Five weeks ago, on April 19, the MMAO Ambassadors held our regular weekly Skype call. And in that call we initiated a distance learning program, starting with a web page and experiments with Google Drive and WhatsApp. We initiated a fund raising campaign for which we received an overwhelming, positive response —thank you. With those funds we were able to support four MMAO Ambassadors, enabling them to focus on reaching their students through an evolving Distance Learning program.
It has been three weeks since our last update, a summary from Elineema, Eliatosha, and Zacharia provided in the following (as with previous posts, the use of [brackets] denotes minor edits for clarity).
Through distance leaning my students have been sending their feedback of the homework through WhatsApp as many of them have failed to submit through the website. So what they did was copy questions to the papers and solve it, then took pictures of their work and sent it to me. Very few of my students who have knowledge on computers have managed to submit their work through website.
I am still encouraging my students to visit MMAO website and continue with more questions. Others in Chemistry at Ailanga [have sent] photos of their assignments to me so I have forward it to their chemistry teacher. Also I found that some of the Kikatiti students have no internet access. What I have done is printed [home] packages from my office at Makumira and then deliver it to them. Moreover I am still sending more questions to my students from Kikatiti and Makumira. Those who are receiving my packages are responding positively. Later on I will share with everyone the reactions of my students on distance learning program.
The challenge I have faced is that many students from Kikatiti and Makumira are not responding. This gives me room to think, What may be the problem? This is when I printed home packages for them instead. Next, I will [post] new subjects to the MMAO website because not all subjects assignments have yet been sent.
Dear Kai and Mponda,
It’s my pleasure that you’re all okay and well proceedings with your daily activities, I am also fine and well, proceeding with our distance learning very carefully during this COVID-19 situation. Also I am happy to informe you that I managed to send a few home packages to parents who have WhatsApp so that they can download and print for their students. For sure parents and their students are very happy for that. Every day they are calling asking for more work for their students. According to them, they have finished the works and are asking for more.
Furthermore for those parents who have no smart phones I managed to print a few copies and left them at a nearby stationary [a store where office supplies are sold] where they managed to pick them for there children. Therefore, according to my list, I managed to print and send the package to 70 students. I was waiting [to learn] if we could have extra [financial] support , I could manage to reach all students and a plan to share with my staff members so that we can prepare a big package that will consist of all seven [principal] subjects. Therefore I have managed to [send] feedback to the parents and students while at this moment I am still marking some [remaining] homework.
Finally, I just want to share with you that many parents are sending and calling me every day here. I receive more more calls demanding for more packages while others express their happiness for the assistance they received from MMAO and the [financial] donors within this hardship of COVID-19.
Thank you all who managed to make this happened in Tanzania, from all parents and students too.
The distance learning program has been a great opportunity and experience for us to learn and adapt to new ways of teaching and learning [away from] the physical classroom for the past two months. On my side, all students received the assignments. I have been constantly receiving feedback from them, for any assistance they need from me through WhatsApp. Sometimes they call me directly which is a good thing [as they are] involved.
The only thing I’m working on is receiving feedback from [the students], where most of them are responding through WhatsApp and few through Google form. The challenges with this is that, some of them are unable to use and make attachments to Google forms but I’m still working with them and instruct them how to use the form.
Also, parents were given instructions by the administration to supervise their kids to conduct their homework where the deadline is 25 of May [with] no need to submit for review ’till opening of the school to avoid COVID-19 transfer through papers.
Then I suggested the use of Google form instead but not yet officially accepted by the administration. This could be the reason for the students not sending [completed homework] through Google form; I can’t force them to do it now because it could be taken as it is contrary to school administration instructions. Otherwise, I am personally very impressed by the way those students I’m in touch are actively working on the assignment at home. Looking forward to prepare another homework assignment!