Male Students Enjoying the Mobile Devices
Female Students with Mobile Devices
We visited the teachers at Nangwanda Secondary School in Newala last week so we could begin to understand how they teach their students and what issues they face in that process. Some of the issues they face here are startling: large class sizes ranging from 45-75 students each; limited number of teachers, only 13 teachers available to teach a school of over 600 students; minimal access to textbooks; and lack of reliable electricity. In fact, we ourselves lost power last night when preparing for the week’s sessions but were lucky enough to find a generator to charge our laptops, ad hoc servers, and mobile phones. It would have been interesting conducting a mobile technology workshop without any mobile devices!
Today, we began our 9-day project of two workshops per day consisting of 65 to 75 students each. The students ranged from grades 8 through 9. The wonder and excitement plastered their faces as we handed each group their phone were alone worth the 19-hour flight here from the US. Within the first 20 minutes and with a good measure of trial and error, they had a reasonable grasp of the mechanical functions of the phone that many of us take for granted such as: how to turn the phone on; unlock it by swiping their finger across the screen; use the camera to take pictures; and type words in the text box using the on-screen keyboard. It was remarkable to watch how quickly students began to learn how to use the phones, especially since most of them have never seen a touch-screen smartphone before in their lives.
After the workshop, when asked if she had fun today one of the students replied softly, “We have had a lot of fun because today we learned things we did not know before.”
What impact can education have on a country, a city, a village, a family, a child? And what impact can an educated child have on their family, their village, their city, their country, and the world? These are some of the questions Blackboard seeks to ask, understand, and answer through Project Activate.
Partnering with Seeds of Empowerment
, a non-profit organization developed through Stanford University
is spending 2 weeks in rural Tanzania to understand the educational imperatives in a region very different from that shaped our beginnings. We will work with 140 students in grades 8-9 in Newala, a rural town in the Mtwara region of southern Tanzania, to introduce them to different mediums of learning technology. Our goal is simple and may sound familiar: To significantly improve students’ education experience through the use of easily accessible mobile devices and applications.
Students in Tanzania
Students Participating in Project Activate 2012
The National Rural Women’s Coalition (NRWC), a not-for-profit organisation, is using Blackboard Collaborate to reach women in rural, regional, and remote areas in Australia in a way they never could before. The program they are offering ensures that these women have access to information and training and are able to have a voice that the NRWC can then relay back to the government on their behalf.
Recently the NRWC was invited to showcase its programs at the Commission on the Status of Women conference at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. The primary themes of the 56th annual conference included:
- The empowerment of rural women through their roles in poverty, hunger eradication, development, and current challenges
- Elimination of discrimination against women and girls
- Engagement of young women and men, girls and boys, to advance gender equality
In case you missed it, Ray Henderson
blogged last week about, reflecting on 2011, looking ahead to 2012 and what we mean by “The Ocho.”
Originally posted on Ray H Blog on January 10, 2012:
Over the course of the year, I enjoy a large quantity of anecdotal feedback on how we’re doing – emails, client meetings, Tweets, etc. – but it’s our client satisfaction surveys that give me the best overall view of our progress. These are the numbers I look at to see how well we’re doing. In the spirit of 2011 review, I’ll share news of the direction in those surveys, alongside a couple of key milestones we reached this year in the digital content and open education areas. I’ll also preview some of the news you can expect from us in early 2012.
Improving the Experience
Since I arrived at Blackboard we’ve made the improvement of our product and service quality a tremendous focus. We needed to be much better in these areas, and we committed a great deal to the effort with more staff, resources and new programs. By far, this has been the biggest priority for us as a company during my time at Blackboard.
To read the full letter, please click here to jump to Ray’s Blog
The Australian National Rural Women’s Coalition (NRWC) is using the latest Blackboard Collaborate
™ technology to help women in rural parts of Australia build leadership skills, network and learn better business practices. The virtual classroom environment allows the women to connect from all across the continent to engage in active learning through virtual workshops.
To learn more about this e-learning and leadership program, supported by the Australian Government, check out this story
from a local Australia paper.