RACHEL-Plus users in Tanzania

I am school teacher working in a rural, girls secondary school located in Karatu district. After stumbling across RACHEL on the internet I persuaded the school to purchase one (1) device. So last year I got a Sep 2016 edition RACHEL-Plus.

The reception has been good, despite its few challenges in as far as implementing Tanzania curriculum. We have a computer lab with laptops so getting students to use at least once a week isn’t a problem. Otherwise it is always on in the staff-room for teachers to access via mobile phones and their personal computers.

I’d like to meet other users in Tanzania, lets share how we can make and implement content that is specific for TZ syllabus and how to address problems with regards to internet connectivity. Internet for me is becoming a challenge, the area is adequately served with very good 3G service but I cannot find a way around getting the connection into the RACHEL device. And that has been frustrating since I really want to update the device to Jan 2017 edition.

Karibu kwa mawazo na majadiliano!

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Thanks for posting, Gurta! It’s great to hear about your initiative. I am sure there are other users in Tanzania, we just have to make sure they know about this forum so you can connect :slight_smile:

There is not much difference in the educational content on the 2016 and 2017 editions, rather it is some new features in the RACHEL admin panel – mainly the ability to download new educational content from our repository, which may not be that useful if you are unable to get online anyway.

To update the 2016 edition, it will take someone with some basic knowledge of the command line. The instructions are here but they do require that you are online. You may have to bring it someplace where you can connect it using the ethernet port.

Let me know if there’s anything else we can do!

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That was prompt, great!

I am sure there will be other schools too, and I’d really enjoy knowing them.

My CL knowledge is very rudimentary but I have done enough research to say I will be able to update it should I get internet connected to my device. I have gone through the contents and I agree there’s not much difference, but I am one those guys who want to have the “latest” of everything. I just want to have my device “updated”

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I’ll be deploying RACHEL-Plus and conducting teacher training at a primary school in the rural village of Nshupu near Arusha at the end of this month. I’m hoping others can share any offline teacher training tools that either can be added to RACHEL-Plus or on tablets that the students and teachers will use to access RACHEL content. Regarding the tablets, we’re using mini iPad 2s that we have already deployed with educational content and a digital learning management system for grades preK to 6.

Habari Greta, what is the name of the school and exactly where are you based in Karatu? I may be in Karatu the morning of Mar 3rd or if you will be in Arusha area, I’ll be there starting Feb 25th. Perhaps we could coordinate to meet and share experiences.

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Great to hear from you @Ina.

Gurta isn’t the name of the school. The school name is Anna Gamazo Secondary School, it is located in Mang’ola on the shores of L. Eyasi, some 60km away from Karatu town.

I haven’t heard of Nshupu, sounds like Simanjiro or Loliondo? Not sure. Anyways, I will see how possible it will be for Sat 25th, weekends are more likely for me than weekdays.

Cheers

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Same here @Gurta.

Nshupu is a rural village right off the main road to the town of Arusha. The village is 30 minutes from the town and lies between there and Kilimanjaro airport.

As I’ll arrive in Nshupu on Feb 25th (I leave the US on 20th but traveling before then), perhaps Sunday 26th is better should I be delayed. I’ll be staying at Ngare Sero Lodge and the school name is Precious English Medium School (also known as Precious Primary School). For some info see www.preciousproject.org.

During my time in Nshupu, I’ll be introducing RACHEL and new applications on the LMS to the children at the Precious Orphanage first on Sunday the 26th - the children range from 6-15 years and a number of them I discovered quite gifted and excellent self learners when I introduced the digital LMS last year. Then starting on Monday, Feb 27th, my focus will be on training teachers and introducing their students in their classrooms to RACHEL (a blended learning environment combining digital self learning with conventional education).

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Hi Team - you can only view the team profiles on our NetHope grant – lots of Tanzania activity there

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Gurta,

Karatu is where RACHEL was first introduced to Tanzania about 5 years ago by Powering Potential. I think all of their work has been with secondary schools. They should be able to help you and your school a lot. You might want to talk to them about using projectors to help teachers if your school has reliable electricity. Projectors make it easier for teachers to get started combining digital content and their own content. Projectors also make teaching a bit easier and helps the teachers interact more interactive with the students because they spend less time writing on the blackboard with their back to the students.

I believe the Powering Potential country director is based in Karatu. You can email or call him. Albin Mathias albinmathias@poweringpotential.org +255 766 430 044.

Be sure to go to the NetHop page that Jeremy recommended NetHope 2017 Device Challenge Introductions You will find Tanzania mentioned 28 times on that page.

Check out TabLab which working in Karatu and Monduli using tablets, possibly some iPad minis.

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Hi we have a good Rachel users at Manyara Sec near Karatu,kindly visit and ask for Mr.Mbise a teacher at Manyara Sec and share experiences.World Possible Kenya has been supporting them for two years now. Thanks.

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Hi all,
I am getting involved in a charity assignment arranged by my workplace in Switzerland, for an orphanage in Southern Tanzania. The assignment is IT training for the adults, but I thought a Rachel installation there would be useful for everyone, as the area is very remote, with little or no Internet access.

