By Maho Amos – TSFTZ Chief Operation Officer in Tanzania
Excerpted by the Blog Editor
The trip began when the US TSF team travelled from Karatu to Iringa on June 24th, 2014. With a midnight curfew in Iringa, the police blocked all roads within 10 miles of town. After being stopped and questioned by the police and with much begging and pleading on our part, we finally were allowed to go.
All students and teachers arrived at Ummu Salama School on the morning of June 25th, 2014. After a brief welcome speech from Mr. Mohamed Said, the Vice Chairman of TSF Tanzania, the first workshop began.
The US TSF brought with them a suitcase of hands-on learning materials such as Kidizens and about 10 Rasberry Pi units to be installed and made available to teachers and students alike. These technologies allow us to access very rich and selective educational contents such as Wikipedia, Khan Academy, C-12 contents, Medline contents, etc. even if no Internet connectivity is available.
Student and Teacher Workshops
Teachers were taught how to use computers to extract teaching and learning materials. Some teachers even paid to buy Rasberry Pis for their personal studies.
Yunteng and his son, Andrew, provided Physics lessons. Our students now know much more about electrical circuits.
With the help of Kidizens that came in a big suitcase, Matt’s class learned a lot about how to build well organized and well planned cities. I believe that when students learned these skills, they will be able to build their own cities when they grow up. I learned that the hands-on, learning by doing, approach is an excellent way to learn. There were no bored and idle students in this class. They were all too excited and busy planning their cities.
Dr. Cari with her assistant, Cathy, they truly transformed our students from passive to active participants. The students were given opportunities to express themselves in front of their peers and teachers. This concept of teaching is quite refreshing for me because African teachers tend to give lectures but not ask students what they know and think. I also learned from them that in order for the students to continue to learn well, they do need short breaks to get some fresh air, relax and unwind. This way, they can return to the class rooms fresh, and eager to learn.
Lynene taught the newest TSF students about the internet. Most of them had not used a computer before. Through her and Jessie’s assistance, the new students started posting to their Journals with ease.
The workshops and classes for teachers and students were an incredible success we cannot wait to apply what we have learned. We are looking forward to seeing you all again in the near future.