The shift towards getting tech tools into classrooms in the developing world is providing new educational pathways to children that help ensure no one is left behind in our highly digitised world.
Much has been written in the last few years about the advent of technological tools in classrooms: tablets are being used to teach basic arithmetic and computer games help students navigate geography lessons. To help promote a level playing field among global students, a number of organisations now work specifically to get technological tools into classrooms, helping to bridge the digital divide.
Initially, many technological tools and programs were geared towards an older, adolescent audience. However, recently the World Bank noted that the focus has shifted towards younger children, saying “companies are more specifically targeting this area as a potential growth area, both on the hardware and software side; the demonstration value of the pass-back effect, where parents give their phones to their children to keep them occupied, has convinced people of the potential utility of using ICT devices at increasingly younger ages.”
Here are some of the organisations working to get hardware into schools in developing regions:
Linux4Afrika: A longtime RESET partner, Linux4Afrika operates out of Germany and supplies recycled computers (fitted out with Linux software, eliminating the need to purchase expensive software) to school students in Mozambique and Tanzania. Each computer is tested and repaired and older computers are connected to a server, meaning open source software can be installed on the machine and run via the server.
One Laptop Per Child: A stalwart in the sector of providing hardware to children n the developing world One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) works to supply pre-programmed, tailor-made laptops to students who might not otherwise have access to one. OLPC has come under some scrutiny of late for releasing a tablet specifically targeted towards middle class children from westernised as well from a 2012 study which found that a group of students in Peru using OLPC’s devices didn’t score any higher on math and language tests than students using no device.
Youth Learning: Run by Dell, this program works with partners in countries across the world to bring a full range of hardware and software to underprivileged students.