Assadou is a Bridge2Rwanda Scholar currently interning for SolarSPELL. In the beginning of this month, he participated in training the teachers at our five pilot schools in Rwanda. The following is an excerpt from his experience:
Being a part of SolarSPELL was one of the best things that ever happened in my life. We trained the teachers in five pilot schools within the five provinces of Rwanda on how to use the SolarSPELL Digital Library with One Laptop per Child (OLPC). Besides the enthusiasm our team had all the time, I always enjoyed when teachers were given time to explore the Library for themselves after training them. It was interesting to see that teachers, no matter what lesson they taught, always found something they can use in their classes.
During the training, we gave an overview of how to use OLPCs and how to connect them to the Digital Library. However, some teachers still found it difficult to grasp depending on how much knowledge they had about technology. One group of teachers I worked closely with in the Western Province, was a little older and clearly had never used a computer before. While training them, it looked as if they were getting it. However, I realized that it was not the case when I saw them struggling to navigate through the library. In addition, they were not comfortable asking for help.
Dealing with cases like these taught me a life lesson: patience. I realized that training is not merely showing teachers what they have to do. It is rather giving them time to digest what they learned until they are confident do it on their own. This required waiting two minutes for them to complete a two-click task. Even though it might sound like a waste of time, it paid off eventually because even the teachers from an older generation, who have never used a computer before, became impressively comfortable after all.
I look forward to returning to these schools in the coming months to see the progress the teachers have made in becoming comfortable using the laptops with their students to access the SolarSPELL digital library.