Makerere University Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, has launched the first ever smart classroom in Uganda.
The CreatView classroom is situated at Block A of Makerere’s College of Computing and Information Sciences (CoCIS).
According to the VC, the commissioned project is the first of its kind in Uganda, and the second in East Africa, with the first one at the University of Nairobi in Kenya.
Prof. Nawangwe said Makerere commenced on the process of acquiring a smart room way back before Covid hit the country but it was delayed due to the Covid 19 pandemic restrictions.
The smart room provides advanced interactive teaching and broadcasting systems for institutions.
It consists of a specialized learning management system and an interaction system that supports multi-camera recording and post-production. It is a combination of ICT and higher education innovation.
Prof. Tony Oyana, the CoCIS principal said the project cost $100,000 (about shs. 360m). It is equipped with 50 standalone high-grade computers, one electronic (smart blackboard), three supporting view screens, and a robot worth $50,000.
The facility was partially sponsored by three academic Chinese partners including South University of Science and Technology, International Centre of Higher Education, Innovation under auspices of Unesco and Guangzhous’s CreateView Educational Technology Co. Ltd.
Makerere University contributed the remaining $50,000 for shipping and installation.
The college Principal said that the development comes as a result of the partnership agreement to collaborate in research, teaching, ICT industry and community engagement activities signed in 2018 by Makerere University and the three partners.
With the newly established smart room, lecturers can engage with students both physically at the site and virtually.
The facility can as well be used as a recording and broadcasting studio for classrooms.
It enables lecturers to have full monopoly over students’ learning by knowing what each student is doing with the computer.
It does assessments on whether the student is learning or not and as well monitoring examinations and quizzes.
With the help of the robot, the facility system is able to record classroom attendance, reading and concentrating, language processing, speech recognition, photo taking and checking room temperature, performing music, dance and many other entertainment activities.
According to the partners, the target audience of this smartroom project in Uganda is universities teachers, and students to improve the teaching and learning.
The launch was dedicated to Makerere University’s centenary celebrations and acknowledging 60 years of diplomatic relations between Uganda and China.