I don’t have the full scope of the assignment yet, but I am just ‘registering my interest’ on this thread, for content useful to Tanzanians (and indeed, knowing anything about prohibited material).

regards,
Colin.

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Could you clarify on “adults” part? What kind of adult learners are you aiming at?

Otherwise, there isn’t any material that is explicitly prohibited.

Hi Gurta,
It is just general IT knowledge to run their establishment, but that is just the assignment I have.

I just thought having a Rachel or similar installation there would be useful not just to the adult (administrators) but to the teachers and children as well.

I do not yet have full details on the assignment, apart from it is a very remote area, and unlikely to have reliable Internet.

cheers,
Colin.

That’s great @c_desilva – you should contact @Jseni (Jackline@worldpossible.org) – she’s a Tanzanian who works with World Possible to support this type of deployment.

Thanks Jeremy, will contact her.

I was wondering…mostly with tech, the adults approach with more trepidation that the kids. Are there Rachel training materials for the teachers? “Train the trainer” stuff?

I haven’t gone through it myself; I have an old Pi at home that I will try and turn into a Rachel server, to see for myself. I don’t know if the school has any IT capability for kids, and hence, the teacher skills to support it. I am assuming they do not for now, as it is an orphanage more than a school, run by a convent of nuns.

I will try and find out more…
cheers,
Colin.

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Hi Colin, @Jseni will definitely be able to help you with training advice for teachers–she has lots of experience training teachers in Tanzania and part of the work of our chapters is supporting RACHEL teacher training. Jackline is currently in Zambia presenting at the ICT4D conference, but I’m sure she will get back to you when she returns next week!

Thanks,
Nicole

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Gurta, thank you so much for your interest in our product. It may look as a big challenge to use Rachel as a learning resource without organise content to fit Tanzania curriculum. This has always been a case wherever you sent Rachel in any schools in Tanzania.

Let’s open our mind and critically give opinion on this challenge. Let’s imagine of a big internet. A lot of people/ students are searching for notes/ for understanding something, for solving their own problem and no one has ever complained that internet is not useful because it is not customised to my standard. Yesterday, as I installed my new surface Pro, I was blocked from signing into it to access the homepage. I tried to sign in 100 times with the user name that I inserted by every time the system tells me password/username is incorrect. I was totally devastated because I wanted to use it for photos in the conference. Where is my next help? Internet! Yes, internet is where I inquire for getting the password reset. I downloaded pc_unlocker, put it in rebootable USB, try to reset in my surface Pro, but it was not successfully. I took another advice, I have to press shift and then restart button to reset it to factory setting, and that works! All these information, thanks to the internet(today’s source of information)!

Here’s my point, we will not reach there if we will keep thinking inside the box. New inventions/ and innovations come from those who think differently. And what us, World Possible want to do is to help a kid in underprivileged environment become the next ‘Einstein’ of tomorrow. If one wants a certain topic from Tanzania curriculum, a student can just search from searching engines.

Through Rachel, one can discover a lot of things that no where in the syllabus is said. By using resources in Rachel I discovered that just after independent, Tanganyika flag pattern and colors is not the same as that of today. I also discovered that Zanzibar flag pattern and colors after revolution of the arabs was inspired by the political party that throw the minority government etc…these are the things that you will never been told by the teacher, I never new until I was exploring information for the civics lessons on National symbols for form 1 class…Imagine the power of information if every teacher and students explore and discover one fact that is very important for their life/ classroom learning that they have never learnt anywhere.

All the great men and women around the world, are not great because they were dropped from heaven but rather, of well-informed they are. And in today’s world, with so much development in technology(Rachel) there is no excuse to be less-informed.

May I conclude by asking Rachel users and deployers to insist their communities to have much time of interaction with the Rachel in order to develop attitude of learning not just things in classroom but even understanding other things of interest. Example: Students they can play games of locating places in the World using Rachel to get clear picture of where they best places in the World are located.

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I think there are three things to consider here,
The resource ie RACHEL which is simply content.
More important, I think, is the mapping of that content to the curriculum.
And then there is giving the Teachers throughout the school, not just ICT or computer science teachers, the wherewithal, time and tools, to deliver the curriculum.
I guess you should also include the support necessary to maintain the equipment. This person should definitely NOT be a teacher.
I’ll be in Tanzania in October, maybe we could meet up then.

I forgot to say that it is a good idea to place the countries National Curriculum documents on RACHEL as well. We are doing this in Zambia.

Very important point you have raised here @giakonda , very important indeed. Teachers and learners expect RACHEL to be a tool that they can relate and connect with their national curriculum and subject syllabus. In my experience, they expect to be able to just click and get information or material that is relevant to what they is expected of their class level for example. It may be an ‘inside the box thinking’ but it is necessary for the content to cater for the needs of the learners as they prepare for their exams and such.

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@c_desilva Hi Collins, I just want to reply to your question: Are there Rachel training materials for the teachers? “Train the trainer” stuff? The answer is “Yes” This training materials were gathered by the team in Guatemala. It is very useful. I can’t upload pdf files upload is limited to pictures. I will send you the pdf file through email.

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