ABRACADABRA - Learning Toolkit (LTK) | Aga Khan Academies

ABRACADABRA - Learning Toolkit (LTK)

05 September 2013

On 30 August 2013, the Academy’s Professional Development and Outreach Department held a reception to celebrate the conclusion of Phase 1 of the ICT-Literacy integration project. This collaboration with the Centre for the Study of Learning and Performance (CSLP) at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, began as a pilot project in February 2012 to investigate the use of the CSLP’s Learning Toolkit software to support the development of literacy and numeracy in young children, as well as the development of critical enquiry skills in learners of all ages.

In attendance at the celebration were dignitaries including the County Director of Education Mr Abdikadir Kike, the County Director, Teacher Service Commission, Dr Ibrahim Rugut, Head Teachers and teachers of the participating schools and a group of Trainer of Trainers from Kenyatta University, Shanzu Teachers Training College, Camara Education Foundation Kenya, the Aga Khan Nursery School and Makupa Primary who had completed a two and a half day session training in LTK.

Phase 1 of the project involved a group of Standard 2 classes from local schools coming to the Academy for a 90-minute session each week for 12 weeks to use the software in the Junior School computer lab. They were compared with other student groups being taught by more conventional methods. A pre-test was conducted to establish entry level skills, and learning gains were monitored for both groups. The schools involved in the project were Tom Mboya Primary School, Central Girls Primary School, Makande Primary School, Ganjoni Primary School, Star of the Sea Primary School and the Aga Khan Primary School.

Both teachers and students have benefitted: the teachers have developed new approaches to teaching students to read and write and now enthusiastically engage in collaborative planning and team-teaching; students, especially struggling students, have learnt the essentials of literacy. Results show significant improvements in basic reading ability for both boys and girls and improved performance in Kenyan school examination results.

More than 50 sets of headphones have been gifted to the Academy Junior School computer lab and 16 teachers from the Academy’s Junior School have been trained in the use of the software. Two teachers from the Junior School are also working to support the public school teachers in the lab. The classes involved in the project have had access to a server hosting the software and 26 iBook computers with the full LTK suite loaded onto them have been made available for use by participating teachers.

In 2013, in partnership with the Academy, the CSLP was granted funding from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada to build on the project and involve other Kenyan institutions to reach a wider scope of Kenyan teachers and schools. The second cohort from a new group of schools within Mombasa will begin the programme in January 2014. This wonderful CSLP initiative brings closer the Government’s goal of not only ensuring enhanced literacy in primary schools, but also enables students to acquire computer skills. Magic indeed.