Information and communication technologies (ICT) such as computers, as well as other tools and aspects of this digital era, have transformed the ways we live, work and communicate; this is why we can no longer imagine any teaching and learning paths without ICT. The 8th edition of Urunana rw’abarezi (peer learning magazine) for teachers and school leaders focuses on the contribution of ICT to improving quality education, with an emphasis on basic education.
The stories shared in this edition depict good practices, lessons learnt and tips on how ICT improves teaching and learning, school administration and management, and how ICT enhances teacher professional development towards improving learning outcomes in basic education schools. Below are the key highlights of the eighth edition of our peer learning magazine.
“Literacy today is not only reading, writing and counting. Computer literacy is also a must among other 21st century skills. ICT is a bridge to a wide range of information but access to information does not mean that learning has taken place. Knowledge is constructed. Beyond access to information students need engaging and collaborative tasks. Using digital content can motivate students while improving their understanding and retention of key topics and concepts. Ensuring that all educators and school leaders are digitally literate and well versed on how to integrate ICT into the curriculum can impact student learning. Incorporating ICT in schools to improve quality education remains a priority for the Government of Rwanda,” Dr. Ndayambaje Irénée, Director General Rwanda Education Board.
Why distributing ICT devices in schools?
Rwanda Education Board (REB) ICT in Education Department enhances the capacity of pre- and in-service primary and secondary teachers to provide quality education, by improving their skills to integrate ICT in education. REB distributes ICT devices and tools in schools to create smart classrooms across the country. Having technology-enhanced classrooms can foster opportunities for teaching and learning by integrating learning technologies such as computers, internet connectivity, specialised software, multimedia digital content, interactive whiteboard, projectors among others.
Addressing possible risks children can be confronted with when they use Internet
Children from primary and secondary levels face a lot of dangers when using a computer. That is why it’s the school’s responsibility to ensure that children and teenagers can access the myriad of information on the Internet while staying safe.
Parental control is a great way of preventing pupils from accessing unsuitable content online and it’s easy to use. People can choose to install a computer programme or simply to use an online tool to set control on students’ internet use. Some are free, others are not. However, don’t take it as a replacement of adult presence in the room.
Facilitating school administration and management
Leading G.S Mata since 2016, Ms Aloysie Mukarubayiza is excited about how ICT enabled her to improve her work: “ICT has improved the quality and the speed of the work we are doing in our school. Before we were keeping school data in papers, it was taking us much time to produce and send reports because we were doing them manually. Now, ICT has helped us manage our data and speeded up our reporting. The work which would take five days can now be done in two days.”
Improving Learning outcomes
For schools that have computers, every subject has to be taught in a smart classroom at least one period a week. In addition, students are also allowed to use smart classrooms during their free time with a supervisor.
Facilitating professional development and further education
In Rwandan schools, ICT is used in diverse ways to support continuous professional development (CPD) of teachers and school leaders.
At G.S Kampanga in Musanze District, Northern Province, teachers and school leaders share a Whatsapp-mediated community in which they share CPD opportunities and competence-based curriculum resources.
Teachers and school leaders in different schools use ICT in their further education in local and foreign universities. At G.S Notre Dame du Bon Conseil, teachers used the Internet and search engines to find foreign universities and postgraduate programmes in those universities as well as in local universities.