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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Nokia phones for Lagos schools

Lagos State Primary Schools authorities have adopted Nokia a set of mobile phones for the use of its teachers in about 31 schools, under a joint project called ‘BridgeIT.’ 

This, would aid the teachers in receiving digital educational programming through videos, pictures, text and audio files over mobile technology.

Head of Communications, Nokia West Africa, Mr. Osagie Ogunbor confirmed this to ITRealms Online saying that teachers in 31 schools could now use mobile technology to deliver rich media content to students in their classrooms.

These schools, he said, are part of a pre-pilot programme that would grow to more grade levels and subject areas over the next two years.

“Thanks to an initiative by Nokia, the Pearson Foundation, Bharti Airtel and the Lagos state government through the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB),” he said, noting that the programme combines technology with teacher training to deliver results.

BridgeIT, he said, leverages familiar mobile devices and existing wireless technologies to deliver educational programmes to teachers and students who otherwise would not have access to these materials.

“As a result, teachers receive digital educational programming; videos, pictures, text, and audio files over mobile technology already in use in their community, and are empowered to share these materials with students in ways that improve student learning,” Ogunbor said.

He also said that after viewing educational content, students participate in interactive lessons facilitated by teachers who have benefited from professional development workshops that promote collaboration and the use of mobile technology in the classroom.

The implementation of the programme, he explained, starts this academic session in schools drawn mostly from suburban parts of Lagos.

“Sixty-two basic-five level teachers, two from each participating schools, have been trained to integrate the programme into Math lessons and build student-centered learning through collaborative group work,” he said.

Adding that these teachers would earn BridgeIT Educator certification, and 10 of the 60 participants would become Master BridgeIT Educators who would train colleagues in other schools.

Further, he said, feedback and evaluations from the pre-pilot phase would be integrated into BridgeIT Nigeria’s expansion to additional schools and additional subjects, including six-level math and five- and six-level natural sciences in 2012. This BridgeIT effort will ultimately train hundreds of teachers and reach thousands of children in Nigeria.

President, Pearson Foundation, Mr. Mark Nieker said that this effort allows students in Nigeria to benefit from the BridgeIT model and extends the Pearson Foundation’s commitment to student achievement and teacher ability across the globe.

The General Manager, Nokia West Africa, Mr. James Rutherford, Nokia is actively involved in communities around the world to create tangible social benefits.

Nokia, he said, is committed to enhancing the quality of life around the world by using mobile technology to stimulate social and economic development.

“… Realizing that government cannot shoulder the educational challenges of a developing country like Nigeria alone, Nokia feels a sense of responsibility to contribute its quota in helping to improve the delivery of public educational services by improving both the performance of students and the quality of teaching in our public schools,” he said.

Mr. Rutherford further disclosed that workshops have been conducted to train teachers in using the software to optimize their lesson plans using video content and expressed appreciation to Airtel for making it possible for the videos to be downloaded over its mobile network.

ITRealms Online recalls that the BridgeIT model has enjoyed success in the Philippines, Tanzania, Chile, Colombia, and India.

Each implementation of the programme, it was gathered, has been characterized by the utilization of the latest educational technologies, the empowerment of teachers to fully utilize mobile technology in the classroom, and the following of a tailored and focused program for a sustainable, scalable, and replicable implementation in partnership with local education ministries and agencies.

Remmy Nweke

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

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