Thursday, July 26, 2012

What does 21st Century Learning in an International Context mean for my classroom?

I think the biggest take-away from looking at everyone's ideas about what 21st Century Learning in an International Context means for my future classroom is that everything is and should be student-centered.  With this said, taking into consideration student's learning styles, their hobbies, what they enjoy, their culture, etc. and apply that to the curriculum is important for students to become really engaged in learning.  Also, another theme is the involvement of collaboration with the community.  I think that as an educator, knowing the community and the resources out there is important as well as involving the community.  This not only enhances a student's range of knowledge, but it allows for networking and allows for the community to be aware of what is going on in the local schools.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

July 14: Last Day in Kenya

Today has so many different mixed emotions.  I'm glad to be going home and being back with my boyfriend and family, but I'm sad that this wonderful experience is coming to an end (and I'm definitely not looking forward to the 20+ hours of traveling!

Today we were able to finally experience the Maasai Market and to be honest with you, I was expecting something like a farmer's market out in San Diego.  Boy was I WRONG!!!  I've never felt so pressured, so out of my element, and so nervous to go shopping!  I literally was pulled in every direction to shop and it was definitely overwhelming.  Luckily before the Maasai Market, we were able to visit a fairly cheap store that had everything I wanted souvenir-wise, so I was basically shopping for myself with the shillings I had left and ended up purchasing a traditional Maasai blanket.  After all the shopping, we said goodbye to Odyssey Safari's at the Nairobi Airport and began our journey home to the States.

Today's agenda:
  • Check out of hotel 
  • Shopping in Nairobi 
  • Maasai Market 
  • Airport

Friday, July 13, 2012

July 13: Goodbye Daraja

Daraja and USD!

Funny picture!!!
Acrobats at the Boma's

Wife #1's hut!

School kids

School kids at the Boma's of Kenya

With my Maasai Prince... Michael Jackson!

Today's Agenda:

  • Goodbye to Daraja 
  • Drive back to Nairobi 
  • Shopping at a wood-carving store, lunch at the mall 
  • Boma's of Kenya 
  • SHOWERS and HUGE upgraded room at the Heron Hotel! 
  • Last group dinner at an Ethiopian restaurant with James, Eliud, and Lucy

Thursday, July 12, 2012

July 12: Community Health Project

Today definitely was a bitter-sweet day.  I couldn't help myself from feeling extremely sad that we are leaving Daraja tomorrow.  Honestly, I felt that we FINALLY had that breakthrough, not only with the teacher's actively asking questions about their iPad's and genuinely trying to learn about the device on their own, but I finally had that personal breakthrough in the sense that I finally understood my purpose on this visit to Kenya and we leave tomorrow.  I can't help but feel that I still have so much I can contribute to the school, but we have so little time left on campus.  With all this emotion, Chris and I started talking about how we would love to come back to Daraja, at least next year with the next group that visits.  I feel that since Chris and I were the one's who headed the technology project, we have that obligation to continue to support the Form 1 girls as well as the teachers to make sure that the iPad's and iPod's are used to their maximum potential.  Although once wifi is finally hooked up at Daraja, we can have more communication with the school while we are back home, but there is still that sense of "WE NEED TO COME BACK!!" and I'm glad I wasn't the only one feeling this way!  There is still so much I can learn with implementing these devices in the classroom and I hope that I can bring what I learn back to Daraja very soon!

Anyways, today started with Chris and I sitting at the triangle tree waiting for teachers to ask us questions, but we started to get anxious, so we moved into the library (which is the teacher hang-out area) and made it known that we were there to help in any way!  I kind of felt like a stalker because I pretty much chased down teachers that I saw walking in the courtyard to ask them if they had any questions or needed help!  Since it was the Community Health Fair, Chris went out to help the girls with the set-up and I stayed in the library, and I think today was the biggest breakthrough with the teacher's feeling comfortable asking me questions!  I spent a lot of time with a few of the teachers today just talking technology!  Then we talked about life, schools in the U.S. versus in Kenya, aspirations, etc. and it made me even more sad that we were leaving tomorrow, but all in all, today was a good, well not good, GREAT day!

We ended the school day with an awesome turn-out at the Community Health Fair.  People from nearby villages came through as well as students from the local schools.  The Form 2 girls did a great job and I think everyone truly enjoyed the event!

Today's Agenda:
  • Help with teacher’s Q&A’s 
  • Q&A with Mwambura, Wycliffe, Cypress, Jackson, & Peris
  • Darja Community Health Project

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

July 11: My Passion! & Observe a Teacher Day!

Check out my Evernote's on Charles' Biology Class HERE!!!
  • Observe Charles’ Biology class 
  • Help teacher’s with iPad’s/iPod’s 
  • Q&A with Form 1’s 
  • Hike up to Jenni and Jason’s house

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

July 10: Distribution of iPad's & iPod's!!!!

  • Focus group with Form 1: Technology 
  • Professional development with teachers about introducing the basics and expectations with the iPad’s 
  • Distribution of iPod touches to the Form 1 Girls 
    • Set up the check-out process 
    • Saved girls pictures as the wallpaper 
    • Introduced tips 
    • Helped girls with questions

Monday, July 9, 2012

July 9: Daraja + Mobile Technology

  • Continued editing the excel format 
  • Created a basic maintanence video for the iPad with Chris 
  • Met with Charles Introduced tips for the iPad 
    • Received more information about what he already knows 
    • Got the census that teachers right now need to play with applications, then we can focus on how to integrate the iPad’s into the teacher’s lessons/preparation, and how to integrate the iPod’s into the Form 1 classes

Sunday, July 8, 2012

July 8: Spiritual Time

  • Spiritual Time Hike up Daraja Mountain 
    • Heard Anastacia’s (Form 3) story during the hike) 
  • Developed excel format for applications on the iPad’s/iPod’s with Chris

Saturday, July 7, 2012

July 7: Visit to Nanyuki

  • Visit Nanyuki- Matumba (2nd hand store owned by a British woman who houses disabled Kenyan’s who produce crafts out of secondhand material), 
  •  Lily Pond (Owned by a British woman, who brings art into the Kenyan community, holds art events for the students in the area) 
  • Lunch at the Eatery 
  • Dessert at Dorman’s 
  • Shopping at the Nakumatt 
  • Bean sorting with the girls 
    • Made me think about how happy these girls are to be at Daraja (singing songs, laughing, talking with one another) 
    • Compared in my head their lives and outlook on life versus kids in the U.S. 
    • We take things for granted like the beans that come washed and sorted that we buy for $1.00 at the store 
  • Dinner entertainment- dancing to music 

Friday, July 6, 2012

July 6: Ol Pajeta Conservancy Safari Day!!

Today we were able to visit Ol Pajeta Conservancy and we were so lucky to see so many amazing animals in their natural habitat.  Thanks so much to our amazing guides Eliud, James, and Lucy from Odyssey Safari!
With our guide to see Baraka

Baraka the rhino

Thursday, July 5, 2012

July 5: Shadow a Student (Rose Robe) Day!

  • See Notes 
  • Class 1: Math (Jackson) 
  • Class 2 (2 periods): Chemistry (Mercy) 
  • Class 3: English (James) 
  • Class 4: CRE-Christian Religion Education (Mwambura) 
  • Class 5 (2 periods): Swahili (James) 
  • Class 6: History (No teacher) 
  • Free time 
  • Dinner 
  • Class meeting

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

July 4: Arrival at Daraja

  • Arrival at Daraja (4+ hour drive) 
  • Lunch Orientation with Andy (Volunteer Coordinator) 
  • Campus tour by Anastacia (Form 3) and Juliet (Form 1) 
  • Dinner Ice Breaker game (Beat Guess & 2 Truth’s & A Lie, then Daraja taught us the Concentration game)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

July 3: KISA schools in Soweto, Lunch at Java House, Feed the Giraffes

  • (Lorna Waddington: Biology (18 year old teacher who will be attending medical school next year, teaching was very chalk and talk, repetition of facts) ) 
  • (St. Mathew’s High School: English teacher (very political and outspoken, but very encouraging and persistent, students were able to provide background, thought, and content to their answers))
    • (See notes) 
  • Lunch at the Java House 
  • Giraffe Observatory

Monday, July 2, 2012

July 2: First day out in Nairobi

The day started out by a delicious breakfast at the Heron Hotel which consisted of a choice of chapatti (similar to a tortilla), plantains, beans, meat, samosas, cereal, fresh papaya, oranges, pineapple, and fresh juices.

