Trinity High School is a private secondary school located in Kawempe, a Kampala division suburb. The past five years in existence, the school has been one of the new traditional secondary school with a strong staff of teachers good at writing and using the black board.
The school joined SchoolNet Uganda (SNU) activities in 2009 after being enrolled in the World Starts With Me (WSWM) program. During and after the trainings of teachers, the school continuously remained enjoyable to both teachers and learners.
In April 2010, a WSWM teacher’s workshop was held at Trinity high school with SchoolNet WSWM desk officer, Allen Nansubuga as the lead facilitator. In her talk about SNU, she talked of the Close the Gap project which was about giving computers to schools. The Director of the school expressed interest in the project and committed him self on behalf of the school to make the little payment which was a conditional to all schools interested.
On 30th, April 2010, SNU sent an invitation to Trinity High School inviting two teachers to a five day residential ICT4E workshop at Gayaza High School. Received with excitement, the letter had an introduction that; “Your school has been selected by the Ministry of Education to participate in the Close the Gap ICT4E one year pilot project”
The school therefore selected Ssenyonyi Moses-History, CRE (also WSWM teacher) together with Namirembe Lydia a Fine Art and geography, to attend the training. The two teachers attended the training right a way from day one to the last day of the training. The challenge of the two was how the Fine Art and History teacher would now teach computer which before the training was taken to be a science and in any case for science teachers. This was however disproved by the workshop facilitators who in all the five days of the ICT4E workshop used examples from all subject on the Ugandan curriculum.
By the end of the training the two teachers, had agreed that this was an academic revolution in the school. They in their action plans indicated that they would talk to the administrators, staff and students about ICT4E. Moses Ssenyonyi committed himself to inspiring CRE teachers and all Arts teachers to integrate ICT in the classroom situation. Namirembe Lydia committed herself to inspiring the school practically.
WORK AT SCHOOL
On Saturday, the following day after the training, the school had a beginning of term staff meeting. Moses and Lydia had just returned from the training but picked this opportunity to start implementing the action plans which they had committed themselves to doing after the training.
During the meeting, Namirembe Lydia thanked the school for choosing the two to attend the work shop. She gave a brief overview of what had transpired from in the training. Moses, who had his Sony Laptop, did not wait to run a PowerPoint presentation which had a hyperlinked video of him self talking to the CRE teachers about the digital Bible he had got from the workshop.
Excited with the presentations, the Director of the school, Mr. Ssemakula Daniel publicly declared to the teachers that he was making the first installment to the computers the following week.
MEETING THE ADMISTRATORS
Wanting to get the full support of the administrators, that very day there was meeting the school administrators including the Director of the school. Others present were the Director of Studies (DOS), Dean of students, and the Headmistress. Moses and Lydia started by challenging the administrators to tell them why they selected them to attend the training yet they were both purely Arts teachers.
The Director summarized his many reasons in one point, “because of the hidden you and as an appreciation and confidence”. This made Moses to further challenge them on what they expect from him and Lydia. They jointly agreed that they were expecting to have an overview of what happened during the training and their action plans. This gave a fertile ground to Moses and Lydia who were just waiting for such a blank cheque.
Moses informed the administrators that it was only the school that had delayed to pick the computers from SNU, because Allen, the SNU technical officer had already
given them the go a head. He also re-introduced his action plan which included a core point of training all the staff on the use of computers and about ICT4E. He also displayed the CDs, DVDs and other material got from the training. With his laptop, he used some of the PowerPoint presentations from the workshop to tell administrators part of what was in the training. He also sampled them with the Best Grade software, The PIL and the video clip of Nick. He concluded by requisitioning the administrators shade a day for teachers training.
Lydia summed up the presentations by thanking the school for granting them such an opportunity. She asked the school to support them in the implementation of their action plan.
The Director of the school, on behalf of the administrators, assured the teachers of his full financial, policy and motivational support to the cause. He gave Moses the transport to pick the computers from SNU and temporarily allocated the then manual library room to host the computers and was to be developed a both digital and manual resource. He challenged the DOS and the Headmistress to be the first examples and not to let him and the school down. He also told them to spare on full day for the teacher’s ICT4E training as had been requested by Moses and Lydia.
In a less than 50 minutes meeting, the following had been achieved;
- Room for computers secured.
- Transport to bring the computers to the school.
- Administrators’ full support and interest expressed.
- A day set aside for the teachers training.
- Full motivation to the two Arts teachers, Moses and Lydia who had now become ICT4E teachers.
- Moses and Lydia’s action plans successfully implemented practically.
THE COMPUTER MYSTERY
It was joy, excitements, jubilations, celebrations marred by laughter, dancing and shouting as ten computers were off loaded from a car to the school compound. One of the teachers was heard doubting whether the computers were for Trinity High School or for the projects Moses and the school Director are involved in. Words like; yes, yeah, that’s it, wonderful, unbelievable among others were also heard from the teachers.
