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Educate through overseas professionals to supplement the need of trained teachers

We can gather overseas professionals to contribute an hour daily to educate children via existing and proven online communication tools.

Photo of Kashif Zahid

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EXPLAIN YOUR IDEA

By using the greatest asset of the community i.e. educated community living in other countries to conduct online courses which will be delivered remotely through the use of technologies already available today. ● Time zone difference can make it ideal for the overseas professionals to lend their after work time to contribute to the society without impacting their work lives. ● Setting up physical classroom (inside or mobile) with a virtual/online educator from abroad to transfer the knowledge. ● We do not aim to just create another bunch of Matriculation pass kids with no or very limited real life skill sets. ● Rather we aim to create a generation who will have the knowledge and skills to excel in whatever career they choose. ● The same model can be enhanced for youth development to induce entrepreneurship and self sustain earning skills that will not be dependent on the job market but local market needs. Our focus areas: 1. English (Focus on Reading and Speaking) 2. Mathematics (With Practical Application) 3. Humanity (Manners, Ethics, Patriotism, skills) 4. Science (Day to day life subjects like food, energy etc.

WHO BENEFITS?

PROTOTYPE

We would gather a set of 20 kids in an urban slum and conduct online sessions through latest communication tools and leverage the developed countries course curriculum to transfer highest quality education to these children free of cost. We would use a TV/projector, a room or a tent, laptop with mobile broadband internet connection, generator or electricity (if available), Skype or Google Hangout accounts, in-class facilitator for kids and relevant accounts in the online education portals to use the relevant material - to conduct daily classes for 3 -4 hours.

FEEDBACK

We would like to get feedback from the students, their parents, their employers, their peers/friends and most importantly influential entrepreneurs in the education development fields to help us optimize our work to maximize the benefits of our time.

HOW IS THIS IDEA DIFFERENT FROM WHAT YOUR ORGANIZATION (OR OTHER ORGANIZATIONS) IS ALREADY DOING?

The idea is unique because so far, none of the organizations we have come across are benefitting from the different time zones, educated professionals overseas, leveraging education methods in the developed markets, and most importantly having no impact on the daily work routine of a student or an educator.

HOW WOULD YOU USE AMPLIFY FUNDING AND DESIGN SUPPORT?

We will use part of the funding to set up a test bed or a trial class with on ground, gather a team of 20 kids from the slums and test our idea to get the feedback to refine it. Once, we have nailed down the first run, we will replicate this model in other areas of the same city and other cities later on. Also, we will use the money to set up a centralized library where educators will upload their material that can be delivered initially by themselves and later by anyone else from the team to perform knowledge sharing sessions.

HOW DOES YOUR IDEA TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THE CONTEXT OF THE CHALLENGE?

Yes, it fits the challenge needs as it doesn't require trained teachers on ground, or doesn't put any requirements on the students apart from attending these sessions. Educators don't have to take time away from their families or work. The model is very cost effective as it doesn't require anything from the educator point of view. He/She will be using existing internet connection, and content is already from the well known education programs.

SKILL SHARE (optional)

We would need partnership/help with some organization on ground in the destination country that can campaign, gather kids, enroll them to classes and maintain discipline on daily basis. We can share our technology knowledge, cost estimations, ground realities about hurdles and ideas about how to expand it further.

TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF

We are a group of young IT professionals who have been working & living abroad with our families for few years. However, at no point, each one of us didn't let go the thinking of our homeland’s ailing situation. Currently, we are in North America.

IS THIS AN IDEA THAT YOU OR YOUR ORGANIZATION WOULD LIKE TO TAKE FORWARD?

  • Yes, and I am looking for a partner working with refugee communities to implement this idea.

