Kenyan teacher Dickson Karanja was on Thursday named among the winners of the 2020 Bett MEA Awards.
Karanja, a teacher at Sacred Heart High School in Mombasa County, had been shortlisted in the Innovation in Teaching and Learning category.
The Bett MEA Innovation in Teaching & Learning Award is bestowed upon educators who have created innovative approaches to driving excellence through innovation in education within the classroom.
Karanja beat two other nominees in the category including Global Indian International School Abu Dhabi, UAE; and Shirin Farzana, the head of ICT/STEM, The Winchester School, Jebel Ali, UAE.
In an interview, Karanja said he joined the school in 2008 and was saddened by their performance, which motivated him to come up with innovative ways to improve learning.
The Geography and Business teacher, who had never undergone any ICT training, used YouTube to look for innovative ways to motivate students.
“When I came here, I was discouraged and worried because of poor performance. I had to improvise and spice up my teaching to ensure my students participate in class and learn. I went to YouTube and looked for innovative ways to teach and motivate students and I stumbled upon the use of technology,” he told Daily Nation.
He later acquired a laptop and started using MS Powerpoint presentations, podcasts, and video conferencing platforms in his teaching. He would spend Sh1,000 weekly to purchase broadband internet and buy lunch for the students to keep them in school during midterms.
His efforts prompted the school principal to buy 10 laptops to further Karanja’s agenda. He began a digital literacy club where he taught students digital learning during breaks. Karanja became a certified educator in 2016 after successfully taking a Microsoft exam.
Last year, Peter Tabichi, a Maths and Physics teacher at Keriko Secondary School in Nakuru, made history by becoming the first African teacher to win the prestigious $1,000,000 Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize.