As the world changes rapidly, education and training need to evolve to ensure that future generations have the necessary skills to be of value in the society. While education needs to evolve, it also needs to become more accessible to the hundreds of millions of young people who are restricted from education by poverty, diversity politics, gender, disability, armed conflict, and displacement. Poor access to education entrenches cycles of inequality by preventing disadvantaged young people from attaining the skills required to improve their economic situation in a fast-changing world.
Technology is a viable solution to this. Today, smartphones and the connected internet touch the lives of many of the people that education currently fails to reach. According to the Cisco Visual Networking Index Report in 2018, by 2022, 60% of the world will have a basic smartphone with intermittent internet connectivity. The education technology industry at large has identified this opportunity and is creating software with this particular target market in mind. However, the families who can pay for this technology are not the ones who need it most. In many cases, current educational innovations perpetuate the cycle of inequality by prioritising the needs of the privileged students who can afford their products and services.
Most education technology products are created for well-developed broadband networks running on high-end devices, yet most broadband networks in emerging markets are not well developed and the most sophisticated access point is a low to mid-end smartphone. We believe that there should be an approach that benefits the majority of the people on the planet. Software systems for Education Technology (EdTech) can be designed to function with low bandwidth, intermittent connectivity, and low computer-power. To develop such technology is a challenging task and one which is rarely tackled because of its low monetary returns compared to the provision of EdTech solutions for markets with a higher disposable income.
Moreover, the vast majority of the existing products assume users’ motivation to learn. We understand that when students are marginalised from the current education system and employment, it is nearly impossible to be motivated to learn the skills necessary to thrive in the future. With this in mind, the organisation uses evidence from successful game developers to create a game so engaging that students become addicted to playing, and to learning. Once that motivation has begun to grow, the path is set for students to develop a deeper kind of motivation to become a lifelong learner.
At Solve Education!, an EdTech not-for-profit organisation, our vision is a world where all students can access education and empower themselves. We seek to use technology to bring free, engaging educational software to the mid-range phones and fluctuating internet connectivity that will soon cover the globe. We believe that when one can modify traditional pedagogical approaches to ride on prevalent technologies and broadband networks, one will be able to create a scalable and sustainable approach to education for large numbers of the young, especially the world's most marginalised.
To do that, we implement the 3Es approach, which stands for Educate, Evaluate, Empower:
We created a complex yet accessible Android-based game application called Dawn of Civilization (DOC) to help young people develop their hunger for learning and improve their income prospects. We combine learning and game mechanics frameworks with social media elements, artificial intelligence, and data to develop engaging educational opportunities to students who otherwise would not have access to good quality schooling. All learning activities are gamified for a fun learning experience. We linked pedagogical practices (embodied in our learning mechanics) to concrete game mechanics which are directly related to player actions. By doing so, we hope to engage and retain young people in a stimulating learning environment by creating an app that offers a sense of novelty and virality.
The DOC architecture is divided into two significant parts: a meta-game and an unlimited number of mini-games/bite-sized lessons. The meta-game, the fun part is designed to retain students so that they will continue learning. In the meta-game, there is a city simulation game where students can create and manage a city as a mayor. They can construct a building, place landmarks in their town, or earn taxes from their citizens. To build things in the city, they need resources and reward cards, which can be obtained by playing the mini-games. The mini-games are essentially the curriculum, designed to help students learn knowledge and skills in an engaging way.
On top of developing our core curriculum, we are opening the app to all educators around the world who want to contribute to the teaching process by allowing them to create their own content and/or mini-games inside the app.
To monitor and evaluate the teaching and learning process, Solve Education! has created a web-based learning analytics portal called Learnalytics. The platform was created to cater to the needs of those who hold an interest in following the learning progress of their students’ through DOC. It provides personalised learning scorecards and learning behaviour reports, all through highly intuitive visual presentations.
Not only does Learnalytics provide individual student reports, but it also accommodates group analytics, such as capability distribution and group game preferences, for leaders of large student groups such as teachers or training managers. Based on the analysis of the students’ lagging areas of learning, Learnalytics also provides suggestions for extra activities that will assist them in catching up, both on an individual level and group level. Our focus on students’ learning process and behaviour to leverage their learning outcomes are what primarily distinguishes Learnalytics from other learning analytics platforms.
To incentivise students' learning progress, Solve Education! is developing an online job portal called Solve Employment! (SEmp!) as an exciting extension of DOC. We link students’ success in DOC with internship and employment opportunities in SEmp!. After students reach a certain level in DOC, our team will send them an invitation to access SEmp!. After students access the platform, they have the opportunity to work on crucial micro-tasks such as indexing, labelling, localisation, transcription, customer service representatives, virtual assistants, and many more. All of these tasks are developed in partnership with tech companies, so they make sense in the real world. SEmp! is a safe place for underserved youth to improve and refine their skills before they go into a more competitive marketplace.
Follow our social media channels for updates: