As covered by our previous postings of the Hole in Wall project which started of as a curious experiment and continued as a chain of experiments across rural india has finally crossed its boundaries and reached schools in UK and italy and is all poised to challenge all kinds of barriers like language, culture, age to education. Dr. Sugata Mitra Speaks at TED.
Tag Archive: Children
The Tanzania-based m-Education program called Bridgeit, locally known as Elimu kwa Teknolojia (Education Through Technology), involves an innovative process of disseminating educational programming directly to the classroom via a mobile phone. The program is a function of a multi-sector partnership involving Tanzania’s Ministry of Education and Vocational Training (MoEVT), the Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE), the Pearson Foundation, the International Youth Foundation, Nokia Corporation and funded by a three-year $2 million grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
Through the Bridgeit program, teachers are provided with access to a digital catalog of educational videos that are typically 4-7 minutes in length. The teachers download the videos from the server via a mobile phone connected to a television installed in the classroom. With each video comes a lesson plan crafted to allow teachers and students interact with the ideas introduced by the video. Hence, a typical teaching period would involve a viewing of the video followed by teacher-led exercises and activities aimed at reinforcing the ideas the students have just learned.
Leveraging the power of cell-phone technology, Bridgeit improves the quality of teacher instruction and increases primary school student achievement in math, science, and life skills. In Tanzania, over one year, Bridgeit has been implemented in 150 schools, training 1,544 primary school teachers, and benefiting 40,400 rural and urban students.
The JEI is one of Her Majesty’s Queen Rania Al Abdullah’s nonprofit organizations. The JEI works hand in hand with the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Information Communication Technology (MoICT) to support Jordan’s efforts to improve the education system and its use of ICT to transform the learning environment in Jordanian schools and advance learning for all students.
Since its launch in 2003 by the World Economic Forum partners, the JEI has been involved in multimillion dollar initiatives that have had a strong impact on the modernization of education in Jordan. The JEI relies highly on partnerships and collaborations with local and global entities. The global partners include WEF, USAID, UNESCO, CISCO, Intel, Microsoft, Oracle, HP, IBM, SMART etc. Direct contributions to the Initiative from global and local partners have reached over US$ 25 million.
The initiative has so far reached more than 80,000 students, up-skilled more than 3,000 teachers across 102 Jordanian Public Schools. Thousands of electronic lessons have been developed and many electronic teaching tools and equipments have been deployed in schools. The JEI has also employed SMART interactive whiteboards in its discovery schools. The JEI has also piloted installing 100 Intel Classmate PCs in discovery schools.
The JEI has not only received an award from Ministry of Education but has also received 2009 UNESCO award for use of ICT in education.
Hole in the wall started of as an interesting experiment by a computer scientist, Dr. Sugata Mitra (head of research and development at the National Institute for Information Technology Limited (NIIT)), in which he installed a high tech computer on his office wall facing a slum and left it for the children to explore it. Astonishingly children learnt surfing in a single day!
In 1999 the International Finance Corporation, a World Bank subsidiary, invested $1.6 million in a project entitled ‘Hole in the Wall’, in which computer kiosks were placed in urban slums so that street children with almost no education could gain access to computer technology. They found that the children would teach each other how to use these computers. The project encourages underprivileged children in India to learn from a web-based curriculum through Internet kiosks. The kiosks were installed in over 60 locations over three years (2000-2003). The aim was to improve education for poor children, with equal access for girls and boys..
NIIT went on to conduct further studies to determine if illiterate slum children could use the Internet without instruction. The ICT-education firm set up continuous video tape monitoring of the computer that they had set up. The video showed that young boys and girls from the settlement became highly proficient at using various features of the computer regardless of lack of proficiency in English, and without any instruction. Soon it became “an extension of their playground, where they can play together, teach each other new things, and more importantly, just be themselves”
Already ubiquitous in New Delhi and Mysore, the Hole-in-the-wall systems were then spread throughout the country including the underserved areas of Rajhastan and Jaipur and the difficult terrains of Kashmir. The Hole in the wall education limited (HIWEL) has now expanded and reached upto the northern states of Mizoram and Nagaland. Such is the popularity of the project that it has crossed the borders and become a part of the commonwealth connects program in Uganda and now (according to recent news) making its way for being piloted in UK.
HIWEL has been conferred the coveted ‘Digital Opportunity Award’ for its path breaking work in spreading computer literacy and improving the quality of education at the grass root levels, by the World Information Technology and Services Alliance (WITSA).
Dr. Sugata in his talk at LIFT 2007 explains the impacts and results of his hole in the wall experiments, while a candid review of hole in the wall is presented in an article in readers’ digest. Another video report by The Guardian shows the children exploring the computers and having fun in learning.
Australia’s primary school students are now being equipped with the skills needed for the digital age. School students are now being switched on to some of the most up-to-date technology available, from laptop computers for students in years 9-12 to interactive whiteboards, video-conferencing equipment and even virtual classrooms.
The West Australian Education Department recently trialled a program that allowed students and teachers to download free information and resources through iTunes U – an area of the iTunes store offering free education content from top institutions around the world.
Schools throughout Australia will be using the technology of interactive white-boards, which have the capabilities of connecting immediately to the internet so students and teachers can access information immediately. By connecting the whiteboards to a laptop computer and projector, teachers can also convert freehand writing on the whiteboard into text, and then print it for students.
The Victorian education department is now trialing virtual classrooms – a computer accessible, online learning environment intended to fulfill many of the learning facilitation roles of a physical classroom. The
Queensland Education Department has a similar concept in the Learning Place – a comprehensive online eLearning environment available to all staff and students with anywhere, anytime access through a dedicated portal.
SchoolNet is an initiative that promotes the effective use of information and communication technologies (ICT) in learning through supporting the connection of schools to the Internet and by creating a network of schools. The UNESCO SchoolNet project, “Strengthening ICT in Schools and SchoolNet Project in ASEAN Setting”, was initiated in recognition of the need to assist teachers in integrating ICT into teaching and to facilitate participation of teachers and students in the Asia-Pacific region in SchoolNet telecollaboration activities.
The project was launched in July 2003 and focuses on three subject areas, languages, mathematics and science. SchoolNet activities have been piloted in 24 schools in8 participating countries of the ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) region: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Viet Nam.
The UNESCO SchoolNet project aims to encourage use of ICT in teaching-learning, improve connectivity, expand access to the wealth of educational resources available via the Internet and establish and promote SchoolNet in the Asia-Pacific region. National coordinators facilitate project implementation in each participating ASEAN-region country. Project partners include Japanese Funds-in-Trust and ASEAN Foundation.
Cisco is partnering with the government of Portugal under Technological Plan for Education, which aims to bring information and communication technology (ICT) literacy to students and promote the use of new technologies in the educational system. Cisco® technologies will be used to provide high-density local-area network and wireless access in every classroom in every secondary school in Portugal.
Cisco would be working in cooperation with Portugal Telecom, the prime contractor of the ‘Internet in the Classroom’
project, to equip 1,220 schools with 215,000 Ethernet ports and 15,000 wireless access points. The Portuguese
Ministry of Education launched the Internet in the Classroom project as a foundation for the Portuguese government’s Technological Plan to bring high-speed fibre broadband access to every school and put fixed and wireless networks in the classrooms to connect all students and staff. The Technological Plan for Education will also see a number of secondary schools establish Cisco Networking Academy® programs to teach key ICT skills to a diverse student population. Five academies are being set up with further plans to increase the number to 200.
With Technological plan for Education, Portugal is on its way to completely digitize the education system with several
ICT- related activities. Provision of ICT skills to teachers, computers for schools and laptops for students are among key initiatives of this project.
Microsoft has recently developed a new technology – called MultiPoint – which has high potential to serve rural areas which have limited technology infrastructure and budget, to integrate technology in education. MultiPoint Mouse SDK applications allow schools to increase the number of students that can access technology in a classroom or lab, simply by plugging in an existing or new mouse per student. This product enables up to 25 children to simultaneously use and operate a single computer via multiple mice. This saves schools having to buy a separate PC for each child.
Applications built on the MultiPoint Mouse SDK can increase student learning comprehension through interactive methods. Applications built on the MultiPoint Mouse SDK can provide teachers with tools to gain real-time assessment information to help them provide a personalized learning experience for each of their students.
MultiPoint Mouse is already being used in 12 countries. Video demonstrating uses and benefits of MultiPoint Mouse can be seen here.
The Portuguese government is providing educational PCs to school children receiving basic education — equivalent to elementary school — in a memorandum of understanding with Intel Corporation. The Magellan Initiative, a program under Portugal’s education technology plan, targeted to deliver a half million computers based on the Intel-powered classmate PC to Portuguese children in the year 2009. The Magellan Initiative complements Portugal’s successful year-old e-School project, which provides educational notebooks and Internet access to teachers and students for the secondary level of school education.
The full-featured student laptop is specially developed by Intel for education. Regarded as the ‘rugged little laptops’ Intel’s Classmate PC comes in various versions in various developing countries, with educational softwares and high-speed internet connectivity options, designed especially for school children. The laptop is distributed in more than 50 countries. In addition to the Classmate PCs, Intel will serve as Portugal’s technology adviser for the Magellan Initiative and currently plans to create a “Competence Centre” in Portugal to expand the use of mobile PCs and Internet access and use that knowledge to replicate pilot projects in other countries. Recently, Venezuelan government has also signed an agreement with Portugal that will bring 1 million low-cost Magellan notebooks to the South American country.
Link for Video about Magellan initiative in Portugal
Educating nomadic children is challenging for many reasons, among which is the need to cater to their mobility. This calls for portable strategies and flexible courses that will retain the interest and attention of the children. The Indian Institute of Technology Bombay adapted the Anchored Instruction Approach in three experimental camp schools in Maharashtra in western India to teach nomadic children, between five and 17 years old, the 3Rs through discovery, interaction and participation. IIT site says:
The nomadic tribes in India show very little concern for educating their children and, because of their wandering nature, it has become near impossible to have a continuum in their education, even if it is made available.
Capitalizing on the local setting and environment to provide the context and content of their lessons, the “live” anchored instruction sessions were video-taped in each camp. With the help of laptops and audio-visual programmes, the children were able to view the tapes of all three camps to provide them with broader perspectives of life beyond their own confines.
They learnt to count and associate numbers, colors and names with pictures, charts and other items shown in the videos. A series of online tests were conducted in situ following the viewing. Offline work to view the recording was also available to facilitate self-learning. An interactive video was developed from one of the camp videos to enhance the learning process. Furthermore, a series of virtual nomadic environments was designed to enable the children to correlate information with the real world.
The children were able to use the laptops and adjust to the ICT-based solutions easily. At home with the touchpad and navigation, some of the children were able to guide their peers through the lessons independently. Some even managed to transfer their knowledge to their relatives who visited the camp schools.
The outcome of the project showed the students’ retention to be almost 100%, highlighting the success of the innovation. The project was successfully implemented in Maharashtra and extended on to incorporate the community learning of life skills. A similar program for incorporating ICTs in regular rural schools is also associated with the same IIT Lab. Other projects of Lab include Bhav Puchiye, an application for enquiring rates of commodities, an Agroexplorer and aAqua giving advisory services on agriculture to local farmers.