In our story, SeaVuria Expands Projects!, we mentioned that research shows “Teachers may need time and professional development to become familiar with Project Based Learning methods, but those who make this shift in classroom practice report increased job satisfaction. (Hixson, Ravitz, & Whisman, 2012; Strobel & van Barneveld, 2009)
It is our goal at SeaVuria, to not just ship over technology tools and curriculum packages to the rural schools of Kenya, but to share our time, experience, and ideas in a collaborative setting, designed to edify teachers and make them successful in the classroom.
In May of 2015, #GiveBig donations to SeaVuria helped to send a team of local Seattle teachers to the hills of Taita, Kenya with three goals in mind:
- Teacher Training: Allowing Kenyan teachers to be learners. Modeling a teaching format of eliciting and engaging student knowledge, developing student ideas and checking for understanding.
- Collaboration: Working with Kenyan teachers to build their own impactful science lessons that are student-centered and incorporate hands-on and inquiry-based learning.
- Classroom Teaching: Taking our collaboration into the classroom by co-teaching with our Kenyan partners at their schools and having fun with kids!
Our work week began on Sunday with introductions to each other and to the teaching technology that SeaVuria has been working towards launching in Kenya. In late 2014, SeaVuria developed a website specifically for Kenyan teachers, www.SeaVuriaForTeachers.org. This site brings organization to online resources that are specific to the Kenyan syllabus, giving teachers and students access to visual and interactive tools for learning. We also provided a RACHEL PI to each SeaVuria school. This offline database offers web resources in rural areas with low connectivity.
Bright and early on Monday morning, Kenyan teachers arrived wearing their student hats, ready and excited to learn together. MaryMargaret led some fun and innovative team-building activities and facilitated the day with plentiful snacks, prizes, and insights! Teachers were divided into three cohorts: Biology, led by Maria Bunn, Chemistry, led by Connie Kelly, and Physics, led by Pam Kraus. Each U.S. teacher planned student-centered activities that
modeled the use of technology and other tools to help elicit what their students already know, develop accurate ideas, and check student understanding.
Tuesday, Kenyan teachers were afforded a full day to collaborate with one another and build lessons
based on the experiences they had as learners the day before. This was a valuable time of shared ideas and challenging one another to create thought-provoking and engaging lessons to take to their classrooms. Teachers
came away with new partnerships and the desire to co-produce more often.
Wednesday and Thursday were spent in the classrooms of Mwakiwiwi, St. Mary’s, and Dalmas Moka. To learn more about how things went, check out our SeaVuria for Students story: Bringing Hands-On Learning to the Schools!