For over 40 years now, UNESCO has been celebrating International Literacy Day by reminding the international community that literacy is a human right and the foundation of all learning. In line with this, Buyantanshi Community School (BOCS) in Kabwe, invited parents and education officials to demonstrate how learners' motivation for early reading has improved through the use of tablets.
BOCS is linked to the Flemish 'De Belhamel' school (Schellebelle) through a VVOB school link. The two schools started experimenting the use of tablets for teaching and learning on both sides of the globe at the same time. Last week the learners in Zambia demonstrated how much they enjoy using these tablets and how they are making use of them for learning math and early reading.
In his openings speech the Principal Mr. Kahangu mentioned some possible causes for the low literacy levels of his students: "Most of the parents have a big stock of Nigerian films in their homes, and only a few mothers are buying extra books for their children. In addition we have to admit that the learners do not find reading a core issue, since most of them spend their time at home watching movies. Besides, the lack of textbooks in the school is one of the major contributing factors to the low reading levels we are experiencing, in most cases we have one book for three children."
The experiment started with twelf tablets in the school. Most of the teachers were not familiar with this technology before the school link project started. They say the interest of the children for early reading and math has increased as a result of the use of the tablets. Since the number of pupils in the classroom is larger than the tablets, the teachers deliver their lesson through group work and prepare different tasks for each group. They all agree that the use of tablets stimulates cooperative learning and creative teaching methodologies but at the same time they would still like more tablets.