Why the COVID Crisis Is Not EdTech’s Moment in Africa

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Author: Lee CrawFurd, Centre for Global Development

This blog was originally posted on the Center for Global Development blog on the 18th May 2020. Open Development & Education is part of The EdTech Hub and the data used here was from the EdTech Hub’s database of interventions. This database, which was initially limited to sub-Saharan Africa, now has a global scope. While the data is still partial (e.g. doesn’t include broader lists of edtech startups from South Africa or Ikeja, Abuja, and Lagos in Nigeria) the insights made in this article are extremely valuable. Even if the estimates were off by a factor of 2 or 3, points about the optimal use of digital learning still hold true. As the blog suggests, there is a need to increase the database’s representation of interventions in other regions. Please add your EdTech intervention to help us grow it!

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Learning through television in low-income contexts: mitigating the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19)

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Written by Joe Watson, research assistant at the University of Cambridge. This blog was first published as part of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and EdTech series on The EdTech Hub website under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.

One of the many consequences of COVID-19 is that more than a billion caregivers will soon face the stark (and often scary) realisation that they must become their children’s teachers. This will be particularly difficult in low-income contexts where many adults have not had the opportunity to have a formal education themselves. Fortunately, educational television has the potential to facilitate out-of-school learning. This technology has been shown to have real impacts on outcomes, utilises readily available technology and can be implemented at scale.

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Educational Response to COVID-19 from Jordan and other Arab Countries

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Author: Nour Awamleh, Research and Program Development Coordinator, Queen Rania Foundation

Update: A later version of this article was published on 13 April 2020 and appears on the Queen Rania Foundation website.

The Activating Edtech project in Jordan aims to develop an agile, iterative and evidence-based approach to the decision-making process within the Jordanian Ministry of Education. Activating Edtech aims to understand problems and assumptions in education, then tests out the possible solutions to those problems while trying to activate technology, where possible. The project started in January 2019 and continues to today. After introducing the team, we turn to the education response to COVID -19 across a number of Arab countries.

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Agile working

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One of the most exciting aspects of our EdTech Hub work is agile working. Agile working refers to a way of working that empowers the team to work flexibly (minimising external constraints and distractions) in order to constantly improve their work and optimise performance (the GDS service manual has this to say about agile-delivery).

What exactly does it look like in practice though? Rather than giving a theoretical overview, here’s what we’ve been up to.

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Launch of literature and project surveys on EdTech in LMICs

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In an attempt to gather as much literature, projects and interventions about EdTech in LMICs as possible, the EdTech Hub is launching two surveys to collect such information. 

The literature survey

We recognise that in such low and middle-income regions, much information is not always in searchable peer-reviewed journals or databases, yet may be highly relevant to the EdTech hub. For this reason we are including grey literature such as theses, conference papers, journal articles, NGO reports, and policy papers, among other forms. A link to the publications survey can be found here.

The projects and interventions survey

Similarly, projects may be implemented on the ground but may not have a virtual presence, let alone be captured in journal articles. We are interested in finding out about these interventions. A link to the projects and interventions survey can be found here.

We welcome any suggestions on how to improve these surveys and ideas of how we can better collect information on literature and projects.

Where to begin a systematic literature review?

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How do you begin searching for everything that has been written on education technology in the past 10 years? Over the past few weeks, the research sphere team has been grappling with this question.

It seems logical to first decide which search terms we would use in database searches. However, the main issue with this was the sheer number of words we could be using. For example, we initially came up with 146 terms (and counting!) that refer to specific technologies used in the classroom. Now, most systematic literature reviews, of course, dutifully report on the terminology used in their searches. However, not many appeared to explain how they came to choose specific search words.

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