This year 2016 the government of Kenya is making good of its promise to have all standard one pupils getting computers in order to aid in their learning. This is a major disruptive innovation aimed at preparing the 21st century pupils for the digital age in their tender age. As this is rolling out the impact of this program to the future of primary school education is unfolding. The role of the teacher in changing and feedback regarding the performance and understanding of the content will more likely be instantaneous.
In this essay I discuss the potential that real time feedback and data by learners may impact the delivery of content and the interaction between the teachers and the learners in the classroom and beyond. Real time data from tablets and laptops used by learners will provide rich data for the government and analysis of this data is bound to be a game changer in policy formulation. I also will discuss the potential changes to the way in which the learners are evaluated and the potential for the government to efficiently deploy human resources to learning institutions based on the data that they receive.
The long awaited one laptop per child Programme by the government of Kenya has kicked off. Learners in standard one in selected public primary schools have already received laptops or tablets as promised by the government. Over 60,000 teachers have also received adequate training in order to facilitate the classes as the learning content is now in the tablets. The laptops being issued come preloaded with all relevant content for the pupils.
The potential for this Programme is enormous considering the current challenges experienced in the education sector in Kenya. The potential data collected is huge and covers multiple angels of the curriculum delivery. The assumption that I make in this is that the devices are interconnected to a central server and that there is two way communications from the server to the devices.
The first data set is the class attendance. Since each pupil has their own device it is easy to get information on class attendance by having a way for the pupils to login to the devices or sign in at the beginning of each day. This means that there will be a log of attendance information from all schools in the Programme.
This data is useful in order to manage absenteeism and to identify absenteeism trends based on different geographical locations, time of the year, gender of the pupil and other criteria. The data on attendance and accurate class population and school population is vital for budgeting and planning purposes. If this data forms the basis of resource allocation then there is bound to be less pilferage and transparency in the education sector.
Digital learning also provides great feedback to curriculum developers, publishers and quality assurance officers since they are able to measure the pupil interaction with the content and collect feedback from the learners regarding challenges with the content and with interconnectivity in place push regular content updates in order to ensure that all learners are at per. The data regarding content coverage will also enable the government to identify schools that are behind on the syllabus coverage and also learners with specific learning challenges for early intervention.
There has never been a better channel of collect feedback on how the pupils rate their teachers than with the digital learning tools. The learners can be provided with simple evaluations that can be used to collect information on their experiences in the classroom. Teacher evaluation data is essential for quality curriculum development purposes and also for reward and recognition in order to motivate exceptional teachers. Innovation around learner administered evaluation can also assist in collecting information regarding social situations in schools and help to curb student unrest and dissatisfaction.
Overall the digitization process is a turning point in education if well managed and the enormous data that can be collected is a fertile ground for great improvements in the learning process. The data poses challenges of storage, security and analytics which as the project is rolled out will have to be addressed in order to have the full benefits of the project.
Rebecca Okwany (2016, August 10). Over 60,000 teachers trained in readiness for digital learning in primary schools[Article]. Retrieved from http://www.nation.co.ke/counties/mombasa/digital-rollout-primary-schools/-/1954178/2826450/-/j4k944/-/index.html