July 2018

A busy spring!

The last six months have been very busy for 60 million girls in a new and positive way: we have received seven requests for information on how to set up a Mobile Learning Lab (MLL) from organizations in various countries around the world! From the DRC to Sri Lanka, to Morocco and Pakistan, among others, news of our work in developing the MLL has ignited the interest of many NGOs working in the field and looking for ways to improve learning in their specific communities.

We had already recognized the significant impact of the MLL in our own projects with our partners in Sierra Leone (CAUSE Canada), Tanzania (the Stephen Lewis Foundation/MWEDO) and Nicaragua (Change for Children). Consequently, we felt compelled to give the Foundation a strategic approach to further support the rollout and expansion of the concept of self-directed learning, as well as using the MLL within more formal classroom/teacher training and other learning settings.

With this in mind, we decided to set up a one-day conference on May 14th in Montreal to showcase the MLL. The event was meant to be an opportunity to share ideas and possibilities of how the MLL could have the greatest impact in the field. Therefore, we decided to invite the experts: Canadian NGOs from across the country that have expertise in girls’ education projects in the developing world, content developers from Canada and the US who have created and implemented academic content aimed at primary and secondary students in a variety of subjects and languages, and tech NGOs that provide the platform to curate and distribute the content in the field.

Participants from 23 different Canadian and American NGOs and seven Canadian and American content and tech developers, including World Possible, Learning Equality and Curious Learning, actively shared their experiences and outlooks, discussed how the MLL might be used in existing programs and the constraints they saw to the introduction of technology in the field. We had rich conversations about amazing networking opportunities that would encourage new perspectives and relationships throughout the international development community. We were very pleased to welcome the Martin Family Initiative among the participants, as a first link with NGOs and foundations that work in Canada’s indigenous communities.

Here are the 10 videos of our event:

  1. 60 million girls: Self-directed Learning and its Impact on Education https://youtu.be/uBC5zhHvEuY
  2. What is 60 million girlshttps://youtu.be/zxTGeLI8J-o
  3. World Possible: Have You Met RACHEL? https://youtu.be/12U1FFuSpoE
  4. World Possible: Connecting Learners to Knowledge https://youtu.be/ZXSAEjiLZOo
  5. Collège Sainte-Anne: Yuva Project 2018 in Nepal https://youtu.be/sAQlwdVsDwQ
  6. Curious Learning: What is Feed the Monster? https://youtu.be/PU-lnkTlLIs
  7. Stephen Lewis Foundation: Education Access for Underprivileged Maasai Girls in Tanzania https://youtu.be/BTZDc3faGks
  8. Learning Equality: Introducing Kolibri https://youtu.be/l9VEa0ANXLw
  9. Change for Children: Technology for Improved Education in Guatemala https://youtu.be/-7oEUgni-zM
  10. CAUSE Canada: Integrated Learning Resource Centre and Mobile Learning in Sierra Leone https://youtu.be/PmPaWhI_4Nw

What did we learn?

      • There are many potential ways to use the MLL concept in education projects, as well as in other fields such as water management, health and agriculture.
      • In education, we talked about experiences in using the MLL from self-directed learning – putting the technology directly in the hands of students – to its use for teacher training and increasing learning material in classrooms with few textbooks and teaching aids.
      • We discussed the importance of ongoing field evaluations of the MLL to understand its reach and impact. We spoke about our 8-month evaluation project in Sierra Leone where we are following 750 grade 4,5 and 6 students. Change for Children presented its past work in Nicaragua with the RACHEL technology in the program we supported, as well as the upcoming 18-month project that we are funding in 2019. This project will include setting up technology centres in two communities in the western highlands of Guatemala for indigenous Maya-Mam students, as well as additional MLLs that will reach another 33 communities in Comitancillo.
      • We know that children love using the technology to learn! We have seen it ourselves time and time again. Put a tablet in their hands and they will amaze us with their capacity to learn. We have learned not to underestimate what these children can accomplish when you give them the freedom to learn on their own.

With the rich data and experience obtained at the event and in many other conversations with NGOs and researchers throughout the past years, 60 million girls is in a better position to assess where we can have the greatest impact to ensure that students everywhere have access to the best possible content as quickly as possible. As always, we want to know how our funds – your donations – can best be leveraged to improve learning outcomes for the most vulnerable and marginalized girls, and boys, around the world.

Wanda Bedard
President, 60 million girls Foundation

 

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