Photo Caption: Mr. Mukalele Rogers, an ICT Teacher at Kololo Senior Secondary School, Kampala, guiding Students using computers in a computer Lab in July 2017. Digital Education is on the rise in Ugandan Schools.
Ugandan Educational digital resource sharing and E-learning systems on the rise
Educational digital resource sharing and e-learning is emerging as a viable means to improve the quality of education in Uganda. The digital divide in Uganda is reducing, because many schools across the country have acquired ICTs and this has given rise to great demand for digital resources (such as PowerPoint presentations) to aid the teaching and learning process, yet materials on international e-learning systems are not prepared and categorized according to the Ugandan curriculum. Because of this challenge, many schools are developing websites and publishing digital educational resources on eLearning sections of their websites. Many individuals and companies have also established online platforms for eLearning and resource sharing.
Some of the popular publically-accessible eLearning and Educational resource sharing systems that have emerged in the recent years include E-Learn Uganda, Gayaza High School e-tutoring Website, KayeDex Online education platform, Mwalimu Learning Platform, Passuneb.com, Sharebility Uganda, WALKTRACK EDU Platform and Yaaka Digital Learning Network
E-learn Uganda is a Ugandan based platform trying to improve the access to secondary school content in Uganda. The Vision for E-learn Uganda is dream that instead of taking long hours on social media, students can also access content for their level on our platform. “We realized that most students across the country access internet but in most cases use it to access only social media. ”
Gayaza High School e-tutoring Website
Gayaza High School developed an e-learning platform that is hosted by the School website as a sub-domain. It is an educational resource platform where content developed by the Gayaza High School teachers and students is uploaded to be freely shared or accessed by learners and educators in the country and the rest of the global community. These resources include downloadable subject-based self-evaluation exercises generated using an integrated software suite, lesson notes, video clips, audio recordings and useful links to resources on the World Wide Web. Gayaza was selected as a Microsoft Pathfinder School because of its potential to create scalable and replicable educational digital resources capable of influencing schools in the community, country and the world.
The School formed a partnership with MTN-Uganda to enrich and roll out the e-learning program to the rest of the country based on the following objectives:
- To ensure that quality educational resources reach remote schools and disadvantaged communities.
- To train teachers and students in e-learning and the integration of ICT in the teaching and learning process.
- To improve or enhance the quality of education in schools.
- To promote the spirit of cooperation/collaboration between schools within the country.
- To enhance 21st Century skills, innovative teaching/learning practices in schools and ensure education transformation.
- To narrow or bridge the gap between the urban and rural schools.
Ronald Ddungu, the Deputy Head Teacher says that they adopted an inclusive approach to e-Learning where teachers actively integrate technology into teaching. Students can access, homework and carry out research in a timely manner to further compliment the education curriculum in Uganda. “The use of technology in schools in Uganda helps to improve the delivery of the curriculum. Gayaza High School works closely with other schools and mentors their teachers in adopting the use of technology in their work”,
KayeDex Online education platform
KayeDex, is an online application providing convenient ways of creating, storing, and sharing collections of Educational information and projects. KayeDex is promoting awareness, knowledge share and innovation in the Uganda education sector. You can search 1000’s of past papers + solutions, Search & compare schools, practice curriculum based Quizzes and Tests.
“The original basis of the project was to ensure all schools in Uganda have some sort of web presence, after getting a large number of requests to build websites for schools. But we soon realised that schools did not have sufficient capital for website development and maintenance, so the idea was spawned to build a platform where schools, could build manage their own website. Further research also supported our idea, less than 10% of schools in Uganda have websites. From there the project was expanded to digitizing thousands of exam past papers and solutions and making them available to students to download. We have also added functionality to help students with their revision, but providing curriculum based tests and quizzes.”
Socially, this application will enable the entire communities to get information about any school in Uganda, by searching and comparing schools basing on different metrics such as location (interactive map), past UNEB performance and levels etc. Give access to remote communities to a vast database online of past exam papers and solutions.
Technologically it will comprehend the drive to encourage ICT development within the education sector and will help the country through the young generation to embrace and adopt to this information Technology Era.
The unique attributes of this application are;
- It allows more than 500,000 schools to create and have fully functional dynamic websites managed by their school administrators with minimal basic computing skills.
- Student can also search for education resources, practice for exams by doing curriculum based quizzes and tests.
- Students and teacher can share material, ie upload their own content (notes, past papers, quizzes)
- Digitalised past papers and solutions which can be accessed from both the web and desktop version of the application.
- With SMS integration, schools can also cheaply and effectively communicate to parents and students.
Mwalimu Learning Platform
Mwalimu Platform is an Open Educational Resource initially built to support education in Uganda but with expansion prospects to East Africa and Africa.
It started in 2012 as a community outreach project of Gulu University’s Department of Computer Science with funding from Google’s CS4HS, before transforming into an independent platform managed by its creators under Eurekalinks Ltd in collaboration with the Department of Computer Science.
Currently Mwalimu Platform surpports;
- eLearning for Secondary Schools (SEET)
- eLearning for Primary Education(Under Development)
- Digital Literacy of in-service teachers and their life-long learning
Passuneb.com is an e-learning platform that provides free education resources to students in primary and secondary school. As an open education resource, this web application provides students with free and accessible learning material which comes at a cheaper cost and creates a more interesting revision environment for the students. Services offered include Online Self-test quizzes, E-library, Virtual Lab, students’ lifestyle and leisure news (Wolox), career guidance and counselling programs aiming to help students make more informed and better educational and career choices.
Sharebility Uganda is an Educational Digital Resource Pool for Ugandan Schools. The teachers are encouraged to generously upload their digital resources in their possession to the pool. Resources are freely and directly accessible, and there are quality assurance measures like ratings, reporting and comments features.
