Category: Technology

Edify In 90 Seconds – Technology and Curriculum
edify Alas, the fourth and final blog in which I attempt to capture the essence of Edify and why our organization exists. If you missed the previous posts, the first postprovided a framework for why Edify works in the affordable private school space and a general overview of our 3 interventions in education development.The second post delved into why we provide capital to affordable, Christian schools. The third post explains why and how we train school teachers and school leadership to more effectively lead their classrooms and schools in providing high-quality, low-cost education that gives students critical thinking skills and an understanding and formation to be able to live out the gospel. Aside from providing loan capital for growth and improvement of the school as well as teacher and school leadership training, Edify also seeks to provide schools with access to quality Christian curriculum and educational technology resources to help… Read more »
Technology isn’t a Silver Bullet but…
edify Improving academic quality is hard work but we’re committed to making gains through teacher training and technology. We’ve been making slow but steady progress with our use of Teachermate in Ghana and Rwanda to improve literacy skills.  In Rwanda, we’ve been using iPods to deliver Teachermate over the course of two academic terms.  Early results are really encouraging.  In Ghana, we’ve been working with two schools for one academic term.  When we initiated pre-testing with the students in Ghana, 90% of students scored below 50% on USAID’s Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA).  None of the teachers have degrees in education. Kofi Essien, Country Manager from our implementing partner, Open Learning Exchange - Ghana, comes this important observation: With each passing day the confidence levels of both teachers and pupils rises tremendously. Pupils now have moved from working in pairs to working on the TM as individuals. Each has an iPod assigned to him/her. Teachers have started to multi-task… In order to make… Read more »
When Mobile Devices and Classrooms Collide in Africa
edify A Video Post in Adventures in Sustaining Academic Improvement - Part 3 I believe it was Hannibal of A-Team fame who said, "I love it when a plan comes together." Amen, brother but then again it was Solomon who said in Proverbs, "Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." This summer we have been making lots of plans for the coming academic year in the developing world and we are so excited (in a cautiously-optimistic-way) about what is happening on a small scale in schools that Edify serves.  Earlier this summer, Brittany Roman shared in this post about how mobile devices can be used to change instructional paradigms in under-resourced schools in the developing world.  Today, I am excited to share this video which captures the heart behind what we are doing in partnership with Innovations for Learning using the TeacherMate program delivered on iPod Touches. Money quote from my… Read more »
Photo of the Week
edify Students in Tema, Ghana were eager to take a seat in their newly installed computer lab! In the picture below, students are learning about Creation. Teachers, parents, and students alike are excited about the opportunities this lab makes available. They are thrilled about their new lab and are grateful to Edify and SAT for making this dream of theirs a reality.
Loans for Labs – Part 1 in an adventure in sustaining academic improvement
edify Across the developing world, students are clamoring for access to technology.  Despite high profile projects targeting to upend traditional schooling in the developing world (One Lap Top Per Child and Hole in the Wall), the use of computers for the vast majority of students is non-existent or confined to an “ICT” curriculum.  ICT's primary emphasis is basic computer literacy – ie What is a mouse? Computers are not used as a tool for learning and hundreds of millions of children have no access to the digital age.  We think this is a tragedy!  Yet students’ enthusiasm is undaunted and an enormous opportunity exists to improve the quality of education in affordable private schools in the developing world.  Edify seeks to support these schools as they pursue this opportunity in a sustainable manner. In 2010-2011, Edify began a pilot program of computer labs in 15 schools in Ghana and the Dominican Republic.  In 2012, Edify had developed and… Read more »
Teacher Training in Ghana
edify It was an amazing sight: 25 teachers and proprietors representing 7 schools coming together to learn about 21st century teaching skills, specifically how they can go from teaching about computers to teaching using computers. This is what I have been working towards in the year and a half that I have been with Edify. I've talked about this before - true technological integration in the classroom is like three legs of a table, with hardware, software and finally professional development coming together to equally support the platform of teachers using technology to equip their students in the 21st Century - not just merely learning computer theory, but using the machines, the software, the hardware to augment and expand their educational outcomes. We held the training away from home for the attendees, in the Windy Lodge in Winneba on the coast of Ghana… Read more »
An update on our quality improvement programs
edify Our lending programs are hitting on all cylinders in Ghana and the DR and in Rwanda we are expanding quickly from start-up mode.  We are at the mid-point of our fiscal year and since our start 2.5 years ago we have provided loans to over 500 schools, impacting students over 100,000 students enrolled in these schools with improved and new facilities.  We are grateful for the opportunity to work in partnership with our local lending institutions and amazed at how far we have come.  But we have only just begun to work on the quality improvement side of our mission statement: To IMPROVE and expand low-cost Christ-centered education in the developing world.   Spring has now arrived here in full-force in North America and in the spirit of Spring cleaning I thought it would be appropriate to provide a short update on all of our recent quality improvement initiatives underway at Edify.  So forgive the laundry list: Teacher training is in full… Read more »
Absurdity of the Digital Divide?
edify I’ve been reading articles by John C. Dvorak since I started reading PC Magazine over two decades ago. He recently wrote an article for called The Absurdity of the Digital Divide, which I found to be really interesting and timely in my series on the digital divide. His main idea is that this concept of the digital divide is something that is pretty much made up to sell more computers. He points out an apparent contradiction in where the World Economic Forum states “that the Bric nations ... lag far behind the more advanced economies of northern Europe and North America due to the digital divide.” Then he points out that “these exact same countries are supposedly growing like wildfire.” According to his article, more people just use their computer in the US for “time-wasting social ” like Twitter, e-mail, Facebook and Web surfing. So why do we want to bring that to these places… Read more »
Why is Internet access so slow in Africa?
edify At the risk of overly simplifying the explanation, Internet access speed basically comes down to one word: bandwidth. Think of the area where you live. Is there a highway or an expressway near by? Is that faster than taking surface streets? Does traffic move faster on a four-lane highway, or a two-lane highway? When you’re talking about traffic capacity, in a sense you’re talking about bandwidth. More lanes equals more cars that can pass a given point at a time. Direct routes, rather than roads with turns and stop signs are faster as well. In the same way, Internet “traffic” moves faster on direct lines, with as wide of a “road” as possible. The internet measures the equivalent of “traffic lanes” as bits-per-second (bps) and often you’ll see measurements as kbps, Mbps or Gbps, for kilo (x10^3), Mega (x10^6) or Giga (x10^9). … Read more »
Computer Training For Dominican Teachers
Technology has the potential to create exponential improvements to learning outcomes in the developing world.  The problem is that many efforts to utilize computers, cell-phones or open-source software to improve education primarily focus on the technology itself and forget about one of the most important pieces of the educational puzzle, the teacher.  Recently, Edify hosted its first computer training for teachers and school proprietors at low-cost, private schools in the Dominican Republic.  The training was held at Centro Educativo Gomez school and the training was provided by Edify's local training partner Aprendi. The purpose of the four-hour training was to build a foundation for the educators’ understanding of how computers may be used to benefit learning and creativity in the classroom, as well as give them some of the basic skill-sets for operating a computer. Growing up in the United States, it was assumed that I would learn to comfortably use a computer and the Internet and all of my teachers… Read more »