Online Learning – (The normal that is new)
When I was schooling in the late ninety’s, learning was characterized by cramming of content from my teachers. Students would be seated in a classroom with the blackboard being the focal point. Learning was all teacher centered, it was very rare to have group discussions or students actively engaging with their learning. This is a norm which is still similar to most students in Kenya today.
After finishing high school and joining college, this is when I was introduced to the world of computers. This signified the transition to a lot of new learning opportunities. Understanding how to operate a computer was the best experience for me because the learning was less of lectures and more of practical engagement. It also opened up many more opportunities that I never knew existed.
At this point, I am really glad that the use of computers began since this is why we have been able to continue with learning in a pandemic. It has been three months since schools closed their doors due to Covid 19. Due to the abrupt closure of schools in Nairobi, we resulted to online classes for our students. During this season, we have continued to support some of our students in learning as per the Big Picture model. Although program like internships could not go on, the training aspect continues.
Our online learning classes are enabling our students to continue learning fundamental skills even in this tough period. We conduct three classes every week and we provide data bundles for our students so they can access the classes. At the end of the week, we give the students an opportunity to exhibit what they have learnt throughout the week to their peers and facilitators. This helps in boosting their confidence and ownership of learning.
Our students are learning more about technology in this season and this is a skill they will use in their future. Critical thinking is also another skill developed in our students in ways that might not have been practiced in an in person classroom setting. The students have to balance between classes, house chores, sharing their learning experience with peers, parents/guardians among many other things.
Although not all the students under our program are able to attend the sessions due to lack of gadgets like mobile phones and computers, we are optimistic that we can be able to reach them with printed learning materials in the next few weeks.
We are focused on focused on supporting our students to learn life skills that will enable them to succeed in their lives and thrive in their communities. As our vision states – “We envision a world where all African children access an education that supports the realization of their full potential as individuals and global citizens”.
By Crispin Oyola – Internship Coordinator