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Innovating in Africa Expo: EDUTECH (part 2)

Innovating in Africa Expo: EDUTECH (part 2)

The first part of this article can be read here: https://yaliabuja.org.ng/innovating-in-africa-expo/

 

FOSTERING ACCESS THROUGH PROMOTING SKILL DEVELOPMENT
& INNOVATION
During the ministerial round table on ICT for skills development, various countries supported the necessity for skill development and promoting innovations and made commitments in this regard. In Nigeria, where unemployment rate jumped from 18.1% to 23.1% between 2017 and 2019, the burden is disproportionately borne by young people with almost 30% out of work.

Innovations like the DO Skill-Up Climb-Up (A Human Capital Development
Project), Gold -Youth (Development Agency), PIND (Partnership Initiative of the Niger Delta), SIFA (Skills Initiative for Africa), ASPYEE, WAVE (West Africa
Vocational Education), Digital Nation Africa, HI 5, Mudia etc. are contributing
to solve the skill, employability and technical/vocational training deficit in African Countries.

The Skill-Up Climb-Up project is driven by the understanding that we can only
reduce this gap if we concertedly develop real-time specialized and technical skills at professional levels. Acquiring entrepreneurship, business and tech skills empower individuals to make progress in their career paths. This is where Skill-Up Climb Up plays a major role.

DO is running a 10-year Skill Up Climb Up human capacity development
project https://dotakeaction.org/skill-up-climb-up/ primarily targeted at addressing the challenges of skill deficit, poverty, unemployment rates and unpreparedness of both African businesses and the teeming population of young people for the future of work and globalization. The project is designed to impact 50,000 young people. The Skill Up segment would involve the training of young people in various tracks ranging from digital, vocational, employability skills, agro-preneurship skills,
entrepreneurship skills etc. that prepare them for the future of work. Taking it a step further, the Climb Up phase is designed to provide network
opportunities that connects youths to internship, apprenticeship and job
opportunities through partnership from top sectors/ industries. The goal is to
support their career growth and skill acquisition to contribute at global levels.
The Skill-Up-Climb Up project is powered by a mobile platform called TALENTED.

Gold Youth is also set to develop 10 million young African leaders with
character& integrity through concrete results in social behavior change, education and job creation using Peer-peer Education Model. This approach is focused towards influencing the system of youth education and upbringing in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Human resource is the key to developing Africa’s potential and driving out poverty
and we must determinedly harness the far-reaching possibilities in order to end
poverty and ensure sustainable economic development.

New Trends in Education That Should Be Adopted
The last few years have witnessed a remarkable change in the learning model. The way students are being taught today in some ways, has seen some difference in the teaching methods that were in use a few decades back. Although mainstream adoption is still a challenge, across Africa, technology has brought about various changes in the way education is delivered and received. From self-learning to flipped classroom approaches, we have seen technology make a considerable impact on learning and teaching methodologies. With numerous benefits to offer, digital learning has become an important part of the education system. Schools and universities are making efforts to implement the latest in education technology in order to improve the teaching and learning process.

With the advent of new technologies being infused in school curricula, educators and school leaders are beginning to rethink all facets of data around classroom practice. New innovative methods of data collection like EduData are continually being developed which offer alternative options for formative and cumulative
assessments. Although challenges in curriculum design may arise due to advanced technology integration, schools are nonetheless embracing the future.

From my analysis, there are five emerging trends for 21st-century classroom;
1. STEAM: Over the last decade, STEM Education which essentially entails the learning of science, technology, engineering and mathematics in an interdisciplinary or integrated approach has become an integral part of schools’ curriculum to build the capacity of individuals that will lead the future of innovation and technology. However, this led to downplaying other disciplines like art and creativity. In the past few years, the STEM to STEAM transition has begun to take root and encourages the inclusion of “Arts” into STEM to adequately meet the creativity
needs of both the current and future society. STEAM clubs are gradually being
introduced to Schools in Nigeria via the GIS (Girls in STEAM) club, encouraging
more females to code. Initiatives like this, needs to be promoted by the Government and international and local organizations alike.

2. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: The assimilation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies in education shows no
signs of decelerating. While we have seen AI being used for developing virtual
teaching assistants and personalizing learning for students in recent years, we
should expect increased adoption in other areas of the education sector as the
technology evolves and becomes more commercially viable.

Some of these ways include;

a. AI-Based Assessment: Artificial intelligence-based assessment provides
constant feedback to teachers, students and parents about how the student
learns, the support they need and the progress they are making towards their
learning goals. An organization in Gabon (Scientia) is currently rendering
this feedback solution, an initiative that is fit for adoption in other African
countries. Scientia, a Latin word for science or knowledge is an organization that is designed to promote students’ academic success while. In collaboration with Microsoft, the platform allows each actor of education (student, parent, teacher, the administration and government) to have in real-time all the information needed to realize the student’s potential and connects them to greater opportunities in education, employment, and entrepreneurship.

b. Remote Exam Proctoring and classrooms: The remote exam proctoring
system allows students appear for exams from any location. The system can
track and monitor remote use using advanced video, image, audio streaming
functions with the intelligence to also show if a student is cheating. Remote
classrooms on the other hand, will enable students in remote locations of the world to attend a class in a school or university in another country. Local
players can also collaborate with international universities to bring them at an economical price point to developing countries like India. In fact, the Federal Ministry of Education in Nigeria is currently deploying this framework through the Joint Admission Management Board (JAMB) and the Open University to ensure students in remote and unconnected places are able to attend classes and take examinations in a school or university.

c. Online Education: According to KPMG and Google study, it is estimated
that online education in Africa is likely to be a 2 billion USD industry by 2021. With massive open online courses (MOOCs) and e-learning platforms offering reasonably-priced certified courses, governments getting involved in recognizing e-learning programs and the rise in validity of digital certificates offered by these organizations, online learning will continue to see increased adoption in the coming years. More focus will be directed towards developing micro learning, blitz testing, social media mentoring and content creation.

