What we have learnt from designing and implementing tablet-based learning across the world

Written by Susan Colby (Imagine Worldwide) and Nicola Pitchford (University of Nottingham)

As COVID-19 has disrupted education worldwide, more organizations and governments are exploring using tablet-based learning models to provide children with flexible access to learning that can take place anywhere. When implemented well, tablet-based learning can empower learners to build skills and knowledge through the use of technology. Children are able to direct their own learning, using high-quality, research-based software curriculum on a tablet. 

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What you can expect from the future EdTech Hub website

The EdTech Hub had just finished a seven-month planning phase when COVID-19 hit. A profound sense of urgency swept over us. We realized that the planning we had done for a gradual ramp-up was now feeling insufficient to fulfill our mission, given the new global reality of kids being away from school, and the potential for EdTech to help.

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Afghanistan: Covid-19 brings uncertainty to learning

By Asma Rabi

COVID-19 presents a significant challenge to the education system in Afghanistan. School closures have turned a spotlight on access to education and inequalities across the country. As in countries around the world, the speed of these closures and the rapid move to distance learning has allowed little time for policy-makers to come up with quick solutions to the problem. Studies are already suggesting that school closures may have a negative impact on the country’s educational system.

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Leaving no one behind: technology and the education sector response to COVID-19 in Rwanda

By Ernest Ngabonzima, Roberte Isimbi, Marie Merci Mwali, Arnaldo Pellini

This is part of our coronavirus (COVID-19) and EdTech series.

 A swift policy response

When COVID-19 reached Rwanda, the Ministry of Education (MINEDUC) was quick to shut schools and make use of technology to support and enable distance learning. This includes e-learning platforms and the use of private and public media channels. The first teaching radio programmes were introduced just two weeks after the schools closed, followed quickly by TV programmes. The content of these TV and radio programmes includes learning materials presented as written text, audio, images, animation and streamed video content for pre-primary, primary and secondary level children. Data suggests that these programmes reach 70% of primary school students and 11% of secondary school students. One of the reasons for this low number among secondary school students is that most of the secondary subjects are broadcast via TV, rather than radio, as television ownership is low (10%) in the country.

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Activating local study-groups for children’s learning—an equitable EdTech response?

By Tom Power, Open University

An equitable educational response to the COVID school closures must recognise that, in low and middle-income countries, as shown by UNICEF data most children affected by such closures do not have access to the internet. Policymakers and educators must then find ways to provide learning opportunities offline. Learning does not happen just by giving children educational materials—children also need time, space and support. 

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An inclusive approach to searching for evidence on EdTech in low- and middle- income countries

A blog post by Meaghan Brugha and Katy Jordan.

A searchable database

The EdTech Hub has undertaken a large-scale search for publications on technology use in education in low- and middle- income countries. During this process, we created an internal research database. This is searchable through the use of a variety of filters, such as country or intervention of focus. Analysis of the database helps us to ground our wider research, innovation and engagement activities as a Hub within the scope and quality of the evidence base.

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Sandboxes: My experience participating in the sandbox alpha

Written by Pilirani Kumasewera, Padziwe

This is the third in this series about our sandboxes. If you haven’t already, read about our approach to experimentation and how we tested our sandbox strategy out in Malawi.

One of my happiest moments in 2019 was when I received an email with notification that Padziwe, an EdTech startup which I founded, has been selected by the EdTech Hub to test one of our applications in a sandbox. We felt exceptionally lucky considering that out of all the 195 countries in the world the Hub chose Malawi and, more specifically, Padziwe. This sandbox focused on Teachers Desk, an application which Padziwe developed to offer continuous professional development (CPD) for teachers. 

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Sandboxes: Testing the strategy in Malawi

Written by Alice Carter

This is the second in this series about our sandboxes. If you haven’t already, read about our approach to experimentation

Across the Hub, we’re proponents of using our tools and approaches on our own thinking. For innovation, that meant testing the assumptions we were making about how and if the sandboxes would work. Continue reading “Sandboxes: Testing the strategy in Malawi”

Sandboxes: our approach to systemic experimentation

Lea Simpson
Director of Innovation, EdTech Hub

What’s a sandbox you ask? First in the series, this blog explains what you need to know about the Hub’s approach to experimentation and innovation.

A sandbox is a real-life location used for experimentation. As you might have imagined, a sandbox creates a small and contained space to test with a proposed intervention. It allows us to safely learn and adapt in a small space before rolling out promising ideas more widely. The term itself comes from software engineering and was originally used to describe a space that allowed developers to safely test new code before using it across the board.

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15 EdTech research papers that we share all the time

We hope you saw our recent blog post responding to questions we often get about interesting large-scale EdTech initiatives. Another question we are often asked is: “What EdTech research should I know about?” 

As Sara’s blog post explains, one of the Hub’s core spheres of work is research, so we ourselves are very interested in the answer to this question. Katy’s latest blog post explains how the Hub’s research programme is addressing this question through a literature review to create a foundation for further research.  While the literature review is in progress, we thought we would share an initial list of EdTech papers that we often reach for. At the Hub we are fortunate enough to have authors of several papers on this list as members of our team. 

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