We organise activities and promote foreign language learning, with tablets.
Of course, it seems awkward to use latest technologies in a place where often, even water and electricity are a luxury.
Everyone agrees that a good education is the best investment that can be made to pull a population out of poverty. Each of us can also see how digital technologies are reshaping almost every sector of the professional world and has already had a huge impact on Education. Good education also usually means good teachers and a lot of resources to raise the minds capabilities, and both are incredibly scarce in Madagascar.
One of our first investment, thanks to the Fashion Sale Event on February 2017 and generous donors, we could purchase 9 new iPads to start IT based activities.
• By using robust and powerful tablets, we are fulfilling many needs that would otherwise be impossible to reach.
- Offering a very large quantity of educational content in a very tiny space (one single entry level iPad with 16 GB can easily handle more that 3 800 books) and we added a small server of 2TB with more than 20 000 books, and a small video projector.
- Many educational contents have been installed for maths, reading, writing, languages, sciences, geography, history, arts, and crafts, as well as electricity, plumbing, gardening, and of course, coding.
- The tablet can be used for 10 hours between 2 charges, it is always ready, robust, shock and dust proof, therefore very suited in an environment with tiny space and no power plugs
- Each student can follow his own path, at his speed, allowing to mix different levels in the same classroom, helping the teacher to bring individual help and attention when needed
- The educational applications are giving constant feed back, assessment and recognition, that are very powerful in the progress and motivation of the students.
- When coming to language learning, ability to listen to native speakers, hear, record and compare one’s voice makes a huge difference
- Team working allows also each student to find his own area of excellence, and to positively contribute in a common work where very different skills will cooperate.
- A lot of free content comes now for the most respected institutions in the world, thanks to MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses), Kahn academy, and many other similar initiatives for a high quality content.
- "I hear and I forget, I do and I remember” : by being able to experiment virtually, some theoretical concepts are coming to life and are suddenly for more reachable (Physics, Maths, Chemistry, etc)
- Content evolves easily and is made immediately available to each student, thanks to the Wifi local network, it can even adapt to special needs, with bigger text characters for example.
- Artistic capability are also encouraged, by helping student to discover music and instruments, thanks to applications like Garageband or Tonara and arts with ArtRage or Sketches.
• By creating curriculums, by age and by content, educators are helping student to grow their knowledge and keep their ideas clear and tidy.
• By doing weekly assessments of the achievements, they can make sure than no one is left on the side, and give proper directions to each student for the next sessions.
Of course, having those resources is great, but can’t really bring the best value without training the trainers, and putting in place a strong methodology to measure progress. We host IT experts, foreign language teachers.... during the holidays.
A next step will be to put in place a collective tool (Classroom) that allows management and control of each device from the teacher’s desk, avoiding possible distractions.
About tomorrow ?
As the appetite for knowledge of the students is growing, ability to open real time to the world will become more and more important, and this will probably require a permanent Internet connection.
Unfortunately, our resources are limited, and such subscription is still very expensive, at least 80USD per month, for a very average bandwidth.
We expect to get there, so we can expand the Exchange with European schools, helping each student to discover other part of the world languages, culture and feeling more part of the world community.
30 July 2017