Digital learning is the next frontier in education

Tuesday, November 17th, 2020 01:00 |
Learners with visual impairment receive digital skills training. Photo/PD/ALICE MBURU

Tony Olang

The outbreak of Covid-19 has led to abrupt, but necessary, shut down of all schools around the globe.

Presently, 124 countries — including Kenya — have imposed nationwide school and university shutdowns, which are affecting more than 1.25 billion students, according to the Unesco’s latest report.

Amid the outbreak, for-profit education stocks are expected to gain manifold as online educators are viewing shutdowns as an opportunity to increase its reach among students. 

As the world struggles to contain the deadly virus, school closures is pushing millions of students and tens of thousands of unprepared teachers into online classrooms.

In the US, online education had earlier proven to be a temporary support to schools closed due to disasters such as Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

However, countries such as Kenya that had never been forced to go online have had to seriously rethink  classroom learning as we know it.

Digital learning platforms are not new but in the face of mass adoption, they have significantly changed the face of education.

A digital learning platform is a piece of software designed to heavily assist during the educational process.

There is a range of options available including: Learning Management Systems (LMS), Learning Content Management Systems (LCMS), as well as Virtual Learning Environments (VLE).

At Laser Infrastructure and Technology Solutions (LITES), we have reimagined the traditional classroom entirely, to offer children and adults alternative models for learning through EdTech.

Thanks to massive growth in mobile phone penetration in the country, we have built new models for students to learn via mobile phones, tablets, and apps with digital content, gamified learning, and personalised learning driven by artificial intelligence. 

The Shule System, for example, merges innovation with teaching, by making education more accessible at quite a low cost and massive scale.

Developed by LITES, it is cloud based and supported by a robust end-to-end encryption, with usability on all forms of mobile and immobile devices.

The system, which offers an app on both IOS and Android, was developed against a backdrop where academic institutions in Kenya today face a myriad of challenges and demands on back of changing student profile and expectations, acute resource constraints and greater demands for institutional accountability and control.

To this end, it comes in handy to fulfil critical aspects of school administration processes of concern to both parents and school management.

The Shule system offers easy to use, customisable and scalable information modules with superior applications.

It supports dynamic platforms, analysis and reporting dashboards, real-time notifications and outstanding support for academic and administrative processes.

Its functional components include a student transportation tracking and notification that guarantees parents and school administration peace of mind, security and supervision and accountability on students reporting time, attendance, departures from school and real-time tracking of school transport vehicles location and activity.

It also features an online student admission module that facilitates fast, convenient and reliable online admission of students to academic institutions.

Effectively, there is a standard and scalable central repository of student information recorded against secure registration numbers and/or biometric registration.

Parents and academic staff members can record and track individual student academic and non-curriculum activities performance.

This enables easy trend analysis aimed at identifying student strengths and weaknesses, thereby averting student academic performance drops that go unnoticed until it is too late. 

The system also facilitates curriculum management, staff evaluation, file management and offers an integrated financial management module that enables academic institutions to effectively manage income, expenditure, assets and liabilities, cash flow projections as well as budgeting. 

As such, critical financial reports required for decision making are available on real-time basis. — The writer is the Head of LITES, a subsidiary of the CPF Group

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