To the students’ community, studying came to a stand still as the first monitor entered the school gate carried by Moses. Teachers of senior one and two could not control the students in class, thus letting them out for minutes of jubilation. To exaggerate the event, computers were unwrapped from the boxes such that each student carried in either a monitor, CPU, box of mice, cables, key board or headsets. The noise of joy attracted villagers around the school to draw close to the school. “Kuluno abazadde atulina, tewali mwana kugenda walala” such was a statement by one of the villagers meaning that now the Director will get more students and none of the current students would leave the school.
Students shouted and re- echoed Trinity High School over and over again. Others praised the Director of the school as being “Mazzi mawanvu” meaning deep waters. In senior one, a student shouted congratulating the computer teacher who in the past has been teaching theory and not practice of computers. Madam Lydia and Moses were also included on the list of those praised.
However, the WSWM students took it to another step when they attributed the achievement to their club activities and efforts by their patron. They therefore started singing the WSWM national anthem and chanting the slogan of “the World Starts With Me” On hearing the WSWM anthem, members of senior three jumped out of the class to join, ex-members in senior four took this chance to also run out of the class to join the WSWM celebrants. Failing to control the excited students, the headmistress ordered for an assembly.
THE SHORTEST UNBELIEVABLE TALK
The Headmistress had just finished to calm down the students when the school Director arrived. At once, yet with different statements, the students resumed the rejoicing. This time singing the bigness of the school and the greatness of the Director. This made him talk to the learners about the computers and that many others were to come if they put the ten to full use.
A WSWM student shouted at the back of the assembly; “talk about World Starts With Me”. The Director asked what about WSWM? The students shouted, our computers and stated the anthem once again. He advised the school that computers were for the whole school and not only WSWM though their existence added value to the school and a ground for acquiring the computers. In all he assured the students present that the computers were for the school and for the students in particular. This was unbelievable talk because of the very short time it took.
He ordered all students to get back to their classes till further notice.
COMPUTERS AT USE
Not wanting to turn down the students’ hope and Moses and Lydia’ action plan, the computers were connected the following day after taking record and particulars of each machine. It was fun and academic progress when the students placed their fingers on the computers, some for the first time, yet others for an unknown time. Students who entered the “New computer Laboratory” were tasked to exhibit what each knew and would do with and on the computers. It was surprising to note that of the 10 students, 7 had email addresses, 4 of whom were on Facebook, 1 on Twitter and the three would type though not at a high speed. This was a clear challenge to the teachers, as majority of them had not heard a thing about Twitter, some who had heard about Facebook were not on Facebook and others knew little if any about computer practical usage.
A time table was drafted following Lydia’s action plan to have practical lessons for senior one and two. The rest of the classes were to utilize the computers any time apart from that set a side for the juniors.
Moses spent the next day loading computers with academic presentations got from the Gayaza workshop.
He also put a folder of school photos and skits of World Starts With Me for those concerned. He added more about his project aimed at eliminating stigma and positive living. These, he put in different folders and released one on all computers per day to keep the digital library interesting and not boring. By this, the computers were put to serious use on the side of students. For the teachers, though some had expressed interest at the beginning, they seemed to have lost courage when they saw students above them. They requested for private training or refuse students to access the laboratory till all teachers are trained.
ICT4E TEACHERS’ WORKSHOP, AS A COINCIDENCE
Following the meeting with the administrators, there was to be a teachers training as a way of fulfilling Moses and Lydia action plans. At the same time, the teachers requested for the same after fearing the likely shame from students if they noticed that many of teachers were ignorant about computer usage.
May 2010 was the day when computers at school got connected to Internet. By chance, Mr. Kakinda was live on yahoo chat. Moses informed him of the Teachers’ ICT4E workshop and Daniel with no reservation, expressed interest and promised to attend the event.
On 12th June 2010, a Teachers’ ICT4E workshop was held with the core aim of promoting ICT4E in the school among teachers. The problem to be solved was that “teachers were not well informed of how to apply ICT in their teaching profession and in particular how to use ICTs to enhance their profession”. It was such good luck for the school to host this training. The lead trainer was Mr. Kakinda Daniel, the Executive and Training Director – SchoolNet Uganda, assisted by Moses and Lydia (the two teachers who had attended the training at Gayaza High school).
29 teachers of Trinity High School turned up for the training and for the first time, all teachers (even part time teachers) attended a school event. Also present were the DOS, Headmistress and the school Director
The teachers used open space discussion, group discussions and the facilitators made a harmonization to help teachers understand and tackle all areas of concern effectively.
In his comments the Director of the school, Mr. Semakula Daniel, urged teachers to apply all the skills in their classrooms. (Details were included in the event report which was shared earlier on)
Many of the teachers used this opportunity to get useful links to past papers and subject content like simulations and animated content. Others joyfully noted Mr. Kakinda’s contact when they learnt that he is Kakinda- the author of some physics books which they had ever used during their high school times. Getting the information, set the teachers ready for computer usage.
THE POSITIVE IMPACT OF COMPUTERS
- E-mails; Seven teachers opened email addresses but only four of them became active users. The Headmistress also activated her e-mail address and used it several times. As for the students, 21 opened e-mail addresses and sent messages to Moses their instructor. 3 of the students sent mails to the teacher when they were at home after being sent for school fees. Yet others communicated to their parents while at school.
