Technology as an educational alternative

Leroy Dzenga Lifestyle Writer
“If the mountain will not come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the mountain,” wrote Francis Bacon in 1625.

The statement means if one’s will does not prevail, they must be willing to submit to an alternative.

A school without the laboratory equipment may very well decide not to offer its resource poor students Science subjects. In fact that has been the norm in many schools in either the rural areas or resource poor townships. But one school just busted the norm and decided it had to seek an alternative. And it was a rather colourful and progressive one.

They had to resort to the internet to plug the potential information deficit in preparing their learners for Science based area of learning breathing life into the concept of e-learning.

The improvising effort bore fruit as students from the first science class at First Choice College in Highfield defied odds and produced glowing Ordinary Level results employing “monkey see, monkey do” or in this case “scientist see, scientist do”!

Instead of performing full experiments, they relied on Youtube videos to teach their learners of basic scientific concepts meaning their “virtual lab was only a ‘data bundle’”away.

Joseph Nyamande (17) who had 10 As and a B said they were drilled to work hard from their first day at school.

“We did not have a big fancy laboratory like others do. In fact we had none at all! But our teachers would show us videos of experiments and we learnt that way. We were the first stream to do Sciences here, I was sceptical at first but they exceeded our expectation,” he said.

The school is yet to acquire all the needed equipment, but the aspiring computer scientist is trusting the institution with his future. He is going back to them yet again to pursue his A-Levels

It shall be an experiment within an experiment again as once again they shall resort to learning from the internet and conducting their experiments online.

For a person who learnt fairly taxing subjects through virtual means, his results shocked him.

“The results went beyond my expectation. I was getting good grades but I did not think they would come out this brilliant,” he said.

It is rare when an unorthodox formulae produces many tangible results but in this instance, an exception to the rule was made.

Panashe Chinyemba, a girl (17) who came out with 10As and a B said she believes her exceptional results is a result of the research approach she was taught as a way of beating resource poverty.

“Our teachers were strict, they did not tolerate laziness. They kept us on our toes. Our school may not have been a Group A school but we made peace with our environment and worked hard,” she said of the school that shares infrastructure with a church.

Perhaps they also benefited from the Holy remnants and floasting prayers of those in the church from which they study? Talk about real divine intervention!

Chinyemba added; “I am going to be doing Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Statistics. I am looking to study actuarial sciences when I get to college.”

There is an internet joke that the best French fries usually come from the most unappealing of sources. This school lives up to the billing.

It appears the digital adage can be applied in education too, as results are coming not from the well-resourced institutions but humble settings where passion overrides aesthetic.

Mr Edmore Munemo, the school’s director said they had to find ways to navigate their handicap by being creative.

“We had to make things work with the little resources we had. Parents used to frown upon us saying we don’t have resources but we managed to produce results,” he said.

Educationist Dr Peter Kwaira said institutions should learn to make do with what they have to produce results.

“There is nothing like a perfect setting, in life people have to respond to different problems in a different way, it would be a tragedy if our educators sat on their laurels instead of finding alternatives,” he said.

With the Ministry of Higher and Secondary education drilling home a gospel of improvising in order to achieve, many schools can emulate the institution and know that poverty is not a handicap by circumventing their poverty through innovative means.

source:newsday

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