38 comments

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Photo of An Old Friend
Team

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Photo of Andy E. Williams
Team

Also the model of interacting with overseas professionals who originated from the same community (the diaspora) and drawing motivation and inspiration from them is slightly different from what comes to mind when you speak of "replacing trained teachers" but sounds very powerful nonetheless. There is also the question of how those people can have the most impact. Do they pre-prepare a talk and then broadcast that to multiple audiences? Do they supplement that with a live question and answer period? How will feedback be gathered from the audience to ensure the most impactful speakers are engaged more? Will that motivation be combined with facilitating concrete action so we can measure outcomes? Looking forward to hearing more.

Photo of Kashif Zahid
Team

Hi Andy,

Much appreciate your feedback and valuable inputs.

We don't intend to replace trained teachers but instead complement the inadequate teaching force by using overseas professionals to provide basic literacy knowledge. The intention is to give underprivileged kids a means to get knowledge when they have no other means i.e. going to school or finding proper teaching infrastructure. We aim to fill up this gap.

The motivation for the educators will be mainly the love and will to do "something" for their country. The least possible is to spare an hour of your day based on your availability. For the basic curriculum, we are leveraging online content platforms like starfall's, Learn to Read, ixl & abc mouse - the ones we have used for our own kids to develop their basics and thus can trust their effectiveness. For youth development, it will be short courses, one off presentation, Q&A or small group discussions that will need educator to prepare talk and conduct in live session. In our findings so far, live session is essential to communicate properly and read the audience interest, and to address any questions/confusions right away. Asynchronous method is more effective if the recipient is able to comprehend independently. It will not be the case with our target group.

For measuring effectiveness, it will be both from the students and our on-site staff that will be maintaining discipline or addressing any logistical issues. We don't intend to run it like a school with exams but a forum to share what we have learnt, just like we do with our own kids. However, on daily basis, we will use initial 5-10 mins to randomly ask last day's work and then last 5 minutes to summarize the session for kids. If majority is able to comprehend the lecture, we will proceed to next one otherwise we'll repeat unless majority of the kids are comfortable. For the ones having difficulty, we'll leverage peer learning strategy where ask kids help teach other kids.

Overall, we have set goals for each month and each week that we want to achieve, and expect from the kids. We will run random checks to measure their success and see if we are meeting our objectives or not.

I would be interested to hear how you guys are measuring ( or planning to measure) the feedback?

Regards,
Kashif

Photo of Andy E. Williams
Team

That is a VERY long answer. But one that I look forward to taking the time to share as we move forward.

Photo of Andy E. Williams
Team

By the way ... I really like your answer about live interaction being much more effective than asynchronous interaction for learners who aren't in the category in which their learning can be self-directed. But is live interaction the only type of interaction that can be effective? What about interactive learning content? In an environment of sometimes ineffective connectivity some kind of hybrid model might work well. There might be some activities that DEFINITELY need live interaction, but taking a hypothetical example, 1 hour of live interaction per day might be delayed by one or two hours when connections go down and still leave enough time for it to happen before the day ends. On the other hand a full day of live interaction might statistically never be completed unless the lecturer was available every day and could just pickup the next day where they left off. This is a hypothetical example that is not representative of what you are suggesting. I just outlined it to ask whether some hybrid live interaction/interactive content model might work well in your solution.

Photo of Kashif Zahid
Team

Yes, we considered that, and to be honest, still inclined on that model but the cost and logistics are an issue. We intend to use 7" android tablets (cheapest possible of course) for each student that will be given to them for the duration of their stay in the class. There, they will learn by interaction with the content. The educator will design the plan for the day or the subject and during the class session, he will provide instructions to kids to perform the actions on their tablets. The intention here was to get feedback from each individual directly and in a manner that can be shared across educators, in case a substitute needs to step in, and for measuring the effectiveness of the program. However, apart from the cost, challenge was to trust someone with the devices that need to be kept safe after class times. Since, we won't be on ground ourselves so we need a highly trustworthy partner that can carry out this activity honestly. For now, we have put it on back burner but that is where we want to experiment in future when we have enough trust developed with the on-ground partners.

