Universities in Kenya are implementing a blended learning model

Technology

Universities in Kenya are implementing a blended learning model


Dr. Alice Njuguna, Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academics, Research and Student Affairs at Zetech University during a flipped classroom session. PICTURES | SIMON CIURI | NMG

Summary

  • Flipped learning allows the teacher to provide more personalized attention and learners to work at their own pace, which is suitable for slow, average and gifted learners.
  • Moodle, YouTube, Google Drive, and Edmodo are some of the technologies that enable video sharing, URL links, eBooks, and collaboration and file sharing platforms.
  • The Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 disrupted academic calendars resulting in distance learning.

In 2007, a teacher at Park High School in Colorado realized that a lot of class time would be spent guiding knowledge and providing feedback rather than giving direct instructions.

The teacher felt that direct instruction could be delivered through recorded video clips to engage students before class, freeing up lesson time for activities that allow for deeper exploration of content in a flipped classroom.

This concept has gained traction with the primary goal of engaging students in active learning by emphasizing the application of conceptual knowledge rather than fact recall.

Since then, the flipped classroom has gained traction in higher education as a potential learning model for increasing student engagement, leveraging technology, and stimulating active learning in the classroom.

Flipped learning allows the teacher to provide more personalized attention and learners to work at their own pace, which is suitable for slow, average and gifted learners.

It also helps the teacher focus on higher-level cognitive activities, while carefully assessing student understanding.

Dr Alice Njuguna, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academics, Research and Student Affairs at Zetech University, says there are many untapped opportunities in flipped classrooms and much to learn from the pandemic which has disrupted physical learning at Kenya as well as around the world.

“At Zetech University, we migrated to online learning in March 2020 through migrating learners to MOODLE and making student datasets available.

“Staff and students have also been trained in video conferencing tools such as Zoom, BigBlueButton and WEBEX for blended learning.

“Universities have a role to play in training both teachers and professors, as well as providing high-speed Internet access for remote access to digital library content and linking them to Eduroam provided via KENET . [Kenya-based education and research network that offers Internet connectivity]said Dr. Njuguna.

“After face-to-face learning resumed, teachers still allowed learners to do pre-research and communicate with their peers through online forums and chats. Blended learning takes place at many other universities.

She argues that while traditional teaching provides learners with exposure through lecture, flipped classrooms mean that students are first exposed to new materials outside of the classroom (via reading or videos) and then use class time for in-depth assimilation of knowledge.

It also helps teachers cope with growing class sizes and practical or engaging topics, she says.

Moodle, YouTube, Google Drive, and Edmodo are some of the technologies that enable video sharing, URL links, eBooks, and collaboration and file sharing platforms.

She says technology can support flipped classrooms by capturing content that learners can access at their convenience, presenting learning materials in formats that enable multimodal learning including audio, graphics, text and video.

“It can also provide learners with opportunities for discussion, interaction and collaboration, timely content, anonymous and immediate feedback,” says Dr Njuguna.

“Some teachers still use the outdated pedagogy where the teacher remains the service guru, as opposed to what many educators offer as a side guide or facilitator while learners do extra work.”

However, lack of access to technology and appropriate books, she says, could also contribute to the gap, given that the learner and teacher need sufficient internet to send and access the platforms. online learning.

“A flipped classroom requires a teacher who is willing to change their attitude and spend significant time preparing content for students who have already been exposed before,” she told the business daily.

The Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 disrupted academic calendars resulting in distance learning.

When face-to-face learning resumed, the use of technology had already gained ground and most institutions are likely to adopt it.

According to Dr. Njuguna, the Kenya Library and Information Services Consortium provides the academic community with access to online journals and e-books, as well as benchmarking with local and global experts in flipped learning.

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