Quality education technology for better learning opportunities
Submitted by: Lauren Lichtman, Partnerships Lead, Learning Equality (NGO)
Email: [email protected]
Introduction to the project
Jordan, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda
2018 - ongoing
The project is ongoing. The funding coming from UNHCR ends in December 2020 but Learning Equality is still committed to adapting Kolibri for best use in emergency contexts.
Developing and utilizing innovative education technologies (edtech) to best meet secondary level learners needs in emergency and crisis contexts.
The goals of the project are to co-design digital learning experiences that best meet the needs of refugee and host communities secondary learners.
The multi-stakeholder, collaborative and scaffolded roll-out approach of this project helps to ensure that lessons learned from one context can apply to others. This project involves the coming together of different organizations with different skill sets to observe, test and collaborate in a diverse set of contexts in four different countries at various stages of emergencies to inform learnings that would be useful broadly. This includes leveraging existing infrastructure developed by Vodafone Foundation and UNHCR through the Instant Network Schools programme, collaborating with various implementing organizations, and hiring dedicated coaches to support implementation.
Main activities of the Good Practice
We are iterating on Kolibri platform, an open-source educational platform that is specially designed to provide offline access to a curated and openly licensed educational content library with tools for pedagogical support for use in low-resource and low-connectivity contexts, as well as its ecosystem of products focused on relevant and aligned content, and supportive training and implementation materials. By focusing on secondary level learners in STEM, life skills and literacy skills, we are testing Kolibri in a variety of learning environments, in urban and rural settings, in camps and settlements, and in more recent and protracted crises. The goal is to develop a series of public goods to ensure that the work contributes to the Sector as a whole.
- Learning Equality
- Vodafone Foundation
- Support from Google.org
Challenges and how they were overcome
In this project, the primary challenges encountered related to a combination of factors that are common in education projects for communities affected by crisis:
- Developing sustainable local capacity to support the project throughout its duration, and be able to address both pedagogic and technical challenges
- Using educational technology in locations with limited power and Internet connectivity
- Using a general purpose learning platform, although designed for low resource contexts, in informal and formal settings in crisis contexts
Providing digital resources that are aligned to national curriculum standards, in order to have Ministry of Education official approval.
How they were overcome:
- Recognizing and leveraging the expertise of individual champions such as former teachers, teacher trainers, and technologists in the refugee communities who can serve as trainers
- Use of the Kolibri platform work on legacy and low-cost hardware in contexts with limited or no Internet connectivity
- Leveraging feedback from the global Kolibri Hardware Grant program allowing for testing unique, innovative hardware and infrastructure models
- Adapting the design and implementation of Kolibri and related technological tools and materials for more effective use by learners in displaced contexts
- Aggregating a library of relevant open educational resources informed by teachers and other educators in these contexts, with a strong focus on increasing the availability of digital learning materials that can be aligned in Arabic
- Using curriculum experts to align the available content to national curricula
- Developing automation techniques to support the process of speedier alignment in emergency and crisis context.
- Conducted trainings of trainers, teachers, and technologists in each of these countries.
Results of the Good Practice
- Refugee coach supported and adapted models of blended learning and the use of integrating technology, and lesson planning with open educational resources to supplement learning
- Increased access to relevant and aligned content for refugee and host community learners
How the project meets the GCR Objectives
Objective 1: Ease the pressures on host countries
The intention of this project is that there are learning opportunities that are supplemental to existing government efforts, and thereby would ease pressures.
Objective 2: Enhance refugee self-reliance
Kolibri creates resilience to education and the opportunity for lifelong learning which enables the acquisition of productive and employable skills.
We have phased the roll-out, and implementation is underway at varying levels.