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Bill Gates shares the ultimate recipe for achieving global literacy

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As one of its sustainable development goals, the UN is shooting for total literacy among young people, as well as a large portion of adults, by 2030. At this point, however, it’s far from meeting that goal. At the current rate, 30% of adults and 20% children—most of them in poor countries—would still be illiterate by the deadline.

The problem is most acute in Africa. According to the latest Gates Foundation report, released today (Sept. 17), half the children under age six in francophone Africa lack basic numeracy and literacy. The problem is worse in sub-Saharan Africa. In the world overall, more than 260 million children lack access to education.

As with other markers of development, education isn’t achieved equally across a country. In India, for instance, the disparities are great: In the southwestern district of Kollam the average level of education is 14 years—a number comparable with advanced economies; in the northern Budaun district, on the other hand, the average education is only six years.

The good news is we likely know the most effective way to achieve literacy more evenly: Good old primary school teachers. “Although it’s fine to look at innovative approaches,” Bill Gates told Quartz, “a well-trained teacher in a country that’s stable, where you’re culturally allowing the girls to go to school as well, you can get extremely high literacy levels.”

Add to the mix a reasonably sized class, teachers who are paid by the government and show up, and that is all you need to spread literacy. The formula is so simple, in fact, it can be laid out in emojis:

posted Sep 19 in EdTech by Khemara

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The world is changing, and education must change with it. Many schools are aware of this fact and are trying to rebuild their activities in accordance with the opportunities offered by new technologies. Some universities borrow ideas from the business world, referring to the experience of successful start-ups in order to launch some new processes for themselves. Gradually, a paper routine leaves the schools, giving way to electronic means of working with data.

1. School as a Service

School as a service begins with the commitment of the state to each student as a digital student. When states reduce historical barriers, the transition to personal digital learning will mean a school service: access to quality courses and teachers from several providers.

Education SaaS changes the basic assumptions – it does not need to associate time and place. This does not mean that everything will become virtual – in the foreseeable future, at least 90 percent of families will benefit from local schools, but this requires new thinking, new staffing models, new budgeting strategies and new ways of communicating with students and families.

2. Mobile Learning

Mobile learning, also known as m-learning, is an educational system. Using portable computing devices (such as iPads, laptops, tablets, PDAs, and smartphones), wireless networks provide mobility and mobile training, which allows to teach and learn to expand beyond the traditional audience. Within the class, mobile training provides instructors and students with increased flexibility and new possibilities for interaction.

3. Gamification in Education

Gamification in education is sometimes described using other terms: game thinking, the principles of the game for learning, the design of motivation, the design of interaction, etc. This differs from game-based learning in that it doesn`t imply that students themselves play commercial video games. It works on the assumption that the kind of interaction that players encounter with games can be transformed into an educational context in order to facilitate learning and influence on students’ behaviour. Because gamers voluntarily spend a lot of time for gaming, researchers and teachers are exploring ways to use the power of video games to motivate and apply it in the classroom.

4. Big Data

“Big Data” is a term that we are used to hearing in business, but it is also an important tool for education. Learning World explores this technological fashion word and talks with an expert on this topic: Kenneth Cuciere, co-author of “Learning with Big Data.”

Cukier sees “Big Data” as an opportunity to adapt learning to the individual needs of students and the learning process. Instead of avoiding this, teachers must accept changes that bring in large data, and use them to their advantage.

One example of the large data that occurs in education is the “Course Signals”, which allow professors to give feedback if there are early signs that students do not exercise or do not use class time.

5. Blended and Flipped Learning

Blended learning is a pedagogical method in which the learner learns, at least in part, by providing content and training through digital and online media using the student controls in time or place. This allows the student to create an individual and integrated approach to learning. Blended training is combined with a flipped class approach to learning.

The Flipped class is a pedagogical model in which the typical elements of the lecture and the homework of the course change to the opposite. Students watch short video lectures or other multimedia materials asynchronously before a class session. Then, class time is devoted to active learning, such as discussions, design or problem assignments, or laboratory exercises. This learning model allows teachers to guide the teaching of students by answering students’ questions and helping them apply the concepts of the course during classes.

