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Two secondary school students set up first learning site @eMasomo

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Brian Kirotich (left) and Martin Siele during the interview. The two high school students have created an online interactive educational portal.

Two high school students have developed the country’s first interactive education-resource website, a platform for high school students.

Brian Kirotich, 17, and Martin Siele, 18, both Form Fours at Alliance High School in Kiambu County are the brains behind eMasomo.

The website contains a series of useful tools for high school students, among them syllabuses for the various subjects studied and past papers that students can use to prepare for their examinations.

The portal developed under a meagre budget has impressive features as it provides free access to past Kenya Certificate of Secondary Examination papers, eLearning videos on various topics, educational debates and an interactive online forum along with the entire high school curriculum review.

They developed the site whose tagline is “read, lead, succeed” last December while on holiday, but due to financial constraints, it was launched on February 20.

The students collected past papers from friends and their school’s examination department which has them in bulk.

“We had been toying with the idea of creating an education portal for high school students, and we started developing it last year. It was ready in December, but due to lack of funds, launching it became a problem,” said Brian.

They borrowed from their friends, drew from their pocket money savings and also took small loans to finance the project.

“We used about Sh3,000 to host the website, another Sh2,500 to purchase the software and also Sh2,000 to scan the papers; together with other miscellaneous expenses, we incurred a lot,” said Martin.

Their limited budget hampered them from doing much, but they still went ahead and put out what could turn out to be an important education tool.

The portal, according to them, is also aimed at diverting students from unproductive and negative Internet use, as well as encouraging the adoption of ICT among students in line with Vision 2030.

After its launch, Brian and Martin were recognised in school, with the principal acknowledging their efforts in front of their peers.

“He introduced us to the whole school during a school parade. Other students cheered. The feeling was awesome,” Brian recalls.

After the accolades, the two decided to enrol their project into the Science Congress, where it emerged the best at the school, zonal, district and county levels.

However, this did not come without drama. The judges at the county level were not convinced the portal was their own work due to its “impressive nature”.

“We had to prove it was our creation, as the judges could not believe students could come up with such a site. So we had to log in, edit some material and apply the changes. Fnally they believed us”, Martin told the Nation.

The project now heads to the regional level on May 27, before the students target the national level.

“We hope to reach the national level and hopefully if we win, represent the country in the international stage in South Africa,” said Martin.

Their site is also set to be show-cased by Afriapps, a technology site that showcases new apps and inventions on the continent.

A visit to the site reveals a number of features. It has educational debates and an interactive online forum aimed at helping students study and also learn from others.

It also provides the latest news on education, and for Form Four students, gives them a countdown to the national exam.

The two spend at least two days a week working on new material for the website, but have to balance between their studies and running the site.

“We ensure we don’t neglect our studies. This site is it is not commercial,” says Martin.

Two years ago they developed a musical and entertainment website but had to shut it down because it required much time.

“Emasomo is different because you don’t need to be updating news regularly; it is more of an interactive learning tool,” Martin added.

They hope to use the holiday to upgrade and also add new content to the site to make education more interesting.

-Nation

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