25 September 2023

A tale of two classrooms (and seventy tablets)

In January 2023, two primary schools in Conakry, Guinea, embarked on a journey to re-imagine their day-to-day education through technology. The students accessed classroom content through the  Learning Passport  (LP), a cutting-edge digital learning platform that is currently deployed in  36 countries worldwide  including in development and…,   Technology as a bottleneck…and a solution, Guinea's 2020-2029 National Education Plan recognizes digital learning as a pivotal driver for advancing quality education in the country.  According to a 2019 assessment , 55 per cent of Guinean children did not achieve minimum competency in reading at the end of their primary schooling cycle, and 68 per cent of children performed below the…,   So, what can Guinea’s tale of two classrooms teach us about using technology to support students’ learning?, Photo A. Dans cette salle de classe, on aperçoit 6-7 élèves par tablette. Photo A. In this classroom, up to six students share the same screen. Photo B. Deux ou maximum trois élèves suivent les cours sur une même tablette Photo B. Two or maximum three students follow the course on the same tablet in this other classroom. In this first classroom (…,   Lessons learned: Scheduling matters, The scheduling of classes using the LP partially explains this discrepancy. In the first school, two classes were scheduled to use the tablets simultaneously. That means that the stock had to be divided across two classes, resulting in a less favorable student-to-tablet ratio. The school director’s will to expand the number of classes and children…,   Operational challenges limit the full utilization of tablets, Teachers and school directors insisted: "We need more devices", echoing the practitioners’ and government officials’ tendency to focus primarily on technology. But would providing more tablets solve the issue? Evidence from the field suggested otherwise. On average, we observed 24 tablets being used in classes, even in the school that allocated…,   Embedding technology, not just procuring it, Technological barriers undoubtedly hamper schools’ ability to deliver digital learning in low-resource contexts. Schools need support in procuring enough devices for their students. But devices without a robust management system will result in their under-utilization and other inefficacies, such as high tablet-to-student ratios, which reduce…