What are your thoughts on it?

Photo of Andy E. Williams
Team

Our thoughts are that if the device is inexpensive enough the trust and security issues go away because you can just send them home with the kids. Learning is much more effective that way in any case. That's why we designed the Afripad to be so cost effective. As for the hybrid model of live interaction + interactive content ... we are working hard at facilitating that in a very powerful way. And yes we are looking to use Android. I look forward to sending you what we have to solicit feedback when we learn the way forward. We look forward to you trying out both the Afripad and various tablets with the education management software we are developing. It will be in English but the content can certainly be translated.

Photo of Kashif Zahid
Team

Hi Andy,

Yes, interactive learning is much easier and powerful. We will be definitely looking forward to leverage that. I doubt if we'll ever be able to send devices homes but surely the lower cost can help mitigate concerns on safety and security of these devices with a local organization. Our intention is not to reinvent the wheel by creating content or apps ourselves when there are already well established programs available. Therefore, it will be really interesting to find out how you guys are leveraging Afripad to use existing content on Android and web based programs.

I will be glad to provide candid feedback about our experience on using it.

Cheers,
Kashif

Photo of Vestine Umubyeyi
Team

Hello Kashif, I certainly agree that mobile online learning is an influential kit to support education in marginalized communities. I like the idea of online learning and communities abroad to volunteer tutoring, this will open doors to refugees on the world outside of the camp. In an area like Kakuma Refugee Camp where I live, this can help. Classes are overcrowded that not all students are able to get the course content, evening tours of an online learning will help some to get what they missed at school. I also like your focus areas, the subjects have been wisely selected especially for English. However Humanity and Sciences subjects need to be revised because in a multicultural area like Kakuma Refugee Camp, it will not be easy to prepare a lesson in which learners and tutors are going to understand each other.
Thank you,
Vestine.

Photo of Kashif Zahid
Team

Hi Vestine,

Appreciate your inputs and encouragement for the confidence in our idea.

For Humanity and Sciences, we analyzed this point too as the kids may belong to different backgrounds e.g. religion, mother tongues, or sects etc. Therefore, we devised our curriculum to focus on basic mannerism, compassion and support subjects that are universal across regions, languages and religions. Similarly, for Sciences, it is more to make kids think/probe, ask questions e.g. why we need food? Where does light come from? Where does sun go in the night? What is electricity? Why we get thirsty? Why I get hungry again? etc. These are more of things happening around them that they need to know so they can absorb more and think about more things. We have kept this particular course as free form by picking up one or two questions each day and asking kids to think about it. And then giving them the right answer. Here again, we mitigate the differences.

Hope it helps to understand better. Please feel free to ask more questions.

Thanks.

Kashif

Photo of Andy E. Williams
Team

Hi Kashif. We are also developing an educational model in which we enhance the educational experience through remote interaction with subject matter experts, though in our case it is optimally intended to supplement trained teachers not replace the need for them. The most important question for us is figuring out where such subject matter experts can have the most impact, and what is the best way to engage them in order to achieve maximum impact. So far we are beginning with the theory that local subject matter experts might add context to make content in textbooks (that often come from foreign sources) more relevant. We will of course measure the difference in outcomes to verify. But it never occurred to us to seek interaction with foreign subject matter experts as well. And it never occurred to us to seek interaction with general experts in teaching. It probably makes sense to do so in certain cases. Also as Yvonnne Bezerra de Mello mentioned below, when finding people for these interactions we need to consider that English may not be the language of instruction. If these are questions you are considering and would like to collaborate on finding a methodical approach to ... I would love to hear from you.

Photo of Kashif Zahid
Team

Hi Andy,

Yes, we have been working with the local educator/SMEs in Pakistan to make sure we will be able to have a relevant context for the kids to understand. We are in active discussions with similar organizations on ground that are conducting these sessions on weekly basis. They are giving us a lot of feedback on what worked and what didn't. So, we don't go through that cycle ourselves.

English can't be the medium. We need to use local languages. That is one of the reason, we are banking on overseas community as they know local language. We will be creating a database of people with their language expertise and use them for conducting programs in their local areas. Otherwise, we will use our national language "urdu" that is mostly spoken and understood across the country but most easily in and around urban cities & slums.

I have approached Yvonne to understand how we can transform her program to use in our initiative as well. They are in the process of converting it into English taining of 80 hrs that can be used outside Brazil.

Also, to your point on training SMEs, it is definitely valid use case for remote learning.

Very good discussion indeed. Looking forward for more discussions.

Cheers,
Kashif

Photo of Hassan Bashir Ahmed
Team

Fantastic young men,these idea can change the life of refugees into self sufficient especially youth who drop outs their schools because of some circumstance can benefit and become role models in their communities on that it can also improve economically and financially although life of refugees here in kakuma is so devastating.

Photo of Kashif Zahid
Team

Thanks Hassan for the encouragement. We really want to empower these people so that they can leverage their potential to make a sustainable life for themselves. Education is the first step in bringing awareness.

Photo of Yvonnne Bezerra de Mello
Team

Hi Kashif!

Great idea! Move forward! It´s a great initiative!

How do you intend to address the language issue? If you´re planning on taking volunteer hours from oversees teachers, are the classes directed only to english speaking kids?

Best regards,

Photo of Kashif Zahid
Team

Thanks Yvonnne for the encouragement. It really means a lot for us.

For elementary level, we intend to use the educators who belong to that area i.e. know the local language so we don't run into language issues. For youth development part, we will leverage anyone across the globe who can deliver sessions in English.

Please feel free to ask more questions or provide more inputs.

Thanks.
Kashif

Photo of Venkatesh Ramanujam
Team

Hi Kashif,
My idea, is also some what similar you can check this https://openideo.com/challenge/refugee-education/ideas/nss-credit-based-education-using-technology got some positive feedback from educational researcher, probably you can go through it. It contains some similar research on this line how well the idea performed. All the best. Nice initiative!

you can give your comments on this idea, this idea is to eliminate child labor and promote girls education though this will succeed in refugee camp, only thing is responsibility lies in hands of UNICEF and UNHCR to make the idea successful.
Raise fund to keep children in school, by using their creative works
https://openideo.com/challenge/refugee-education/ideas/social-fashion-to-raise-fund-and-give-training-to-other-youngsters-in-various-fields-which-helps-in-their-career

Thanks
Venkatesh

Photo of Kashif Zahid
Team

Hi Venkatesh,

Thanks for the links.

Yes, our ideas are similar and you are doing great job in looking after other aspects (like funding) as well.

We will take this valuable feedback into considerations.

Regards,
Kashif

Photo of Sarah Lowe
Team

Hi, Kashif, I like the idea of leveraging Skype to amplify a volunteer's resources to a broader group of students. Have you thought about trying it first for adult learning? As an ESL tutor, the thought of trying to corral a group of kids via Skype seems daunting. It could be done! But I'd be more up for the experiment with adults first. Though I am coming to it from the point of view of someone who is used to teaching adults and not children, so it could be my own personal feelings weighing in. Thanks for thinking through this idea! Best, Sarah

Photo of Kashif Zahid
Team

Hi Sarah,

Thanks for taking time to go through the idea and providing valuable input. Yes, we have considered ESL as short course for adults as well. English is still taken as an uphill task in Pakistan while it is the most important skill language required today, to do anything. We have it part of youth development activities.

However, you have made me think, if starting with adults may be an easy way to start and establish ourselves as we can easily reach out to them and don't have to worry about the disciplinary issues that can be daunting in case of kids.

On your ESL experience, how do you deliver these courses? I mean, website? Cost or free? Which area of world?

Photo of Sarah Lowe
Team

Hi, Kashif,

I've worked with West African refugees in Oakland, California, USA and am currently working with mostly Asian immigrants in Amherst, Massachusetts, USA. In California, I worked through an organization called Refugee Transitions. They provided the free service of training the volunteers (like me), reaching out to the refugee community, and providing the ESL textbook. I started with tutoring just one person but then ended up tutoring everyone she knew. :) We would have group sessions on someone's living room floor every Saturday or out in the world where someone needed to open a bank account, fill out a job application, etc.

Currently in Massachusetts I'm working in quite a nice learning model in a library that could work well with the online learning model you're considering. It's a conversation circle that is held once a week for an hour and a half. Anywhere from 1-3 volunteers show up to lead the circle (native English speakers) and anyone who wants to attend can drop in at any time. We have 30-40 people on a given day and we often just talk about the issues they want/need to talk about like how the bus system works, what is a resume and how do you make one, etc. It's all free and the stakes are low, but the learning is every bit as useful and good as when I was doing the small group tutoring. The group practices their English and get answers to their questions about navigating life in the U.S. The volunteers get to learn about the rest of the world. It's really fun!

Best of Luck,
Sarah

Photo of Kashif Zahid
Team

This is excellent Sarah !!!

Maybe we can leverage your experience for both marketing and forming a short ESL course for adults. Is there a way we can discuss more details some time next week?

Appreciate your work and feedback.

Photo of Sarah Lowe
Team

Sure! My contact details are on my IDEO profile page.

I'd love your feedback on my idea for a global crowdsourced digital picture dictionary. I'm thinking there could be an opportunity for collaboration. I would love a photo ambassador for Pakistan!

Here it is on IDEO: https://openideo.com/challenge/refugee-education/ideas/i-m-migrant-a-digital-picture-dictionary

And here's a moment of truth ... is this the right picture and word for honey in Pakistan?

http://immigrantproject.tumblr.com/post/117808992468/honey

Photo of Kashif Zahid
Team

Hi Sarah,

Since, you have tremendous experience in marketing and brand promotion. I would like to know if you can help me create a short video/animation message to spread over social media.

Let me know how we can discuss more.

Thanks.
Kashif

Photo of Sarah Lowe
Team

Hi, Kashif,

Let's talk it through. I might be able to help. I'm away for the weekend but email me and maybe we can work out a time to talk next week. (sarah dot lowe at G mail dot com)

Best,
Sarah

Photo of Mona Younes
Team

Dear Kashif,
I like your idea. However, I would see it yielding benefit on a different aspect of refugee and displaced learning context. TEACHER TRAINING... they are the ones who can benefit from this tool, much more than children. Teachers lack training, knowledge and skills.., those can be provided via skype and other webinar tools. However, your idea needs more elaboration about how to reach those targetted audience, how to motivate them... for instance are you thinking of collaborating and partnering with an on the ground already working NGO? Are you thinking of having scheduled timeing....etc

Photo of Kashif Zahid
Team

Hi Mona,

Thanks a lot for your feedback and interesting questions :)

Yes, it can be extended to teachers' training as well. The same model can be molded based on the situations e.g. in one place, it might be for kids, others it can be for teachers or youth.

Yes, we plan to partner with a local organization (on ground) to help us with the campaign and gathering kids. For motivation, we have planned for parents & employers (the people putting kids to work) counselling sessions and also we'll try to have minimum impact on their work time by either doing it early morning or after work timings in the evenings. For kids, motivation will be in multiple forms i.e. programs for kids breakfast, no judgment or pressure environment to learn, weekly recognition for star performer, regular movies (educational & moral of course), and pizza/ice cream parties.

We have been in active discussions with multiple organizations in Pakistan who are doing great work in the field of children education. If you have more contacts or information, we will be really happy to leverage that.

Thanks again for the engaging discussion.