We then began our day by driving to a view point of the biggest slum village not just in Nairobi, but in Kenya called Kibera. Kibera houses approximately “2.5 million slum dwellers in about 200 settlements in Nairobi representing 60% of the Nairobi population, occupying just 6% of the land. Kibera houses almost 1 Million of these people. Kibera is the biggest slum in Africa and one of the biggest in the world. The average size of shack in this area is 12ft x 12ft built with mud walls, screened with concrete, a corrugated tin roof, dirt or concrete floor. The cost is about Ksh 700 per Month (£6). These shacks often house up to 8 or more, many sleeping on the floor” ( It was very interesting to see residents walking in and out of the area from our viewpoint, which was located on a top of a hill along a major roadway.

We then traveled to a more developed area of Nairobi and were able to get a sense of what their “downtown” area is like. Many of the government building and ministry buildings are all located on the same streets in the city with surrounding businesses and high-rise buildings. It was definitely a contrast to be able to see the slum village and the more developed area of Nairobi.

After our city tour, we visited a local mall in Nairobi. We stopped at the mall for lunch at the Art Cafe as well as to stock up on food and other supplies at the Nakumatt, which can be compared to our local Walmart in the United States. The mall was more on the high-end side compared to other shopping areas we saw in Nairobi.

We then visited the Nairobi National Museum. “Nairobi National Museum is located at the Museum Hill, approximately 10 minutes drive from the Nairobi city centre accessible both by public and private means. Built in 1929, this is the flagship museum for the National Museums of Kenya, housing celebrated collections of Kenya's History, Nature, Culture and Contemporary Art. The Museum aims to interpret Kenya's rich heritage and offers a one stop for visitors to sample the country's rich heritage both for education and leisure. In addition to the museum, visitors are treated to a variety of shopping and dining facilities, as well as botanical gardens that offer a serene environment” (

After our city tour, we returned to the hotel to rest for a few hours, then headed out for dinner. A group of us traveled to the city and had traditional Kenyan food for the first time. I ordered githeri, which was a mixture of beans, maize (corn/hominy), vegetables and chapatti, which was delicious! Today really introduced us to the lifestyle of the Kenyan people and brought light to the culture of Kenya. I am looking forward to our following days in Nairobi as well as in Daraja.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Pre-Departure Questions

1.) What are your expectations for the trip?
Since I've been able to participate in many study abroad's during my graduate career at the University of San Diego, I've pretty much not had too many expectations for any of the trips I’ve been on, especially since I've never been to any of these places/countries before. I've learned to not expect too much, otherwise I’ll be disappointed and to be open-minded and to go with the flow. I tend to be a planner and map out everything or know what’s happening beforehand, so I’ve learned that I just need to sit back and really enjoy the experience and that I don’t actually have to be the planner! I also make sure to keep a conscious effort to soak up every moment because every study abroad I've been on this past year has had so many amazing moments and have impacted me more than actual in-house classes at USD.

2.) What do you hope to learn while in Kenya?
In Kenya, I hope to learn more about the history and culture of the people of Kenya as well as about the school culture at Daraja and the KISA schools we are going to visit.  In my past study abroad's, I've taken so much away from my experiences that have allowed me to reflect on my future teaching career as well as my personal aspirations, I feel that this Kenya trip will just add to that learning experience.

3.) What do you hope to contribute?
I personally hope that I can contribute as much as I can with the technology portion of the class.  Being able to attend the ISTE conference and just playing with the iPad's and the iPod's before we left for Kenya really opened up my eyes to my passion for technology.  I am hoping that I can help teach the Daraja girls as well as the teacher's some of my knowledge I have with the devices that they are going to recieve.

4.) What questions / concerns do you have?
My biggest concern is how quickly the girls will pick up the tips and tricks in the very little time we have while we are at the school, especially if they've never been exposed to this type of technology (but, I feel like if they are like the kids out here in the United States, they will be fine!)  Another big concern is the reception the teachers at Daraja will have with incorporating technology into their curriculum.  Like in the United States schools, there are always teachers who are enthusiastic to learn and will take it upon themselves to learn about the device so that they can implement it into their classroom, but there are the other teachers who are completely resistant and don't want change in the classroom.  With not knowing who the Daraja teachers are, I'm a little nervous about how the reception will go!