Video aids in new curriculum

Kenya Seed Company

Primary school pupils at the Kenya Seed Company stand during this agriculture fair in Eldoret. The use of videos in teaching agriculture is expected to make the subject more appealing to children.

Photo credit: Jared Nyataya | Nation Media Group

Teaching agriculture in Kenya has been a staid affair. Exposure to practical lessons under the 8-4-4 curriculum was limited but the new Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) is expected to change that.

Access Agriculture, an international not-for-profit organisation which promotes organic farming and agroecology, has started preparing teachers through the use of training videos.

The videos were mainly meant for training farmers in rural communities to improve crop yields and animal production. They are produced in local languages.

Four years ago, Access Agriculture approached Egerton University’s Department of Agricultural Education and Extension to introduce students to videos in a course unit known as Agricultural Communication Technology.

Simon Mutonga, a lecturer at the department, says the first cohort of 300 Bachelor of Science Education and Extension students was introduced to the course in 2018.

In their fourth year, the students were introduced to Access Agriculture website, which has training videos on many value chains.

Produce videos

The students were then shown how to produce videos using mobile phones.

“We gave them simple video production skills like framing, voice recording and lighting. After this training, we expect them to produce a video on one agricultural value chain,” Mr Mutonga said.

If a student’s video is accepted by Access Agriculture and uploaded to the website, he or she is awarded marks.

The course is aimed at improving the student’s communication skills and learning experience while helping to amplify the technology featured in the videos.

The students are also allowed to interact with farmers and show videos.

“This course will be of help when we start teaching under CBC. Teaching agriculture has mainly been theoretical,” said Grace Apia, a fourth-year student.

She made a video on tomato production. Apia said she noticed farmers in Natoot, near Lodwar town, tended to grow tomatoes once a year.

Apia encouraged the farmers to adopt the staggering method of tomato production.

“The method ensured farmers had something to sell every month. As they harvest one crop, the other is at the flowering stage and the remaining at planting,” Apia said.

“It ensures a stable income and consistent supply throughout the year. I uploaded the video on Eco-agtube and it was accepted. I now intend to use this video together with others when teaching after graduation.”

The use of videos as a teaching aid has excited the student teachers.

Using videos is different from ordinary teaching, said Concillia Orwa, another student.

“When introducing a topic, all I’ll need to do is show a video to my students in the computer lab. The videos ease learning, making the topic enjoyable and exciting. The students retain most of what they have learnt,” she said.

Motivate students

Murimi Nyaga, a fourth-year student, said videos reduce the monotony of a teacher talking to learners and writing on the board.

“The video teaching method will motivate my students as what they learn is through observation. This will enhance their understanding and ability to apply what they have learnt while passing the same knowledge to their parents, relatives and friends,” he said.

“The students can always refer to the video should they forget anything.”

According to Nyaga, one advantage of the videos is that students and farmers are encouraged to use local inputs like organic fertiliser, compost and plant extracts to control pests and diseases.

“The food produced using this method is safe as it improves the consumers’ health. It has no chemicals that are harmful to soil micro-organisms and aquatic life,” he said.

Mr Mutonga said the videos will play a key role in training CBC students on digital literacy while providing practical solutions to the many challenges faced by Kenyan farmers.


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