EdTech Fellows at Centre for Innovative Teaching and Learning in ICT
On February 21, 2020, the Mastercard Foundation Centre for Innovative Teaching and Learning in Information, Communications, and Technology (ICT) announced the first cohort of 12 EdTech Fellows, companies that will benefit from the Centre’s support to expand their operations and improve secondary teaching and learning across the continent.
The selected EdTech Fellows companies are:
AkooBooks Audio is a platform and experience provider focused on transforming African books into engaging audiobooks that reach new audiences on mobile phones. It prioritizes literacy as the core fundamental of a successful education. It fosters online discovery of new African voices for enthusiasts of all ages through its playlists. Its library of African audio is available anytime, accessible anywhere on a wide variety of mobile devices and offers low, flexible subscription plans and low retail cost. AkooBooks currently operates in Ghana and has distribution agreements with leading audiobook platforms worldwide and YouScribe bringing access to Francophone West Africa and North Africa (Côte-d’Ivoire, Sénégal, Gabon, Mali, Tunisia, Morocco, RDC and Burkina-Faso).
Chalkboard Education offers low tech software and services for institutions to create and track training programs, on mobile, without the Internet. Based in Ghana and Ivory Coast, Chalkboard Education trains over 10,000 beneficiaries in four African countries. Chalkboard Education seeks to expand in-service and pre-service teacher training programs across the continent, and provide educators with the opportunity strengthen their skills so they can have a deeper impact in their communities.
The Dr. CL Smith Foundation
The Foundation was established in 2013 and aims to create and drive positive social change in previously disadvantaged and excluded areas in South Africa through education, sport, and health.
Its platform, Zibuza.net, aims to improve teacher capacity by providing a common platform for teachers that allows them to connect with their peers and other education stakeholders. Zibuza.net is an online professional learning community that gives teachers access to high-quality teaching resources like lesson plans, classroom activities, past exam papers and memos, courseware, tools, and files. The goal is to empower teachers to create learning environments that are fun, interactive, and engaging.
Eneza Education is an EdTech company that provides learning and revision materials via SMS/USSD on basic feature phones. It currently operates in Kenya, Ghana, and Côte d’Ivoire and has reached six million plus learners since its inception in 2013. Its product TeachMobile is a platform that provides in-service and pre-service teachers with tailor-made courses and teaching tools such as lesson plans and classroom activities. There is also real-time support provided by subject matter experts and educators.
HITCH is an educational video platform for African schools, which started in Nigeria. It provides under-served schools with a video platform with intelligently-curated educational content. It is building an educational and vocational video library which is fed into its system and matched against textbooks and curriculums, resulting in world-class educational and vocational content matched to local textbooks and curriculums.
The company tracks analytics to understand video effectiveness, which is fed back into its machine-learning algorithm for further improvements. HITCH provides a battery-powered hotspot that stores its web app and content locally, which ensures that it is available during power and internet outages. The platform also embeds inspiring case studies into core and ancillary videos, which provide contextual insights and professional, vocational, and entrepreneurial pathways for students and teachers.
iCog Labs is a private research and development company based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, collaborating with international AI research groups and serving customers around the world. The company has helped its customers with a variety of projects, with a core specialty in artificial intelligence. Partnering with iCog Labs, tech developer Betelhem Dessie founded an initiative called iCog Anyone Can Code (iCog-ACC) to create a platform in which children throughout the developing world can have the same opportunity she had when she was a child. iCog Labs currently operates in different cities of Ethiopia with a vision to go global.
Instill Education has a vision to transform teaching, learning and leadership in every classroom on the African continent. For four years it has experimented with mobile learning platforms. It believes that its current iteration is now ready to test at a larger scale so that it can further refine and build out its platform. That platform is built around core principles.
- Content must be bite-sized (no more than 30 minutes) and focused on specific techniques.
- Content must be hyper practical. Teachers must intrinsically understand that the training they are undertaking will have an immediate impact in their classroom.
- The model allows for ‘spaced learning’ where teachers can repeatedly review content and assessments, reinforcing learning and committing techniques to long-term memory.
Kytabu is a Kenyan EdTech company that has built the technology to provide short and engaging curriculum content in text, audio, and video formats for students on a mobile application. To date, Kytabu has amassed more than 4,700 curriculum-curated textbooks, audiobooks, videos, and assessments. Kytabu’s software offering includes a mobile app for students, a parents’ monitoring app and a school management system that brings together the whole platform.
Litemore simplifies and enhances the use of technology to deliver quality education by developing tools that help parents, teachers, students, and schools attain their educational goals. Its mobile-first data management platform, Zeraki Analytics, simplifies and personalizes access to educational insight while its digital learning platform Zeraki Learning allows students to access to Kenya’s best instructors anywhere, at any time. Litemore Limited is based in Nairobi and serves over 500 schools in Kenya.
M-Shule is the first personalized, mobile learning platform in Africa to connect learners with tailored tutoring, training, assessments and data through SMS. Meaning “mobile school” in Swahili, M-Shule’s platform uses artificial intelligence to deliver personalized learning support, skill development, and data collection tools over text message and chatbots. M-Shule also analyzes data and shares insights with key stakeholders and organizations to ensure better support for students. By making an all-in-one learning platform possible with the simplest phone, M-Shule unlocks new opportunities for millions across Sub-Saharan Africa and the world. M-Shule currently operates in Kenya.
O’Genius Panda is an educational platform where students use computers to perform laboratory experiments equipping them with experiential and practical science knowledge.
It is a teaching and learning tool which provides alternative solution to schools without labs and allows students to revise their lessons in exciting and engaging ways using interactive animations and simulations designed to align with the education curriculum. The platform saves time for teachers, budgets for schools, increases the safety of conducting lab experiments, and is accessible anytime, anywhere through computers and mobile phones. Students who have adopted the product have increased academic performance by 10 percent. O’Genius Panda has been selected by the UN Sustainable Development Solution Network as one of most innovative top 25 global youth-led for-profit solutions that are advancing SDGs.
Siyavula Education focuses on using technology to enable access to high-quality education. Siyavula’s flagship products are Siyavula Practice and Exam Prep, which are part of a customized online learning platform that uses the latest research on motivation, sequencing, and cognitive science to optimize student study habits and improve test scores.
Currently the platform focusses on high school mathematics and physical sciences. Services are complemented by a catalog of free, open-license textbooks that are endorsed by the National Department of Basic Education in South Africa. A teacher-focused toolkit has been developed for managing classes, assignments, and reporting.