Follow Us:

Reducing Education Divide through Multimedia Classroom

(by Md. Afzal Hossain Sarwar, Policy Specialist – Education Innovation, Access to Information [a2i] Programme, Prime Minister’s Office, Bangladesh)

The horizon of new knowledge and teaching-learning methodology is expanding, and the window to the horizon is constantly shifting and changing (Thomas & Brown, 2009). In an increasingly knowledge-based global economy, which is driving the ICT revolution, inequitable access to modern technology has emerged as one of the sources of structural injustice perpetuating inequity and poverty. Bangladesh believes that the only way that it can move forward is through ensuring quality education for all.

Even a few years back, this idea seemed unrealistic given the outdated and teacher-centric teaching-learning process which lacks opportunities for teacher-student and student-student engagement, monotonous and unscientific method of teaching, insufficient study materials, and other challenges. 

It is from this understanding that the Access to Information (a2i) Programme conceived of a strategy to undertake some interventions for integrating the modern technologies in the prevailing education system, designed to be compatible with the ongoing classroom practices. Implementing through the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education, the Government of Bangladesh, with technical and training related support from a2i Programme, launched its grand scheme of creating MULTIMEDIA CLASSROOMS through equipping each of the more than 23,300 secondary schools and 5,000 primary schools with 1 laptop, 1 multimedia projector and Internet connectivity. Thus, the traditional teaching-learning materials could now be complemented with multimedia (i.e. audio-video) content developed by teachers both home and abroad. This integration of ICT has enabled teachers and students to conceptualize ideas and broaden their cognitive abilities through this visualization process (For a detailed understanding, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-xe4SAKrvY). 

The process of reducing the digital divide has therefore already started through 
equipping students from rural areas with the skills that are necessary to be a part of the mainstream activities of the job market. These children are now looking for newer, better, and custom built multimedia content which they can access using the facilities of the multimedia classroom.Thus came the concept of a virtual collaboration space where teachers from anywhere in the country can develop multimedia content in offline mode, upload the content using Internet, and download contents developed by other teachers. This space was aptly named the TEACHERS PORTAL where, as of 12 August 2016, more than 125,000 teachers are collaborating and learning from each other. Considering the rural teachers and students with limited access of Internet, an offline version for the content has been created. Teachers can now access ready content, customize these to their need and use them in teaching.

The government has a grand vision of establishing multimedia classrooms in every school of Bangladesh. To ensure maximum usage of these facilities and to ensure a continuous flow of multimedia education content, more than 150,000 teachers would be trained by 2016. This combination of multimedia classrooms, digital content and teacher training is expected to ultimately reduce the digital divide and improve the overall quality of learning in primary and secondary education by promoting effective and participatory learning.   

 

References

     Access to Information (a2i) Programme. (June, 2015). Special Feature on 3rd anniversary of Multimedia classroom. Dhaka: Prime Minister’s Office.

     Hew, KF & Brush, T 2007, 'Integrating technology into K-12 teaching and learning: current knowledge gaps and recommendations for future research', Etr&D-Educational Technology Research and Development, vol. 55, no. 3, pp. 223-252.

     Jhurree, V. (2005). Technology Integration in Education in Developing Countries: Guidelines to Policy Makers. International Education Journal, 6(4): 467-483. Retrieved on 21 December 2015 from files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ855000.pdf

     Khan, S. H. (2014).  A Model for Integrating ICT into Teacher Training Programs in Bangladesh. International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology, 10 (3): 21 -31.

     Shikkhok Batayon (Teachers’ Portal). Retrieved on 12 August 2016 from https://www.teachers.gov.bd/?language=en

     Thomas, D. and Brown, J. S. (2009).  Learning for a World of Constant Change: Homo Sapiens, Homo Faber & Homo Ludens revisited. Paper presented at the 7th Glion Colloquium by JSB, University of Southern California. Retrieved on 27 October 2015 from blog.intuyuconsulting.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Learning-for-a-world-of-constant-change-revisited.pdf

     UNESCO 2003, Building Capacity of Teachers/Facilitators in Technology-Pedagogy Integration for Improved Teaching and Learning

 

Contact info: Md. Afzal Hossain Sarwar, mahsarwar[at]gmail.com 



23.08.2016