Chole Richard

A cognitive upgrade

In the recent few days, I have been working hard to create literature review for my desired mini- research study in which my premise was that computer laboratories, in their current state in Uganda, are more of a hinderance than a solution to facilitating effective implementation of the new curriculum for the lower ordinary level secondary school classes (senior one and senior two.)

My view has been that establishing smart classrooms makes better sense in many respects and I had a bundle of views on relevant learning theories to back my stand. Feeling good with myself about this, I engaged an official of Uganda’s National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC), Mr. Mulumba to tap into his views about mine and find out what NCDC was doing to help change the status quo.

Below is our WhatsApp dialogue (tempered by a few corrections of typos):

ME: Hello, Mr. Mulumba. I hold the view that computer laboratories, in the way they are today in schools, are more of hindrance then solution to progress of the new curriculum for S1 and S2. What do you think?
I also think establishing smart classrooms should be the way forward to facilitate and ensure effective use of the new curriculum. What’s your say?

MULUMBA: Did you happen to be on earth from March 2020 to January 2022? If yes, then the use of building for learning is an outdated form of learning infrastructure. It is technology in the hands of the learners/individuals and learning anywhere/anytime. We are in metaverse for the well to do economies.

ME: So, in short no need for even smart classrooms?

MULUMBA: They are merely waste of resources. Put the technology in the hands of the user and have Internet infrastructure in place. Create source of income for the users to pay the service costs, maintenance costs, and upgrading costs

ME: I see the sense. I’ve always thought best way forward is smart classrooms and open spaces with Internet.

MULUMBA: Have you sat in a metaverse learning environment? Learning (is) now possible to occur in my bedroom, sitting room, on the beach, in the garden

ME: This really changes the economics around ICT4E in schools.

Has NCDC or any other party carried out any research on how this can work out? I am interested in studying it if any exists.

MULUMBA: What did the first people do to go to the moon; to make a car; to make an aeroplane, computer to consult with? What study was there for the people who invented fire? What study was there? Research is done across the globe. I have not seen anything to that effect in NCDC funded by the taxpayer’s money.

End of our dialogue which left me feeling quite sheepish.

Now I am frantically rethinking my mini-research work for my course unit and chose to find more about Metaverse as well.

In truth, I have always thought of the idea of simply having school outdoor environment networked for internet and having gadgets like laptops, smart phones, tablets, and iPhone in the hands of the students. I however perceived this being side by side with smart classrooms, which in my thinking, probably needed to be prioritized over creation of a wireless environment.

But now, I have had to contend with fresh questions. Don’t we need smart classrooms any more too? How practical and viable is it for schools to simply facilitate learners and teachers with gadgets like smart phones, tablets and forget about computer labs, and smart classrooms for that matter? Apparently, these questions are no longer necessary and only serve to inhibit progress!

Have schools in Uganda got the message and acting on it? That is a question for another day.
Emoticon created by Emily Jager,



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