In Summary
  • Since the introduction of the e-reader at this small school of 130 students last year, both students and teachers say learning has become simplified and interesting.
  • “Besides the over 3,000 books that a student can download at a cost of Sh1 each (Sh90) from worldreader.com, the devices are connected to a 3G network, meaning a student can even search for something in Google, thus enhancing their learning experience,” she adds.
  • Ms Hassan says the lessons have become more interactive and cheaper for the students, who, cannot afford textbooks.

On a hot afternoon in the Kibera slums in Nairobi, a Form One maths lesson is under way at Kibera Girls Soccer Secondary School. Their teacher, Ms Dhalifa Hassan, writes a formula on the white board and asks one of the students to read it aloud.

Using practical examples, she explains how the formula can be applied, before asking the class to open the Secondary Mathematics Book One and go to the chapter on volume and capacity.

A few seconds later, all the students have found the chapter and the lesson continues. No shuffling of paper is heard or students seen craning their necks to share a textbook.
Although the government has yet to fulfil its promise of delivering laptops to Standard One pupils, this school has already gone digital.

The school has a cheaper and more efficient option — the e-reader. Everyone in the class of 40 has one, so do the rest of the students and teachers.

The hand-held device, which looks like a tablet, is specially designed for reading electronic books.

Since the introduction of the e-reader at this small school of 130 students last year, both students and teachers say learning has become simplified and interesting.

Ms Hassan says the lessons have become more interactive and cheaper for the students, who, cannot afford textbooks.

“In a classroom, finding information on an e-reader is very fast because you don’t flip pages. You just type what you want to find out and the device searches it for you in a matter of seconds,” she says.

3G NETWORK

“Besides the over 3,000 books that a student can download at a cost of Sh1 each (Sh90) from worldreader.com, the devices are connected to a 3G network, meaning a student can even search for something in Google, thus enhancing their learning experience,” she adds.

The e-reader’s memory can hold up to 3,000 books downloaded from the Iinternet. This means students advancing from one class to another do not need to delete the books they have.

Traditionally, a student moving from one class to the next is required to buy a new set of books, and it is impossible to carry all the textbooks and exercise books in one bag every day. But this device can enable a student to download more than the required books for their entire period in high school.

Even when the books are revised, there is no need to buy new editions as they are automatically updated like smartphone applications.

Mr Richard Teka, the manager of the e-reader programme, says the introduction of the devices has created a reading culture in the school.

“Many Kenyans are not interested in reading. If we were to give these students hard copies of textbooks, most of them would not read them. However, out of the curiosity arising from the use of the electronic devices, the students end up reading,” he says.

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