Photo of Shane Zhao
Team

Great share Kashif, and fantastic use of the experience map to flesh out your idea in a human-centered way! Have you seen Hugh's plan to deploy self-contained modular computer labs to Jordan? It might interesting to see how your idea can work with the Zatlab onsite computer lab: https://openideo.com/challenge/refugee-education/ideas/rebootkamp-jordan

Also, here are a couple of inspirations from the Ideas Phase that you might like to build on:
Ilm Knowldege on Wheels https://openideo.com/challenge/refugee-education/research/ilm-knowledge-on-wheels
School Truck in Favelas https://openideo.com/challenge/refugee-education/research/school-truck-in-favelas

Photo of Kashif Zahid
Team

Hi Shane,

Thanks for the nice comments and the references. I looked at them and found the second one 'Ilm on wheels' interesting and from Pakistan. I'll reach out to them for their experiences on remote education. They don't appear to be non profit organization and their focus is different but would be good to know if there are more details about it.

For the other two, we might have to wait as they require more logistics while we are trying to keep our footprint minimum by leveraging existing buildings. However, they are interesting indeed and useful to know if we can expand further.

Appreciate your feedback.

Photo of Les LaMotte
Team

Also, I have a Tech school in Minneapolis who is kicking out tons of teachers, but they need opportunities. I suggest that this network could come from the US and it could be done real time, if there was some funding to make it happen on both sides of the pond. Also, my friend has several radio stations in South Sudan. He was planning on sending the content to Israel via satellite, so it could be beamed to all of Africa. His studios would be here in Minnesota, where we have many Abrabic speakers, others who could also produce programing from here.

Photo of Kashif Zahid
Team

Hi Les,

Thanks for the warm comments and good suggestion on using projector sheets in the night leveraging solar power retained during the day. I can definitely see its usability.

For funding, we are currently reaching out to various stakeholders and audiences. We have not concluded where we stand in the process. However, I will definitely have you in my list of 'helpful contacts' once we know how much we involve paid employees as currently we plan to leverage volunteers and willing educators.

Photo of Les LaMotte
Team

Kashif, I like your concepts, however in my situation is more severe refugee situations. It could still possibly work if we used projectors and sheets at night using power form solar panels and batteries. The JesusProject.com has been doing this for over 20 years showing films at night with sheet stretch between air plane wings and the movie being translated by local talent and pre-recorded so all that is shown is in their own language. Sounds like your goals are good and you seem to be a bright fellow, keep up your great work. Where do you live now? In the US?

Photo of Mike
Team

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Photo of Hannah Tran
Team

I think the idea is great. It is important to consider the context. This project may most beneficial to place with favorable IT condition.

Photo of Kashif Zahid
Team

Thanks Hannah for the feedback. I agree that it will be beneficial in favorable IT conditions however that is part of the challenge that we want to deal with. Pakistan has growing internet population but it is still not mainstream and many people (and especially our target audience i.e. underprivileged society) doesn't have access to IT tools. Therefore, we are taking on this job on ourselves to leverage the IT expertise and infrastructure to make it accessible to them.

Ideally, I would like to use android tablets for each kid and have them learn by themselves interactively based on the curriculum we create for them. But that would mean high cost to start with, so for now, we are starting with TV + PC + internet connection.

Photo of Bizi Very
Team

обучение английскому по skype http://preply.com/angliyskiy-po-skype

Photo of Priyanka Kalmane
Team

Hi,

I would suggest you to look into this NGO which is working along similar lines. It calls out to online volunteers who can choose their area of interest and make their valuable contribution. It's a very effective idea! Here's the link:

http://www.evidhyaloka.org/

Good luck!

Photo of Kashif Zahid
Team

Thanks Priyanka for the reference. I am very glad to see a very similar working model in place for India. Going through the details, I found few of the differences like age/student group and course to be taught. But overall, it will serve as a good reference model for us to understand what next hurdles can come our way and how to handle them.

Really appreciate your contribution.