IESC Namibia: Blueprints for ICT Success

The Intel Education Service Corps (IESC) is a short-term service and career development opportunity for a select group of Intel employees to support the deployment of Intel classmate PCs in developing countries. In this blog, Dianne Czarnecki, a Program Manager at Intel, recaps her team’s work with the Ministry of Education in the Republic of Namibia.

The Intel team proudly holding the flags of Namibia and the African Union

Recently Namibia embarked on an exciting initiative to equip schools with education technology based on the Intel Learning Series. I was lucky to be selected to lead an Intel Education Service Corps (IESC) team to support the Ministry of Education by providing additional teacher and technical resources for two of the first 23 schools to deploy the technology.

Working closely with the Ministry of Education and Intel’s education team, we devised a plan to support two “model schools” in the Oshana and Omusati regions of Namibia. Our primary objectives were to (1) Inspire educators on the effective use of technology for Namibia’s primary and secondary schools, and 2) Create a blueprint for the technical environment required to deploy and sustain the use of Intel Learning Series solutions in Namibia’s schools.

Our smiling customer Ms. Hambira

By the end of two weeks, our team made great progress. To inspire educators, we taught 45 teachers and administrators how to use a variety of educational software, content, and resources such as Khan Academy, internet search, email, YouTube, Facebook, Skype, and Microsoft Office, with a focus on developing and delivering effective lesson plans. They were also introduced to the Intel Learning Series classroom management software that allows teachers to share content with students.

For our second objective, IESC Team Namibia optimized 35 Intel classmate PCs and a teacher laptop at each school and enhanced them by adding a number of education software packages. The team ensured the proper configuration of internet connectivity to the school, the wireless local network and the classroom server to allow for the smooth functioning of all elements of the solution. And by documenting our work, our efforts will be shared with the other schools in the deployment to maximize the effectiveness of the technology.

Learning new tools to teach new skills

Our visit was near the end of the academic term, and the teachers taught all day before attending our training sessions. Despite their busy schedules and the intense heat, the teachers showed high interest and particular enthusiasm for our instruction on email and social networking tools as well as Microsoft PowerPoint for its capability as a story telling medium. Before IESC Team Namibia left, a number of teachers expressed how technology helps them feel more connected to the rest of the world.

Making friends and building connections

Our team was honored and humbled to represent Intel and help expand the use of Intel Learning Series solutions in Namibia. Using their new skills, these teachers and administrators will reach more than 1,200 learners at the Ondjora and Oshikulufitu Combined schools. We are optimistic that our work can help Namibia’s teachers and their students hone new skills necessary to become self-sufficient, proud participants in today’s global world.