My loving country Kenya has a population of approximately 40 million people.Most of these live in the rural areas though the major urban areas are very densely populated.The capital City of Kenya is Nairobi and other major cities include the tourist destination of Mombasa,Kisumu which hosts the second largest fresh water lake in the world -Lake Victoria ,the agricultural town of Nakuru and the ever rising Eldoret which is the home to the famous world beaters in athletics.In deed,Kenya is a land of beauty and one would not forget to mention the 8th wonder of the world,the migration on the wild beasts in the famous Maasai Mara with the rich cultural heritage of the Maasai people.Maasai just being a sample of the more than 42 ethnic groups which make our diversity be ever so rich. Kenya heavily relies on agricultural production with main crops being coffee,tea and horticulture though off late,there is growing discovery of minerals like oil which promises to revolutionise the country's potential. The Great Rift Valley is a major physical feature in Kenya and not forgetting the equator which passes through the country. Kenya attained independence in 1963 and has since grown in leaps and bounds.We have only had four four presidents to date.Constitutionally,we have had radical shifts from single party state to multi party state and the democratic space has widely widened. Currently,we have devolved government with 47 counties each headed by an elected governor with the president still being the head of state and government.We have two chambers of parliament being senate and national assembly. As an educator, it would be prudent to dwell on educational matters.We currently use 8.4.4 system of education dating back to 1985 where students take 8 years in Primary School,4years in secondary school and 4 years in university. Unfortunately,traditional convention of education is still dominant but we hope that ultimately,the sun will rise and technology shall be fully embraced. For my school, Westlands Primary which is situated just 5km away from Nairobi City Centre,a school established way back in 1945 by the colonial government,currently with a student population of 1500 of mixed gender and teaching staff of 45,technology is the key.I must acknowledge that several organisations have come in handy to help the school embrace technology fully.These being British Council and Microsoft which have partnered to open up a digital hub.Others are Airtel which has provided connectivity,Nokia which has provided televisions and mobile phones for learning and several others. Digital hub hub in the school is in deed godsend.Teachers in the school as well as neighbouring schools have immensely benefited through the trainings for basic i.ct skills as well as use of i.c.t for both professional development and networking.By so doing,global citizenry has been developed a great deal in both the teachers as well as students. Teachers have since abandoned traditional teaching methods for technology and it is such fulfilling to see teachers have digital lesson notes,research using technology,employ use of educational tools like office 365 and other Microsoft related applications,engage students in research and research methods. The overall impact of technology is all out there in the public domain to consume.The educational standards of the school has since soared high up and the school has consistently been ranked top four out of 600 schools in Nairobi County among the public schools.This is no mean achievement.Last year,the school produced the best student overall from the public schools in Nairobi and 25 students gained admission to high profile National Schools.Off course,my hand is fully in this success story. As a digital ambassador with the British Council,I have continued to support i.c.t integration in teaching and learning by continuously training thousands of teachers as well as education officials on embracing technology.Under the British Council Programme "Badiliko"-a swahili word for change,we have walked the talk in terms of technology and glad hat finally,the government has seen the light and is in the forefront in trying to introduce a lap top per child for the grade ones which should have began in January 2014 but had a false start.I have fully stand behind the government in this noble initiative aware of the fact that the future is surely technology and if one cannot embrace change,change will change one. As a global expert educator with Microsoft,my role and that of digital ambassador with British Council are very compatible for in both,technology is stressed and likewise,I take the teachers through what Microsoft in Education entails and encourage them to register so as to have full benefits of the free resources Microsoft gives.To be honest,majority of the teachers have seen the light and even regret why they did not get this information well in good time.
Technology is the way to go hence may I encourage the doubting Thomases out there that with technology in education,interstellar space is the limit. Since we are in vacation,I shall send pictures of the school,teachers ,students and technology in use next week as well as the digital hub.
Hannington Ochieng Otieno British Council Digital Ambassador Microsoft Global Expert Educator ICT Master Trainer(Lap Top Project) Westlands School Nairobi,Kenya TEL-+254 721 802 582 Email-hannyoty @gmail.com Twitter-hannyoty Facebook-Hannington Ochieng