Graceland kids learning keyboard skills & also the printing of a document
ICT a Priority for Graceland School
A priority for Graceland is to integrate the use of computers and related new information and communication technologies (ICT) into both the teaching classrooms and the administrative activities of the school.
Thus when the possibility arose to in March 2009 to acquire a consignment of computers and to establish a PC Laboratory (Lab) the school moved quickly to avail of this opportunity. This was an exciting development for the staff and students as it opens up new ways of learning and the ability to gain IT ( information technology ) skills for all. This was achieved through acquiring the low cost refurbished computers from Camara Education, an Irish based charity. Technical assistance was obtained from the Friends of Sr. Grace in Ireland to complete the installation and networking of 15 computers. By the end of school year all pupils had had the practice on the computers and completed a skills test. The 2010 School Year saw increasd use of the computing facilities.
The PC Lab is an eLearning Centre
A dedicated school room was assigned for this new electronic learning (or eLearning) Centre. New electrical connections with surge protection were put in place together with two room fans to improve air circulation. Fifteen (15) desktop computers were purchased Camara Education, the Irish organisation. It was the first such shipment to Zambia. The units arrived in July. With support personnel from the Irish circle of friends of Sr Grace the computers were networked together and a server nominated. To minimise software costs the latest open source operational software (Edubuntu 9.04) and several office, networking and educational applications (Open Office, KTurtle, Marble, Kbruch, Pidgin,… ) were installed.
Wikipedia for Schools – A Rich Educational Resource
Included on the room server computer is a huge and valuable electronic learning resource, the ‘Wikipedia for Schools’. Put together with great dedication by many global contributors and specially tailored by the international charity SOS Childrens Villages, it is an electronic encyclopaedia. By being on the server, the students on all 15 computers to simultaneously access to over 30,000 different articles and thousands of images of appropriate reference materials.
eLearning Centre Opens: Students Gain ICT Skills in Safe Environment
On 20th July 2009 the Electronic Learning or eLearning Centre became operational for the delight of the students. At the start of the new school year January 2010, the Centre was functioning without any notable problems. Importantly, every student in the school has experienced time of the computers and completed and printed basic assignments. Indeed some past students and parents have also sought and have gained ‘hands-on’ access.
The absence of a live Internet connection simplifies and makes safe the operation of the eLearning Centre. It allows the students to gain valuable IT operational and application skills and access vast pre-loaded educational resources in a save and controlled teaching environment.
Teacher ICT Training
In 2009 4-days of ICT training in Ndola was also involved for three teachers from Graceland. The Directors seek to encourage all members of their teaching team to be increasingly ICT literate and thereby enhance the educational experience of their students. Five Graceland teachers participated in five day courses covering several different aspects of IT skills in education. The training involved daily travel to/from the Teacher Training College in Kitwe. The courses were conducted by a teaching team from Camara Education, the Irish charity which has a Zambian hub in Kitwe. While the teachers found the courses to be highly valuable and returning enthused, they appreciated the enrolment costs being borne by Graceland.
The Graduation Day was Friday 30th July when certificates were awarded to each of the Graceland teachers.