6. Massive Online Open Courses

Nowadays MOOCs may not be so widespread as when they first attracted attention, and people no longer think that this is the answer to the problems of educational inequality. Nevertheless, MOOCs still deserve close attention, as it develops as an important part of education, and it offers its students many advantages if used well. Moreover, The New York Times called 2013 the “Year of the MOOC” because it attracted a lot of attention and money.

7. Personalized Learning

Personalized learning is a sort of adaptive learning that considers working with computers to make decisions, based on previous levels of learner understanding when interacting with a computer program. Learning analytics and artificial intelligence are the essences of individual learning because without them it would be impossible to easily adapt the instruction on the basis of immediate answers.

Personalized learning can seem like a dream in many schools, but it’s already happening more than we can imagine – and often behind the back of the teacher.

in EdTech
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Artificial intelligence (AI) and emerging technologies (ET) are poised to transform modern society in profound ways. As with electricity in the last century, AI is an enabling technology that will animate everyday products and communications, endowing everything from cars to cameras with the ability to interact with the world around them, and with each other. These developments are just the beginning, and as AI/ET matures, it will have sweeping impacts on our work, security, politics, and very lives.

These technologies are already impacting the world around us, as Darrell West and I wrote in our April 2018 piece “How artificial intelligence is transforming the world,” and I highly recommend that anyone just discovering the topic of AI policy read it thoroughly. There, Darrell and I describe several important implications related to AI/ET, but chief among them is that these technology developments are on the cusp of ushering in a true revolution in human affairs at an increasingly fast pace.

As AI continues to influence and shape existing industries and allows new ones to take root, its macro-level impact, particularly in the realm of economics, will become more and more apparent. Control over the research and development of AI will become increasingly vital, and the winners of this upcoming AI-defined era in human history will be the countries and companies that can create the most powerful algorithms, assemble the most talent, collect the most data, and marshal the most computing power. This is the next great technology race of our generation and the stakes are high, particularly for the United States. If American society is to embrace the full range of social and political changes that these technologies will introduce, then it is the education and training we provide our youth and workers that will fuel the engines of future AI, and therefore geopolitical success.

It is the education and training we provide our youth and workers that will fuel the engines of future AI, and therefore geopolitical success.

I’ve studied and written extensively about the effects of AI/ET on the evolving character of war toward a concept I’ve called hyperwar—or, a new era of warfare in which, through AI, the speed of decision-making is faster than anything that has come before. At a superficial level, this topic often devolves into a discussion of “killer robots,” or at the very least, the impending use of AI in lethal autonomous weaponry. While those discussions are relevant and inextricably linked, they represent a narrow understanding of the greater issues at hand. The concern over AI’s potential or theoretical military applications must not distract us from how far-reaching the impact of AI will be in nearly all other policy domains. Health care, education, agriculture, energy, finance, and yes, national security, will all be reshaped in some way by AI—with education being the pivot point around which the future of the United States revolves. This is not solely a matter of social redress, but, in fact, a larger national issue.

A future in which the United States is second in the race for AI technology would create a situation of national technological and digital/cyber inferiority, which could in turn result in national strategic subservience.

The way we use education to prepare our next generation of leaders will directly determine whether the U.S. retains its leadership in critical fields of relevance in the emerging digital environment. Without a sufficiently educated population and workforce, the U.S. likely will slip behind other states for whom AI/ET is not only meant for improved social organization, but for strategic superiority, and ultimately digital and physical conquest. A future in which the United States is second in the race for AI technology would create a situation of national technological and digital/cyber inferiority, which could, in turn, result in national strategic subservience—something simply unimaginable.

Many Americans grew up with the understanding that the American capacity to fight and win a nuclear war was defined by its superiority in the Strategic Triad, the three legs of our strategic deterrence: our missile squadrons, our bomber fleet, and our ballistic missile submarines.  Behind that dizzying array of hardware was the undisputed power of U.S. intellectual and technical capabilities, and behind that was a near unlimited supply of talented engineers, each trained by a system of education undisputed in its excellence. That system was built from the ground up to produce crucial STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) protégés in the quantities needed to ensure American strategic superiority, which contributed directly to the U.S. and its allies prevail in the Cold War. For the health of our American way of life, our competitive advantage, and the strategic security of our nation, the basis for tomorrow’s system of education must reflect a deliberately tuned and calibrated system that proactively emphasizes AI/ET, big data analytics, and super-computing.

Unfortunately, in both relative and absolute terms, the U.S. is falling behind in the race for superiority in these key technologies. Where the U.S. strategic advantage of the 20th Century was secured by American nuclear superiority, U.S. superiority in the 21st Century will likely be preserved, safeguarded, and sustained through a system of education that envisages the changes necessary and sufficient to embrace and apply relevant technologies. It will also be underwritten by educators who grasp the profound shifts in the pedagogical skills essential to the educational needs of the 21st Century.

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Education technology adoption across the country has increased significantly over the last couple of years. This trend is seen not only in India but also in other parts of the world. A recent study “The 2018 Global Learning Technology Investment Patterns: The Rise of the Edtech Unicorns”, published by research firm Metaari revealed that the ed-tech sector globally received USD 16.3 billion funding with Chinese edtech companies, snapping up a 44.1per cent and US ed-tech companies taking 32per cent of the total global funding.

5 Emerging Trends That Will Shape the Future of Ed-Tech

The ed-tech space will continue to remain a prominent sector and we see the below trends emerging in the year 2019

  1. Blended Learning – This year will see more companies offering blended learning solutions, that combine technology with teachers. There is a strong need to build solutions with the underlying principle that technology will not replace but augment the teacher. One of the key factors to succeed in achieving goals is hard work and often, it is not easy without a mentor or a coach giving that nudge and support when required. This is all the more true for K12 students, as in most cases, students are not self-motivated and require the support of a teacher. "Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning: A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies," an extensive study conducted by SRI International for the U.S. Department of Education, found that students in blended learning classes outperformed those in fully online or fully in-person classes.

  2. Personalization with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) – Personalization was a luxury a few years ago but now with technology, it is becoming a way of life for everyone. Instead of the same programs being telecast for one and all, today we can personalize our television viewing experience based on our likes and dislikes. Similarly, in education personalization is being rapidly integrated into learning solutions. We will see this trend gaining momentum in 2019 as students learn best if learning happens at their pace and is adapted for their style of learning. For example, kinaesthetic learners get activities, visual learners get more pictures and videos etc, making learning more meaningful and less stressful.

  3. Active Learning – “Chalk and Talk” style of teaching will soon be a thing of the past not just in the classroom but in online solutions which currently offer more video-based content only. Students learn best when they take control of their learning and are cognitively engaged in the process of learning. And as adults, we can vouch for this as we have seen time and again that we are good at those things on which we have taken initiative to learn and master. According to a study published by Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences, USA, students in classes with traditional lecturing were 1.5 times more likely to fail than were students in classes with active learning. There are niche players in the ed-tech space who have designed their products with ‘Active Learning’ as their design principle and have seen good traction. This trend will continue to be a dominating trend in the months to come.

  4. Gamification – Gamification is not a new trend in education but the need to increase student engagement and attention span is more than ever, so we will see gamification making big in ed-tech solutions. Research has shown that kids learn better when they are more engaged and focused through game-based learning which evokes creativity, imagination, and self-discovery. So, we will see more game-based learning solutions coming up.

  5. Going Above and Beyond the Curriculum – In the last 2 years, another trend that has gained traction among parents is participation in competitions and Olympiads being conducted nationally and internationally. After the Indian government’s decision to participate in Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2021, which tests the learning level of 15 year olds, after a nearly 10 year hiatus post a debacle in its first PISA entry in 2009 where India stood at 72nd position among 74 participating countries, we will see the push from educational boards and schools as well. So, we will see more ed-tech companies focusing on these niches by bringing out solutions which develop strong analytical, critical thinking and problem-solving skills, along with real-life applications of textbook concepts.

As with everything else in life, change is always welcome. The education system in India was badly stuck in a bygone era and these winds of change brought in by technologies are being welcomed by all stakeholders, be it, parents, students, schools or government. So, by all means, education technology will continue to be the flavour of the year.

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