Worthy of note is the TAP- The August Project, an initiative of UNESCO
with partnership from ABE, Commonwealth and other international partners that develops local talents for global success through an accredited online learning platform. TAP gives young people the opportunity to acquire
internationally recognized and transferable credentials plus professional membership with renowned world bodies in line with building a global workforce.

3. COLLABORATIVE LEARNING
One of the greatest benefits of technology is that it enables everyone stay
connected. We connect, engage and take action in collaboration with others. This
collaborative approach has gained traction in the learning process as well.
One way that collaboration exists in the traditional classroom learning model is
that teachers assign group activities and tasks. When students team up together to
work on a project or solve a problem, it builds their collaborative skills. Working
together improves their understanding and increases engagement. Today, new applications are making it easier for classroom teachers to be both innovative and interactive, from Google Docs to interactive whiteboards to
applications that create quizzes and activities, this is an exciting time for
collaborative learning in education.
Kahoot is an application worth highlighting. At no cost for educators to download and install, the app gives room for educators to conceive of fun quizzes and learning activities to enhance student engagement. According to one review, this management system enables educators more flexibility in managing students’ learning and documenting progress from any device. Internet connection is no longer an issue what with offline reading capabilities. eBooks can be embedded with many features to enhance the learning experience.
Annotation tools, bookmarks, hyperlinks, dictionary, search feature in eBooks now
make learning more flexible. Most educational institutions today have adopted mobile learning into their learning ecosystems, benefiting students and teachers alike.

A major merit for mainstream adoption of eLearning is the fact that it includes
collaboration features for sharing and discussing. In a traditional teaching model, a teacher enters a classroom, speaks for about 30 minutes and leaves when the bell rings but today, technology has bridged the gap between teachers and students. You would find teachers and students interacting with each other more often. Teachers are far more accessible now and act as mentors to help students in their overall development. This collaborative learning approach helps students to interact with their peers and build their interpersonal skills.

4. COST MANAGEMENT
With the increased adoption of EduTech in schools and universities across the
world, the school administration will have to strategize and plan their investments accordingly. The next few years will see significant integration of technologies stated below:

a. Data Management: Just like CODE’s initiative (Follow the money), BudgIT, and Tracka (tools that track budgetary allocations and disbursement in government), EduData is an open source data portal that mines, analyses, simplifies and visualises real time data, leveraging open development and participatory governance in driving institutional reforms, inclusive growth and improved service delivery in the areas of accountability for educational development, transparency and financing.

b. Cloud Based Technologies: Educational organizations will aim to leverage
the benefits of cloud based technologies to drive cost savings and operational efficiencies through shared services initiatives. The Ministry of Education has resolved to use Education Cloud system across all educational institute to enable both students and teachers access any content for use.

c. BlockChain Technology: The education sector will also look towards utilizing blockchain technology to cut paper and printing costs by digitally storing student certificates and diplomas, drive cost and labor savings by transferring the control of storing personal data to the applicants and ensure litigation cost savings arising from loss of documents and damage.

d. Edge Computing: As schools integrate new tools like AR headsets or connected classroom devices, the demand for computing power will increase. This increase in cost opens up the door for Edge computing. This takes information processing and brings it closer to the source by using edge devices instead of sending information to and from a centralized cloud. AI will assist in diversifying the kind of devices that will act as edge endpoints.

5. IMMERSIVE LEARNING WITH AR AND VR

With emerging trends in education technology through the introduction of augmented reality and virtual reality into the education system, the classroom learning experience has undergone a tremendous change. Learning has become much more immersive than traditional methods.

Unlike plain images and hands-on experiments in the lab, students can now view enhanced versions of the image and objects on their mobile devices. The use of robotics is another example. As a whole, the augmented and virtual reality trends in education technology make learning a compelling experience. These techniques have taken digital learning to new dimensions. AR and VR are
increasingly being used to explain complex concepts. From atoms to planets, and from Nigeria to the Coliseum, students can explore and learn so much more.

 

Author
Precious Ebere, a delegate at the Innovating in Africa Expo (IEA 2019), is a
community development specialist with experience across technology, civic
leadership and youth engagement. She is also the Co-founder at “DO”
(dotakeaction.org), a civic start-up on a mission to build an active community of
young and old people taking action to drive sustainable development in their
locality.

Over the span of 4 years, she has worked actively to ensure women, girls and
children get access to inclusive and quality education, health and equal
opportunities through “DO” (dotakeaction.org).

Some of her work includes: the I-Woman (Innovative Woman) ICT Training
through which she empowered over 200 women within Abuja for financial
independence, leveraging technology. She also pioneered various projects such as Creators and Influencers for Social Change, Grassroots Development Champion, Relief hub etc. in which over 5000 people have directly and indirectly benefited from these projects.

You can gain more insight into Precious‟s work via these links;

1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NS34adbDUs

2. https://www.linkedin.com/in/precious-ebere-4452b2132/

3. http://ladybrillemag.com/preciousebere/

4. http://www.genderhub.org/be-inspired/news-stories

5. https://earthlovefaith.com/2018/12/06/taking-action-precious-ebere/

6. https://www.facebook.com/dotakeaction/

7. www.dotakeaction.org

8. app.plum.io/profile/974cdf40e2288a22c2e9c25c13d061eedab032bb

9. https://www.facebook.com/jciabujaunity

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