Roundtable – Developing edtech with Arushi Wasan
In the third in our series, Steve Wright finds out how edtech in the developing world is advancing and driving educational change.
Arushi Wasan is Growth and programme lead at Dost Education in India.
Q. Which developing countries are benefiting most from edtech?
India is witnessing something of an edtech boom, with products targeting educators, parents and children across all income levels. With cheap internet access and high penetration of mobile phones, edtech products are reaching people right in their homes, especially in urban and semi-urban areas. Beyond India, there are several successful edtech products gaining traction in African countries (such as Ubongo, eLimu, Scholarx and Zelda) and in Pakistan (Sabaq).
Q. What kinds of edtech are being employed in developing countries? And which are proving successful?
Currently, edtech products cover a broad variety of needs. To cite just a few examples, here at Dost we work with parents to help them get their children school-ready; Ubongo provides localised multi-platform media content to young children; and Sabaq works with schools and with children on content for K12 (school grades prior to college – kindergarten through to 12th grade).
Often, the end users of an edtech product don’t trust the technology, and strongly resist moving away from their regular methods – Arushi Wasan
Q. What do educators in developing countries want most from edtech suppliers?
Based on my interactions with school leaders and teachers across my city, I would say that educators want products that meet both the academic and non-academic needs of their classrooms. For example, products which benefit all children, based on their individual learning levels; those that enhance the skills and competencies of educators; and those that aid behaviour management in the classroom.
Q. What are the biggest challenges facing different countries around the implementation of edtech?
From my personal experience while working at Dost, I would say that a big challenge is the efficient utilisation of edtech. More specifically, educators, children and parents who are not well versed with technology products struggle to accept edtech – and sometimes even fear it. Often, the end users of an edtech product don’t trust the technology, and strongly resist moving away from their regular methods. Edtech has to overcome this additional barrier of trust.
Building Learning Foundations programme, Rwanda: www.buildinglearningfoundations.rw
Rwanda hosts 2018 international conference on ICT for development, education & skills: www.globalpartnership.org/event/13th-international-conference-ict-development-education-skills
Omidyar Network Ecosystems Framework: www.omidyar.com/insights/scaling-access-impact-realizing-power-edtech
Technology-supported CPD for teachers – lessons from developing countries: www.educationdevelopmenttrust.com/EducationDevelopmentTrust/files/34/3463d85a-031c-4f1e-9002-969b4daf4cdf.pdf
RTI Global Learning XPRIZE Data Summary: https://shared.rti.org/content/global-learning-xprize-data-summary