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Information Technology tools in today's schools

Updated on July 22, 2012

When I was growing up, I remember I always disliked to carryout manual work or assignments, yet this was and is always the norm of many African kids especially those growing up in the rural areas.

I grew up on the slopes of Mt Kenya on the northern side of Kenya. My dad was a teacher and we lived a modest rural Kenyan life where we had to struggle for nearly everything, water, fuel, food, schooling …name it. Like every good son, I always wanted to emulate my father.

My old man always wanted to help people and his best moments were when he was helping someone or aiding students with their school work. From those early years I fell in love with teaching, it is what I wanted to do when I grew up…but wait, I didn’t like the way my dad used to look like when he came back home from school, dusty and his shirts and trousers all with white chalk marks especially around the pockets.

No Chalks, only SmartBoards
No Chalks, only SmartBoards | Source
Dustless classroom
Dustless classroom | Source

Today, I look back to those days with nostalgia, what if I did let those white chalk marks deter my teaching desires? I must admit though that I almost forgot about my desires to teach. As you grow up you get to discover other opportunities in life.

After my graduation, I got a job as a Network Administrator in an institute of higher learning. My job was and still is to maintain the College LAN and connectivity. It was when was at it one day when an IT class lecturer asked me to take the students through techniques of installing and configuring a Firewall.

At the end of it, the lecturer said it was a thorough practical tutorial and wondered why I could not combine my IT skills and teaching. In six months time I found myself in a Technical College of Education learning teaching methodologies –Skills of how to deliver successful lectures, class management, human psychology and sociology, modern education among others. That is how I ended up as lecturer cum IT professional.

Education and education sectors have really changed over the years and in developing nations such as Kenya it is no exception. If one day you had wished to become a teacher, a tutor or a lecturer but you gave up owing to discouragements such as health hazards caused by Chalk dust, repetitive tasks such as filling in and processing of students marks, attendance registers, time tabling etc. then worry nor more. Information communication and technology tools have been developed and made available to be integrated in schools.

These technologies are tailored to simulate day-to-day tasks of a teacher. They not only make delivering of lecture contents easier when teaching but they also enhance learners interactions, better academic management and accountability as well as evaluating learners and learning process.

Interactive Smartboard
Interactive Smartboard | Source

Interactive Smart Boards

Most of us and especially in developing nations like Kenya, (my friend reminded me that I have to be cautious with the use of the terms “developing nation” in regard to Kenya especially with the recent discovery of oil), attained our early education through classrooms filled with chalk dust, rough writing materials, abstract school work, theoretical lessons and hey! were there Google and Wikipedia?

Chalk dust is nor more, theoretical contents are becoming less and less and lessons are interactive as ever, thanks to technologies such as Interactive Smart Boards. With the use of Smart Boards it is possible that classroom teaching may be transformed into an entirely different learning place, motivated by curiosity, rather than just fear of a "FAIL".

A Smart Board is an interactive, wall-mounted electronic white board that simulates the classical black board concept with the information retrieval, information-sharing and storage attributes of a computer. Diagrams, text, illustrations etc. can be outlined on the Smart board during class lessons and with a finger tap, send them to a computer. Lessons can also be relayed to absentees who for one reason or the other were unable to physically attend lectures but wish to follow proceedings from remote locations.

"Introducing Smart Board technology into classrooms has added a whole new level of interactive teaching, learning and content delivery to learners," said a school IT director.

Interactive Smart Boards help teachers to deliver dynamic, interactive, content rich lessons, write notes in digital ink, and store or retrieve their work – all with the simple touch of a finger in a way that could not have been imagined in the days of classical chalk-blackboard classrooms.

Schools management applications

When it comes to the other side of school management and learners’ evaluation, ICT technologies never fall short. School management software applications have been developed to cater for these needs.

Timely retrieval of information is vital in decisions making, accountability and proper management of institutions. Gone are the days when schools used to keep their information in record files and handbook ledgers.

Learners can interact with such systems to registers themselves online, view or print timetables, check their progress reports, join a portal or just receive bulletins. Most school management systems can be extended to incorporate stakeholders such as parents and suppliers through use of extranets and Bulky Short Messaging Services (BSMS).

Student Management System
Student Management System | Source

School Management Information System is usually a client-server database management application which is used for school management.

It allows users to store school's information electronically, including information about students, employees, suppliers, parents, inventory, teaching resources etc.

Most importantly, this information can be shared with authorized users of the system. Records and files can easily be searched and retrieved, and reports can be generated.

Most School Management Systems are client-server that run on a Local Area Network (LAN) but the server can be configured to be a public server - with a static IP or domain names. Users of the system (learners, teachers, parents or even suppliers) can log-on and use the system from wherever they are provided they have an internet connectivity. Usually, users log-on using authentications such as usernames and passwords.

Different ICT technology tools are available today that can be used to make life of learners in school fun and enjoyable yet productive to their mental growth. School administrators can rely on ICT technologies to manage school activities and hence dedicate more time to the overall academic growth of learners.

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    • CloudExplorer profile image

      Mike Pugh 4 years ago from New York City

      I like your story about your father motivating you to become a teacher and how you first overlooked it all, and ironically became a trainer for others over time, that was cool. I also enjoyed learning a bit about the whole electronic white board thing for schools and lectures, nicely done.

      I was in the US Navy and they used much of that technology many years back, but I never really got to play with it all myself, and it was all left up to my imagination to think of how it all worked.

      Your hub was very informative indeed, just check for some word positioning issues, maybe just edit it once or twice, and walla it is already solid though as it is, but sharpening it all up will make it a fan of many here on hubpages.

      Awesome job! voted up and getting shared.

    • dwachira profile image
      Author

      [ Danson Wachira ] 4 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Thanks CloudExplorer for the visit and commenting. ICT technologies have really transformed schools operations and management. I really appreciate you going through the hub and pointing out some corrections to be done. I agree there were several word positioning to be corrected and this being one of my first hubs, i expected that. I have tried to correct that but should there be any other suggestions, i shall gladly work on it. Thanks.

    • CloudExplorer profile image

      Mike Pugh 4 years ago from New York City

      Nice man, I'm glad you worked on it, I shall share this hub now with everyone, it helps if we help one another from time to time, you know.

      Cheers to awesome writing and communicating, as well as sharing in this awesome hubpages community. Once again fantastic job!

    • dwachira profile image
      Author

      [ Danson Wachira ] 4 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      You deserve appreciations CloudExplorer, thanks for the support.

    • dghbrh profile image

      deergha 4 years ago from ...... a place beyond now and beyond here !!!

      Thanks@ClouExplorer for sharing the hub.

      Its really very informative. Here in India, particularly in Assam (Guwahati) technology is a bit slow. Though few private schools have got this Interactive Boards very recently as far as knowledge goes. Donbosco, Panbazar, Sr Secondary School (there my son studies in class VI) has got the Interactive Board just last month, I think. I hardly had any idea about the new technology though in general just had a vague concept in mind. Now your highly informative hub gave me an indepth knowledge about the whole system, thank you very much. I am not a technical person at all but the simple and easy to understand hub made it very interesting to grab the whole idea.

      Most of my friends are into teaching profession and I really do feel sad as I went through your hub about the whole dust, chalks, unnecessary tedious works etc. Here in Assam an evolution is going on as more then may be 10,000 teachers were absorbed on contractual basis in Education department of the Govt of Assam. Many of my friends also got jobs but the condition of the schools are really pathetic. It would have been much better to introduce technical modern developed way of teaching then to utilize Govt fund in the absorption of teachers. This is the feel I am having after going through you hub.

      Voted up and sharing : )

    • dwachira profile image
      Author

      [ Danson Wachira ] 4 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Thanks dghbrh for stopping here and commenting. It is sad how education systems have been run in many developing nations. It is almost a miracle how kids in developing nations manage to make it in life.

      Lately, these governments have made and effort to improve education systems and ICT technologies is such efforts being introduced. Teachers have long been neglected and although things are not yet at where we would hope for, the situation is a bit better than before and we hope i will get even better.

      It is good to hear from you and the situation of education in India, I have really appreciated. Enjoy your day.

    • profile image

      Eunice Wanjiru 4 years ago

      @dwachira, You and I are passionate about use of technology and IT in education. How do I contact you. This is a very passionate and i really appreciate it. My role in this is to ensure that once the schools and teachers invest in the SMART Boards that they are comfortable enough to roll out lessons and avoid the experiences we did not like in our time

    • dwachira profile image
      Author

      [ Danson Wachira ] 4 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Thanks Eunice for the visit and comment, IT tools usage is the better way to go in schools. It enhances education and make delivery of lessons better both to learners and tutors. I can be reached on emailwachira@gmail.com

    • pringoooals profile image

      Karina 4 years ago from Edinburgh

      I remember the chalk dust from my class as well and now looking at the aids in my childrens classroom it amazes me how the technology went forward. Great article! I really enjoyed reading it. Voted up.

    • dwachira profile image
      Author

      [ Danson Wachira ] 4 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Hi pringoooals, it is amazing how things have changed in schools today due to technology. Thanks for the visit and comment.

    • Paul Kuehn profile image

      Paul Richard Kuehn 4 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      Danson, This is an interesting and useful hub for any teacher. Unfortunately, my school doesn't have enough interactive white boards for all of its classrooms. It certainly would make teaching and learning better for both teachers and students. When I first came to Thailand in 2007, I worked in a government school which had mostly chalk boards. Besides putting up with the chalk dust, I had to contend with boards with bad surfaces and unending breaking of chalk. Voted up and sharing with followers.

    • dwachira profile image
      Author

      [ Danson Wachira ] 4 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Hi Paul,

      It has been tough here in Kenya with increased need for better education but luckily the government is very keen on education. Thanks for the visit and comment.

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