Student Centered Learning in Uganda: The Mwalimu Online Study Tool
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Education in high schools and colleges is changing rapidly. Student-centered learning (SCL) has shifted the focus from teachers to students. The idea of SCL is to encourage students to actively participate in their learning by providing them with an environment and resources that allow them to discover new knowledge and skills. In this paper, we present a design, implementation and evaluation of a student-centered learning tool - The Mwalimu – which is aimed at helping disadvantaged students in some high schools in Uganda. The objective is to bridge the ever widening gap in academic performance of students from the rich families and the low income ones, and/or that between rural and urban schools. To this end, we have developed an open courseware platform called Mwalimu Online Study Tool, from which students and/or teachers from any school can access subject specific content, examinations, learning video tutorials and a discussion forum which are moderated by carefully chosen teachers (Mwalimu subject consultants). The platform also accepts content from the crowd, verifies it using the subject consultants and adds it to the content repository if it is of acceptable quality. Even more, students can send feedback or seek for guidance with respect to specific content. Owing to the solid architecture on which it is developed, and the preliminary evaluations, Mwalimu promises to boost academic performance across all schools irrespective of their geographic location.
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