Shepherd Chimururi : Cool Lifestyle Correspondent
Preparations for the inagural Early Childhood Development (ECD) e-learning competition to be hosted by Dzidzo Inhaka Audio Visual Learning are at advanced as the date has been confirmed. The competition is slated for November 9, at a venue to be announced soon targeting pupils aged between three and eight years .Eight schools have already confirmed their participation which are Hakuna Matata junior school, Sheali e-learning and ECD centre, Royal Comfort group of schools, Kiddy Kamp pre school, Ebenezer Pre school, Agape Kids pre school, Little Rubbies, and Breeze kids pre school. The tourney’s mission is to explore, mine, polish and market Zimbabwean kindergarten technological gems that will compete at global level.
In an interview with CLS, event organisers said it is designed to identify, groom, nurture and foster the next generation of young tech savvy learners with the capacity to surpass inventions of technological icons like Bill Gate, Steve Jobs, Mark and Mark Zuckerburg.
“It is a platform that offers students an opportunity to develop their computer operating skills and gain recognition for their efforts.
The challenge which is open to any school in Zimbabwe will accommodate teachers and students from ECD ‘A’ up to Grade 2. It is envisaged next year the competition will start at district, provincial and then national level. School competitions will be held termly,” said an official.
Participating schools will benefit immensely as they stand to chance to win prizes, get sponsorship, have a chance to network with like minded schools, get national recognition as well as get a chance to participate in international computer competitions as well as twinning with international ECD centres.
The competition’s alignment with the school curriculum enables students to apply what they learn in their ICT/Digital Technologies classroom. The current ECD syllabus clearly states a child should be able to name basic computer components, switch on and off a computer, select computer programmes using mouse, use computer to play games, draw, paint and print, identify and match colours on the computer, make patterns on the computer, observe safety when operating equipment, among other activities.
For ECD students it’s a deliberate strategy to catch them young. More generally, it introduces the students to the world of ICT environment and gives them some insight into the workings of the graphic designing thus affording them a chance to participate in the shaping of their technological destiny.
The children’s ECD category is divided in to ECD ‘A’, ECD ‘B’ and grade 1 and 2 levels. They will be given an improtu assignment to test their creativity and intellectual development through painting, colouring, solving puzzles, drawing shapes and patterns.
Judges will assess the child’s ability to follow instructions in executing a given task using a specific software application then go on to consider keyboard and mouse handling skills, eye hand coordination, speed and time of completing task.
For teachers, the competition is a yardstick to measure their success in implementation ICT in classroom set up. It is a deliberate programme to create, inspire and recognise our own technological heroes. The competition is divided in to theory and practical categories. The practical category encourages resourcefulness and creativity to use available resources like cameras, phones and different softwares like power point to produce their own e-learning teaching resource materials. In the theory category each teacher will be given a chance to do a brief presentation on a certain topic and demonstrate how they tackle different topics i.e. how to introduce computers to ECD “A” learners. Each teacher will be required to prepare a class motivational e-learning rhyme. Those voted best will be recorded and a video shot and uploaded on social media. A panel of judges will give marks and expert advice after each presentation.
The category that is likely to create a lot of buzz is that of parental initiatives. This category is open to parents who have taken it upon themselves to educate their ECD children at home. The parents will showcase their computer teaching skills through participation of their children. We are also considering a category for the blind.
There will also be awards for the stakeholders who have been supportive of various e-learning initiatives in the country.
The organising committee has covered a lot of ground by coming up with competition terms and condition, categories and prizes. We are in the process of engaging the Government through the ministry of primary and secondary education in the spirit of Zim-Asset through the implementation of the new curriculum that is putting more emphasis on science, technology, engineering and mathematics [STEM] content or themes. We are appealing to the corporate world for sponsorship and to adopt an ECD centre policy. Every company that knows it survives on technology must feel honour bound to invest in these technological gems for a better Zimbabwe.
Shepherd Chimururi (Executive Director — Dzidzo Inhaka Audio Visual Learning); Mobile — 0772 608 276 Tel: 04 749 302; [email protected]; www.dzidzoinhaka.co.zw