We have just completed a two week ICT integration and pedagogy workshop at the Suba youth Resource Centre, with Teachers without Borders Canada. The Suba Youth Resource Centre, has been completely re-energized by the by the powerful ICT integration workshops. Our first itinerary involved random/ arbitrary school visits with permission from the Ministry of Education-Directorate of Quality Assurance and Starndards .We took our guests to schools in the Kibuogi, Rusinga, Mfangano and Remba islands of Lake Victoria and also mainland Mbita.

The TWB-C team wanted to see the challenges the teachers and children face in and out school so as to inform the workshop design. At Nyanden'ga and Kibuogi primary schools we had to invite 2 teachers on the spot to come for the workshops due to the appalling conditions the schools faced. This of course was in realization the role ICT's could play in reversing /overcoming the challenges times we had to invite some teachers.

A total of 50 teachers from secondary, Primary and Kindergarten have been trained in various areas and .We have had the wonderful satisfaction in experiencing with the teachers, the transformation that rejuvenates the teacher in them. Also important was the rediscovery of the teacher's role as leading change agents in the community. Technology is going to play a key role in facilitating teaching, learning and helps them make their work easier.

I see the beautiful thing in having people use ICT’s for meaningful purposes and having the delight and satisfaction in experiencing with the teachers, the transformation that rejuvenates a sense of purpose and worth in them, as technology helps them make their work easier. This is more of a candle that dies not because of lighting another candle

In spite of the various challenges the SYRC faced with regard to power, internet connectivity and computer hardware the, TWB-C team installed at the Suba centre, a robust and reliable access to e-learning resources by way of the e-granary http://www.widernet.org/digitallibrary which is basically an internet in a box with millions of resources for teachers, the youth and other professionals in Suba District. We borrowed 4 computers from St Williams Osodo secondary school to use at the workshops .We had to design the workshops in shifts with two groups, one using the computer lab which had a total of 10 computers, and the other, having sessions which use of computer was not that obligatory.

The teachers, some of whom had no prior ICT skills amazed us by making wonderful teaching resources using Microsoft movie maker. These they, shared amongst themselves and took home in flash discs provided by the TWB-C guests. The trainees demonstrated creative thinking, amazing ability to construct knowledge and develop innovative teaching resources using technology. Not only did they apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, express themselves by creating original works, they also are able to interact and collaborate with fellow teachers outside Kenya and with peers and experts all over the world. You should have seen our group Skype sessions with teachers in Canada! The awe, the excitement, and the desire to learn more was almost overwhelming.

I would wish TWB-C work with the Suba Teachers to develop the Suba Youth Resource Centre into a Community Teaching and Learning Centre .Hence mentoring teachers and putting them on the path of Technology though Innovation and Creativity and Collaboration. It is not lost on us that as teachers and the youth interact to communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences in different media formats, they will help in developing cultural understanding and global awareness which is a big problem in African countries. I am glad to be part of this team process which in a meaningful way I believe we can domesticate to engender tolerance and cultivate peace amongst Kenyan people. ICT's if well used, can harness a potential that can transform our societies. Well run/managed Community Teaching and Learning Centers have the opportunity of transforming our society.

The provision of e-granary by TWB-C, and infusion of technology in teaching and learning will go a long way in transforming teacher practice in Suba District. However, this is just a start. The Suba Centre needs modern computers, some furniture, reading carrels and some renovation if it is to serve the teachers well. We still do not have internet. The e-granary will require updating from time to time.

The teachers came out with a team of five volunteers to formulate a technology learning plan in using ICT resources at the SYRC to facilitate engaging approaches to learning .Core to this will be coming with ways in helping teachers to acquire hands on ICT skills and to ensure that the project is not a one off training, but continuous. The team (below)has also been mandated to by the teachers in Suba to develop a strategic plan for the Suba Youth Resource Centre in order to enable it offer a sustainable training solution.

Name Position/place of work
1.Mohammed Hussein Staffing officer- Ministry of Education -Suba District
2.Hellen Ogema Senior Teacher -St Joseph Kakrigu girls Secondary School
3.Catherine Musera Secretary Suba Teachers Guidance and Counseling Association
4.Paul Oduor Okoth Youth coordinator -Suba Youth Resource Centre(Volunteer)
5.Reuben Ogwan'g Headmaster Nyanden'ga Primary school

We are heavily indebted to our peers-in Skill from TWB-C who visited us .Noble Kelly, Sharon Peters, Lois McGill-Horn, Jody Meecher, Zac Chase and John Schinkler for the wonderful lessons and gifts they brought to the Suba Youth Resource Centre.
YOU ARE WONDERFUL!
Suba Youth Resource Centre is an initiative of Suba Teachers Guidance and Counseling Association (SUTGUCA)

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Comment by Dan Andrew Otedo on August 15, 2009 at 19:51
You are definately at Home in Winnipeg.I hope you dont have 'lots 'of jetlag.Stories from Africa will definately compensate for that.
And hey,lest i forget,your tablet computer with the projector was a miracle of sorts to some teachers here.Remember the comment...."who is writing on the wall?" ...like the Biblical menemenetekel....!
Comment by Lois McGill-Horn on August 15, 2009 at 11:10
Thank you Dan for you kind words. I have learned so much from this experience and will be sharing this with my school and community in Canada. I feel that what I have gained in knowledge and understanding is so much more than what I was able to leave behind.

Your passion and commitment to educational change in the SUBA district is wonderful. Keep up the good work.

Lois

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