The ICT Teachers Capacity Building workshop held at Sharing Hall, Nsambya on Monday this week concluded this year’s country-wide capacity building programme for ICT teachers organised by Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) through the Rural Communications Development Fund (RCDF).
UCC has since RCDF’s inception in 2003 donated and installed over 1000 computer Laboratories in the different Secondary Schools and Tertiary institutions across the country.
Now after realising that stocking schools computer labs with equipment and connecting them to broadband internet is not enough, UCC has gone a step further to boost the skills set of secondary school teachers who run these facilities.
The schedule of the workshops
In reference to one of the Invitation letters signed by Hon. Nyombi Thembo the Director RCDF, teachers from beneficiary schools were invited to attend the various workshops.
The workshops were originally scheduled to happen at various venues in all regions of the country as listed below:
🖱Reliance Hotel, Mbale 14th Aug 2019
🖱Civil Service College, Jinja 15th Aug 2019
🖱Global Friendship Hotel, Gulu 20th Aug 2019
🖱Lavender Hotel, Moroto – 22nd Aug 2019
🖱Kabalega Hotel, Masindi 10th Sep 2019
🖱Heritage Courts, Arua 13th Sep 2019
🖱Oxford Inn, Mbarara 17th Sep 2019
🖱Homeland Hotel, Kabale 18th Sep 2019
🖱New Fort View Hotel, Fort Portal 19th Sep 2019
🖱Kololo S.S, Kampala 15th Oct 2019
🖱Brovad Hotel, Masaka 16th Oct 2019
🖱Prim Rose Hotel, Mubende 18th Oct 2019
However, due to the busy schedule on the schools calender in 3rd term and other colliding programs, the RCDF team liaised with the Ministry of Education and sports to have some of the originally scheduled workshops postponed and some venues changed as appropriate and the last one was concluded this week on Monday 2nd December, 2019 at Sharing Hall, Nsambya , Kampala.
Topics discussed during the workshop
As seen on the program below, the workshops mainly focused on 4 topics, ie Computer usage monitoring, Information Literacy, ICT Clubs in secondary schools, and Computer Lab Maintenance.
Computer usage monitoring session
This session was facilitated by Madam Esther Wannyana. She told us about the need for monitoring computer usage. Teachers can put PC monitoring software on the school computers to make sure students are staying safe on the computers at school, and are using them only for approved activities and research. Creating a safe environment on the computer is highly important, especially for teenagers who can be drawn in to websites they should not be visiting.
Computer monitoring software like ManicTime tracks certain data that can be gathered from the computer when you use it. This information includes what websites you visit, how much time you are spending on certain projects, and other applications that you might use when you log in.
This information can be used to determine how much time you are spending on work and how much time is spent on other pursuits when you are on the computer.
Also Read about Timecamp, a free alternative to ManicTime.
Information Literacy session
This session was led by Alice Sebunjo of UCC. She took us though Introduction to Digital Libraries, Electronic, Digital or ICT based Information Resources, and an introduction to Information Literacy / Digital Literacy.
A digital library was defined as an organised and focused collection of digital objects, including text, images, video and audio; with the methods of access and retrieval and for the selection, creation, organisation, maintenance and sharing of collection.
Benefits and importance of Digital Libraries were noted as follows
- Improved access: Digital libraries are typically accessed through the Internet and CD-ROM / external drives, accessed almost from anywhere and at anytime , not tied to the physical location and operating hours of traditional library.
- Wider access: A digital library can meet real-time access requests for a document by easily creating multiple copies of the requested document.
- Improved information sharing: Through the appropriate metadata and information exchange protocols, the digital libraries can easily share information with other similar digital libraries and provide enhanced access to users.
- Improved preservation: Since the electronic documents are not prone to physical wear and tear, their exact copies can easily be made, the digital libraries facilitate preservation of special and rare documents and artifacts by providing access to digital versions of these entities.
- Aggrey Kibenge, the Under Secretary Ministry of Education and Sports, said that digital libraries will increase the academic performance of students in rural schools who have limited access to up to date reading materials. Article on ” Digital libraries, game-changer in rural schools ”
- Digital library will sharpen both teacher’s and learner’s mind-set towards perfection of their ICT skills. Sanon Mwesigwa, HM Mpumudde
- Digital libraries ease teaching and learning especially in schools that face challenges of inadequate reading materials and facilities.
