ILCE study

The Improvement Learning Through Classroom Experience (ILCE) is a programme that focuses on the relationship between environmental conditions and school learning outcomes.
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Examples of small changes in building design, or retrospective adjustments, have anecdotally been shown to improve the learning experience in the region. There is little research on improving the learning experience through infrastructural development – or how to achieve these changes in sustainable and cost-effective ways. The objective of the ILCE programme is to garner greater insight into the role of infrastructure in students’ and teachers’ experiences, moving past anecdotal case studies and providing evidence through primary data measurement.

What ILCE stands for?

ILCE stands for Improving Learning Through Classroom Experience.

Where is the project based?

The project is based initially in Tanzania and will take insights from similar experiences in the East Africa region.

What is the duration of the study? 

Fifteen months. From December 2022 to March 2024.

What is the aim of the programme? 

The ILCE programme wants to investigate whether cost-effective modifications of the built environment (temperature, light intensity, and acoustics) could be conducive to optimal learning environments.

Why are there two teams?

It is a broad research study, and it requires researchers to focus on different aspects of the environment and school conditions. Team 1 focuses on the assessment of the overall environmental conditions and investigates how these can be linked to learning outcomes, and team 2 will focus on practical approaches to improve Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ). This includes exploring options to retrofit schools and making changes to buildings and the school environment.

Who composes each team?

Team 1 is composed of researchers from Fab Inc. and Laterite.

Team 2 is composed by researchers of:

  • OpenDevEd
  • University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM, Tanzania)
  • Oulun yliopisto (University of Oulu, Finland), Teknillinen tiedekunta (Faculty of Technology), Rakennus- ja yhdyskuntatekniikka (Civil Engineering)
  • Haileybury Youth Trust (Uganda)
  • Yescon GmbH (Germany)
  • Indoor Environment, Department of Environmental and Resource Engineering, Danmarks Tekniske Universitet (Technical University of Denmark).

How many phases have the study?

The study will take place in two phases called Discovery and Alpha. While ‘Discovery’ will focus on learning from innovative school building practices and collecting data from Tanzanian school conditions, ‘Alpha’ will test retrofit options in selected classrooms to identify how these cost-effective interventions impact students’ comfort.  

Are schools the only infrastructure that is going to be assessed?

No. Children may also learn at home or in community centres. 

We consider that the environmental conditions need to be measured holistically, considering both the school and home and the factors of light, air, sound, and heat, as well as the distance between the school and home.

How will the environmental conditions of the classrooms be measured?

Installing high-precision sensors in schools and students’ homes. Also, we understand that it is important to not just focus on the ‘absolute values’ of environmental properties but also to understand subjective perceptions. Therefore, we will elaborate a comfort survey, to understand the students’ comfort levels.

Are Gender Equality and Social inclusion (GESI) factors included in this research?

We noted that thermal comfort has a gender dimension (⇡Ahmed et al., 2022) and also there are considerations relating to disabilities. Our analysis will pay special attention to factors of gender equality and social inclusion and make specific recommendations.

ILCE Programme
– Imagen de Gerd Altmann en Pixabay
– More resources (reports, papers, blogs …) will be published soon.

The Safe Schools programme

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Climate change poses a set of threats to education continuity, quality, holistic development, and overall wellbeing of the teaching and learning community. Small island developing states (SIDS) are anticipated to experience some of the greatest effects of climate change, including sea level rise, cyclones, rising temperatures, and altered rainfall patterns. This undoubtedly impacts education. 

Globally, the education sector faces multiple challenges that invite us to innovate. With every project developed, we expect to contribute to healthier, more resilient education communities to ensure both students and educators reach their full potential.
The Safe School programme, which is a collaboration between Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and OpenDevEd, constitutes a participative design-based intervention research. As a result of that, we have had the opportunity to work closely with teachers, principals, geospatial departments, youth, and women’s organizations, and many other community stakeholders to collectively think about resilience and continuity amidst crises.

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No teacher is an island

Design-Based Implementation Research on school-based TPD in primary schools in Sierra Leone
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When we step into the head-teacher’s office in one of our project schools, Foday, the facilitator comes in and greets us. He asks us to be patient while they sort out lunch for the children and get the teachers together. We sit back and relax, and watch the hundreds of learners receive their rice and plasas under the supervision of their teachers. We are there to observe a TGM: a Teacher Group Meeting. Teacher Group Meetings are meetings where teachers come together to share challenges and advice. Their aim is to facilitate an environment wherein teachers share knowledge and skills, and improve their practice through peer-learning. The facilitators are teachers who were chosen by their school leader to run these meetings and attended a one-day workshop in preparation for that. During the workshop, they learned about facilitation: how to create a safe environment during the TGMs and to encourage interaction between teachers. Facilitators were also offered materials and a structure for facilitating a TGM, which they altered to fit their own unique school contexts and their colleagues’ needs.

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Reading Audrey Watters: A reflection on personalised learning via education technology through a decolonial lens

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The blogpost was written by Moizza Binat Sarwar for the EdTech Hub blog. The blogpost is available at the EdTech Hub under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International. It is reposted here without any modifications.

At EdTech Hub, we’ve been reflecting on how coloniality is embedded in the work we do: from the colonial roots of the international development sector, to colonial practices embedded in research methods, to “core-to-periphery” design and deployment of EdTech interventions. We’ve just begun this journey, but in trying to embrace one of our EdTech Hub values of ‘fearless, humble learning’ we wanted to think out loud with you. This is the third in a long-form series exploring what it means to strive toward ‘Decolonising EdTech’. Thanks to Taskeen Adam for the conversation and comments. [You can find blog one and two here.]

