Tuesday, November 15, 2005
“Teachers Talking (about ICT)”
A Ray of Hope
UNESCO Youth Ambassador for the Culture of Peace
On Saturday November 19th a group of teachers in rural Nigeria will be joining in an unusual celebration. The occasion is the first annual reunion of the Teachers Talking (about ICT) Group
Most of the teachers come from schools without electricity and with few books or resources of any kind. Despite this, in 2004, they asked the Fantsuam Foundation (FF) Community Learning Centre (CLC) for a training course so that they could “Know Computer”. FF director John Dada turned to A Ray of Hope’s Pamela McLean, to design and deliver the Teachers Talking (TT) course. The course was held
in November last year http://www.cawd.net/daisy/CawdNet/g1/805.html. Teachers wanted a follow up course, but funds have not permitted that. The reunion is to assure the teachers that they have not been forgotten and to help them maintain their ICT knowledge and confidence.
TT was built around modules now known as the “No-computer computer course” (NC3) – featuring work relevant for teachers to do back in their schools. The teachers also had practical experience of using computers, which included joining the TT online group – hence an online element to the reunion. The TT online group was set up before the course started. Thismeant that when the rural teachers went on the Internet, they discovered they were part of a small, but vibrant, international online learning community - a community which came online to welcome and support them – and to learn from their experiences.
The reunion will be led by David Mutua, CAWDnet coordinator in Nigeria. (CAWD details www.cawd.info ). New and old friends of the project will be affirming their continuing links with the teachers. Pam, who lives in the UK, is looking forward to going online during the reunion. (Pam’s email is email@example.com) Omo Olaiya - an expert in Free and Open Source Software – will be making a first visit to Fantsuam to meet the teachers and explore what ongoing support he and his students can offer. A Ray of Hope www.unesco.co.uk will be announcing an art competition for children, which could lead to ongoing support for local schools.
This event is not a high-tech leading-edge technology demonstration. It is a reunion, simply celebrating people’s ability to collaborate and communicate through available ICTs. It will be a flurry of yahoo emails as course participants log on to ancient refurbished computers. Greetings will flow. Fleetingly these rural teachers will be in contact with friends and colleagues across the digital divide – friends who, in various ways, are working with the teachers, and for them. Once again, briefly on November 19th , the rural teachers will be actively included in a “connected community” on the Internet.