Monthly Archives: December 2012

“IT in education is no longer a luxury”



How has technology changed the education sector globally? What are the trends in the Kenyan education sector as far as technology adoption is concerned?
Worldwide, IT in education is no longer a luxury. New and emerging technologies are increasingly playing a vital role in education helping teachers, students and others develop the necessary skills to compete in a global knowledge economy. Online learning has to a great extent replaced the traditional ‘chalk and talk’ method of teaching that is often found to be inadequate for today’s learners. Organisations are integrating audio and visual aids like graphs, maps, videos and images to streamline their course content, making it easier for them to grasp concepts and retain the information for a longer period of time. Introduction of technologies, such as one-to-one computing, video conferencing and interactive whiteboards, to name a few, are found to be very effective and motivating for students. The education system is also moving away from a one size fits all to a more personalized model. Various web and mobile technologies are also effective for teaching students with special needs and others dwelling in the remotest area who do not have access to the regular classroom.

How are interactive whiteboards making a difference to learning? What is the adoption rate in Kenya?
As schools are moving into a digital learning environment, interactive whiteboards are slowly but not widely adopted in classrooms. In the changing education landscape, institutions are recognizing the importance of collaborative solutions that allows communication and content sharing on a real time basis both within and outside the organization. Connected physically to a computer and a projector by a USB cable, or a Bluetooth, the whiteboard display emulates the computer mouse and keyboard and is operated by using a special pen, or finger touch. It digitalizes the entire learning experience. It also allows easy and immediate access to data and applications, enabling participants to review files, share information in real time and distribute their work to all team members, regardless of the location.
Globally, interactive whiteboards have a huge market and projections are that the trend is fast catching up in Africa. The sizeable presence of the education sector as well as the huge demand from the corporate is expected to fuel the growth of interactive whiteboard market in India.

What is the potential of digital classrooms in Kenya? Do you think the digital wave in the education sector has actually taken off in the country?
Keeping pace with students who are becoming more tech-savvy, schools and colleges in kenya are taking to the concept of digital classrooms. This is a new education technology that assists teachers with courseware and maintenance support in a digital format. Some private schools and training institutes have already adopted this concept. At SMART the Company has worked partners to enable over 20,000 classrooms in over 3000 schools over the past one and half years worlwide. Another trend is that of accessing digital content through internet. This trend is still in its nascent stage. Students are free to access the content anywhere as long as they have an access device and internet connectivity. Teachers also use the freely available digital content to make their lessons interesting. With internet penetration increasing in rapidly in the coming days, this trend will further pick-up. as per the report by IDFC SSKI, the multimedia classroom segment is pegged at $459mn in 2012 growing annually at 60% with a chunk of the growth coming from private institutes, while ICT in government schools alone is growing at 70% per annum.

What according to you are the upcoming technology trends that will shape the education landscape?
As the Kenyan education segment is adapting to global standards, it is going through a huge transformation. We have already seen the incredible impact of Internet on education and other knowledge segments. Collaborative classrooms are coming up and educational institutions are using technologies such as interactive whiteboards, mobile phones and tablets and other audio and visual tools for greater interaction. Cloud computing soon to be introduced in Universities gives better choice and flexibility to the overall functioning of the organization. It also becomes very cost effective for educational institutes as lessons can be accessed from any location and anyone can use the resources freely. One-to-One computing will be the norm in classrooms as educational institutes are looking to provide an information device to every learner and create learning environments that assume universal access to the technology. Whether the hardware involved is Lg Network Monitor  or a net computer, smart phone, or tablet, classrooms should prepare for the universal availability of personal learning devices. Teacher-generated open content will also come up in the coming days.

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Posted by on December 17, 2012 in Uncategorized



Is M-PESA really Kenyan or British?

In introducing this series, the initial question was Is M-Pesa really Kenyan or British? In addressing this question, Waita explains that it is neither Kenyan nor British.

Waita said: “M-Pesa as a mobile money transfer platform is the product of years of collaborative research and innovation driven by teams in Kenya, the UK and other parts of the world.

“As to who owns the intellectual property rights in M-Pesa, that is also quite simple, the IP is in two forms, i.e. the trade mark and the proprietary software design and functionality. The IP in the trade mark M-PESA is jointly owned by Vodafone and Safaricom in Kenya, while Vodafone owns the trademark outside Kenya.  The IP  in the technology (read patents) is owned by Vodafone.”

Having said that, the assertion and conclusion that M-Pesa is British was made after looking at the parties involved in its development and funding.

Waita added: “The article ‘Is M-Pesa really Kenyan or British?’ is not entirely inaccurate in terms of the history of the development of M-PESA to the extent of the involvement of Vodafone, DFID and others. However, the story fails to mention that the product/service for which VF (Vodafone) was granted funding was actually a microfinance repayment solution. It was piloted in Thika, Kenya by Safaricom and Faulu Kenya.

“During the pilot, Safaricom realized that people would use the system to transfer money and not to repay their loans as they had the menu on their phones. At this juncture Vodafone commissioned Sagentia to re-write the software as a mobile money transfer solution. “

What faulu did not realise is that they were used to dummy Mpesa and never gained anything,i think once hit it becomes a habit by Safaricom.

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Posted by on December 14, 2012 in Uncategorized