A farewell to 2015

As an eventful year comes to an end, iMlango continues to provide access to important learning resources as students prepare for the short break.

The iMlango field team conducted 90 interviews with head teachers or iMlango champions, to understand in greater detail how they were delivering after school clubs that provide additional time on the learning platform for students.

We continued to progress the Community Internet Sustainability Initiative and conducted surveys at 6 schools to understand if it would be supported by local merchants, as well as the wider community.

The learning platform now has even more content, with an additional 30 African Storybook stories available in Swahili being added this month, further supporting the students’ literacy development. We’re also continuing to work with our content partner, Raising Voices, to deliver additional Life Skills content for teachers and students.

The team travelled to a large number of communities to explore the possibility of using conditional payments to improve school attendance, resulting in them meeting with over 50 merchants.

We have seen numerous success stories emerge from students who attribute their motivation in attending school and improved performance to the programme - keep your eyes peeled for these as they’ll be uploaded to the website over the coming weeks. Schools have also expressed their gratitude in being part of this programme.

Moving into 2016, we look forward to the new school admissions and class one students who will be issued with Attendance Monitoring smart cards and ushered into our exciting programme. We will be utilising our new Registration App that has been developed for the Attendance Monitoring tablet, which improves the speed and efficiency of the sometimes complicated new student registration process.

From all at iMlango, we would like to thank you for your support and wish you a very Happy New Year!

New Platform Content & the Community Internet Sustainability Initiative

As the end of the year approaches, students and teachers were preparing for the important national exams, while continuing to access the learning platform to help with their teaching and studies.

There is now even more content on the learning platform, as we have added new Life Skills content in the form of the ‘Good Schools Toolkit’ by Raising Voices, which educates the teachers and students on how to introduce a happy and productive environment in the school. There was also the addition of various new eBooks for standards 3, 4 and 5. These eBooks are in addition to the African Storybook stories that are already available on the platform.

Many teachers informed us of an increase in pupil attendance due to the growing anticipation of new content being launched on the learning platform. It’s clear to see that iMlango has certainly become an integral and important part of these students’ daily lives.

Another interesting observation is that digital attendance monitoring, popularly known amongst the students as “sQuidding”, is now so ingrained in the schools and has become routine for the students in the morning and afternoon. As there are many schools who experience power outages and rationing, we sourced and distributed solar chargers for the attendance monitoring tablets to address this issue - so attendance can always be taken, even if there’s no power.

We have also initiated the first phase of our Community Internet Sustainability Initiative, which will provide iMlango communities near the schools with the ability to access the internet via their own mobile phones, or via the school’s PCs, using iMlango’s satellite broadband connectivity.

We were honoured to have been part of the 5th Annual mEducation Alliance symposium late last month which was held in Washington D.C. The 3 day event brought together over 200 participants from +100 organisations from around the world. The symposium is designed to facilitate knowledge exchange and networking with the main focus being the use of technology in education to support the Post-2015 SDG (Sustainable Development Goals).

As a presenter and exhibitor at this year’s symposium, we had the opportunity to showcase our programme to delegates and a team of experts. It was another great event and we look forward to being a part of next year’s symposium as well.

Lastly, we received a message from Daniel K. Sadikiel, a teacher at one of our schools and a member of our community, which illustrates the impact the programme is having here in Kenya.

“A.I.C. Na manga primary school is really proud of iMlango. The programme has really been of help to learners and the school at large. Most of the learners who've never used a computer are now very proud of themselves. Maths-whizz has made most of our learners interested in learning due to the practicality of the lessons. This has improved the school attendance.”

Until next time,
The iMlango team

A Child’s Natural Thirst for Knowledge

Schools have reopened after the teachers’ strike, students are back in the classroom, and the iMlango team have delivered a raft of new educational content on the learning platform. It’s certainly been a busy month for all involved. We know from the community messages that we had received during the strike how important iMlango is to the students and teachers, and how excited they were to get back in the classroom.

Early feedback on Q-Files, the online encyclopaedia delivered through the learning platform, has shown the power of ICT in delivering engaging, dynamic content and encouraging enquiry based learning - feeding a child’s natural thirst for knowledge. Collectively, in its launch phase, students have spent over 125 hours accessing Q-Files content. You can learn more about iMlango’s partnership with Q-Files here.

During one of our regular school visits, we were approached by a group of students who informed us that they had finished reading all of the African Story eBooks available on the platform, and that they demanded more! We listened to their request and responded by delivering an additional 43 African focussed eBooks available for the students to read in English, and an additional 30 available in Swahili.

We also launched the programme’s first literacy quiz on the learning platform this month. The quiz has been written by education specialists and enables students to interact with the quiz, capturing their responses and providing near real-time data for the programme. The quiz has been designed to encourage participation and engagement from all students, from multiple standards (year groups).

There are two quizzes, one aimed at standards 1-3 and one aimed at 4-7. The quiz aimed at standards 1-3 utilises audio questions as many of the students accessing the quiz are not able to read. For standards 4-7, the quiz has been developed without audio assistance, and the questions get progressively harder, lasting for a total of 40 minutes. For more information on the iMlango learning platform and digital learning content, please contact us.

Until next time,
The iMlango team