This paper is set in the context of Kenyan schools and their rapidly developing use of information and communication technology. Its key focus and emphasis is on the changes to teaching and learning that will result from an e-education environment. Understanding the impact of e- teaching, e-learning and e- education is seen as fundamental to moving us forward so we can make greater use of the opportunities provided by the Internet. E-teachers are considered central to the move toward e-education and the way in which ICT is integrated in our schools. To implement an ICT e-strategy without e-teachers will now be like piloting a boat without a navigator
Table of Contents
The "e" word has become increasingly evident on the lives of Kenyans in ways many could not have imagined less than ten years ago. With relative ease, the "e" is attached to activities like real estate, retailing, banking, entertainment and now education. The "e" stands for electronic and it relates to the use of the Internet to undertake the wide range of activities. As we become more familiar with the language of the Internet we find just how much it pervades our daily lives in the dot.com age. We readily recognize http://www......... as an Internet web site and see it plastered on vehicles, billboards, hot air balloons, merchandise and in the screen and print media. Educators are now beginning to hear terms like e- teaching, e-learning and e- education as it subtly becomes part of our regular vocabulary. Fancy (2000) suggested that e-learning "enhances the mentor and facilitator roles of the teacher more than ever."
It is no longer a question ofÂ whetherÂ or not we will implement e-learning in our schools, but whether we will do itÂ well.Â Like the Internet itself, there is no way of controlling the advent of e-learning. What we can hope to do is begin to understand the complexities of the new environment and how we can support schools and help teachers to work effectively as e-teachers.
In Kenya, the tutor to student ratio is low as seen by the number of primary school leavers who do not get absorbed into secondary schools. This is also as accredited to the fact that there are less secondary schools especially after the government implemented the free primary education program. This move was a good one that supported the less privileged in the society. However, what next after the K.C.P.E examination? This should have been taken into consideration.
Kenya's public schools see an average of 50 students for every teacher, though some classes have only one teacher for 100 pupils. According to an article in The Guardian from 6th September 2011, the teachers' union projects a shortfall of 115000 teachers in the next couple of years as the population increases. Nearly 10% of 13 year old pupils cannot complete a simple math problem meant for 7 year olds, according to research done earlier this year by Uwezo, a pressure group that aims to improve literacy among children in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
As seen above, it is clear that the problem of overcrowded classrooms cannot be solved by employing more tutors in the future as they are unavailable and projected to be even less in the near future. This creates a niche that gives room to the adoption of a new dynamic and radical solution which is e learning.
Figure : Teacher to pupil ratio in Kenyan primary schools from 2002 to 2010
Figure : Teacher to pupil ratio in Kenyan secondary schools from 2002 to 2010
It is important to recognize that while e-learning has much to offer it is not a signal for the end of regular classroom learning as we know it now. Classroom learning will continue to have an important role to play but as Rosenberg (2001) has identified, "it will be a different role from in the past" and no longer the "default delivery system". With infrastructure still a major challenge in many of the schools; it is clear that not all schools in the country can adopt e education. Teachers can be trained on effective use of the e education materials but if the materials are not in the areas of teaching then e education would be a challenge.
The purpose of this study is to examine changes to teaching and learning in an e education environment. This chapter explains the Methods used to come up with a comprehensive e education system that can be integrated into the Kenyan education system. Most of the researches that will be discussed are from the National ICT Innovation and Integration Centre (NI3C). The Centre is part of the ministry of education in Kenya that sets to integrate ICT into education, especially in the primary and secondary schools.
The Ministry of education set up a holistic model that would see four schools benefit on an ICT integration. The model was meant to be a pilot project in which other school would adopt. The selected schools were based on the fact that they had not benefited from ICT from any organization. They were Kiserian Secondary School, Marigat District; Munyu Secondary School, Thika East District; Chebilat High School, Sotik District and Makutano Secondary School, Mwala District. They were meant to start from scratch and develop a working e education system in their schools with the help of the ministry.
Each of the four schools selected a team of teachers to be their ICT integration team. The team was then trained on the technical aspect of ICT and how to deliver their courses using web technologies. The ministry together with NI3C trained the teachers on how to use sites such as YouTube, Facebook, e_blackbord for effective teaching.
Implementing e education without proper infrastructure in the institutions is a major challenge. To make the model run smoothly the ministry bought projectors, printers, computers and installed internet in all the model schools.
The Monitoring team from the Ministry of education made visits to the schools to see how the integration was going on. From the questionnaire filled by the teachers, most of them appreciated the e education system. The Monitoring team also observed the course delivery was more organized since most teachers could save their notes in a centralized database.
The holistic model will definitely be a reference point for any school that wants to implement e education from scratch. Having computer labs in schools doesn't necessarily mean that ICT is being implemented in education. The computers must be used effectively in course delivery.
Implementation of E-education system
Virtual Essence has introduced an e-learning solution for kids in upper primary school, teachersÂ and parents throughÂ a comprehensive e-learning package called Msingi Pack that is easy and exciting to use, allowing the kids to studyÂ and revise and providing the teachers and parents as well withÂ more teaching resources and a way of tracking the kids' performance. Msingi pack was launched in 2008, initially for class eight students, but the currentÂ version is for kids in class six to eight; but kids in class four and five can also use the tutorials. Suitable for kids in class six to eight, Msingi PackÂ comprises of tutorials on all the subjects, topical questions, weekly assignments, KCPE past papers from 2005 to date, Msingi pack exams, and lesson plan templates for teachers, and reports. The team of 50 practicing teachers and two full time education specialists help make this system work. The pack comes in two different modules -a home module that can be used by up to six people and the parent; and a school module which can be networked and generate reports.
The exam section is a simulator of the real exams, as it has been designed to time the student, mark and revise with the student, taking him through a narrative step of each and every question .This helps one in tracking the performance, and the exams can also be customized so that one moves at his own pace, or choose different questions from different papers.
The tutorial section is interactive as the exam and involves the kidsÂ reading through the tutorials, which have worked out examples, topical questions and weekly assignments on every subject, every week to which can then be marked by the teacher or the parent. All the tutorials are linked to the new 8-4-4 syllabus and therefore very relevant. The package also comes with more than six hundred proverbs in Swahili all, explained as well as tutorials on in composition and insha writing, with scanned compositions and inshas written by other pupils and already marked.
The pack include guidance and counselingÂ tips on variousÂ issues affecting adolescents including sex and pregnancy, teacher child relationships, giving good instructions to children, questioning in teaching, parent's role in instilling discipline and life skills among other issues.
Msingi pack can be bought online on www.vlckenya.com, where one fills in a form which then gets Sh3000 for the home version and Sh2000 for the school version, with one being required to buy a minimum of five for the school version.
Kenya has become the third African country to launch eLearning facilities in secondary schools. The programme by Intel, and whose only other beneficiaries are South Africa and Nigeria, was launched at Kamiti Secondary School in the outskirts of Nairobi. The programme enables students to be taught through information communication technology (ICT) and is a collaboration effort between the Ministry of Education and several local and multinational ICT companies.
The project involves the use of computers and wireless connectivity for all types of class work. The teacher uses a laptop to which the students connect from their low-cost laptops known as classmates. In the new classroom, the blackboard has been replaced with a touch screen and students send their work to the teacher through wireless connectivity.
Kenyan Universities are increasingly turning to e-learning as a tool to facilitate improved education. They also want to rope in more students through better access to facilities, hoping to reach a wider base in a cost-effective way. The efficiency accruing from e-learning is among the advantages gained by local universities that have adopted the use of technology. Using different platforms, students are able follow lectures online, interact with lecturers, submit assignments and check on their grades. Lecturers are also able to upload course materials, post assignments and generate discussions online using blogs. However, these institutions have to train both students and lecturers on how to use the platforms.
Strathmore University, USIU and University of Nairobi (UoN), all students are enrolled in e-learning courses when they first join. Strathmore University has adopted the use of e-learning in many of its courses via the Moodle platform. The university (Strathmore) uses this as a way of facilitating lectures and applies a blend of direct lectures and e-learning techniques in many courses as technology gains acceptability among lecturers and students.
One area in which the university has utilized e-learning is by the use of video conferencing for visiting professors; this is done especially in partnership with other business schools. Strathmore has a tie-up with the IESE Business School which is under the University of Navarra in Barcelona Spain.
Impact of e education
The introduction and the development of the e-learning platform, e-classroom and e-teaching have impacted the education system in many various ways both positive and negative. Not only has it affected the students but also it has made a very great impact to teachers. These impacts are both positive and negative.
E-learning has made it possible for teachers to be able to teach their classes even when they are not physically in class. This is made possible in that they can record their teaching sessions and upload the videos to the site in order for their students to access it and down load them. E-learning also allows for live video broadcast in that the teachers can be able to teach their students live as they watch and ask questions.
E-learning allows for interaction between teachers and the students. This is possible in that both the teachers and students can post forums for discussions. Teachers are able to post forums in which the students can be able to access it and make comments and in turn the teachers can be able to answer the questions asked and explain points clearer to students for clarification purposes.
E-classroom has allowed for room of teachers to allow their students to use electronic gadgets during class. These gadgets include computers, laptops, tablets and mobile phones. This has made easier for students to search for further information apart from what is taught to them by the teachers. Teachers have found it easier to explain concepts to their students especially if it requires demonstrations.
Teachers use the e-learning platform to give out assignments and notes to their students from wherever they are as long as the can access the internet. They can also put up links for submitting the work with deadlines to be met by the students. E-learning also supports the use of other software like the turn it in that helps the teacher to be able to check out for directly copied work by students
E-class has made it possible for more interactions between the teachers and their students in that instead of the normal class sitting arrangement of the class in that the teacher stands in front of the class and teaches on the board, they can make the students sit in groups while using the electronic gadgets and he can move around freely during class and taking into account what the students are doing in the smaller groups. This increases and encourages close contact between the teachers and the students.
E-education has also brought about some negative impacts in the education system in the following ways.
It has made teachers lack originality in their methods of teaching. Most of the times they tend to refer their students to the internet since they know that the internet has almost everything. This is a great disadvantage in that most students cannot understand what they directly see in the internet without the concepts being introduced and explained to them by the teacher in class first before they go to the internet.
E-learning has made teachers miss classes physically with an excuse of posting notes and assignments. Personal contact between the teachers and their students is very important especially when there is need for demonstrations or practical work and therefore both the old methods and techniques of teaching should be used hand in hand with the new technology.
As much as e-education has made it easier for the learning and teaching process to be more fun and enjoyable, these gadgets that are used during the process at times can cause distractions especially the mobile phones as the users may tend to deviate from what their intended is at that particular moment when they are in class.
Comparison between conventional learning and e learning
Students have expressed higher satisfaction from the computer mediated learning, as compared to traditional learning and rated the e learning as more effective than in the traditional framework. It has been argued that computer mediated or online learning is more Student-engaging. ELearning includes many components that are familiar from traditional learning, such
as: presentation of ideas by the students, group discussions, arguments and many other forms of conveying information and accumulating knowledge. The contents of the course's Curriculum might be organized according to subjects and in a serial manner. ELearning also includes advantages which are not found in traditional learning, such as: time for digesting the information and responding, enhanced communication among the Learners, both as regards quality and as regards urgency, knowledge being acquired and transferred among the learners themselves, the ability to conduct an open discussion, where each learner gets more of an equal standing than in a face-to-face discussion, access to information and to discussion ability, responses may be made around the clock with no restrictions, a higher motivation and involvement in the process on the part of the learners. The very use of technology for learning has been found to have a positive effect on the student's commitment to the learning process. Also, use of technology creates a greater commitment on the students' part to learning. The following table summarizes several opinions regarding the comparison between traditional learning and eLearning:
Table : Traditional Learning and ELearning
The teacher usually talks
more than the student
The student talks at least as
much as or more than the
The learning is conducted
with the whole class
participating; there is almost
no group or individual study
Most of the learning process
takes place in groups or by
the individual student.
The teacher conducts the
lesson according to the study
program and the existing
The student participates in
determining the subject
matter; the studying is based
on various sources of
Information, including web data banks and net-experts located by the student.
