One in three children and youth are out of school or in school but not achieving basic literacy and numeracy. They could be benefitting from a rich variety of open educational resources that exist online, but there’s another problem, over 60 % of the world’s population currently does not have access to internet.
By Natalia Bonilla
Learning Equality, a San Diego-based ed-tech nonprofit organization, is bridging the digital and the educational gaps by providing access to open educational resources and tools that can be used offline to the most vulnerable communities and farthest corners of the globe.
Since 2013, the organization has been “bringing the online revolution offline” with its two educational platforms developed subsequently: KA – Lite and Kolibri, having reached, to date, over6 million users in 176 countries and territories.
“Kolibri is an educational platform with a library of open educational resources that can be aligned to local curricular standards, a host of pedagogical tools for educators, and the option of uploading one’s own content. For example, Kolibri can be set up for multiple users on multiple devices through a local network (server + client device model) so that educators know when learners have interacted with the content, lessons or quizzes and how they’re performing in real time. In many of the contexts where we work, more than one user is using a device at the same time, so by nature learners are interacting in person. Peer-to-peer interaction is also encouraged through the content itself,” PR Lead & Implementations Manager LATAM Carine Diaz said.
Learning Equality encourages community empowerment with an implementation model that includes working with organizations at a local level who in turn train teachers on the offline app use, content strategy and lesson planning, and other blended learning concepts for use in schools, community centers and even prisons.
“As our work is heavily focused on equity in that we’re aiming to reach the most marginalized, we also work with organizations that specifically target groups such as girls and women, and refugees,” Diaz said.
In terms of girls education and female empowerment, LE is collaborating with UN Women on their Second Chance for Education initiative. Kolibri is being used to serve learning materials for Academic, Leadership, Entrepreneurship and Life skills.
Working with UNHCR to reach refugee communities has also been an inspiring part of the organization’s growth for two reasons: the careful adaptation of the content curriculum to the educational requirements of the host country and secondly, by offering grants for hardware acquisition: cell phones, laptops or tablets.
For the upcoming year, LE will continue expanding their reach in refugee contexts while continuing to work more closely with governments.
“We aim to make content that has been aligned to government curricular standards more openly available to users as we work towards our vision of ensuring that a digital curriculum for every country is made available for use!,” Diaz said.
In Latin America, LE has impacted communities in Mexico, Honduras, Dominican Republic, Peru, Paraguay, Brazil and Guatemala.
Diaz explained that there are many ways people can support the sustainability of the organization by joining the donor program, using Kolibri and the Kolibri Toolkit, and giving feedback, engaging in the community forums, , and helping translate so more and more people can learn in their mother-tongue.
Currently, LE is seeking volunteers to help with translations for the following languages: Haitian Creole, Nepali, Khmer, Amharic, Somali, German, Khmer, Xhosa, Zulu, Mandarin, Cantonese, Pashto, Dari, and Turkish.
For more information, please visit: http://www.learningequality.org
Photo credits: Funsepa, Thomas Van Den Driessche, and Learning Equality.