ARM ICT in Education Project
Africa Renewal Ministries (ARM) places great value in providing education to children in Uganda and utilizing Information & Communication Technologies (ICT) is one way to develop the educational opportunities of students served by the ministry of ARM.
Through this project, ARM will be installing computer labs in primary and secondary schools at ARM project locations as well as enhancing the technology capabilities of Africa Renewal University (ARU). By providing technologies to deliver off-line content to teachers, students, health workers, community members and other potential teachers/learners, ARM will address one of the needs for improving education opportunities, particularly in rural villages.
Evaluating teacher skills and educating the teachers on ICT use must be part of this project as well. Teachers will need to have their technology skills developed and they must also be instructed in the use of ICT’s in the conduct of classroom lessons. Developing computer-based learning curriculum will be part of this project as well to ensure Ugandan Ministry of Education curriculum requirements are met and students taught at the highest level possible for overall achievement and the goal to attain 100% of students passing exams.
This program will not only include primary and secondary education components, but will also extend to the University as students showing an aptitude for ICT can have an opportunity for advanced degrees at ARU or other Ugandan University. One objective of this project is to establish an incubator lab at ARU to foster creativity and develop solutions to meet the needs of families & communities across Uganda.
To summarize, through this project, ARM is working to provide technology to schools, increase computer literacy, facilitate access to educational materials even where no internet access is available and prepare students to perform at university. Through this project, ARM will take a significant step forward to achieve its mission to raise the Next Generation of Transformational Christian Leaders in Uganda.
While the focus of this specific strategic plan focuses on using technologies to improve education, the strategy cannot be in isolation of the greater needs of ARM overall. It is essential for the ICT infrastructure of the organization to be able to support the specific ICT strategies deployed to the projects. Additionally, without properly considering the impact to organization staffing and funding, none of the projects will be sustainable. This strategic vision is to provide a future vision that will provide transformational change to ARM’s educational programs in support of the Mission.
PRIMARY SCHOOL EDUCATION
Very few school-aged children in Uganda have ever seen a computer, let alone have access to learn on one. The holistic view of using technology in the educational system begins in ARM’s primary education program.
· Tablet computers and educational games are ideal for learning among the youngest students. This does not replace teachers, but supports the curriculum and lessons laid out for the students. It also introduces technology to students at a very young age to get them familiar with using technology as part of the learning process.
· In the primary schools, we will set up computer labs with each having 30-40 tablets and/or computers as well as a server with off-line content. These computers will also be used by the community to help them learn how to use computers.
When you bring education to boys and girls,
you empower them to move
beyond their circumstances and into an opportunity to
redefine their futures.
SECONDARY SCHOOL EDUCATION
· Similar to primary grade level computer training, the secondary schools will receive computer labs and higher level training programs & educational materials.
· There will also be university preparation courses geared to prepare selected students to prepare for an IT program at Africa Renewal University (ARU) or other Ugandan university.
· Secondary school aged children are the ones who will benefit the greatest from the introduction of ICT and greater access to learning materials in the classroom. They are more capable of independent learning and need to develop research skills as well as improving critical thinking.
COMMUNITY EDUCATION AND DEVELOPMENT
· Computer labs at the project locations will also be used by the community to help them learn how to use computers.
· In addition to community education, programs can be implemented to facilitate economic development and trade of goods/services with other villages.
· There will also be university preparation courses geared to prepare selected students to prepare for an IT program at a Ugandan university.
AFRICA RENEWAL UNIVERSITY
Africa Renewal University has established an IT Diploma program and has also begun work on a Bachelor’s degree program. Few of the students currently arriving at ARU for the IT program have even seen a computer.
· ARU has established 2 separate computer labs for student use for normal class purposes.
· Much of the content available on the RACHEL server is suitable for university-level classes and research. The content can be delivered on a RACHEL Plus server or loaded on an ARU web server and delivered as local off-line content available to any student on the ARU local area network.
· There is a desire to establish an “Incubator lab” that would allow students to develop applications or find ways to use technologies available to them to address real needs in their communities.
· ARU students can develop additional content and assist teachers with learning how to use the technology, training materials and conduct classroom lessons to enhance learning of the children.
In addition to the educational needs of students in the schools, something that MUST be considered are the administrative needs of the school. This includes administering and tracking of tests, student records, class progress and all of the other administrative needs of the school. Historically, this has been done in traditional paper and binder fashion, but with the ability to take tests on computers, there is both a need and an opportunity to enhance the administrative tasks of school teachers and headmasters.
RENEWAL HEALHCARE NETWORK
Renewal Healthcare Network (RHN) Doctors, Nurses and other staff have access to a large volume of content for reference as well as conducting community education in areas such as disease prevention, sanitation & hygiene. A laptop with the off-line content loaded can serve as a tool for conducting training for individuals, village health teams, schools, families or any other group. This would expand the reach of the local clinics and its healthcare workers into the community in providing education as part of the overall community development program and ARM’s reach into the country.
ARM ORGANIZATION ADMINISTRATION
ARM has long been looking for ways to expand their use of technology and expand the capacity to better serve its headquarters operating needs as well as better supporting communication and operations at the various project locations. Some of the high-level need identified in a 2013 ICT Assessment include:
· Making all the 26 offices networked with Gaba utilizing fast internet, faster computers.
· Utilize this network to enable phone communications using VoIP. This will reduce cell phone costs dramatically between locations.
· Install solar power solutions at each location to provide some level of reliable electricity to power computers.
- Each project will need a computer, printer/scanner, and good digital camera.
- The following locations comprise the core locations that require servicing by the central computer systems at ARM HQ in Gaba:
o ARM offices
o Gaba Community Church
o Maranatha High School
o Maranatha Primary School
o Wentz Medical Center
o Loving Hearts Babies Home.
· There is a continuing need for increased internet bandwidth to support these locations. Additionally, we should evaluate point-to-point wireless connection
These are a few of the content and technology providers that we are currently examining for this project. There are MANY more possible, but this is a start.