Ten things to do in Jambiani, Zanzibar

1. Swim in Kuza Cave and explore underwater cave sculptures

Tours, Swahili Culture, Education, NGO
An ancient jungle cave in Kibigija, Jambiani

2. Scour the beach for shells, sticks, coconut husks, seaweed and create an art piece

3. Eat local Swahili food with friendly Kibigija villagers

Swahili local food

4. Enjoy the Kuza Cave wildlife sanctuary with Monkeys, birds, butterflies and Chindi (Squirrels)

5. Have a  smoky BBQ goat feast

6. Play some drums with the local kids in Cultural Infusion's Heritage Arts program

7. Have a chat and beer or Konyagi (local rum) while you watch the full moon rise over the Indian Ocean

8. Meet and play with the local children who really value education and being connected with the broader world

9. Attend a dinner performance to introduce you to Zanzibar culture through the evolution of music introduced by visiting cultures … Continue Reading ››

Kuza Cave Volunteer Village

If you are looking for a vacation with a difference, then why not come to Zanzibar? It is one of the world's most desirable holiday locations . Please don't  imagine a dusty hot savannah.. this is a tropical paradise Island with an exotic mix of cultures on one of the world's oldest trading ports. See our article on "Ten Things to do in Jambiani" We invite you to come and learn from the local community:
  • Batik, painting and jewellery making
  • Swahili cooking lessons
  • How do you live without electricity and a fridge?
  • How do you build an entire house with no power tools or machinery?
  • How do you make rope from a coconut, embroider a hat, harvest seaweed for export, catch an octopus, etc
  • Relax and sloooow downn... breath.. live.. laugh and enjoy talking to people
Swahili local food
Eating Ugali and beans
            In return they want to learn from you for a few hours a day. So far their requests are:
  • Learn and practice English
  • Sewing
  • Housekeeping / cleaning / hygiene practices
  • Playing musical Instruments guitar, keyboard, drums, malimba
  • Drama, dance,sculpture, jewellery , arts and crafts
  • Cooking … Continue Reading ››

Zanzibar Cultural Infusion Project

A few months ago, myself and my two children have returned to a place we call home in Tanzania, East Africa. I first came to Kibigija Village, in Jambiani Zanzibar,  12 years ago as a weary backpacker happy to rest under a coconut tree and watch the sunrise over the ocean . I stayed in Tanzania for about a year and married a local man, Jafari. We had a  girl and  boy who are now 9 and 10 years old.  Our children are now exploring their own cultural heritage and learning Swahili. They are  coping well with the ups and downs of moving overseas and I am really proud of both of them. I have not coped so well and had lots of tantrums and tears, but I hope I am through the worst of my adjustment period. I am supported by many patient friends her and internationally to keep going with my adventure. We were offered an opportunity to set up a home a few kilometers from the beach near a magnificent cave. It is called Kuza Cave which means birth in Swahili. We have been working hard preparing the site for the busy tourist season coming in June/July. See the … Continue Reading ››

The Hero’s Learning Journey

The purpose of this paper is to discuss how educators can harness the natural momentum of learning to create a dramatic and exciting hero’s learning journey. Given the importance of motivation, educators can borrow ideas from game designers by using gamification – a process to re-frame a real life goal to be more appealing and achievable. A series of learning activities, developed to meet both cognitive and emotional needs, results in an engaging learning journey.

The concept presented, based on PSI Theory, OCEAN Big Five character traits and player/learner archetypes, is that learners are motivated by three basic needs: affiliation, competence or certainty (assuming other physiological needs are met).

Armed with insight into types of motivations at different phases, learner experience designers can create different learning journeys and user profiles. Learning activities can be planned for each need and phase based on changing motivations: collaborate and curate (affiliation), choice and … Continue Reading ››

