Teaching ‘inside the box’

| October 28, 2013 | 0 Comments

Forget the MOOC (Massive Open Online Course). The SMOOC (the S stands for somewhat) has arrived in Uganda where, despite a high rate of primary school enrolment, teacher absenteeism stands at 35% and only 23% of students achieve the minimum standard competence in reading mathematical ability.

To improve the quality of primary education, over the last few months the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Uganda, Kampala NTV and some top teachers have created the SMOOC at the Innovation Lab in Mbuya, where they recorded over 600 24-minute lessons in English, maths, social studies and science. According to UNICEF Uganda representative Sharad Sapra, the content will be delivered to children across this vast, rugged country via the ‘digital school-in-a-box’.

It’s a suitcase-sized, solarpowered multimedia kit complete with laptop, document scanner, wireless keyboard, projector and PA speakers. The scanner, says designer Stefan Bock, eliminates the need for textbooks, as a whole class can view a single document. And when the teacher is absent, the system – called the Mobi – will link students with high-quality substitute teachers in centres in major urban areas. UNICEF Uganda has also upgraded another technology.

Digital kiosks, called Digital Drums – originally designed in South Africa in 2011 and chosen by Time magazine in that year as a top tech innovation – give children an opportunity to teach themselves basic computer skills, a tool to build a microenterprise, charge mobile phones and connect with friends across the country. 

Category: e-Education, Summer 2013

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News posts added for Independent Education by Global Latitude DMA

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