Chemwania High School
In this project site the project was introduced to Senior One, Senior Two and Senior Three classes although there was a high expression of interest from the upper classes that were exempted due to the volume of work they had and the limited number of xo laptops.
Senior One Sample
- The total number of students in Senior One was 311 in three streams and a sample mean of 40 students accounting to 12.9% was selected at random for this evaluation because of the limited resources the team had for evaluation.
- It was evident that the students had been taught on how to use and manipulate the xo laptop as 40 students (100%) could easily open and tell the external features of the xo laptop.
- 100% could type and write using the write activity and most of them could do it without seeing the keyboard and this showed that they had been introduced to skills of typing.
- Together with the chat activity, it helped them to share proverbs, poems, famous quotes, ambitions, audio and videos with ease which acted as the main means of passing information from one group to another.
- 95% of the students could open and draw mathematical and other diagrams with etoys and 100% could easily paint a colorful flag of Uganda using Turtle Art.
- The students had been introduced to HIV/AIDS know-how and they easily shared information regarding aids with different groups in the class using the chat activity. It was also established that they had seen HIV/AIDS videos using the xo laptops and they played some to the evaluation team.
- 99% of the students could easily use the Wikipedia activity is getting information.
- The total number of students in senior two was 250 and random sampling was used to select 25 students irrespective of their stream which accounted to a population sample mean of 10%.
- It was evident that the students had been introduced to the write and chat activity because 100% of them could open the write activity, type and share the information with friends without any difficulties.
- It was found out also that 100% could record photos, audio and videos and they easily change the time for recording from 2,4 and 6 minutes. They shared the media recorded with friends and this helped in passing information round the room.
- 100% of the students sampled were able to use etoys activity in playing the sample projects and 97% were able to design their project using etoys.
- 100% of the evaluation sample used the talk activity in getting pronunciation of difficult words in English and Kiswahili of which 99% could use the Wikipedia activity in getting information on any topic.
- 100% students were able to use the Physics activity in playing educational games which helped them in sharpening their knowledge in physics related concepts.
- It was established that students in this class had been introduced to HIV/AIDS but had not completed the curriculum and this was due to the end of year exams.
- The total number of students in Senior Three was 230 and a sample mean of 23 students was selected at random for this evaluation exercise.
- It was established that they had been introduced to the external features of the xo laptop and 100% could identify them with ease.
- 100% could also tell the signs on the keyboard and could type quickly. They informed evaluation team, they were taught basic typing skills using the Typing Turtle activity.
- 100% could draw mathematical diagrams using etoys and they could calculate any number given to them using the calculate activity.
- 95% of the students could determine the length and width of the class using two xo laptops and 100% could use the physics activity in balancing objects.
- 100% could use the record activity to capture images, audio and video and they could share it easily with friends which was evident they had been introduced to the chat activity.
- 100% of the students had been introduced to HIV/AIDS and they could tell what is HIV/AIDS, its symptoms, prevention and how to overcome stigmatization. It was also established that 100% had watched HIV/AIDS videos and true life stories installed in the xo laptop.
- The chat activity was an important tool of communication as students shared poems and quotes related to HIV/AIDS.
- The total number of teachers introduced to this project was 27 and 20 teachers were used for this exercise as the rest were in class teaching.
- 100% of the teachers could easily open and manipulate the xo laptop and they could easily identify the signs on the keyboard, the home and neighboring view.
- It was evident that they had been introduced to the write activity as 100% could open it and type with amazing speeds. They pointed out that they use the write activity to prepare their curriculum and transfer it to the flash disk supplied by the team participants.
- 100% had their flash disks and we checked their curriculum which was well organized.
- 100% could open and use the Wikipedia activity in getting more information on the issues they need clarification.
- 60% of the teachers (Math and Chemistry) teachers could use the Etoys activities in playing and running the physics related activities which helped them in explaining hard to understand concepts to students.
