I have just watched a video on the BBC site about an advancement of educational technology in Malawi, and wanted to quickly jot down some of my initial thoughts. Education in developing countries is so different to that of the UK system. Even things that we wouldn’t even consider, like the weather, have a big impact on how much teaching can be carried out that day. Providing any form of education, let alone that of quality, is incredibly difficult.
Image Image sourced from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-36024060
So this video looks at utilising technology as a way of overcoming some of the barriers faced, and trying to raise the quality of education these children receive, working with UK’s Voluntary Services Overseas and OneBillion. I like the way that they are using this technology to teach maths and English, both of which are vital if children want to continue to learn and help improve their employability when they are older. Not only this, but they also have sessions which look at teaching the local language, which is so important, as it helps to maintain their culture, and is often overlooked, when the English language is taking an increasingly tighter grip on the world through globalisation.
Learning is about interaction and discussing ideas with peers, so I was initially worried by how silent and individually focused the children were in the video, but I need not to be. In fact, this is a focused time where they can fully concentrate and the teacher can truly assess and monitor how well that individual child is doing and what areas they are struggling with. This is so important, as in classes that are often very large in size, without this technology, it would be difficult for the teacher to be aware of issues, and so the child may slowly slip behind further. Even with testing, a child may copy off another child’s work, and so the teacher just wouldn’t be able to find out about the issues soon enough. And so now, I am actually worried that they have so little time with these very useful devices, and it is a shame that it could not be increased more!
Image sourced from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-36024060
Also these children are part of a globalised world, where access to technology has become the norm. Therefore, by being able to work these devices, much like children in the UK may play on a computer or iPad, we are helping them for them to become integrated into a technological society.
And the good work just keeps on coming! Those involved with these project are constantly reworking this model in order to develop and improve it further. They should feel very proud, because it is a fantastic and incredibly useful idea, and I hope it continues to grow.