My Go Abroad Project focused around delivering offline learning resources to computer labs in rural Kenyan schools. I had been involved in developing offline learning resources for a few years and used this opportunity to reach out to some Kenyan schools I was in contact with, and spend some time with them making sure they could get the most out of their IT resources.
Before leaving Edinburgh I was quite concerned about how my training would be received and how much impact I could make in only the comparatively short time available. There was also the big question about what local skills would really be like and where I would need to tailor my work to best suit their needs. Despite having checked beforehand with my contacts on what I should be able to teach, I found that things are always slightly different when you actually get there.
I was sure that language might have been a barrier between me and the teachers, and certainly there were a few times where local expressions didn’t quite translate. However, thanks to my basic knowledge of Swahili and eagerness to learn more Swahili I think I made some good progress and the teachers I was working with enjoyed our sessions. I worked closely with Kenyan teachers to promote sustainable development within Kenya and demonstrate how vital IT resources can be utilised effectively in offline, rural settings. I helped teachers in learning what offline elearning materials are available, and more importantly, how these materials would help make their jobs teaching easier. I held several workshops with schools in Nairobi, Magadi and Njoro. During the time we went over the challenges the teachers faced, such as a lack of infrastructure in the more rural communities where broadband access simply isn’t available, and what the various online connectivity options are like TV whitespace, 3G dongles, satellite etc. Overall, I personally gained a huge amount from the experience and will always treasure the time I got to spend with the Kenyan teachers. I believe the learning resources that we installed together will continue to make an impact for years to come for lots of teachers and students. My thanks go out to the Principal’s Go Abroad fund for giving me this fantastic opportunity and helping to make an impact in the communities I was fortunate enough to visit.