- 100% of the teachers could use the xo laptop in measuring distances, taking photos, videos and audio and 100% could share it with the teachers around.
- 98% of the teachers easily connected to the Internet using WiFi and 100% could search for information in the Internet.
- The favorite activities for teachers were the Write, Turtle Art and Wikipedia activities.
Challenges of the Project
- Students pointed out that they had limited time in the school timetable to use the laptops. The time for using the laptops was on Wednesday games time and Friday afternoon and this was not enough for them to learn everything. This has forced the team participants to conduct some lessons on weekend.
- The limited number of xo laptops used by the team. It was established that 10 xo laptops are used to run the project in two project sites with four laptops in Konyao and six in Chemwania. Basing on the number of students and teachers being served by the 10 laptops (approximately 900) it becomes practically hard to serve that big number.
- Charging the laptops proved to be a tag of war because the project targets rural schools where there is no electricity. In Chemwania it was found out that the team used to move 14 km to charge the laptops and after 4 hours they had to go back again. This forced them to have only one lesson in a day. The team was grateful to Sandra Thaxter for the solar charging system sent to them.
- Another hurdle to the implementation the project was the tokens given to teachers and other stationery. The team realized they had to handle teachers the way they are professionals.This forced them to have some flash disks which they gave freely to teachers who attended the training to the last day which helped them in saving their work. It really helped the team to bring on board all the teachers but it meant spending money. The team requested if there is any financial assistance, then it could really help.
- The other problem pointed out by the team is the power sustainability of the xo battery. With increased time of usage, the xo laptop battery weakens and it can only last for less than 30 minutes and that means if you are conducting a lesson, then you have to put the laptop off after 30 minutes and transfer the students to another group which inconveniences them. If it’s possible its good to have a spare battery for the xo laptops as getting them locally is not easy.
Konyao Arid Zone Primary School (Kenya)
In Konyao arid zone primary school, it was found out that the program had been introduced to class six, seven and eight.
Class Six Sample
- The total number of pupils in Standard Six was 84 and 10 students were selected at random for this evaluation.
- 100% of the students could identify the signs on the keyboard and they could type with easy meaning they had been introduced to the basic skills of typing.
- 100% of the students could tell the home and neighboring view and they could request and accept friend’s requests without any difficulties.
- 90% of the sample could record photos, videos and audio easily and sent it to the peer friends. This helped in conveying their stories, poems and songs to their friends.
- 99% could draw nice diagrams using the Turtle Art activity of which 95% could design simple music clips and beats using the TamTam Mini activity.
- 100% of the sample testified of watching aids videos and hearing true life stories of people living with HIV/AIDS recorded in the xo laptops.
- The total number of pupils in the class was 90 and 30 students were selected at random to participate in this evaluation which represented 30% of the total population.
- It was found out that 100% of the students had been introduced to typing skills and they could type with good speeds and they really enjoyed it.
- 100% of the students had been taught Record activity and they could easily shoot a video and record images and audio which they shared with the groups around the class being evident of introduction to the chat activity.
- 98% of the pupils could open the Wikipedia activity and search for science facts while 100% could use the speak activity in getting pronunciation of difficult words and they were quick to point out that it helped them in learning and pronouncing new words both in English and Kiswahili.
- 100% of the pupils could draw and paint nice diagrams using the Turtle Art activity and they could draw and paint the flag of Kenya...
- 100% of the pupils could open the browse activities and could read the picture story book and play audio in it.
- It was also established that 100% of the students had been introduced to HIV/AIDS knowledge and they testified of watching HIV/AIDS videos using the xo laptops.
- The total number of pupils in Class Eight was 100 in number and 30 students was selected for this sample.
- It was evident that the pupils had been introduced to the external features of the xo as they could identify them and power it on.
- 100% of the pupils used the speak activity and we were surprised as one of the groups welcomed us by typing the welcoming message on the speak activity which loudly pronounced.