- Facebook; Two teachers of those who opened emails also registered on Facebook and invited Moses as a fun to their pages. Nine students of the 21 who opened emails are active funs on Facebook and sent messages as well as inviting the teachers to their pages.
- Global networks; Five students were registered on the Global Change makers’ Network and their registration activated. Two of them were selected to compete for a trip to UK in November 2010.
- YouTube; Two boys created YouTube accounts and uploaded one you tube video each, using a digital camera hired from a near by photo studio.
- Academic links; Students used the links given to then to get past papers using UDERB (http://www.uderb.org ). Teachers also used several links and were able to get many past papers, mocks of different schools and termly examinations.
- Video Clips; WSWM students recorded five video clips using a digital camera and uploaded them on the computers for their use. Using the Google search engine, several clips were downloaded to the computers and all of them put on CDs.
- Academic Films; The Divinity class watched a film about Jesus’ life and death using the computers. (they are few in number).
- Examinations; A few teachers typed their examinations and only presented names of the files and folders to the DOS. As for senior one and two, were able to do computer practical as their end of year exam.
- Exhibition; On the day of Music Dance and Drama(MDD), the computer club also exhibited and was able to show the parents and guests present what skills they had acquired. Upon successful exhibiting, a parent whose son was behind the computer gave 50,000 UGX to the club.
- ICT Gadgets; The school Director offered a 500 Series Benq scanner to the ICT department, a 2400 series DeskJet printer and a laminating machine to be used. He also offered his personal mobile Internet flash to be used every Saturday and Sunday.
- Electricity /power; May be, because of Kawempe being an industrial area, or connectivity problems, power at school is some days too low to run computers. This happens especially in the evenings, yet it’s the time when free training takes place. The school is also yet to get power stabilizing gargets. The type of extensions used are another challenge, they get heated up so fast, posing a threat to the maintenance of the machines.
- Low adaptability of teachers; It took a lot of time to have teachers on board. Even those who joined the move have not been active. It was agreed that teachers submit typed exams to the DOS, but the DOS instead requested for hand written exams to be piled in the box file. Not many used computers in the classroom situation as they again complained that it takes a lot of time which they do not have. Instead of hiring a camera to take video clips at the Geography trip, the department hired a camera man and asked for still photos.
- Students have advanced ICT skills; It was surprising to note that some students knew programs which even the teacher were poor at. On Internet some students went skyping and others twitting!!!
Sometimes they found teacher’s lessons too childish and boring.
- Hard to control the Class; students do not want to end their lessons once they have entered the computer laboratory. However, there is self discipline exhibited by the learners’ i.e., no pocketing of accessories like mice and they do not go in for pornography.
- Space; There is not enough space for the computers with the students. However, the school has promised to improve upon this next year, for a new block has been constructed.
Next term, the computer department is going to open a data account for each of the students, such that, if one logged in, would be able to see his or her report results, discipline, house, ID number, parent, place of residence and health condition.
All students are going to be issued with new Identity cards, typed on our computers, printed by the school printer and laminated by the school laminator.
End of year report cards, are to be developed using the Best Grade soft ware which was got from the Gayaza Workshop. The report will bare a student’s photo with automatically generated comments. This will be for the lower section, i.e., senior one and senior two.
The school website is to be developed, hosted and kept active, such that registration forms can be accessed via internet.
There will be an ICT exhibition in third term.
The computer department Trinity High School wishes to thank the following;
- The developers and implementers of the World Starts With Me program. It was after our participation in this program that our school was eyed among those to benefit in this great project. To be specific, thanks to Mrs. Allen Nansubuga of SNU, Allan Kakinda, Boss and Cobra-WSWM-TSS. Great thanks to Mr. Kakinda Daniel, the Training Director of SNU.
- School Net Uganda and Close the Gap. Thank you for including the school in this pilot project, for training the two teachers namely Ssenyonyi Moses and Namirembe Lydia, for releasing ten computers to the school and for allowing the SNU senior staff to training Trinity teachers on the 12th of June 2010.
- All participating schools, whose teaches trained together with Moses and Lydia. Thank you for your advice, knowledge, and encouragement. And for teachers of Gayaza High school, especially the Geography, History, Biology and Agriculture and mathematics teachers, thank you availing us with e learning materials, PowerPoint presentations and your inspirational projects-(Mr. Milton Chebet).
- Individuals like Mr. Kakinda Daniel-SNU, Allen Nansubuga-SNU, Mr. Ddungu-Gayaza High, Allan Kakinda-iEARN Uganda, Chole Richard-PMM Girls and others, thank you for your tireless efforts. You have made Trinity High School a better school to; Teach in, study in and be with.
Finally, the ICT department also wishes to thank the Director, Trinity High School-Mr. Semakula Daniel, the Headmistress-Mrs. Nalunkuuma Esther, the DOS-Ekalet Constant, Dean and the teachers of Trinity High School for your practical expression of interest. For moving and for doing all that it meant to have the project in school.
Not forgetting the students’ community and all those involved in the project.
Report Compiled by
FOR, ICT department, Trinity high School-Kawempe.