Our ongoing training utilizing 21st century skills has gone a notch higher at the Kenya Connect Learning Resource Center (LRC) with the introduction of online STEAM and webinar classes! We recently partnered with Level Up Village (LUV); an organization that partners US schools with global schools in the developing world to offer courses on STEAM. To prepare our students for this course, one of the visiting summer teams comprised of master teachers and led by Board Member Laura Carter, conducted an introduction lesson on STEAM with students of Kambiti PS. In the beginning of September the LUV curriculum started and our students are getting fully immersed! The course will run for eight weeks and will involve students in coding and creating new video games using the scratch program. In addition the students will also be making video letters and learning the Minecraft game. The LUV curriculum has opened a completely new world for our students! They have had an opportunity to interact with their global partners in the US through exchanging video letters. The process of recording video letters for their partners has been an intriguing adventure for the students with the highlight being watching the videos from global peers. By working with these projects our students are becoming critical thinkers and creative innovators in class!
“I am very happy to learn how to make my own games! Before I started taking the LUV classes, I used to play games on the computer but I never had any idea how they are created. Thanks to Kenya Connect and Level Up Village for making this possible for me. (Mumo: A student at Kambiti Primary School)
At the same time, more teachers continue to embrace our programs on professional teacher development. At the start of September, a second group of 22 teachers begun a webinar series course for instructors of English language. During our first webinar series, partnership with the American Embassy, a total of 10 teachers successfully completed the course. This group of teachers and others currently doing the webinar course will take a field trip to the US embassy in Nairobi in early October to receive their completion certificates. During these webinar courses, teachers have been able to exchange ideas on best practices for teaching English language with their global counterparts through Ning platform.
Since I left teacher training college, I have never had an opportunity for continuous job training but I am grateful for the professional development workshops and webinar courses I have done through Kenya Connect. As an English language teacher, I am gaining invaluable skills that I am applying in my classroom. (Fredrick: Teacher at Mwaasua PS)
Most encouraging is that the above two trainings kicked off at the start of September and have continued despite a nationwide closure of public schools in Kenya following a teachers' strike. The caveat on teaching in public schools not withstanding, these students and teachers have defiantly continued with their classes; a true reflection of how they thirst for knowledge and how deeply they value learning in their lives.
Your continued support of Kenya Connect allows us to provide these rich and meaningful learning opportunities that would otherwise not be available. We continue to be deeply appreciative of your support.
Mumo, a level four student, came to school and was told by his teacher that he was going to visit the Kenya Connect Learning Resource Center to use the computers! Mumo had a Pen Pal through Kenya Connect and heard about the LRC, but had never been to the center, nor had he ever seen or used a computer. Imagine his excitment!
Over 800 students like Mumo have visited the Kenya Connect Learning Resource Center either taking an eight week technology workshop or having a one day introduction to computer class. As the LRC has been in operation, the staff has recommended that it become fully energy independent by installing additional solar panels to the roof. As a result of Global Giving Donors like you, and a grant from the EBay/PayPal Foundation, Kenya Connect installed two additional solar panels, an inverter charger and two batteries. With our exisiting two solar panels and this new installation we are now halfway to being "Green Energy" Independent center!
Not only will this help in our long-term operational expenses, but also serves as a demonstration site on green energy for the students and larger community.
As Mumo used the computers he was astonished at what they could do and how easy they were to use. Mumo is going to continue to work hard in school so he can visit the center again.
On behalf of Mumo and all the students and teachers who have and will visit the LRC a HUGE THANK YOU!
Our dream to empower students and teachers with skills for the 21st century continues to come true! The number of students graduating from the Kenya Connect computer literacy classes has continued to rise. This March, 127 students received their completion certificates bringing the total graduates of the technology classes to 452 students and 120 teachers. These students have been attending 2-hours sessions of intensive and hands-on training once a week at the LRC. They have been immersed into computer basics, word-processing and Internet skills. The graduating students had the special opportunity of meeting with the Kenya Connect co-founder; Mr. Tim Gregory who officiated at their graduation ceremony and encouraged them to continue practicing the skills to keep up with technology of the 21st century.
"I am so excited to receive a certificate. I am now able to work with a computer and type a letter to my pen pal” Willy M. a student from Nunga Primary School commented.
Meanwhile, another group of 118 students from three primary schools; Wamunyu ABC, Mbaikini and Kambiti, started their computer training in March. The training will take 13 weeks and the students are scheduled to complete the course by May.
We also continue to offer professional development workshops for our teachers. Recently, the Kenya Connect team was thrilled to welcome Rukiya M. and George K. from the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi to the Learning Resource Center for a workshop on resources for teachers of English Language and the use the e-library. A total of 30 teachers in Wamunyu participated and received essential teaching materials like games for learning English and a collection of children's song posters for their classroom use. The teachers are now eligible to enroll in free on-line courses through the embassy which include topics such as: “Spoken Grammar and the Role in the English Classroom”, “Going Green: Merging Environmental Education and Language instruction”, and “Rock and Roll English Instruction”. So far it looks like 19 teachers will be participating.
One of the teachers, Frederick N. from Mwasua Primary School commented, ...I am very excited to begin an online course for English Language teachers organized through the US embassy. I had no idea that there are plenty of online courses I could learn for free!
These types of professional development programs for teachers and enrichment programs for students would not be possible without YOU! Your support of 21st Century Connections has provided the operational support and teaching resources for over 15,000 students and 300 teachers we serve in Wamunyu.
As always, we are deeply grateful and thankful for your generous support.
Asante Sana! It has been a wonderful 2014 for Kenya Connect as a result of partners like you! We are deeply grateful for your continued support and wanted to share a few of our accomplishments this year. Together we have:
For students in Wamunyu, the Kenya Connect Learning Resource Center is a beacon of hope and the light of learning. Recently a young student, Waluu, visited the LRC. Below is an exerpt from a piece he wrote on the experience.....
When I switched on my computer for the first time, I was amazed at the many beautiful pictures I saw on the window. Wow it was breathtaking! That day I still remember how we were also taught how to change the desktop background. It was so fascinating! When the lesson was over, I did not want it to end but our teacher said we needed to shut down the computers and return back to school. Again, we packed ourselves in the track and returned back to school. Our friends back at school were very eager to know what we had learned. I told my best friend; Nduku all what we had learned.
“Oh no! I should not have missed this. I wish I was in your class” said Nduku jealously. When I went home that evening, I told my parents about our computer class and all we had learnt and they were very happy for me. They both encouraged me to study very keenly saying that computer skills will open many opportunities to make me a successful student.
As we end 2014, we want to thank you for supporting our work in Kenya and for providing the resources and tools for one of the most valuable gifts, the gift of an education. On behalf of James Musyoka, Field Director, and the entire Kenya Connect team, we wish you a very happy and healthy 2015.
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