Saturday, June 14, 2008

African Adventure: Visit to Clifton School, Francistown and the management of technology. (Feb 18-22)

Current Location: Francistown, Botswana
Highlights: A full day of talks at Clifton School with 250 students, teachers, and parents.
Upcoming: Victoria Falls, rafting the Zambezi, and hello Zimbabwe.
Current GPS Coordinates: LAT: S 21. 9' 11 LONG: E 27 30' 33

We left Maun after the fan belt incident and a second reluctant goodbye to our German friends then headed off towards Francistown. We camped on the side of the road just after Nata and arrived in Francistown on Saturday. I was completely elated as at last we could see blue sky and sun. We camped at the very nice Morang Hotel just on the banks of a river. The main accommodation at this Hotel are beautiful thatched roofed cottages which are raised about 6 feet off the ground on stilts for the bargain price of US$66 for the whole cottage.

Our busy day at the school was Monday, so we caught up on washing (as I had now been recycling dirty cloths for a few days, or was it weeks?) and did house keeping for the rest of Saturday and Sunday. Well Sunday evening I had to work on the PowerPoint talks I was going to give, and Sunday afternoon I fixed the roof of the Landy as 12 of the rivets had broken after the pounding the Landy got in Namibia.

We met with Nerine Chalmers at Clifton school on Monday morning and went over the days schedule. I also met the school secretary, Fran, who turned out to be a Durham graduate like myself, but who finished the year before me. Small work eh? The first talk was to an audience of 250 little people (age 9-13) from three different schools. Next were two talks to two groups of 50 students, then a session with the teachers. The kids talks went great, they were excited and desperately trying to answer questions about gravity and energy, fungus feeding termites, and conservation biology. Its amazing how excited kids can get about things when its given to them in the correct package! In the evening, I gave a talk to a small group of parents. The kids and teachers talks were mostly about the expedition, what we have done, what we have planed, what content is available on the web site, and how teachers can integrate this into their current teaching. The talk for the parents was slightly different. This talk was about the management of technology and the need to implement the use of technology rather than just obtain the it. i.e., the equipment and to hope it will all work well.

I feel I should elaborate on this for a moment as after the parent talk, one of the audience came up to me and asked me to give the same talk at the teacher training college the next day as she said the administrators needs to see why technology must be managed. Then, when we were filing up with petrol after we had left Francistown, a city counselor started to talk to me as she was curious about the new signs we have put on the Landy. We started to talk and she was also very intrigued by the concept of managing technology and asked me to write down some things for her. I'll write a special diary entry about the talk "The Management of Technology and Innovation in Education" and hopefully get some feedback form teachers and parents. I must admit I have become quite fascinated with the concept of technological innovation in education and the management of technology and innovation.

No comments: