Magazine article New Internationalist

Why Did the Chicken Cross the Computer? Because Both Were in a Tanzanian Classroom. Computer Technology and Electronic Mail Are Fast Creating a Global Community, but One from Which the Poor Are Barred

Magazine article New Internationalist

Why Did the Chicken Cross the Computer? Because Both Were in a Tanzanian Classroom. Computer Technology and Electronic Mail Are Fast Creating a Global Community, but One from Which the Poor Are Barred

Article excerpt

THE image on the computer screen flickers. A chicken squawks in protest and flutters out from behind the machine. The school has been sent modern equipment and its only electric point is old - fashioned, designed for a chunkier plug; a flustered chicken can easily cut off the power. Luckily the computer has its own batteries; the teacher using it can save the letter he is writing before carefully rebalancing the plug and carrying on. The computer is the latest addition to the school link set up in 1984 between Katumba II school in Tanzania and Peers School in the UK. Children from both schools have been visiting each other now for nearly 10 years. The new computer at Katumba can be connected to another at Peers by using electronic mail, or E - mail.

Staff at both schools value the link, whether it uses E - mail or sticks to old - fashioned letters. A deputy head at Peers commented: 'It changes the lives of the kids who go. It makes them completely re - think their values. They give away their jeans and their watches, and come back saying they are going to stop buying things they don't need. Of course, once they are back old habits gradually take over, but some things stick. They will always be more prepared to question what they see happening around them.' A visit to the UK is just as much of an eye - opener for Katumba students. Many are struck by the way people rush around, by all the gear they need even to enjoy themselves, by the fact that there is still countryside. Staff at Katumba had seen what computers could do for Peers and were asking for training before the British Telecom grant which funded this project came up. Being new, Katumba's machine is more powerful than most of the equipment at Peers, and already seems to be making the link more equal. This year the Tanzanians are hosting the visit. As always, the programme was negotiated with Peers staff; for the first time the plans were word - processed and printed at Katumba.

Is that Peers' computer?' asked a Tanzanian student watching the machine print something out. Told it belonged to her school she was delighted: for once they had a piece of equipment they could be proud of. Realizing the full potential of the new technology will take time. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.