26 Jun 2020
3 Min Read
Virtual STEM Hub – a COVID-19 Intervention
26 Jun 2020
3 Min Read
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented changes to every sphere of life across the world. These changes are particularly occurring in the education sector, in how teaching and learning are taking place and solutions people are adopting to ensure there is continuous learning and learning outcomes are met. According to UNESCO, with over 152 country-wide closures, affected learners globally, amounts to 290 million students who are not in school due to the pandemic, therefore making teachers find various ways to support their students learning during the school closures.
With the school closures, re:learn provides a unique approach to support teachers in Kenya during the COVID-19 lockdown, through the Virtual STEM Hub. Virtual STEM Hub is an intervention aimed at providing science teachers with the necessary content and skills required to engage their students virtually, during the COVID19 school closure.
The focus of the programme is to ensure that teachers can effectively engage their students despite the pandemic and also have the opportunity to build new skills, through the use of technology and inquiry-based methodology. This programme is hosted on a low-tech platform (WhatsApp) and has customized contents that are bite-sized and consume little data.
Thus far the program has impacted 30 teachers in Kenya for the first cohort. One of the teachers impacted is Justus Muraguri.
Justus Muraguri, Nairobi
Justus is a science teacher at Nova Pioneer Tatu Boys. He teaches mathematics and physics. Justus’ story is one like many other teachers in Kenya who joined the Virtual STEM Hub. When the lockdown began, Justus was clueless on how to engage his students while they stayed at home. Although he had some thoughts around using technology to reach out to his students, he lacked the right skills, experience and expertise to do that successfully. In addition, providing structured contents that are engaging and also meets the students learning outcomes was ambiguous for him at such a time like this.
However his participation in the Virtual STEM Hub, gave him the required skills, knowledge and approach to engage his students successfully. Through the Hub, Justus has learnt how to use low-tech platforms (WhatsApp) to engage his students, using the inquiry-based approach, as well as digital labs. For Justus, it has been an eye opener session for him as well as his students. Despite the lockdown, he attests that the Virtual STEM Hub, has been a major support development as a teacher and students effective learning outcomes at this period.
“The sessions on Virtual STEM Hub have increased my knowledge in key topics of Physics, Chemistry and Biology. The topics were taught differently with great insights rough the labs and this has been resourceful for my subject area”
“The program has been very effective. It is much in line, with my learning expectations. My students are excited with the learning approach and after every session, we evaluate the lesson and they anticipate for the next lesson”
“This is a very good approach, it is learned centered. I have a better understanding of the concepts that are taught”
The second cohort for the virtual STEM Hub begins in July. To join the next cohort of teachers, kindly register through the link here: bit.ly/VirtualSTEMHub