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NSCC Technical Services at VETA Mikumi 2013

paul_in_server_room.jpg
They say there’s a first time for everything. Well, my writing a blog is one of them.
As I sit here in my room at VETA Mikumi thinking about the past week, I’m surrounded by the noises close by; to my left, people talking as they walk in and out of the kitchen area. To my right, sounds of clanging dishes, possibly being washed in a sink. Both in their own way reflect the learning happening around us, and instead of being a distraction from this blog they are actually contributing to it. Amazing.
So, where do I begin?
Being an unseasoned traveller with a measurable dislike of air travel, the opportunity to be part of this team was too great to give up for such a minor reason. Grin and bear it are the words that come to mind. And yes, I am glad I did. The friendship and genuine desire to learn was apparent when I met those who travelled to Canada for CCEDP in 2010 and 2011. It was surprising how quick we became friends. And remembering those people played a part when I was asked to join the trip this year to Tanzania. It would be nice to see them all again.
What have I learned since our adventure began? For one, I now know to expect breakfast, lunch and supper within a 3 to 4 hour span when changing time zones from west to east. Bring plenty of tums. I’ve also learned that my Tanzanian friends haven’t changed at all. They are still the friendly, caring people I remember, all sharing the same appetite to learn.
I’ve also learned much about the computer network here. The work that Dave Arthur and Darlene Redmond did in 2011 can be seen throughout the server room, language lab, ICT lab and what I call the business class lab where they learn Microsoft Office apps. The down side to this is that the Internet Service Provider here stopped providing that service last August so there has been no internet connection for the network here since then.
We did have good network news this week though. One of our wireless solutions began providing wireless access to the internet, and you could almost feel the excitement as people connected their devices to the Net. It’s simply a mobile wifi device that accesses the internet through cellular, and can provide access for up to 8 different devices at a time. Although small, I would consider it mighty. And it’s most certainly a step in the right direction. I understand we will be purchasing another similar device, so it’s possible that one may be used to provide internet access in the Tourist Information Centre, while the other may be used in the Administration Block. We also brought D-Link devices that would provide access much the same however they need compatible wireless sticks (the ones we had weren’t compatible).
I’ve also been in touch with Dave and Darlene through email and they have given me suggestions on how to get some server problems fixed. Access to the Wordpress and Moodle apps which were installed on the server halted in June 2012 so I will attempt to repair them before leaving Tuesday.
It’s difficult to put into words just how so little can have such a huge affect here. From an IT perspective, these simple wireless devices we’ve provided will allow much needed internet access to information that, for the past 6 months, has been unreachable. The new tablets that have been distributed will be able to update wirelessly, and from what I’ve seen, they are a tool that faculty and students here will constantly use to teach and learn.
I can’t close and finish this blog until we leave Tanzania so I will leave it open ended and for the time being will sign off saying “to be continued.......”

Paul Tweed
Technical Services
NSCC, Waterfront Campus

Posted by NSCC Intl 03:52 Archived in Tanzania Tagged education it tanzania international nova scotia ict Comments (2)

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