher Collins Omondi said the programme has greatly improved science and English performance at the school.

“English and science were the worst performed subjects but after we introduced the programme, the two subjects are currently the best performed,” he said.

“There is need to develop more content for the other subjects and for the lower primary level to as to fully integrate with the 8-4-4 system.”

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