in-class teacher and students engage
with the radio and collaborate with
one another to create a product or
solve a problem.
Though many may recoil at such
scripted instruction, IAI and IRI have
achieved results that other instructional technologies have not. The
“orality” of audio instruction appeals
to cultures where people exchange
knowledge verbally more than visually.
Both resources are extremely popular
with teachers—many of whom, in numerous parts of South Asia and Africa,
have little or no formal training—and
students because they enliven instruction. And, because it is so highly scaffolded, after a couple of years, teachers
often internalize the teaching method
cultivated by IRI and IAI and no longer need the audio assistance.
Most important, IRI and IAI have
demonstrated positive effects on
students’ promotion, attendance, academic achievement, and test scores,
particularly in math, language, and
early-childhood education. Many have
used these instructional techniques
to improve the quality of education in
the absence of qualified teachers due
to disruptions such as war, natural
disaster, teacher mortality, and morbidity as a result of HIV/AIDS or the
lack of teachers in remote and isolated
Many nations use IRI. The EDC
established 53 IRI early-childhood
education centers in Honduras, where
just 21% of children attend preschool.
After one year of instruction using
IRI, the number of students considered academically high risk dropped
to nearly zero, whereas the percentage
of students considered academically
developed rose significantly.
In Zambia, many community school
teachers, who are often volunteers
with little or no training or experience, serve in remote areas that lack
radio reception and electricity. To support these educators, EDC distributed
video-capable iPods with 150 lessons
each for grades 1–7. Where there is no
electricity, we provided solar panels
and batteries to power speakers and
charge the iPods.
In addition to lessons, the iPods
hold an electronic resource library
with enrichment materials and practice activities that support Zambia’s
national curriculum for math, science,
and English. Teachers receive training
on how best to use these text, audio,
and video resources in lesson preparation and classroom activities.
Teachers enjoy using iPods because
of their portability, ease of use, and
capacity to store an extensive supply
of support materials. They report that
the ability to pause and rewind allows
them to stop at critical points in the
lesson for discussion and reflection
and to use the material for repetition
or remedial assistance for students
who need this help. Video examples of
new teaching practices have prompted
teacher discussions around instruction,
which has encouraged collaboration
and reflection. Even student attendance
has increased, as this technological
addition fascinates the children.
Internet over Indonesia’s cellular network. The technology assistant hands
off the technology kit to a teacher,
who uses this lone laptop with her
40–50 students for one or two classes.
Limited to one laptop, teachers must
teach innovatively. There’s no “stand
and deliver” instruction allowed.
Teachers organize students in groups
to work on their project-based activity using one of several collaborative
techniques, such as learning stations
or carousel approaches, for managing the one-computer classroom. The
technology assistant is on hand to
provide technical assistance, but also
to monitor and support the student
use of the laptop.
Though a desktop computer lab
would provide more computers, no
school has the space or financial resources for a lab. The mobility of the
laptop kit ensures that every teacher
in a defined geographic region gets
equal access to the one laptop over the
course of the school year. The technology assistant cross-pollinates ideas
from school to school as he or she
travels with the laptop, enhancing the
modest teacher professional development that occurs in Indonesia.
Portable Technology Kits in Indonesia
In Indonesia, mobile technology is
truly mobile. On any given school day,
an EDC technology assistant drives
his moped from school to school. In
his backpack is a technology kit that
contains a digital camera, portable
flash drive, and laptop to access the
Lessons from the Global South
These examples hold three immediate lessons for U.S. educators. First,
whether at a well-resourced American
private school or a low-resource African one, the size, cost, portability,
and multifunctionality of mobile technologies provide “just in time” and
classroom-based support to teachers
iPods in Zambia
In addition to smartphones and radio,
MP3 players have increasingly played
an important role in bringing support
to teachers in some of the hardest-to-reach places.
A technology kit contains
a digital camera, portable
flash drive, and laptop to
access the Internet.