Online Learning Platform Project
Banzaid’s sister organisation, Tranzsend, is working in significant education programmes in Bangladesh. While the Banzaid Village Education Project targets a tutorial programme to enable poor children from village families to attend their local government school, Tranzsend Bangladesh has established two city based English medium schools that demonstrate modern best practice teaching methods.
Based on this experience they have been invited to participate in a project to establish an online learning platform for Bangladesh. This is an amazing opportunity to help improve educational methods, potentially for the whole of the Bangladesh education system.
Several schools in Bangladesh are willing to pilot this online learning platform. ‘BEST online learning platform’ has support from key people in the Education and ICT ministries of the Government of Bangladesh, and if they get good results from the trials, this could get rolled out to all schools in Bangladesh.
The Bangladesh government produces all the textbooks for both primary and secondary classes. Most of the textbooks are adequate although some may be due for revision and updating. Unfortunately, classroom teaching methods rely heavily on rote learning and memorisation of both questions and answers. The teacher presents the week’s topic and points students to the pages in the textbook. Students learn the information in the textbook and are tested at the end of the week on their memory of the text.
A New Zealand teacher notes that “This method produces students with no understanding, no deeper thinking, no application, no comparisons, no higher learning skills. This style of learning results in students that don't ask questions, don't seek more information, can't apply the information and can't use the learning to improve the problems in Bangladesh.”
The two schools that Tranzsend have established are helping to re-establish teaching and student creative learning in classrooms. Using teaching methods common in New Zealand, these English medium schools enable students to achieve a better level of learning.
They believe that ‘best’ learning requires healthy collaborative relationships, both teacher-student and student-student. However, where the local teacher’s explanations are minimal, an accessible online platform combined with a student’s own motivation and curiosity to learn, can help. This online platform will also be an aid to local teachers who often lack access to extra resources.
The aim is to establish an online resource for ‘best practice' educational methods available to all Bangladesh schools. The platform will be based on the Bangladesh government curriculum and textbooks, both Bengali and English medium. It will provide PDF files of each textbook, along with teaching/explanation of the learning objectives of each chapter and learning activities and exercises designed for students to actually understand and learn the desired outcomes. It will feature extended learning links for motivated and curious students.
Key components to establishing this online programme include developing the online platform software; setting up the internet and computing infrastructure; populating the platform with the textbooks, learning materials and student exercises; teacher training and follow up to support the process.
This is a huge and challenging opportunity. They are registering a not-for-profit company to manage the process. The software has been developed, and they are in the process of putting all the textbooks into digital format. What they are looking for now is help to build up a library of digital learning materials and exercises to support the textbooks.
If you are a teacher or have been a teacher in the past, they can use any help you can give! They are looking for:
1. People who are willing to donate learning materials they have created themselves. These can be uploaded directly through a link that they will provide.
2. People able to donate time to work through the resources, link them to the relevant textbook sections, and ensure that each textbook is adequately resourced. Again, this can be done online from New Zealand.
3. Someone who is inspired by this vision and has administrative skills to help coordinate and oversee the entire project. This can be done remotely, but there is also the opportunity for a short term role in Bangladesh to facilitate this transformative project!
For further information, contact Banzaid and we will link you to the team in Bangladesh.