Expert Speak Digital Frontiers
Published on Jan 11, 2020
Leveraging technology to make education accessible The alarming number of out-of-school young people and lack of decent work opportunities for the youth has sparked rapid global efforts to tackle these issues. According to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics report in 2018, there are over 260 million children and youth around the world who are withheld from accessing education. With good quality education far beyond their reach, many of these youths are not even equipped with the most basic skills such as literacy and math and are therefore ultimately prevented from reaching their full potential. With technology-related solutions for scalable impact on the rise, many educational technology companies have imagined and designed various educational products to tackle this issue. However, the vast majority of existing products and curriculums assume that users are motivated to learn. It is often forgotten that when students are marginalised from the current education system, the benefits of education is invisible to the eye, making it difficult to be motivated to learn the skills they need to pursue a brighter future. With this in mind, Solve Education! uses evidence from successful game developers to create Dawn of Civilization, a learning app delivered in an engaging gamified context in order to plant the seed for learning motivation. Once that motivation has been embedded and has begun to grow, students are set on a path to develop a deeper internal motivation to become a lifelong learner. Since motivation is an essential factor to effective learning for the marginalised youth, the delivery of the curriculum is therefore equally as important as the curriculum itself. Solve Education!’s core curriculum is the foundational pedagogical approach which is delivered through the educational game app, Dawn of Civilization. It is designed to help students to become successful and independent learners, confident in their ability to learn and solve problems. The core curriculum covers literacy and numeracy, which are the two basic skills necessary to empower young people to thrive in the 21st-century knowledge economy. By helping these youths to attain education and enter employment, the foundation is set for them to actively participate in society and continuously learn throughout their lives. They are key to help young people become self-flourished adults in the data-driven and interconnected world. Using the carefully developed curriculum delivered through the Dawn of Civilization game, Solve Education! has succeeded in bringing impact to thousands of children around the world with a majority located in Indonesia, India, Myanmar, Singapore, and Nigeria. The game has been disseminated to over 13,000 beneficiaries through partnerships and collaborations with organisations and foundations on the ground who work directly with the target beneficiaries, such as Kampus Diakoneia Modern (KDM). KDM is a non-profit organisation based in Bekasi, Indonesia, which has reached out to hundreds of thousands of street children and provides them with protection and alternative education. Within an average total learning time of only 3.2 hours per learner, the street children under KDM’s care have made average progress of 10.4% of the massive amount of content provided in the game. Solve Education!’s approach to helping the underserved youth does not only stop at providing free and accessible education. Those who have learned through Dawn of Civilization will also gain access to Solve Education!’s job-seeking portal. After learning for a sufficient amount of time and reaching a certain competency level, these youths will be invited into a safe and secure job-seeking environment where they can apply for part-time jobs or project-based tasks which they qualify for with their improved or newly gained skills. The ultimate goal of Solve Education!’s efforts is to democratise education and make it accessible for all. Its web-based platform will be made open-source, which will basically allow the public to create their own content and deliver it in the form of a game using the Dawn of Civilization game architecture. Furthermore, the architecture of the game is designed in a manner that enables it to be used to teach a wide range of subjects. Our efforts enshrine our belief that everyone should not only be able to access education for free, but everyone should also be able to contribute to educating others. Everyone is a student and everyone is a teacher.
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