- Underprivileged schools will rise up to the occasion and compete favourably with their counterparts in privileged schools.
- It reduces the workload for teachers and expose students to a wide range of learning materials as well as the digital world.
- NCDC is confident that the digital libraries prepare students for the digital curriculum with multiple content.
- Digital libraries is the timely intervention to bridge the gap between privileged and rural under privileged schools.
Electronic, Digital orICT based Information Resources include
- Electronic Books and Texts: Electronic books (e-Books) are one way to enhance the digital library with global 24-hours-a-day and 7- days-a-week access to authoritative information
- Electronic Journals: Electronic journals – defined broadly as any journals, magazines, newsletters or the electronic serial publications
- Magnetic & optical media (TV, Radio, Newspapers, etc.) They have a vast influence on the collections of academic libraries.
- Reference Sources: Many E-dictionaries, online almanacs, E-ncyclopaedias, and other reference sources are now available online in full-text.
- Library Catalogues: A library catalogue is a list of books and other graphic material in a library arranged according to a recognized order and containing specific items of bibliographical information
- Statistical Sources: The D-Library has access to a variety of subscription databases which provide economic data or statistics.
- Sound Recordings: There are some few Library databases which provide access to sound recordings
- Image Databases (Art, Maps, Medical, etc.): Databases with graphics or images, such as photos, paintings or maps.
- j) Electronic Thesis or Dissertation: An ETD is an electronic document that describes the scholarly works or research of a researcher.
- ) Blogs or Weblog: A blog is a website where entries of commentary in journal style are displayed. An example of Suubi Secondary School blog was given. Click here to check it out. Also check out: Top 22 Useful Educational Websites For Ugandan Students including Sharebility Uganda
Components of Information Literacy
Information Literacy is the ability to access, evaluate, organize and use information in order to learn, problem-solve, make decisions at work, at home and in an educational settings (Breivik 2011)
“…knowing when and why you need information, where to find it, and how to evaluate, use and communicate it in an ethical manner”CILIP, 2004
Information literacy rose to national consciousness in the U.S. with President Barack Obama’s Proclamation designating October 2009 as National Information Literacy Awareness Month.
President Obama’s Proclamation stated that:
“Rather than merely possessing data, we must also learn the skills necessary to acquire, collate, and evaluate information for any situation… Though we may know how to find the information we need, we must also know how to evaluate it. Over the past decade, we have seen a crisis of authenticity emerge.
Easy to Remember Information Evaluation Criteria: QUOTA
|Qualified||Author – What is the author’s education and experience? Does it qualify them as an expert on this topic? Do they reference any research to support their points? Company/Organization – Does the company or organization have a good reputation? What is the web domain (e.g. .com, .edu, org, etc.) of the site?|
|Up-To-Date*||Is the information current? When was it last updated? For websites – are the links up-to-date and functioning?|
|Objectivity||Does the content focus on facts and information? Or, does it state an opinion? Does the source use neutral or strong language? Is there slant or bias present?|
|True||Is the information correct and has been fact-checked? Are there additional sources or references to verify the information? Do other experts agree?|
|Accurate||Does the content relate to your topic and answer your questions? Is it relevant to your audience – children, experts, adults, or casual readers? Is it overly complex or not complex enough?|
Download the full presentation on information literacy using the button below:
ICT Clubs in secondary schools session
This session was led by By Phillip Mweheire of UCC and Chole Richard of KAWA. The teachers were told that the ICT clubs program is aimed at building the capacity in the students to be able to sustainably maintain their schools’ computer laboratories and leverage the 21st century learning practices to make learning more meaningful in their lives and education.
Read more detailed related article: UCC ICT Clubs program extended to 23 more schools in 2019
The following Project Ideas for ICT Clubs were given to the teachers to consider
- Creating digital instructional material for learning such as making a video Production of a science experiment in the lab.
- Creating a blog, or website to share project ideas with other clubs or schools
- Producing a film skit to address a community issue/trend with an aim of bringing it to public attention and change it for the better.
- Creating an anthology of traditional fables, poems legend and so forth, then keeping it in the school’s library, sharing it online, and so forth.
- Engaging elders with traditional cultural knowledge and recording them for posterity
- Creating apps for solving real world problems.
- Present a well-researched document on an issue that is affecting a community to a local leader or an area Member of Parliament.
