Tech Implement Private Limited
BRITANNICA SMARTMATH FOR IMPROVED LEARNING ACHIEVEMENT
| THE IDEA!
Learning achievements of the students of public schools in Pakistan lag far behind those of the private schools. The situation is even more dire for students that belong to non-privileged families, and these kids continue to lag behind in their academics and ultimately in professional careers. Furthermore, students belonging to the non-privileged sector of the society do not get any exposure to the latest technological advancements in education.
This situation is nowhere more apparent that in the results of Mathematics of public schools. The state of the affairs of Mathematics at the schools in Pakistan isn’t noteworthy, and while the syllabus is well-designed, its manner of delivery & its effectiveness in imparting quality knowledge to students leads a lot to be desired.
Tech Implement Pvt Ltd, a company specializing in providing efficient IT solutions to educational problems, is determined to change this situation in Pakistan by using latest e-Learning tools from leading educational providers.
| THE PROGRAM
To achieve this goal, the company has been running a Mathematics e-Learning program in selected public schools, for the last 1.5 years. The program is currently being run in 23 schools, and has so far helped around 3,000 students (classes 4, 5, 6, 7, 8), enhance their achievement levels and exam scores in Mathematics. The program, funded by Ukaid (DFID) and being run in schools adopted by the leading educational NGO CARE Foundation, uses Encyclopaedia Britannica’s excellent SmartMath eLearning tool as the medium of learning for students.
| PROGRAM GOALS
1. Provide authoritative, informational and safe online learning tools to deserving students.
2. Serving as a model of innovative learning for Pakistani Schools.
3. Provide eLearning opportunities to a large number of students.
4. Establish the response & interest level of the stakeholders in the latest hi-tech eLearning tools
5. Show that learning achievement is enhanced by the use of technology.
6. Creating a culture where modern educational tools and resources are encouraged to be used by teachers as well as students.
The Program has been envisioned in the light of the following facts:
1. General lack of awareness in Pakistan about internet, e-Learning, e-Content, and the benefits these modern resources provide for education.
2. Lack of funds & resources at public & NGO Schools to afford such tools.
3. Resistance towards implementing modern teaching resources & tools to supplement school curriculum.
| PROGRAM ACTIVITIES
As part of the program, Tech Implement Pvt. Ltd, is carrying out the following activities in the participating schools:
1. Updating the computer labs
2. Deploying SmartMath in the labs
3. Train the students & teachers on how to use computers & internet
4. Train them further on how to use the SmartMath tool
5. Handholding & on-going support to the students & teachers
6. Knowledge testing of the students
Each participating student spends one hour per week in the computer lab working on SmartMath, learning & reinforcing the content & concepts that their teachers deliver in the classroom. The tool uses a variety of techniques to help the students improve conceptual learning of the subject matter, and also to engage them in a manner that draws them to the subject, and pique their interest & curiosity. Their Mathematics grades have gone up.
The teachers and students that we cater to, have no prior computer knowledge, and are usually hesitant to work with computers. However, after our intensive training with both students and teachers, their computer literacy increased tremendously. They have become fond of working on E-Learning Tools which is a great achievement for us. The teachers have become aware of both software and hardware troubleshooting. It was a great rewarding experience to introduce interactive E-Learning tools in public schools where majority of students belonged to underprivileged communities.
The schools that were without IT labs, we provided them with Tablets, Uninterruptible Power Supply(UPS), internet devices and equipped other computer labs with Internet devices, UPS, LCD’s, Routers, RAM’s, Wifi Cards, Keyboards and Mouse etc.
In addition to monitoring the lab sessions and handholding of the students, we hold regular meetings with all the stakeholders to ensure that the project is running smoothly. Our monitoring team also ensures that quality of the project reaches its pinnacle.
Our prime goal is the welfare of these children and we want to bring a change in their lives. We want them to have the same standard of education as any other child studying in any private institution. These children are our future and we are educating them for a better tomorrow.
To verify the success of the eLearning tools in enhancing learning achievement, 3 different testing approaches were used. Results, depicted in the attached sheet, are self-explanatory. All 3 testing measures depict an improvement in scores of the target group students both individually over the course of the Program as well as in comparison with Control Group students & student of last year’s classes.
| BENEFITS REAPED!
1. Improvement in learning achievement of target group students, evident from the results.
2. Focus on concept development instead of rote learning.
3. Students & teachers transitioning from zero computer literacy to efficient use of latest eLearning tools.
4. Students & Teachers provided access to and trained on latest touch screen tablets.
5. Teachers getting access to latest educational resources for lesson planning, & learning new skills in teaching.
7. Increased awareness of internet and relevant e-Content usage for education in general.
8. Changing mindsets & attitudes, and breaking the mental barrier to the use of eLearning tools
We have successfully implemented the SmartMath project in Pilot Phase from October 2013 to March 2013, now we are near to the completion of our Scale Up Phase from Oct 2013 to July 2014. In both phases, we achieved our goal of improved learning achievements which is reflected in our Endline Test Results.
In summary, the program & its results showed a significant improvement in students scores over past year. This proved that properly designed & implemented usage of eLearning tools even in a developing country like Pakistan can benefit the students immensely. This success was achieved despite issues like infrastructure problems, energy crises, lack of resources etc., all the issues that plague public schools anywhere in the developing world. The only issue now is to take this success and multiply it at a far larger scale.
The challenges that Pakistan is facing are far too many and too deeply entrenched in the fabric of the society. With the government priorities focused more on pressing issues, education has become a secondary focus and only an after-thought. This situation translates into smaller annular budget allocation for the educational sector, and consequently very poor academic performance of public school students when compared with private schools in the country.
There is no vision in place to cover the ever expanding gap between how our children learn and how children in developed countries learn. E-learning, that has become an increasingly popular learning approach in educational institutions across the globe, due to the rapid growth of Internet technologies, is largely ignored in Pakistan. This is despite the fact that if applied rightly, ICT & e-Learning could help the country in closing the gap in educational quality rather quickly. However, what we are seeing in Pakistan is little to no effort to integrate e-Learning into our educational sector.
On the other hand, the masses of the country don’t think of ICT as an learning enabler. Rather they believe quite the opposite, and tend to keep their children sheltered from the latest technological advancements. Even if it weren’t for this attitude, the costs of the ICT are too much for the non-privileged sectors of the society to manage.
It was in this light that the project was undertaken by Tech Implement Pvt. Ltd. It was the realization that there needs to be a benchmark established with respect to the usefulness and usability of e-Learning in the Pakistani environment, and if it all it is successful in achieving its core objective i.e. increase the learning achievement of the target students.
The project was successfully able to prove its worth on all these counts.
Pakistan is one of those developing countries of the region that are currently facing major problems; for instance, energy crisis, law & order, extremism etc. While these issues are hurting all sectors of society & industry, education is one of the hardest hit sectors. The issues not only adversely impact the quality of education Pakistani children receive, but also pose threat to the future betterment and advancement of this cornerstone of the country’s growth & development. To make matters worse, the enrollment of kids in school is so bad that almost 22 million school going age kids are out of school!
It is in this scenario that we, at Tech Implement Pvt. Ltd., set out to make changes to the status quo, and delve headlong into the future of educational pedagogy. Our company is already a leading “Educational IT Services” provider in Pakistan, and provides IT services to schools across Pakistan. However, with this project we sought to do something different: we want to improve the learning achievement of students of public schools using latest e-Learning tools. This is certainly something never tried before in the country, and provided us with the opportunity to use the project as a test case for the new e-Learning paradigm.
Please note that e-Learning is yet to get a foothold in the country, and any positive progress in that direction is certain to gain government’s interest, and thus lead to policy changes that could possibly set Pakistan on the course of integrating technology for education. Our efforts have ensured that e-Learning is presented in the right & positive light in from of the policy makers, and the general public, and thus shall prove to be a step in the right direction for e-Learning in Pakistan.
Moreover, the project was not immune to the overall crises situation in the country. As mentioned above, issues like electricity load-shedding, bad quality internet, bad law & order etc. consistently plagued our efforts. However, the project team was resilient enough, had firm belief in the purpose of the project, and thus succeeding in delivering the value of the project to the beneficiaries in a fitting manner.
Through our project, we were not only able to better impart Mathematical concepts on the students, but also train thousands of students and their teachers in using tablets, computers & Internet. Please note that our target audience was the non-privileged section of the society with zero access to computers & Internet. To get them up to speed in using these new resources, especially for the pursuit of learning, was a great achievement by the project team.
Last but not the least, we have been able to introduce a change the mindset of the target non-privileged audience of the project about the use of technology for education. A widely held belief in the masses of the country is that computer & Internet are good only for less than noble activities, that these technologies may lead children astray, and that using Internet is wastage of time. Through our project thousands of parents have come to know that reality is quite the opposite, and technology, in fact, can be used for educational purposes and can have positive impact on children’s learning. This very positive response of the parents was manifested in two ways: 1) direct feedback from the parents 2) feedback from the school administrators about the popularity in the local communities and parents inquiring about the project in order to enroll their kids at the school.
These are just some of the “firsts” that our project has been able to achieve and we aim to achieve much more in the future!
1. Serve as a model of innovative learning for Pakistani public schools.
2. Provide authoritative, informational and safe online learning tools to deserving students.
3. Provide access and training to students in the use of technology.
4. Establish the response and interest level of the stakeholders in the latest hi-tech e-Learning Tools for education.
5. Train teachers and school administrators in the use of technology and technology based supplementary Math tools.
- Adaptive e-Learning tool Britannica SmartMath
- Tablets, Computers & Servers
- Internet connectivity
1. Identify target group & control group schools in the non-privileged areas of the city of Lahore, Pakistan.
2. Set up computer labs and Internet connectivity in target schools.
3. Deploy Britannica SmartMath e-Learning tool in the target school labs.
4. Provide hardware and software tools, and their maintenance from time to time. We have provided LCDs to replace old monitors, UPS, computer hardware accessories, Internet connections and Tablets for the schools don’t have computer labs.
5. Conduct computer & Internet training sessions for students and teachers.
6. Conduct e-Learning training sessions for students & teachers.
7. Conduct comparative knowledge testing between the target and control group.
8. Mapping the schools’ syllabus in the e-Learning tool.
9. Creating a complete schedule for holding the lab sessions in all the schools
10. Visit schools on regular basis to ensure the quality of e-Learning lab sessions.
11. To counter electricity load shedding, carry tablets, internet devices and UPS to conduct lab sessions.
12. Coordination with the school staff and children to eradicate any obstacles they face during conducting the lab sessions.
13. Prepare reports on a daily basis to maintain the quality of the project.
14. Maintain telephonic contact with the teachers.
15. Regular meetings with the school heads in order to understand any problems they might be facing and providing a solution.
16. Monitoring and evaluation of the project by designing different parameters which help us to upgrade every step of the project.
17. Coordination meetings with all stakeholders.
a. Increase in the learning achievement of the target students in Mathematics. This was shown by the improvement in their conceptual understanding of the topics in Mathematics before and after the e-Learning sessions. The following 3 types of testing were: (1) Baseline vs Endline testing, (2) Pre-test vs Post-test, (3) Comparison of final exams with previous year results
b. Increased awareness of internet and relevant e-Learning usage for education. This was verified by the use of surveys conducted of all stakeholders.
c. Focus on research and concept development instead of rote learning without reasoning.
d. Prove that learning achievement is enhanced by the use of technology.
e. Creating a culture where modern educational tools and resources are encouraged to be used by teachers as well as students.
f. Serving as a model of innovative learning for Pakistani Schools.
g. Show that stakeholders’ satisfaction level with the education system increases with the adoption of latest educational tools.
• Methods such as distribution of project introductory brochures, use of flexes for seminars / trainings, certificates for teachers and students, case studies, and social media were used to disseminate information about our project.
• We participated in & put up stall at the flagship event of the Pakistan-wide school enrollment drive “Alif Ailaan”.
• We participated in & put up informational booth at the annual Ukaid / DFID / DAI event in Lahore for their Ilm Ideas program.
• Our project was covered in one of the leading local newspapers The Express Tribune: http://tribune.com.pk/story/586056/tech-savvy-sharpening-math-skills-with-e-learning-tools/
Bilal Ahmed Shahid