African Maths Initiative

Sharing Initiatives in Maths Education

Offline ICT integration in learning using Kolibri: Lessons from Emmatsi, Kenya.

Emmatsi Secondary students using Open Learning Resources available on Kolibri to study.

Emmatsi Secondary students using Open Learning Resources available on Kolibri to study.

For Kenya’s digital aspirations to thrive, school connectivity and integrating ICT into education cannot wait any longer and yet very few schools are connected. Fiber services have a very limited last mile reach and 3G coverage still remains a challenge in rural areas. This leaves a huge lot of rural primary and secondary schools undeserved.

Take Emmatsi Secondary School, in Vihiga County for example. The school stands on top of Mabungo hills, Luanda, Kenya which stands at an altitude of 1777 Meters. Not until recently, road infrastructural network to the school was dilapidated, hence the only way up the hill was through single trail mountain paths. Mobile connectivity in areas around the school is still poor and thus any solutions that may include relying on thousands of online Open Educational Resources (OER) may not be of help.

While schools like Emmatsi struggle with connectivity and access to enough computer hardware to make progress in ICT integration, the world has been making tremendous gains in terms of OER especially in the era of internet wave. However, areas that need these resources may not be able to access them due to the existing digital divide.
In a bid to solve this, Learning Equality an organization which is committed to enabling every person in the world to realize their right to quality education through the development of Kolibri an open-source platform that is built to enable seamless authoring and peer-to-peer sharing, and engage users with educational content without the need for Internet. African Maths Initiative has been one of the organizations in Kenya which have been implementing Kolibri education projects.

The school has been one of the centers and James Ndai, a Math teacher has been one of the ICT champions at the school. His commitment to the implementation of the program has been tremendous. During one of our visits to the school, we found him designing mathematics quizzes for the students. He has also ensured that all the students are registered on the Kolibri platform.

We visited the school in May 2019 where we were accompanied by teams from Learning Equality, Partners for International Development and Common Ground for Africa. These teams were equally delighted to see the progress and the enthusiasm that the students had towards Kolibri. While addressing these teams James, saw Kolibri as a great tool to integrate ICT in learning especially in the subjects that he teaches. “ I am not a trained computer teacher but I was driven by a passion for using computers. I have been creating an experience slowly by slowly with the students accessing the computers once a week or during their free time early in the morning or late afternoon,” said James.

According to James, access to OER in the Kolibri Content Library has enabled users in the school to use engaging, interactive videos and quizzes to learn STEAM subjects. It was inspirational to see teachers like James use the tool to design and administer tests just like the platform provides.
While expressing their gratitude, one of the students saw the tool as a great enabler towards learning due to the fact that he can watch chemistry experiments that the school couldn’t otherwise perform due to the nature of their laboratory.

It was also amazing to see how something that started as simple as a “Mathematics and computer thing” continue to appeal to other teachers who are now interested in having content from other subjects into the Kolibri servers. We see this as a great step towards the implementation and integration of ICT in other subjects area within the school.

Written by Patrick Njoroge, Michael Mumbo and Maxwell Fundi.

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