JBFC Tech Update: Sharing the Joy of Learning

November 24, 2014 6:30 pm Published by

Editor’s Note: Blogger Melinda Wulf shares the latest on JBFC’s high-tech boost which aims to integrate technology like e-readers, tablets, and an intranet system to improve education at Joseph & Mary Schools. We would like to extend a special thanks to Nina McManus, a JBFC Ambassador from Bronxville, NY for raising the funds for the Kobos and Deerfield Teachers, Kristan and Ben Bakker for providing the RACHEL Pi program, which is giving JBFC teachers and students access to Kahn Academy videos and hundreds of other educational resources.

Oh, Technology! We love technology here at JBFC. We may be in rural Tanzania, but that doesn’t stop our teachers and students from enjoying Kobo tablets and eReaders here on campus. JBFC now has nearly 100 eReaders and dozens of tablets, thanks to a JBFC ambassador from New York, Nina McManus, who was committed to bringing technology to JBFC’s campus.

The secondary school at JBFC has integrated eReader time into their English curriculum and scheduled library time during the 2014 school year. When we first introduced the program, the kids would ask me after school, “Can we PLEASE use Kobos tomorrow?” They love them so much we had some of our Form 3 students break into groups to articulate why that is.

The general consensus from all the groups was that the Kobos have taught them better English, including how to pronounce words, the meaning of words, and how to construct sentences with proper grammar and tenses. They are now able to understand the themes from the various books they have read.          

“As English is a second language to most of us students, Kobos facilitate easy reading and allow us to acquire more knowledge in reading and writing the language,” said one group that designated themselves the “Kobo Veterans.”


The one thing that really made me proud of the Kobo program, though, was the fact that the students feel their self-confidence building because of the Kobos. They have no fear when speaking in front of the class about things they have studied in the Kobos and they say their vocabulary is growing day by day.

Click here to see JBFC students and the eReaders in action.

Now that we have the Arc tablets on campus, we expect to see this knowledge and confidence continue to blossom. Mr. Fred, our 7th grade teacher has been leading the charge with the tablets and noted that the students love them for the various applications like the dictionary, math and geography quizzes, story books and the Rachel pi program.

JBFC’s internet access remains unpredictable to say the least. It was the Bakkers, two teachers from Deerfield, Massachusetts, who helped us find a way to introduce our students to the world wide web without worrying about network drops and sluggish uploads. They gave JBFC a RACHEL Pi – which stores some of the internet on a piece of hardware that a classroom of students can all access at once on different devices.

We introduced the Rachel Pi intranet program to a group of selected staff members last month. This program gives us access to Kahn Academy videos and activities, Wikipedia for schools, medical encyclopedias and countless textbooks and story books. When the 2015 school year begins in January, JBFC’s students will get to benefit from these wonderful tools. Soon, whole classes of JBFC students will be able to follow along with a Kahn Academy video to learn physics and chemistry. It’s an amazing opportunity for these students who have very limited access to technology like computers and laptops.

The teachers were really excited about the Kahn Academy videos and the textbooks. Our school nurse, who was working in the Learning Resource Center at the time, loved the medical encyclopedia so much she grabbed Mr Fred’s tablet from him and wouldn’t give it up!

 If you would like to support JBFC’s technology initiative, you can donate to Nina’s Share the Joy of Learning project. 
Please click here.

Click here to learn more about becoming a JBFC Ambassador.


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This post was written by Mainsprings