- 98% of the pupils could use the etoys activities in making simple projects and playing the example projects provided.100% could draw mathematical diagrams using it
- It was also established that 99% students had been introduced to the Wikipedia activity and they could use it for researching science concepts.
- It was also evident that 100% had been introduced to HIV/AIDS and they were quick to point out that they watched HIV/AIDS related videos using the xo laptops.100% of the sample could tell HIV/AIDS symptoms, prevention and how to manage it.
- 100% of the sample could use the record activity in recording media and 98% could share it with friends using the chat activities which helped them in expressing their emotions and fear.
- The total number of teachers in Konyao arid zone primary school was 19 in number and all were selected for this evaluation.
- It was established that 100% could open, use the write activity and identify all the signs on the keyboard being evident of introduction to typing skills.
- 100% of the teachers could use the Wikipedia activity to get more information on HIV/AIDS related issues and they were quick to say that was their favorite activity as it helps them get more information on specific issues.
- 100% of the teachers could use etoys activities in making simple projects while 94% could use etoys activity to make nice presentations in different topics. The presentation was meant to help sustain the leaner’s interest and as such engaging them fully in the lesson.
- 100% of the teachers bore witness of being introduced to HIV/AIDS training and they could answer any question advanced to them by the evaluation team.
- It was established that 100% of the teachers could record videos, audio and photos using the record activity of which 99% could share the recorded media with neighboring xo laptops. This really helped in propagating the information round the room.
- It was found out that 95% of the teachers could connect the xo laptop to the Wi-Fi internet out of which 100% could search the Internet for educational materials on the Internet using the inbuilt maxilla browser. This was their golden bullet in getting more information in anything not found in Wikipedia.
- The major challenge was lack of electricity to charge the xo laptops and the team participants pointed out that they relied on the power produced in the phone tower nearby which was not reliable as the person in charge of the tower could appear twice in a week. The teachers requested if there is any other portable means of charging the laptops it could be of great help.
- The pupils pointed out that the number of teachers and the xo laptops should be increased to cater for the ever increasing number of students. Evaluation team established that only four laptops were used to serve 611 pupils which was a big number.
- Insecurity was an issue from the pupils and the teachers as they were no stable during the military operation in the region but now they are happy because the operation is over and security is now beefed up and there are no issues of cattle rustling.
- The teachers pointed out that the xo laptop battery depleted over time and it reaches a point where it cannot sustain any power at all! They requested to get new batteries if possible.
Message from the Evaluation Team
The evaluation team was really impressed by the impact this project had on the community and it is a sure-fire-way of instilling the basic computer knowledge to masses and at the same time helping the community to unlock their hidden potential using the reach tools in the xo laptops. The students and teachers in the two project sites were very welcoming and offered to teach us what the xo laptop was all about and we were moved when they explained to us the meaning of the XO sign on the face of the laptop, which we had no idea about.
Based on the portability, design, power consumption and great features of the xo laptops it is suited for rural areas where there is no electricity at all. Keeping in mind that in rural areas people have never ever had access to computers, the xo laptops provide a means of bridging the digital divide and providing another means of communication through its chat activity. Everybody including the villagers really wanted to have a feel of the green machines and with this interest it becomes very easy to bring them to one place and teach them on any issues which indirectly or directly affects them and this include but not limited to; HIV/AIDS, income generating methods, agriculture, science, reproductive health and other related issues. The rich tools of the xo laptops has greatly helped in improving performance in math and science subjects and thus it helps in raising a team of prospective scientists who will help in solving the community problems with a professional approach.
Lastly, to the East African governments, the xo laptop is the only tools that will help in providing basic computer skills to leaner’s and help in sustaining the leaner’s interest at a minimal cost and maintenance. The many features of the xo laptops help lessons to be delivered in an easy to understand form and as such it changes the traditional theoretical teaching to modern practical teaching with hands on experience coupled with guided discovery. If the Governments want to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (M.D.Gs) then the xo laptop is the way to go.