From mobile applications, digital platforms to actual school curriculum programmes, Edtech is slowly but steadily gaining popularity here in the Kingdom! Hence, in this Edtech series, we will be exploring the world of Edtech in Cambodia; starting off with the first instalment where we delve deeper into Edtech implemented into school programmes or that are intertwined with institutional curriculums; so as to help propel students’ learning even more.
In this article, we will be talking about Edtech innovations that have been gaining traction in the Kingdom and has shown its potential thus far.
Zooming deeper into the respective school programmes and institutions, we will be exploring Edemy’s Blended English Programme, the innovative curriculum implemented at the Liger Leadership Academy and the TEST Application, a project supported by Development Innovations.
Funded by the Fulbright and Undergraduate State Alumni Association of Cambodia (FUSAAC), Edemy stands for English Academy and they aim to bring quality and integral English education to all in the Kingdom.
Offering 3 separate courses namely General English, Writing and Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) for those who have already achieved an intermediate level of the language, Edemy provides anyone interested to learn with the means to do in an affordable manner and despite environmental constraints. Furthermore, each lesson is taught by instructors who have graduated from the U.S and/or the Institute of Foreign Languages (IFL).
Following their mantra of “Uneducated people only exist if they choose to do be so. Education should be a choice. If people want education, there should be a means for them to do so and the means may not be conventional classrooms”, Edemy has introduced Edtech-related solutions to tackle this impending societal problem.
Firstly, Edemy is able to provide affordable education that is up to 50% lower than what students in rural areas normally have to pay. This means that no matter the financial status of the individual, they do still have the option to get a quality education. This is all achieved by using low-cost technology that helps to recycle 50% of their content, in combination with using local resources.
Secondly, especially in rural areas, environmental and resource constraints pose to be a huge obstacle for learning at times. Some of these problems include having a lack of quality English teachers in remote areas, as well as having teachers who actually do have a high proficiency in the language. To combat this, Edemy utilises a low-cost device called Raspberry Pi to capture and store content and instructions done by some of the best teachers from the city. With this, teachers merely have to facilitate students on their learning, using mere management skills. This results in Edemy being able to offer English education at any level, easily and anywhere.
As of now, they are further scaling up and developing their business idea in the Entrepreneurship Program ICT for Change (EPIC) programme’s incubation stage, implemented by USAID, Development Innovations and Impact Hub Phnom Penh.
This institution is known to have a more out-of-box method for education, focusing on going beyond essential subjects like Khmer, English, Science and Math, through the provision of project, opportunity and experience-based learning.
Each year, Liger takes on an extensive, nationwide screening of over 8,000 children before selecting around 50 to 60 children, who have shown the most potential in being future leaders and changing agents, to join their 6-year school programme on a full scholarship.
As part of their unique learning model, instead of teachers, they use the term, ‘facilitators’, instead as they work alongside the student to identify problems, opportunities and solutions. This encourages Liger students to be an integral part of their own learning process. Also, they do not have standardised curriculum, but rather take on courses that vary in length and revolve around Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). This allows students to acquire tailored learning experiences that are essential to their desired future beyond the classroom.
Furthermore, their use of technology is very apparent in their explorative curriculum. This year alone, they have implemented part one of a two-part project to install a solar powered computer lab into a Cambodian government school through the introduction of Raspberry Pi. Besides the commissioning of this lab, different curriculums were introduced to inspire creative digital work including CAD design and programming, as well as using an English learning platform designed for Khmer speakers.
They also came up with a project called, “Liger Digital Currency”, where students designed and implemented a system for transferring currency digitally between Liger students and staff. This helped them to build up their programming skills ultimately and shows how apparent the technology aspect is intertwined in their daily classes.
Besides that, the school also encourages participation in tech-related events, like Technovation; which we wrote about back in September!
Also known as the Technology for Education Systems Transformation, this project was introduced by World Education Cambodia and supported by USAID’s Development Innovations and is a mobile application that automates student reading assessments using mobile tablet computers.
This was made after seeing how Cambodian schools struggle to recruit enough teachers to meet the growing school-age population annually. Furthermore, it was extremely time consuming and inaccurate for teachers to grade paper-based examinations, as well as pinpoint each student’s weaknesses. Following this impending problem at hand, the TEST application was made to mitigate the above mentioned problems and to promote strong foundations for literacy in the first and second grades.
First piloted at 7 schools across three provinces in early 2015 in coordination with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, the program has expanded to another 84 new schools across 8 other provinces in Cambodia; reaching more than 11,600 students and 280 teachers across the nation as of August 2017. Its success continues to be apparent in the praise coming from both teachers and students. Both parties have cited the application as a very helpful tool; where teachers can assess their students’ needs and literacy levels more effectively and efficiently and also encourages an independent reading culture amongst the students. On top of that, all results are automatically sent to the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport.
As for future plans, with USAID’s Development Innovations’ support, World Education Cambodia is scaling up the application to reach Grade 3 students in 2017.
To conclude, here is a quick summary of what the aforementioned institutions and education-related technology offer and the most important points you should take note of, especially if you are interested in exploring more about these programmes, institutions or applications:
So if you want to find out more about these programmes, you can visit their websites here– Edemy, Liger Leadership Academy and TEST Application. Do keep a lookout on Geeks in Cambodia as we will be continuing this Edtech series for the next few weeks!