Africa’s Revolutionary Educational Market

A History of Change

Africa: a continent with so many natural resources.  The natural richness of Africa makes it impossible to believe this massive continent is home to most of the poorest countries in the world.  Despite the economic and social disparities Africa faces, Africans carry the everlasting spirit of warriors.  These warriors have fought social and economic injustice, and their culture is rooted in the stories of African slave trade, Apartheid, and the decolonization of African countries.  During my visit at @InnovationAfric, Africa’s Ministerial Official Summit, it was apparent that the diaspora is still fighting the same injustices of the past.  

At the Innovation Africa Summit, decolonization is apparent in the faces of the people in power.  It was amazing to me that 99% of African ministers are of African descent.  But the fight did not stop when Africans were placed in power; the fight continues through the messages delivered at the summit’s panels.  There was one clear message that resonated with me after sitting in some of the panels: “Education has the power to change social and economic injustice.”  This message is the reason I studied education in college.  I was delighted to share this message with the African people, and I felt empowered to join them on the journey to change education in Africa.

 

 

Learning about Africa’s Challenges

As one of Genius Plaza’s representatives, I was on a mission to find out what part Genius Plaza can play in Africa’s educational revolution.  Unesco estimates between 30-70 million children are without access to education.  They also reported between 40 and 90% of schools – depending on their location in Africa – don’t have access to internet, technology, and resources (books, decolonized literature).  So the question that arose was, how does an educational technology company help countries with such challenges?

 

Genius Plaza’s Role in Changing Education

Below, I listed some ways educational technology companies can help Africa’s educational revolution.  The first area where Genius Plaza can help is in providing good quality, culturally relevant resources (eBooks, games, videos, exercises) to each unique country in Africa.  Genius Plaza has provided their users with a game-changing tool called “Re-teach.”  Teachers and students from around the world are empowered to create content unique to the user.  Re-teach can help in the decolonization process, because it gives people tools to tell their stories using their personal experiences, culture, and mother tongues.  

For example, Uganda’s representative, Okaka Opio Bokotum, also an Associate Professor at Lira University in Uganda, shared with us his country’s fight and struggle for decolonization.  During the summit, I noticed most African representatives have a common problem – truly teaching their students how to become bilingual.  In most African countries, students are taught in their mother tongue until the first grade.  In the second and third grade, students begin learning in the national languages (English, Portuguese, French), which vary from country to country.  It is a struggle to raise bilingual students because there aren’t many resources created in their mother tongues, making it difficult for teachers to show students the value of learning, using, and celebrating their native language.  Professor Okaka expressed this same concern.  He was delighted to learn how Genius Plaza’s Re-teach tool can be used to show students the value of their mother tongue.  With Genius Plaza, Uganda can begin creating resources (eBooks, videos, exercises, games) in fifty-two different languages. This is truly revolutionary – it can change how Africans see themselves, their cultures, and it can change how the rest of the world sees and what the rest of the world knows about Africa.  

Secondly, providing African schools with access to Genius Plaza platform and apps.  By developing an offline platform and apps, we can welcome students from around the world access to good quality resources, regardless of internet access.

Lastly, working closely and building relationships with governments and ministers to help provide funding for schools, internet, and technology for schools that still need it.

The time for change is now!  Africa is a market looking for revolutionary change to allow their future children to compete with the rest of the world.

Africa

 


Empowering Students to Teach

Informal and Formal Assessments

As a teacher, I am always looking for fun and creative ways to conduct informal and formal assessments. When conducting informal assessments, I am checking to see if my students understand the topic, and can analyze and evaluate what they have learned. The most common informal assessments I use are exit tickets. Exit tickets are a great tool, providing me with insight on what my students know and do not know. But every now and then, I like to switch up the informal assessment methods to bring some excitement and creativity to the classroom.

 

Boosting Students’ Participation

Using technology in my classroom really seems to boost my students’ participation and motivation to learn. This is why I love working with teachers to use Genius Plaza, an education technology platform. Genius Plaza provides teachers, students, and parents with relatable content in math, ELA, and science. But that’s not all – the best part is the platform allows students to be protagonists of their own learning, giving them the option to create their own eBook, video, game, and/or exercise. Through the use of these resources, students can teach us what they have learned from a lesson.

re-teaching

Re-teaching

The option to create any of these resources is truly a game-changer. As we all know, our students are each different, and a method that caters to one may not cater to another. The re-teaching options motivate my students to create content using a resource that best fits their learning needs and personality. Here is one of my students re-teaching – via a video – what they learned after reading and watching a Genius Plaza lesson on venture capitalist Brian Dixon.

I was truly surprised and ecstatic to see that one of our Genius students could create a video like this one! It was evident that he planned out what he wanted to record, drafted a script, recorded the video, and reviewed and revised the script and video. To my delight, I noticed he was not only able to reflect on what he learned, but he provided us with further insight on the topic.  The information was not in the lesson, and discussed the benefits of the career in his community.

 

Free Re-Teaching Resources

Genius Plaza re-teaching resources are a fantastic way to incorporate technology in your classroom, while engaging your students in a creative way. I invite you to visit us at www.Geniusplaza.com

 

I would love to hear from you, feel free to contact me at Paola@geniusplaza.com


eBook Sets: A Game-changing Resource for Improving Comprehension Skills

As a teacher, you know that twenty-first century students have diverse literacy needs, and we are now faced with differentiating learning content according to each student’s learning style, interests, and readiness. We have also heard from many of you that one of the main challenges you face with students is related to comprehension skills.

Howard Gardner, a PhD Professor of Education at Harvard University, developed the Theory of Multiple Intelligences, with which many of us are familiar.  There are three general categories in which people learn: visual learners, auditory learners, and kinesthetic learners. Gardner’s work on psychology, human cognition, and human potential led to the development of the initial six intelligences.

Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences

  1. Verbal-linguistic intelligence
  2. Logical-mathematical intelligence
  3. Spatial-visual intelligence
  4. Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence
  5. Musical intelligence
  6. Interpersonal intelligence
  7. Intrapersonal intelligence
  8. Naturalist intelligence
  9. Existential intelligence

When using multimodal content, you create an environment where students feel motivated to participate in activities that fit their learning needs and styles. But the big problem many encounter is finding sufficient time to differentiate by modality, or finding content that fits each student’s learning style. Thematic sets are hard to come by.  Seeking out resources that share the same theme can be time-consuming.

At Genius Plaza, we understand the importance of multimodal content, which is why we provide access to hundreds of thematic eBook sets. These include, but are not limited to, eBooks, videos, vocabulary sets, printables, exercises, and games. Genius Plaza strives to provide teachers with culturally relevant thematic sets, which come nicely packaged to help teachers take back their time, allowing them to focus more on students’ learning needs and developing other skills. With Genius Plaza, you can teach the same concept by assigning one student a video and another an eBook or game, so students have the opportunity to learn verbally, visually, musically, etc.

Explore the benefits of incorporating eBook sets in the classroom.

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For more information on Multiple Intelligences and how to apply this theory in the classroom, make sure to keep following my blog. Below, you will find an article with additional information:

Multiple Intelligences: Gardner’s Theory. ERIC Digest.