The main objective of Watters’ book Teaching Machines: The history of personalised learning (2021) is to correct any misconceptions that EdTech today is ‘new’ and ‘shiny’ instead of an idea associated with technology used for imparting education as early as the 1890s. Drawing on Watter’s book and her ‘Hack Education’ blog, we are reflecting on elements of Watters’ historical take on personalised learning —  one specific aspect of EdTech —  and sharing five decolonial reflections on the current form and landscape of EdTech. We’re thinking out loud about how EdTech designs, products and implementations can assist in replicating features of colonial power and extraction if not consciously addressed. 

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Remote learning solutions for resilient education systems: Seven resource packs to guide governments and policymakers

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The blogpost was written by Robert Jenkins, UNICEF, and Jaime Saavedra, World Bank and published on Education for Global Development on Mach 2, 2022. The blogpost is avaible at . It is published here without any modification and with permission from the authors

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, as 1.6 billion schoolchildren were affected by school closures, countries around the world introduced remote learning as a crisis-response. This led to an unprecedented change in the provision of education. Most countries found themselves setting up remote learning at break-neck speed and often for the first time at scale, which contributed to large variations in the quality and effectiveness of remote learning programs.

Two years of disruptions to schooling has had a devastating impact on learning. But even before the pandemic, the world was grappling with a learning crisis, which has now worsened even further than previously feared. Pre-pandemic data show that half of ten-year-olds living in low- and middle-income countries were unable to read or understand a simple story, which is referred to as learning poverty. It is now estimated that learning poverty could reach 70 percent globally due to the learning lost to school closures.

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Our maths videos for teachers

this is for testing
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In the context of a numeracy programme (in sub-Saharan Africa) we had a conversation a few days ago, that reminded me of the videos that we produced for OER4Schools, now almost 10 years ago. We recently migrated the OER4Schools wiki, and it’s available here We’re still working on it, so it’s not perfect, but getting there.

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Can digital personalized learning end the world’s education crisis?

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The blogpost was written by   Andaleeb Alam, UNICEF, and Dr. Nathan M. Castillo , University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and published on the Education for All blog on June 20, 2022. The blogpost is available at It is published here without any modifications and with permission from the authors.

Learning at your own pace, catching up on missed classes, filling learning gaps… EdTech products can offer many solutions in lower-income countries. A new analysis by UNICEF shows good practices and areas for improvement to make these products more equitable and effective.

Learning is in crisis. Even before COVID-19, 53 percent of children in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) were unable to read and understand a simple text by the age of 10. The pandemic is expected to push that figure up to 70 percent.

The past decade has generated major advances in technology and experimentation with digital learning solutions that enable a new kind of experience – by tailoring learning to the needs of the individual; what we are calling digital personalized learning.

Digital personalized learning has shown promise in LMICs in closing education gaps for lower-attaining students by allowing them to learn at their own pace and to their own proficiency, positioning it as a potential tool to address learning gaps as the worst of the pandemic recedes.

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Decolonizing EdTech in Africa: picking local EdTech solutions over foreign solutions

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By Abdul Mohamed . Originally posted on LinkedIn

I recently attended the eLearning Africa conference in Kigali: the largest and longest Africa focused digital learning gathering.

However, within an hour of entering the venue, I was surprised to find that most of the EdTech solutions on display were foreign. This observation was unsettling, a disappointment that many other attendees also commented on. I ran the numbers, nearly 80% of the 51 EdTech solutions on display were foreign.

What stung most, and sparked this piece, was that many of foreign EdTech solutions seemed to show little care for adapting their solutions to the needs of African learners.

  • A digital classroom solution provider demoed their product, which was completely in German
  • Another eLearning product boasted about their 3,000+ courses, of which 60%+ are taught in German

If curious, yes, there are German speaking Africans. 0.001% of Africa’s 1.3B citizens speak German.

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5 principles to create effective Communities of Practice across governments

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By Rachel Hinton, Tom Kaye and Christina Myers for the EdTech Hub blog.

In 2021, EdTech Hub partnered with the University of Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government to deliver an executive education programme focused on digital transformation and educational technologies (EdTech). This programme — which convened nearly 30 policymakers from 13 countries — was a miniature community of practice (COP) focused on EdTech reform. In this blog, we introduce key principles to implement international, cross-government COPs to support the design of effective EdTech reforms and programmes. 

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Guidelines for Mapping Education Data in Sub-Saharan Africa

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The blogpost was written by Taskeen Adam and Irene Selwaness and published on the EdTech Hub blog on June 14, 2022. The blogpost is available at under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International. It is reposted here without any modifications.

Are you a government official, NGO or researcher looking to understand what education data is available locally? Our new guidance note shares practical lessons learnt from mapping the availability of education data in Kenya, Malawi, and Sierra Leone.

Last year, we posted about the Unlocking Data initiative and its goal to support access, use, and sharing of education data to effectively tell the story of education in Africa. In 2020,  we hosted a series of workshops that aimed to unpack the biggest barriers in data sharing. At these workshops, the community of practice realised that before we can truly discuss (re)using education data effectively, we need to understand what data exists, where the data gaps are, and what data indicators are needed for decision-making. To delve into the topic further, we hosted an event to showcase early ‘Lessons Learnt from Education Data Mapping in Africa’ and created a working methodology for education data mapping.

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