My mother in law has possibly the most important job in the world, that of shaping the minds of the next generation...she is a primary school teacher. She teaches at a government run primary school in a small town in Zimbabwe called Chegutu which is not online and does not really empower teachers to be tech savvy. Nevertheless Mum is so open to us kids introducing new things to her and she likes to know how things work so she is always interested to hear about this whole other life I live online in social media though she does not as yet venture into that space.
One afternoon last month whilst surfing the net I literally bumped into an international twitter discussion on education: Teaching conditions and How technology can be introduced into schools. The discussion immediately caught my attention and I thought that it is something that required an African teachers voice as most of the participants were European or American. I thought how great it would be for my mother in law to be able to be a part of that discussion and have her voice heard on her own behalf and on behalf of teachers like here who are not plugged in to the world wide web yet are actively shaping minds in Africa as educators. I remember calling her and telling her about the discussion and how I felt she had something to contribute to it and if she wanted to contribute I would tweet her questions and comments from my twitter account. She was initially hesitant at the prospect of my suggestion but then agreed to participate and share her views with the other teachers from around the world. I used the hashtag my "#MumTeacher" to show that I was tweeting on her behalf and read out the comments being made by others to her over the phone and typed in and tweeted her comments / responses and questions [See screenshot attached].
It was an awesome experience being able to enable her to be connected to the web in this way and for her voice to be added to the discussion which was very first world centric in its ideas on introduction of computer skills into schools and teachers using the internet more. At my Mum's school there are a total of 15 computers spread across the school and she has 40 children in her classroom so the idea of computer classes being part of the schools curriculum will require major investment which presently the government cannot afford. Furthermore teachers are not given access to computers or the internet for those who do have computer access so we are still a very long way from being able to offer and form of computer based learning in our government school. These facts were a real eye opener for some of the people in the discussion who had taken for granted that all teachers had better access than we do in Africa.WWW: Women Weave the Web