Sharebility maximizes the utilization of available e-learning resources for academic purposes through a give-and-take paradigm, connecting the various stakeholders in schools and promoting a culture of sharing and receiving open digital resources to promote education in Uganda.
Some of the attributes of the Sharebility Uganda System include the following:
- The system enables all users to search and find resources based on the supplied keywords.
- The system enables unregistered users to register and create accounts.
- The system authenticates users during login, using their emails and passwords.
- The system enables users to upload and download resources to and from the system.
- The system enables users to view and edit their profile page information.
- The system captures, stores and retrieves comments about each of the system resources.
- The system has administrator tools for moderating content and user activity by blocking users violating system policy and deleting inappropriate content and comments.
- The system enables the administrators to re-categorize the digital resource contents being uploaded by various contributors.
- The system keeps track of the number of times a particular resource is downloaded and automatically gives a list of the top trending resources.
- The system enables the administrator reply to user inquires and reported issues.
- The system can automatically open the resource documents for preview/reading within the browser (no need for 3rd part software on client machine).
- The system keeps track of the user signups per district and displays the map of Uganda showing system usage patterns.
WALKTRACK EDU Platform
Walktrack Edu Platform is an educational website that provides free & open educational resources for both teachers & students across Uganda. It provides important resources for secondary and university, although emphasis has been put on secondary. The resources include Classroom notes, Powerpoint presentations, Questions & Answer booklets, Short books and Past papers. The core motivation to put these resources here is to provide free high quality educational resources to Uganda’s digital generation so as to enhance quality learning especially in northern Uganda.
Yaaka Digital Learning Network
The Yaaka Digital Learning Network is a forum, an academic resource, a job listing, a tutoring aid and a peer-to-peer knowledge sharing platform all in one. Yaaka is designed like an interactive social network, where teachers and students can share academic knowledge and materials. It allows skilled teachers to tutor remotely and earn extra income, and its users benefit from each other’s experience and guidance.
The network, which was launched in March 2015, already has around 11,000 users. Students and teachers range from pre-primary school to university level, and academic, social or extracurricular activity materials are shared in the form of text, audio, audio-visual or video content. Online classes are also held for those with internet-connected devices. Students and teachers just need to register to access or offer learning materials.
SIGNIFICANCE OF EDUCATIONAL DIGITAL RESOURCE-SHARING AND E-LEARNING
Educational digital resource-sharing refers to the use of learning resources (course content, research, assessment materials, etc.) in digital format by different learners located in more than one educational institution. However, sharing educational digital resources efficiently and effectively is a challenge. One barrier is that currently available resources have not been described accurately and do not readily interoperate. In this context, collaborations can reduce costs associated with designing and implementing commonly used resources (i.e. sharing of reusable learning objects housed in a common repository). It is therefore important that frameworks are explored on how best the sharing of these educational resources may be made possible.
E-learning refers to the utilization of ICT tools, services and digital content in education. E-learning presents enormous opportunities to significantly facilitate the effectiveness of delivering the learning contents and gaining access to an immense pool of educational information if appropriately utilized, and it has also gained global recognition as a method to improve the teaching and learning processes aimed at creating an economy powered by technology and propelled by information and knowledge. E-learning in schools is used both by students and staff in the process of exchanging information and gaining knowledge, as well as for communication and easy access to educational information at a cheaper cost.
ICTs provide an array of powerful tools that may help in transforming the present isolated, teacher-centered and text-bound classrooms into rich, student-focused, interactive knowledge environments. Consequently, digital e-learning is increasingly being suggested as an alternative to, or a way to enhance, traditional educational approaches since it can overcome many of the challenges involved in reaching undeserved students.
Current trends in e-learning recognize that in order to support different teaching and learning paradigms, e-learning should deal with more than simply reading online lessons: – content as well as communication and collaboration have to be supported in a personalized manner by e-learning systems. Current trends also show that online learning will be increasingly diverse to respond to different learning cultures, styles, and motivations. Personalization and adaptability will continue to be key issues in modern e-learning environments as they improve the knowledge acquisition process.
To facilitate online learning, various e-learning systems have been developed and are being used to provide a medium by which course materials can be delivered and accessed in a web-based platform as well as to provide the technology medium for interaction among the learning community. In order to improve their design, there is need for regular evaluation to assess the extent to which they continue to meet the goals of learning and their impact.
However, the power of e-learning is more than technology; it includes the social dynamics of networking. The revolutionary impact of e-learning lies not simply in having a multimedia platform on a single desktop. It is the combined power of a worldwide network of such computers – that connects authors, instructors and learners globally – with the immediacy of text, graphics, audio and video, as well as interactivity and collaborative sharing. Therefore, as Uganda increasingly embraces ICT in education and e-Learning , it is essential to develop ways to encourage and facilitate collaboration and cooperation.
ICTs provide an array of powerful tools helping in transforming the present isolated, teacher-centered and text-bound classrooms into rich, student-focused, interactive knowledge environments. This enhances the traditional educational approaches since it can overcome many of the challenges involved in reaching undeserved students in Uganda. By pooling resources and taking advantage of each other’s expertise, learning providers can build adequate capacity, reduce redundancy in infrastructure and reduce costs. The growing trend of distributed heterogeneous educational resource sharing and eLearning systems can realize the inter-connection, inter-communication and sharing, reduce the cost of educational resources and speed up the process of access to resources for teaching and learning. Consequently, the time and cost that would have been incurred by an institution is sharable amongst the partners through a give-and-take commitment. This is the reason why several countries have adopted the norm of being part of educational networks and associations.
Know of other Ugandan Educational digital resource sharing and E-learning systems not mentioned here? Let us know in the comments!