15 April 2019

Namibia: Technology Comes to Namutoni

NAMUTONI Primary School in Katutura East constituency, Windhoek, has entered a new phase in their teaching method by using the latest gadgets as learning and teaching tools.

Information communication technology (ICT) items such as tablets, computer-guided instruction and interactive system are used as teaching and learning tools to ensure access and usage of ICT at the school in line with the education ministry's policy on the development of knowledge and nurturing of individual creativity, innovation and leadership skills.

The principal of Namutoni Primary School, Johanna Asino, said the school acknowledges that access and usage of ICT are essential for learning.

He said the school bought approximately 29 tablet computers and Genius Educational Software donated about 15.

"The school now has a total of 44 tablets for a designed ICT educational program, teaching and learning at the levels from Pre-primary to Grade 7 for ICT skills training among our teachers and pupils for promoting technology literacy in the school," Asino explained.

She also emphasised that the 15 computers in the ICT laboratory are working and connected to the internet for the use of the teachers and pupils for studying purposes.

Besides, she revealed that the school conducted a design thinking workshop in 2017 and after that accomplished tablets usage and installed a digital library to access different books online, as well bought its server with a wireless router that allows teachers and pupils to have access to the server for practical educational purposes.

"In keeping with the commitment, the school introduced electronic-learning for computer delivery of an educational curriculum outside of traditional classroom teaching and learning. There were few monitors purchased while waiting for donations for the ICT laboratory to have at least 40 computers. This will allow for the use of more computers and tablets during teaching and learning in the laboratory," the principal stressed.

On the issue of the reasons for ICT education at the school, the principal said it is one of the school's educational developments to unblock the potential of the pupils and improve the quality of education for better learning tools and teaching aids. She also said ICT education helps pupils study through visualising during the reading of a story and it helps them understand the learning content better.

More weight was given to this scenario when the principal highlighted that ICT education in the school had assisted pupils in attaining knowledge better.

The principal stated that the development of ICT education allows teachers and pupils to actively engage for practical purposes, improve reading skills or widen their vocabulary and understanding of current affairs.

With regard to further expansion plans, the principal is optimistic that the school will strive to complete integration of computer technology, provide ICT trained qualified teachers for the school, and to train others and provide materials so that teachers can make ICT an integral part of their lessons to improve teaching and learning.

Meanwhile, the principal's simple response to the challenges of ICT-development is that the school still needs computers, printers, hotspot-wireless, projectors, laptops, project screenr or whiteboards to be used in the classroom.

"The school still requires parental involvement to assist the pupils to acquire tablets for electronic-learning. One ICT lesson per week is not enough; [the] school needs qualified ICT teachers for training at all levels.

Paulus Iipinge, who founded Genius Technologies, said the tablets cost N$37 500 and that the company has so far worked with about 10 primary schools in the Khomas region alone.

According to Iipinge, his company trains teachers on how to use the technology and interested pupils pay N$500 per month.

*David Adetona is an information officer at the information ministry of Information and Communications Technology in the Khomas region.

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