Karibu Jambiani

My family is now back in Tanzania. We have set up a little home in north Jambiani on the East Coast of Zanzibar Island in Tanzania. For tourists, this is a tropical paradise with coconut trees, cocktails and warm waters for snorkelling on coral reefs. For many locals, life is not such a luxury. Most families in Jambiani earn a living through fishing. The lady in the picture, who is my neighbour, is a full-time teacher at the local primary school and a mother of four. Her husband is a fisherman yet they are still looking for extra part-time work to get by. Most people here need  2 or 3 jobs to meet their immediate needs. Some women farm and collect seaweed and earn about 20 cents per kilo. Tanzania has one of the lowest income levels in the world at an average of $2 per person per day.  Yet it has one of the world's fastest growing economies, so that will change quickly. I have been asking the women what they want to learn and the answer is dress-making. (I was kind of hoping they would say computer coding..) So that is … Continue Reading ››

Effective time limits in gamification

The irony of the emphasis on speed is that some of our world's leading mathematicians are not fast at math. Laurent Schwartz—who won math's highest award, the Fields medal, in 1950—wrote in his autobiography that he was a slow thinker in math, who believed he was “stupid” until he realized that “what is important is to deeply understand things and their relations to each other. This is where intelligence lies. The fact of being quick or slow isn't really relevant.”
Source: Why Math Education in the U.S. Doesn't Add Up - Scientific American Many games use time as an obstacle. As educators how can we use timers to motivate our learners?  This is a very difficult area of gamification to navigate. If you place a timer on an activity it will make it more challenging but may have the reverse effect of what you intended and leave students feeling like quitting if they can't make the deadline. Another downside is that, as quoted above, we may be giving the wrong message that we value speed and quantity of tasks completed over quality and exploration., thus meeting a short term goal (finish a task) at the expense of a long term goal … Continue Reading ››

Jam online courses for kids

View website Our family reviewed a website called 'Jam' and really liked it. We did the 7 day trial. The fee is $99 for access to the course materials for a year. I really liked the sequencing and hands-on approach. You are presented with a challenge like: 'make a pathway and ramps for a marble to run down using items like books and cardboard'. Helpful videos and a discussion forum are provided to guide you (if needed - not first up) Each child posts a video of what they built. This mimics the organic learning process I have watched my children follow in Minecraft and Loombanding. They see a video of something amazing, attempt to do it themselves and then make a video to show other people what they achieved. Simple but powerful!
JAM was founded in 2012 by lifelong learners.  We’re devoting our lives to making magical learning experiences  to help kids build confidence, creativity and talent that will last  their lifetimes. Our programs have helped over 500,000 kids worldwide.

Roblox Review

This is more of a Game / Simulation than Gamification, but it has huge potential for uses in Gamification. The image at the top of this Blog is me in a Hospital. I could morph between being a patient or a nurse by stepping on a block. There are a few dozen other kids role-playing live in this space with me. I am supposed to find a doctor who can cure me of whatever disease I invent. My computer kept crashing so I didn't get very far into the scenario. I get quite seasick in Minecraft but coped better with Roblox. Roblox is free and works on PC (browser -based) and mobile apps. It is a 3D game design tool that is easy to learn. Last year I downloaded the builder app and very quickly made a pirate island. My kids have been obsessed with Roblox as their number one game lately.The Roblox game my kids love the most is Dinosaur Simulator. You walk around as a dinosaur and you have to survive. You can die of hunger, thirst or get killed.  You start as a baby dinosaur and then become a child, juvenile,   adult, elder and die of old … Continue Reading ››

Inside Out – a study of emotions by Pixar

This week I watched the Pixar movie 'Inside Out"  The story is:
"Like all of us, Riley is guided by her emotions - Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness. The emotions live in Headquarters, the control center inside Riley's mind, where they help advise her through everyday life. As Riley and her emotions struggle to adjust to a new life in San Francisco, turmoil ensues in Headquarters.  " Source: Inside Out (2015) - IMDb
I really enjoyed the movie, and liked the moral of the story that sadness and other 'negative' emotions are a valuable  part of us, just as much as being optimistic. Fear was presented as a mixed bag of keeping us safe and making us paranoid, while Anger was pretty much painted as the bad guy. Emotions are complex and this movie was based on research and very talented storytellers! I am quite a connoisseur of Pixar and kids movies over the last decade, and was delighted to see such a deep theme being passed on to a generation of little minds. (Avengers handling of Singularity blew me away too!) The movie was a much easier way to explore concepts of psychology than the academic papers … Continue Reading ››

Interactive and engaging Educational Design