Students in Tanzania using tablets to access educational content from Khan Academy through a RACHEL server

Students in Tanzania using tablets to access educational content from Khan Academy through a RACHEL server

The recently released World Development report by World Bank states that we are in the midst of the greatest informational and communication revolution in human history. The report also states more than 4o% of the world’s population has access to internet. Technologies are now more than ever connecting individuals, organizations and governments in unprecedented ways. Indeed technology is revolutionizing health, education, trade among other sectors.

The report continues to note that there are many who are still left out in this technological revolution.  It’s important to bridge this gap especially through investments in digital learning. The world (especially the developing world) shall remain unchanged if we do not extend the benefits of technology in widest ways possible to people of all backgrounds. The young people (who are incidentally the majority in the developing world) who will benefit from this will later spearhead changes that will solve challenges of today and tomorrow.

The report continues to note that learning or the foundation of skills begins at birth and it then extends to the lifetime. Strengthened Early Childhood Development education systems should becomes the foundation the basics of cognitive development.  The possibilities of Rachel plus by World Possible should for example be extended to schools with no access given its design of having offline education content.  Gamification and other digital techniques such as digital learning charts by  Heko Kuu  should be introduced as early as pre-primary.

The report correctly questions the education curriculum offered by schools and institutions. Are the jobs preparing their students for   jobs? According to a study by Delloite Company in 2015, human capital trends indicate that companies are yearning for skills like creativity, strategic thinking and critical thinking skills.  Indeed this is the world that we are moving to. This is why projects by Bridge International Academies, BRCK, Tablab, African Maths Initiative, and World Possible among other organizations which are working hard to promote digital literacy should be scaled up.  Methods such as gamification as employed by African Maths Initiative has helped boost mathematical literacy among high school students in Kenya, Ethiopia and Ghana. The students through team work were able to create games using simple programming languages.

Even though there are mixed views in the development discourse about the efficacy of digital learning we need to understand that more than ever the world is moving from analog based systems to digital systems in all quotas. What perhaps needs to be emphasized on greatly is teacher training. We should not be deluded into thinking that by simply making technology accessible to learners will automatically translate into positive outcomes. The learners will require a lot of guidance from their teachers and to do this we need to invest heavily in their training as early as possible.

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