From customized learning programs to offline apps, how children are learning inside and outside the classrooms

In the last two decades, the way in which we learn has dramatically changed. Need to polish your social media skills? Join Skillshare and Udemy. Watch a few tutorials from industry experts and rest assured you’ll learn something new. Want to commit to a one-month course? Subscribe to Coursera or Khan Academy and join a class, it’s a click away.

Don’t have access to an Internet connection? KA Lite is an offline version of Khan Academy that offers over 7,000 videos and 20,000 interactive exercises on math, science, history, and economics.

Online and offline learning tools are offering unlimited access to information and enabling a global community of people to exchange information constantly. The new educational models follow a one-size-doesn’t-fit-all approach and I love that. I only wish these options would have been available 20 years ago.

The reality is that we all learn differently. Thankfully, education is now becoming tailored to fit the needs of each student. Let’s take a closer look at organizations that are redefining education:

DreamBox is a math learning program for students in pre-k through eighth grade. Students pick an avatar and guide the avatar through the DreamBox activities. DreamBox begins to measure the student’s progress through a number of behavior parameters. For example, how many hints a student needs to solve a problem. The data captured is then used to adapt content to the individual student and to provide immediate personalized feedback. Teachers can visualize the student’s progress on a dashboard and can quickly know when a student is struggling with a specific topic.

Dreambox delivered 1 million lessons of its adaptive math software daily and the number of students using the program has doubled each year since 2011. Dreambox is available in the United States.

Ideaco’s goal is to give people access to the tools, resources, and skills to bring about change and real-world impact. Its aim is to empower communities of changemakers through experiential learning.

Ideaco believes in equipping changemakers with the following resources:

  1. Teach design thinking as an effective process for tackling challenges.
  2. Integrate technology as a powerful tool for problem solving.
  3. Emphasize real-world applications and impact as motivation to bring ideas to life.

Ideaco’s model is to create scalable models and experiences that bridge boundaries, connect people around the world, and generate meaningful interactions. Ideaco has projects in several cities in the United States, Denmark, Hungary, Moldova, Lebanon, Serbia and Singapore.

e-Learning Sudan (Warchild Holland):
e-Learning Sudan is an educational computer game that is based on the Sudanese curriculum. It’s bringing alternative learning opportunities to the children who need them most: children excluded from education due to conflict. Through this project, 600 Sudanese children have been able to access education from a distance via laptops, tablets, and new media. In this way, children can learn to read and write, allowing them join in regular education as soon as they have the chance.

Kolibri is an open-source KA-Lite. It allows learners to view and interact with Khan Academy videos and exercises, and can be used without an Internet connection (yay!) Students can connect from the classroom on a laptop, tablet, or desktop computer. KA-Lite can also be installed directly on a learner’s computer for portable access. KA-Lite has been installed in over 160 countries, reaching an estimated 2.1 million learners, in contexts as varied as rural schools, orphanages, community centers, refugee camps, prisons, and homes.

Gooru is an open and free learning navigator that provides information to each student and enables them to take control of how they learn. Teachers set the learning goals for the students. Students receive immediate feedback on their progress through activities and quizzes as they work at their own pace. With Gooru’s learning navigator, students are able to see their “current location” based on previous progress, as well as the bigger picture of what their learning goals are.

Gooru has created 20 courses in STEM and liberal arts subjects from 3rd grade through 12th grade and has personalized 125 classes for the 2,700 students that are learning through the navigator. Gooru is based in the United States.  

Moringa School:
Located in Kenya, Moringa School teaches students web and mobile development skills through immersive programs. Students receive mentorship from teachers who help guide them through an intensive curriculum. Students learn how to make apps for Android, as well as different computer languages (HTML, CSS, Python, Django). In addition to coding, they learn the core aspects of building a tech startup and presentations skills to pitch their ideas.

Boresha is an award-winning digital educational content creator and aggregator that produces curriculum-aligned digital resources from different educational content providers through technology. Boresha products give students the opportunity to experience and interpret concepts by using audio, visual and kinesthetic styles of learning. The products have been carefully aligned to the Kenyan curriculum.

UNESCO-Nokia Mobile Learning:
With mobile learning, it is possible to extend education beyond the classroom and the fixed time frame of a school day. With mobile phones, students are able to access content from home, communicate with teachers, and work with fellow peers online.

A good example of how Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) are providing educational content to students is the UNESCO-led project sponsored by Nokia. Girls living in remote areas in Pakistan are using their mobile phones to practice handwriting and improve literacy skills. To read more about mobile learning read this fantastic report titled “Reading in the Mobile Era” by UNESCO. Enjoy!

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