Inspiring learners by learning – Kenya
In order to be an extraordinary teacher, you must also be a passionate student. How do I know this? “I went to school in the rural setup, surrounded by abject poverty and ignorance deeply rooted in outdated cultural practices,” says Muya. “I interfaced with real challenges facing people in my community. This awareness convicted me of my own civic duty to make my community a better, more just place, and to share that with young people. I therefore wanted to impart to young people lucid, vibrant hope for their lives. I wanted students to believe in their power to change their lives and this world hence I imbue them with a fiery passion for learning in order to create lifelong, innovative learners reconnected with their community.”
It makes perfect sense then that Muya has taken every learning opportunity presented to him and turned it into something transformative. Let me give you a couple examples: Muya attended a “train the trainers” workshop and went on to train hundreds of other teachers. He has transformed his school’s print library into a digital library, he teaches math by using new forms of technology like GeoGebra, and he has created an “exam bank” where past papers can be accessed by students and teachers. Muya considers himself a “bold teacher,” and is recognized as an IT learning ambassador (not only in Kenya, by also by the World Bank Institute, among others). He was named Worldwide Microsoft Innovative Education finalist in 2010 and Global Tech & Learning Leader of the Year Award in 2011. Muya spoke with us about what it takes to truly affect change, and how something as simple as a toilet can spark innovation.
Tell us about your work. What has been most successful?
First, I managed to convince the school administration on the need to establish a digital hub/resource room for teachers and students. Despite the lack of rooms, we converted an old toilet into an IT hub.
Out of my own effort, I have trained over 250 teachers in basic ICT skills and helped them embrace the power of technology in their classrooms in new, innovative and exciting ways that engage the learners.
With meaningful and relevant integration of technology, I offered new learning experiences, ranging from experimentation to real community problem solving, so as to enable them acquire 21st century skills. I have done over 40 projects with my students in the community.
What has changed in your school as a result of your efforts?
In the recent release of national exams (Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education), my subject was the best performed in the country. I believe this demonstrated that teaching and learning could be improved as a result of the new approaches and tools. I attribute this to the innovative use of technology. My school has therefore been chosen by the government to benefit from the ICT integration program. It will receive 11 computers, a laptop and an LCD Projector.
How can other educators facing similar challenges implement what you’ve learned through this project?
Be innovative and use whatever little resources you have. Do not wait to get bigger resources to start doing something. We started from a toilet…
What is your country doing right to support education?
The Ministry of Education in Kenya has already seen the need to improve the access and quality of education. The government has therefore started to invest heavily in the requisite ICT infrastructure; key among them is the Economic Stimulus Package that aims at equipping 1050 schools in the country with technologies and capability-building of teachers and school leaders.
What conditions must change in your country to better support education?
The current interventions are not enough. The right skills and attitudes are needed in order to spur the use of technology in teaching and learning. There is also a need to change the existing, rigid “exams-oriented” system of education. Technology should not merely automate traditional practices and paradigms.
What is the best opportunity for innovation in education?
Whenever you encounter a new piece of technology, think of how it can enhance pedagogy and learning content to better suit, motivate, inspire and engage learners. Always reflect, consider possibilities, interact with others, and try out ideas with an aim to motivate, inspire and enable learners to acquire the most needed skills.
What advice would you give a new teacher (or to anyone wanting to make a difference in education)?
An innovative teacher is that teacher who is ever learning with his/her students. There is a
lot to learn from our learners. Keep abreast of the latest technologies and always be ready to share your knowledge and expertise with others. This will make you a super teacher. You will inspire the learners to do what they know best: learning.
Experience global collaboration
with the Partners in Learning Network!
Innovate in the classroom, help your students build the skills they need for the future—such as problem solving, critical thinking, collaboration, and creativity—with Partners in Learning.
You’ll meet other innovative teachers for collaboration opportunities, get access to free teacher resources, and learn about great ways to improve your personal teaching practice using technology.
About David Muya
David Muya is an educator at Kisumu Girls High School, Kenya. He is also a Lead Digital Ambassador with Project Badiliko, ICT in Education Champion for the Kenyan Ministry of Education, a Microsoft Partners in Learning Teacher trainer, and a Youth Master trainer on climate change for the World Bank Institute.
For 12 years, I have been teacher in the rural schools within my community. This has given me a greater understanding of the existing situation in my community and a strong interest in equipping the rural children with the most needed 21st century skills as well as championing the use of technology in enhancing the quality and access of education.
Birthplace/Current residence: Kisumu – Kenya
Education: Bachelor Of Education from University of Nairobi, Postgraduate Diploma in Computer Science – Maseno University.
Websites I check every day: My live inbox, social media networks, ICT online forums
Person who inspires me most: I was inspired by my teachers, one of them being my father. They impacted my life, shared with me their passion for learning, and inspired me to reach beyond my horizons.
Favorite childhood memory: Playing soccer with my friends. The ball was made of plastic bags and trash papers tied together with sisal strings. I was the “ball maker.”
Next travel destination (work or pleasure): I will be traveling to Rongo Western Kenya, School for the Deaf to voluntarily train the teachers on the use of technology in the classroom.
Favorite book: The bible
Favorite music: Gospel music
For more on David Muya, visit his blogs: