Claude prepping his ‘Teacher-station’ lesson.







Students know exactly what to do in each of the 3 stations.



We are in the middle of the school break in Rwanda. The students have recently finished writing their exams, and are on holiday until the new year. At Imena primary school, many students in P1-P3 students were upset to have to take time off  from the Teacher Mate Literacy software. They have been using the software (loaded onto I-pods touches) daily in their classrooms for the last year.  For those of you who are not familiar, TeacherMate is a differentiated reading software that focuses on building early literacy. Edify, in collaboration with Innovations for Learning, has been piloting the technology in Rwanda and Ghana ( after it’s great success in schools in the US). It’s difficult to paint a picture of what the program looks like in action but 3 groups of students are all hard at work simultaniously. One group is listening to stories on I-Tunes and following along in picture books, another small group works with the teaher who facilitates a lesson and the third group is engaged on the software independently.

The students  love playing the  TeacherMate games, listening to stories and working in a small group with their teacher. They are very excited to be using high quality technology in their humble school. Thanks very much to Brittany Roman ( former Directior of Training in Rwanda and now new mom!) and Claude, the dedicated program lead at the school, the program now runs remarkably smoothly.

To maximize the impact of the Teacher Mate pilot, we decided we would implement a holiday club TeacherMate club. For 3 weeks during the month of Nov/ early December students are welcome to come into the school and use the software for 2 hour blocks in the morning. Mondays are  allocated for P2, Tuesdays for P3 and Wednesdays for P4. This time is completely optional,  but there is a teacher available to supervise and facilitate the teacher-led center for students who do come.  Participating students must be on their best behavior and fully engaged or they will be asked to leave.

I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect. Thinking back to my own schooling experience ( and for the record, I did really enjoy school!), I’m not sure how I would feel about coming to school during the holidays. To my surprise, it has been a raging success. There is almost a full classroom everyday. The students are behaving like angels. Claude is facilitating some of his best lessons and new students are learning to navigate the program ensuring the transition in the new year will be smooth. It’s quite frankly been awesome. It’s magical to walk into the classroom and watch the program run smoothly.

Ive attached a few pictures from my last couple of visits to the school.