Why Learning Offline?
25th June 2020
This Pitch Day focussed on learning offline something critical in areas with little or no internet connectivity. We were joined by Chris McBurnie from the EdTech Hub whose introduction focused on why initiatives that focus on learning offline are so important in responding to COVID-19.
Chris said, “When I speak to people about technology and learning, people think of apps, online courses and Zoom.”
But many children – especially in low and middle-income countries – lack access to the internet and online learning resources. In Senegal, for instance, a phone survey found that less than 1% of students have taken online courses since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. In Ethiopia, 80% of rural children have never used the internet.
At a time when children are not in school, we must explore ways to give learners access to high-quality education offline. We were delighted to be able to give a platform to ideas that do just that.
Who were our pitchers and how are they responding to COVID-19?
Mavis Talking Books is an offline audiovisual EdTech solution from Nigeria which uses a ‘talking pen’ to support children to engage with literacy and numeracy lessons. Each family pack comes with a solar charging kit, as well as 2 LED Bulbs to enable learning in the evening.
Mango Tree is adapting their literacy tools, methods and classroom materials to provide educational content to children in Uganda so that they can learn from home while schools are closed. They are focussing on producing radio programming and developing awareness campaigns to ensure parents and communities know how to access the content.
Two Rabbits provides underserved communities in Cameroon with MP3 devices preloaded with interactive audio preschool lessons. These lessons are recorded in local languages and co-created with the communities, and rely on trained community members to facilitate learning. In response to COVID-19, they are focusing on caregivers as facilitators of learning, as well as mobilising teachers to provide door-to-door distance support.
We’d like to extend our special thanks to our panellists on the day:
Chris McBurnie – Country Engagement @ EdTech Hub
Esohe Eigbike – Education Advisor @FCDO West Africa
Jamie Proctor – EdTech Adviser @EdTech Hub & FCDO
And of course, our Action Committee who joined us on the day to offer feedback and support to our pitchers. They include individuals from The World Bank, USAID, Overseas Development Institute, BRAC, UNHCR, Future Fund for Education.