How data visualisation is opening doors in Sierra Leone
A recipient of one of nine EdTech Hub Covid-19 research grants, Fab Inc., has created a “data for decision making platform” for Sierra Leona that allows “policy makers to explore and understand their data in a simple visual way.”
The grant funded the “really boring stuff”, according to Fab Inc., founder Paul Atherton. But it was critical boring stuff; the transfer and translation of five country-wide annual school census (ASC) datasets (2015–2019) from disparate formats into one highly adaptable SQL (structured query language) dataset. The result of this heavy lift is an at-your-fingertips ability to explore year-on-year trends in Sierra Leone’s education system and access data to answer nuanced questions for policy and investment on the fly. Fab Inc. anticipates integrating the 2020 dataset in the near term.
Photo: A filtered view on Fab Inc.’s data visualisation platform illustrating gender parity across districts and chiefdoms in Sierra Leone. Courtesy of Fab Inc.
Girls and access to EdTech in a Covid-19 World
A new research paper, “Inequalities in Girls’ Learning Opportunities via EdTech: Addressing the Challenge of Covid-19,” examines emerging evidence on how EdTech could most effectively be used to support girls’ education in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Written by Helen Crompton of Old Dominion University (USA), Agnes Chigona, Cape Peninsula University of Technology (RSA), and Katy Jordan and Christina Myers (EdTech Hub), the paper illustrates the constraints many girls face in accessing and benefiting from EdTech. It also offers a framework of five intersecting factors as the basis for this thinking:
Digital access: Potential gender disparities in digital access, including at home, should be considered when EdTech interventions are designed. Digital freedom: Social norms, as well as online discrimination or violence, can influence the extent to which girls are allowed to use EdTech — acknowledging these system-level factors is important to implement equitable solutions. Digital literacy: Girls are often more likely to have lower levels of digital literacy than their male counterparts — tackling these inequalities and disparities is needed to enable girls and boys to equally make use of EdTech. Digital pedagogies: Issues related to promoting gender bias, discrimination, and misrepresentation can emerge in teaching practices. Building this into planned professional development for teachers would be a good opportunity to make digital pedagogies more inclusive. Digital design: Disparities in learning outcomes can emerge when contextual factors, social inequalitiesand norms are not factored into the design of EdTech interventions. Participatory approaches could be used to align with local and contextualised needs.
Covid-19 hasn’t only impacted primary and secondary learning, but also disrupted the education and training of millions of young people participating in TVET, and professional and skills-development programmes. The expansion of EdTechTools enables practitioners and young people around the world to access high-quality resources and further their knowledge, improve their skills and continue learning.
Users can search the EdTechTools database by using filters such as language, education level, connectivity or device requirements and cost. The platform now contains nearly 200 distance-learning and skilling platforms and tools. Check it out here.
Implementing EdTech: A Festival of Voices
Curious about the implementation of an EdTech Sandbox? Hear from our in-country partners in this EdTech Hub co-hosted event, Implementing EdTech: A Festival of Voices, July 22, 2021, 9-11 a.m. (EDT). Participants will explore the process and people behind the implementation of EdTech including discussion on:
Sandbox methodology and the experiences, challenges and success stories of those who have used it;
stories regarding the lives, circumstances and perspectives of those using EdTech, and;
ways in which we can all support EdTech to thrive in different contexts worldwide.
The mEducation Alliance is holding its annual symposia (of which EdTech Hub is a sponsor) and calling for presentation proposals. The Conference theme is EdTech To Accelerate Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN) in Low-Resource Contexts. Learn more about the event, September 27-30, 2021, here.
What we're reading right now
A round-up of what we’re reading around the EdTech Hub. Are you reading something you think should be shared with the EdTech community? Tweet it at us at @gloabledtechhub or tag us on LinkedIn.