Emphases in the Learning
The students learn "what"
and not "how"; the students
and the teachers are busy
completing the required
subject matter quota; the
students are not involved in
inquiry-based education and
in solving problems, but
rather in tasks set by the
The students learn "how"
and less "what"; the learning
includes research study
which combines searching
for and collecting
information from web data
banks and authorities on the
communications network; the
learning is better connected
to the real world, the subject
matter is richer and includes
material in different formats.
The students' motivation is
low, and the subject matter is
"distant" from them.
The students' motivation is
high due to the involvement
in matters that are closer to them and to the use of technology.
The teacher is the authority
The teacher directs the student to the information.
Location of Learning
The learning takes place
within the classroom and the
The learning takes place with
no fixed location
The teacher dictates the
structure of the lesson and
the division of time
The structure of the lesson is affected by the group dynamics.
Factors that could prevent staff from making changes that would enable
them to integrate technology into their teaching
Pedagogical practice versus technical skills
Courses offered in the Kenya to train teachers in the uses of ICT have focused on the technical aspects of ICT with little training about the pedagogical practices required and how to incorporate ICT in the curriculum. In many ICT professional development courses, teachers are not often taughtÂ how to revise their pedagogical practices, how to replace other traditional lessons without depleting the curriculum coverage and so on. This means that after teachers had attended a course they still did not know how to use ICT for teaching pupils, They only knew how to run certain software packages and to fix the printer.
Support from the whole school
Much research by Fullan (1991) and others has shown that the most effective way to bring about the adoption of an innovation in schools is to engage the whole school in a democratic process of planning change. This means that all the teachers are involved in the decision to adopt ICT in the school and are supportive of any individual teacher going on a course and willing to learn from their new knowledge and skills when they return. If the school, and particularly the head teacher, are not committed to adopting change and particularly ICT, then if one teacher goes on a course, the rest of the school sets up antibodies to any new ideas which the unfortunate teacher brings back into the school. The last thing the other teachers will then do is to change their practice.
Losing control of the learning
The majority of teacher's first priority is to maintain order in the classroom and to have a controlled learning environment. Any suggestion of adopting very innovative teaching techniques such as using ICT is therefore seen as threatening this orderly pattern and therefore not desirable. There is a genuine fear amongst many teachers about ICT and skepticism of its value to their pupils
Even if the above problems are overcome there is often a difficulty for teachers who have had some training to be able to use ICT because there are insufficient ICT resources in the school or there is not enough time to review then and plan lessons incorporating their use.
In spite of the problems listed above and many others, some positive things have been learnt from previous experiences of different initiatives and training programs. Where schools have had the backing of the head teacher and there is a long term policy for the school to integrate ICT into the teaching then they have been successful in gradually developing the use of ICT in different areas.
Projects in which individual teachers have been given portable computers to develop their own personal ICT skills have shown that teachers then start to use them in their teaching as well.
Teachers who have gone on longer courses, spread over a year have had the time to practice in between sessions back in schools and have had the time to assimilate enough expertise and knowledge to be able to continue to use them within their curriculum.
Lessons from the past have shown us that there are effective as well as ineffective strategies for providing professional development for teachers which will lead to their successful integration of ICT in their teaching. The next section discusses some of the specific skills which teachers need to have to make the best use of ICT in the classroom.
E education is picking up at convincing rate in the Kenyan education system. The government now needs to step in and set out regulations on how various technologies and softwares should be used for effective course delivery. Training of teachers on effective use of e education should be done while they are still in teaching practice. With well-trained e teachers and e learners, Kenya will be able to achieve an e education system.
Fullan (1991) The new meaning of Educational Change. Cassell. London
Rosenberg, M. J. (2001).Â E-learning: Strategies for delivering knowledge in the digital age. New York: McGraw Hill.
Fancy, H. (2000). Text of a speech delivered by Howard Fancy at the International Workshop on Advanced Learning Technologies at Massey University. [On-line]. Available: http://www.minedu.govt.nz/web/document/document_page.cfm?id=5432