In June 2021, Teach2030 announced in our blog ‘Scaling Teach2030’ that we had joined forces with KenyaConnect, a charity whose mission is ‘to engage and empower students and teachers in rural Kenya to succeed in the 21st Century.’ Today, James Musyoka, Executive Director of KenyaConnect and Patrick Munguti, Director of Technology Education and IT recall their journey so far with Teach2030.
KenyaConnect focuses on providing educational development, specifically on and through technology, which may be currently unavailable due to where teachers are situated. Despite their location, 19 of their approximately 20 teachers own a smartphone. With our low dataTeach2030 courses being able to be easily accessed via this device, we are delighted to partner with KenyaConnect and support each other, as our goal is to provide professional development for teachers working in under resourced settings, especially those in rural locations with large classrooms.
Patrick explains how Teach2030 ‘is very ideal because we have been promoting PLC (Professional Learning Communities), where teachers have to meet and discuss (their teaching). This increases their learning community and they can consider what they saw as teachers and what they can learn from each other. Teach2030 models what we emphasise regarding learning partners. When they do Teach2030 courses, it strengthens their understanding of this concept.’
All Teach2030 courses begin with highlighting the importance of learning partners, as we believe (and research evidence proves!) that we often learn best from each other. Learning partners could be fellow teachers, of different experience levels, or who teach different subjects. What is important is that they are open to discussing and sharing good practice with each other.
For KenyaConnect, they currently provide weekly CPD (Continuing Professional Development) as extra enrichment for Empowered Schools:
‘In order to be an Empowered School, all teachers must participate in the PLC program and work towards incorporating the Competency Based Curriculum in their classrooms. Kenya Connect staff, volunteers and PLC Coordinator are working closely with the teachers to provide guidance and support.‘ (KenyaConnect: 2021)
James and Patrick emphasise that Teach2030 provides the opportunity for change within their approach:
‘Teach2030 is convenient because we don’t need a person conducting time. Teachers can now meet together on their own. This platform opens a new avenue to plan and adopt technology better, as we need to learn how to incorporate technology. There is now no pressure to learn at school and teachers can utilize their time more. They will be more interested to see how it goes with their colleagues. Teach2030 provides areas of discussion in the classroom to see how their strategies can be applied.
As teachers across Kenya begin their summer break, it is clear that this academic year has been useful in ensuring that every teacher can access the Teach2030 courses, ensuring that next year, the impact of the courses will be felt within the classroom. For many teachers, learning new digital skills can be challenging, especially regarding remembering passwords and emails. We remind all teachers to note down these important details somewhere safe and encourage all education professionals to take our free ‘Become a Digital Learner: Using Your Smartphone (Beginner)’ course, which focuses on vital basic technological skills.
For more information on how to take a course, watch this video.
KenyaConnect, who also use a WhatsApp group as part of their PLC (Professional Learning Community), are beginning to see changes:
‘Teachers are posting their certificates to the group when they have finished a Teach2030 course. It is a new way of learning for the teachers, but they are learning and they are enjoying. Within a few months, I know teachers will be able to work easily using their smartphone. They may have been shy before, but as long as they are open-minded, they can learn. Those who had fear will soon have confidence.’
We look forward to strengthening our relationship with KenyaConnect. After their summer, and in early next academic year, we will hear from teachers themselves who will explain the impact Teach2030 is having in their classrooms.