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http://www.euronews.com/2013/06/07/le... In the modern world education is increasingly technological. From sophisticated robotics engineering to tablets in schools, all around the world teachers are upgrading their educational tools in order to give students the skills they will need later on. So how does this change things in the classroom?
Chalkboards and notebooks are increasingly giving way to PCs and tablets - even in developing countries. But how early do children need to start using IT? What if a child wants to become a robotics engineer? We look at how education is adapting to the latest technology in order to prepare students for the world of work.
*Taking the tablets in Kenya*
In some parts of Kenya education is still very basic and drop-out rates are high. But one project has found that investing in tablets and apps can be a way to re-engage students in their lessons, so they have started introducing them to schools. This has affected student attendance and performance.
E-limu is the Swahili word for education - and it is also the name of an app for schoolchildren. It was invented by a group of software developers who want to bring high-tech learning to one of Kenya's poorest communities. This app is supposed to grab students' attention and encourage them to learn.
In Kenya, almost half of school students drop out at the age of 14, with a very basic education. But Nivi Mukherjee, the founder of this pilot project, says that if learning is made more interactive and engaging. It might motivate children to stay longer in school.
"Now instead of just boring text books we have added animation, games, songs, videos and quizzes to make the entire learning process really fun, interactive and engaging for children," she says.
The pilot project was launched in Kawangware, one of the poorest parts of Nairobi which is notorious for drugs, prostitution and crime. Most of the students here are lucky to be in school at all. Marceline Keyanda, who is 13 years old, is preparing to sit her final primary exams. She says that apps are more exciting and easier to understand than reading textbooks.
"Now instead of teachers coming with a lot of text books they just come with tablets. When you have a question, when the teacher is not around, you just click on the tablet and you get the question which you have asked," she says.
There are many reasons why Kenyan students drop out of school early. The country's education system needs 80,000 more teachers at the moment and students are crammed into tiny classrooms all competing for the attention of one teacher. Many students have short attention spans. E-limu hopes that by using interactive apps the children's ability to concentrate will improve.
The pilot project is in its early stages. One teacher who has been using it in the classroom thinks the tablet is a success. He has seen students get better results and a significant improvement in attendance records.
"The tablets have given our pupils the courage and confidence to come to school. And that has enhanced performance and attendance, and the total marks of the pupils. In education as a whole they have helped the pupils score better," says Philson Madegwa.
Nivi Mukherjee believes that the app has a wider relevance for society as a whole. It is not only to improve the school curriculum and the desire to learn: she would like to teach children about the environment, social justice, human rights and finance to make them better citizens.
"We want to teach children to grow up to be participants of the 21st century economy, we want them to be better leaders, to be smarter voters and hopefully in the future we would like to see children all over Africa and maybe other parts of the world using this kind of device," she says.
Mukherjee hopes that this new app will revolutionise learning in Africa and bridge the gap between the continent and other countries' standards.
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"Creating an eBook online is no rocket science and anyone with the rudimentary knowledge of how to use internet can get his/her eBook up and viral in a couple of minutes provided the content part of it is already written in a word document. I find the typing and editing part the most difficult stage in this process; however, if you just want to set up a short ebook for your students then that would not take you much time.
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