Highlights from EdTech and Covid-19: Lessons learned, future plans
On March 2nd 2021, EdTech Hub brought together education leaders, including teachers, programme managers and policymakers, to reflect on a year of EdTech and Covid-19, discuss the lessons learned so far and consider how we can prepare for the future.
Over 200 people joined from around the world for a lively and thought-provoking discussion. Speakers included:
- Helen Grant MP, UK Prime Minister’s Special Envoy on Girls’ Education
- David Sengeh, Sierra Leone’s Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education and Head of the Directorate of Science, Technology and Innovation
- Ranjit Disale, Global Teacher Prize Winner 2020
- Sarah Shaikh, Director, Deaf Reach Program, Pakistan
- Albert Nsengiyumva, Executive Secretary of the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA)
The event was hosted by Susan Nicolai, a Director of Research at EdTech Hub who also launched EdTech Hub’s new synthesis of research EdTech and Covid-19: 10 Things to Know, available in English, Français and عربي.
You can watch the event below.
In a hurry? Read five of our highlights below.
Design for the most excluded
Sierra Leone, like other West African countries, learned from the Ebola crisis and sought hybrid solutions to school closures. A mix of advanced and simple technologies, including paper resources, allowed the most marginalised to continue learning. As Minister Sengeh said, “it’s not just about zoom classrooms … because the girl with a disability in rural areas has a different way of interacting … if we can design for them, we can design for everybody else.”
Invest in girls
Girls’ education is especially at risk during Covid-19. Girls are less likely to return to school and are at greater risk of child marriage and early pregnancy. The UK Prime Minister’s Special Envoy on Girls’ Education, Helen Grant, urged action to provide, “every girl on the planet with 12 years of quality education” as “one of the best ways of tackling many of the problems in the world today.”
Learning is the goal, EdTech is a means
As Global Teacher Prizewinner 2020 Ranjit Disale said, the pandemic has shown the importance of “the three T’s: technology, training, teachers”. Ranjit noted that his own experience with EdTech – making QR code textbooks for his students – worked because ‘it was very practical. It solved a teaching problem. The tech was a means, not an end.’ This was later echoed by Minister Sengeh who said that going forward, we must focus firstly on “the objective, the learning outcomes we want to achieve” and see technology as a way to achieve them.
Finance, policies, and political vision will be crucial
Covid-19 is not over and some countries may not be vaccinated until 2024. From his viewpoint working with education departments across Africa, Albert Nsengiyumva reminded us that, to reach a “new normal” we “need a systematic approach” where EdTech is financially sustainable, policies align, and political vision leads the way.
Involve parents, support parents
Parents have played a crucial role in children’s learning during the pandemic. But as Sarah Shaikh found with Deaf Reach in Pakistan, parents need support too. Parents of deaf learners do not necessarily have extensive sign language vocabulary and Deaf Reach leaders worried about language loss. In response, students were sent home with a toolkit of lessons, stories, dictionaries, and technology to support parents to teach their children.
Join us at more upcoming events!