- Participate in compiling articles for school magazine
- Identify valuable websites rich with content for learning purposes in different disciplines and make them available to all students
- Organise an online conferencing with sister clubs on topical issue
- Create weekly news bulletin and make them available for all students
- Identifying and labelling all the flora in school compound with their common and scientific name.
- Compiling a well-researched study of a community’s history.
- Do pictorial display of activities on school notice board.
Towards the end of the presentation, I (Rogers Mukalele) was invited by Mr. Chole Richard to share more about the joint website (ictclubs.ug ) for publishing news and web projects made by all ICT Clubs in Uganda, which the KAWA team, which I happen to be part of, has been working on.
The ictclubs.ug website is being developed as a one stop centre for news, information and resources regarding all the schools ICT clubs in the country.
The teachers were urged to register at ictclubs.ug/register in order to open up accounts which they will use to login to the website to publish information about their ICT club activities. All information is moderated by the KAWA team before it goes live on the site.
Computer Lab Maintenance Session
The session was led by Abdu Ssekalala, who is currently the Senior Officer Applications Development at Uganda Communications Commission.
Ssekalala’s name is not new, he became famous way back in 2012 when he earned billions from his mobile apps. Ssekalala developed nine mobile phone applications. One of these apps, the Uganda Theme – attracted over 300,000 downloads making it the third most downloaded free application on the Nokia Ovi Store then. The greatest number of these downloads was registered in the Asian countries of India and Thailand.
As ICT Teachers, we were very privileged meeting such as icon in the ICT world. Indeed, he challenged us several times during his presentation, asking us questions, some of which no one in the room managed to answer correctly.
The presentation focused on Software maintenance and Hardware maintenance. This included the following:
- Cleaning the cache removing temporary files to speed and space.
- Terminate useless processes that may have
- How to Disable/ Enable USB ports on a Window PC
- Disk Defragmentation
- How to prevent system crashes
- How to backup
- And Dealing with computer viruses, etc.
There was a general question and answer session in which the teachers asked several questions ranging from troubleshooting hardware to managing networks, and Mr. Sekalala responded to all of them.
Head teachers sensitisation Workshops by UCC
This year 2019, UCC did not only conduct workshops for ICT teachers, but also held some workshops for top administrators. ICT teachers have always complained that some of their top administrators are not supportive when they tell them about programs like ICT clubs. Also, this year UCC launched the second phase of the school broadband internet connectivity project under which academic institutions are supported with reliable internet services to improve the quality of education .
Addressing a gathering of mostly school heads at the event in Gulu on July 18 , Mr. Nyombi Thembo, the Director RCDF, said the project aims to empower students in rural areas through modern teaching methods such as e-learning, as well as ICT integration in teaching and research.
“What if you are a rural school in Uganda and get 5mbps Internet connection and 40 computers? How will teaching and learning change,” asked Kalema Golooba, an ICT expert who spoke at the event. “This is the question head teachers from Northern Uganda whose schools have been selected to get high speed internet by UCC are grappling with.”
Describing it as a great opportunity for schools in Uganda, Golooba added: “There is work to do in capacitating teachers, sensitizing leaders and generating high quality digital content to realize the dream – technology fused into all the operations of schools, so deeply integrated that it becomes invisible.”
The main goal of the one-day event was to sensitise head teachers and heads of ICT departments in the beneficiary schools to understand their role in the success of the project. Similar workshops were conducted in Mbale on Wednesday, July 24, 2019, in Mbarara on July 31, 2019, and lastly Kampala on August 8, 2019 which was held at Kololo SS.
The Kololo SS UCC workshop for headteachers was also attended by Mr. Muyomba Emmanuel the manager of projects, RCDF, Agaba patience of RENU, Mr. Ddungu Ronald. Of HeLP and Hajji Abubakar Bbuye of the Ministry of Education and Sports.
They basically talked about broadband connectivity and access whereby the RCDF is after providing internet to remote rural areas that ISPs consider non profitable, RENU is to provide 5mbps to connected schools in an effort to provide internet connectivity in schools and the school requirements including LAN…. computer lab and wireless access points.
Mr. Ddungu focused on the collaboration against competition which entails interschool lessons….. virtual classroom or video conferencing sessions across all schools and called upon teachers to integrate ICT into learning
And lastly, how to sustain ICT projects in schools….. training teachers, prioritising ICT bills, being innovative and courageous.
For more information on other UCC programs for integrating ICT in education, read this detailed article on the UCC blog.