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Computer Device Connects Students to Resources in Uganda

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Students connect to lessons through the RACHEL device in the computer lab.

Students at Moreau Nursery and Primary School, Kirinda, Uganda, connect to lessons through the RACHEL computer device.

In their green plaid, blue-trimmed uniforms, dozens of students sat enthralled in their school’s assembly hall. They watched as instructors on a video showed them how best to prepare for and participate in a debate competition. The students eagerly absorbed the details that would prepare them for an upcoming multi-school competition.

Computer learning device comes to Uganda

Kirinda, Uganda, is a remote area without internet access. But thanks to RACHEL, a mobile computer device, students at Moreau Nursery and Primary School now have improved access to technology that opens them up to a whole new and fun way of learning.

RACHEL — Remote Area Community Hotspot for Education and Learning — is a small, flat round disk. Not an internet connection, RACHEL offers the next best thing. It comes preloaded with modules that house thousands of carefully curated, interactive books, maps, encyclopedias, educational videos and numerous other curriculum resources — including a video about debates. These assets supplement lessons and feature age appropriate and culturally relevant content. 

Mwesigwa Raymond has been training the teachers and students at Moreau school over the past year.

Holding one of the RACHEL devices, Mwesigwa Raymond has been training the teachers and students at Moreau school over the past year.

Enlarging the lessons for students

Thanks to a grant from the Christian Brothers’ FSC Foundation, Headmistress Sister Jacinta Katusabe, CSC, took delivery last year of two RACHEL devices, along with a qualified trainer. The eagerness of both students and teachers to employ RACHEL in the classroom and in the school’s computer lab amazes her.

“The kids look forward to classes where the device is going to be used,” said Sister Jacinta. “Teachers are happy about it too. It gives them information from different sources, so it has helped enlarge their teaching and make it more fruitful. Textbook information is not enough.”

Making learning real with RACHEL device

For now, with only two RACHELs on hand, teachers and students schedule the devices for specific days and topics. The device also allows a teacher to use a laptop and projector to display content onto a large screen and guide her students through a lesson.

“It makes learning real,” said Sister Jacinta. “If they are in a history lesson about the Uganda martyrs, for example, the students can see faces and hear voices, and that has been so helpful. It has been such a blessing.” Even in the kindergarten classes, teachers use the device to help teach hymns, songs and the alphabet.

Sister Rose Kyomukama, CSC, often uses the RACHEL device in her primary one class.

Sister Rose Kyomukama, CSC, often uses the RACHEL device in her primary one class.

Preparing for the world

Next year, Sister Jacinta plans to assess students’ performance compared to pre-RACHEL. But given the popularity of the devices, she anticipates that the assessment will confirm what she already knows. With the devices, children are more excited to learn, teachers are more enthused about teaching.

Above all, this 21st century device does its part in fulfilling the 19th century vision of Blessed Basil Anthony Moreau. The founder of Holy Cross — and the school’s namesake — once said, “Education is a work of resurrection; … it is meant to be a vehicle for the transformation of society.”

With the RACHEL device opening them up to a much wider world, students at Moreau are poised to be their own “vehicles for the transformation of society.”

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This story also appears in the latest issue of inSpirit magazine. To receive the magazine or the Annual Giving Report, use the button below and fill out our online request form. You can also sign up to receive the online newsletter from the Development Office of the Sisters of the Holy Cross.