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Broadclass - Listen to Learn!

What's the one technology that can survive in the toughest environments and is available everywhere? It's radio!

Photo of Saad Hamid
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When we are thinking about education and learning with a refugee context, I think it is important to see what sort of technologies & platforms they interact with and how we can leverage these existing technologies to create innovative teaching approaches.

Radio is one such medium that is called the 'cockroach' of technologies! Cockroach? Yes! I just made up that term because I believe radio has survived through generations and can survive in the toughest of environments (just the like the cockroach). Interestingly not just in the developing countries but even in the developed world (like the U.S.) the use of radio is increasing and radio is still alive and well?

There are many reasons as to why radio is still a big thing, here are a few reasons:

  1. It's a low-cost technology

  2. Doesn't require constant recharge

  3. Available in remote areas because of length of radio waves

  4. Its FREE! No operational cost like the phone network

Now that we know that radio is awesome - lets look at a project that uses this technology for teaching and education in Pakistan.

BroadClass is one such project initiated by PowerFM99 that uses radio to educate children in the low-income and nomadic communities of Pakistan. Find them on Facebook.

The Broad Class - Listen to Learn radio program, broadcast on Communicators (Pvt) Ltd.'s Power 99 FM radio station, uses Interactive Radio Instruction (IRI) to promote child-centered practices in the classroom, encourage participation of parents in schools, increase student retention rates, and improve teaching quality and learning outcomes. 

The IRI model uses a one-way radio to reach two audiences (students and in-class teachers), and prompts four-way communication: (i) Radio teacher – In-class teacher; (ii) Radio teacher – Students; (iii) In-class teacher – Students; and (iv) Students – Students. The ‘radio teacher’ delivers the content on air, pausing in between to provide space for student responses, and also prompts the 'in-class teacher' to utilize interactive instructional approaches in the classroom. The content and activities facilitated by the radio program are mapped to the Pakistani national curriculum and are delivered through a series of structured learning episodes in which students are prompted to respond, do individual and group work, and perform learning tasks. 

What can we learn from this project?

If we try drawing similarities between the refugee and nomadic communities, we see that.

  1. Both communities live in a mobile environment

  2. With no access to permanent housing

This where a technology like the radio can come in handy and we should start thinking of how to use it further to create better education and learning solutions for refugees :)

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Photo of Mansi Parikh

Awesome idea Saad!
Here's a similar idea I had with a way to make it "on demand" so that the same lessons can be heard whenever/wherever the classrooms may be https://openideo.com/challenge/refugee-education/research/missed-call-for-education

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