International Telecoms Invest in African EdTech

As internet use grows in the African continent, innovations in education through technology has rapidly become one of the fastest growing industries in the region. There is a growing number of startups and private enterprises that focus on developing products for education technology.

Telecoming, a European technology company specializing in direct carrier billing and digital media consumption, is expanding its operations in Africa by partnering with Ubongo, Africa’s largest children’s entertainment producer.

This partnership will enable Ubongo and its partners to produce educational cartoons that children would be able to access through the internet. The use of internet also allows the companies to use large scale methods of distributing their content to different countries in the region. The cartoons are available in languages such as Swahili, French, and English.

The use of technology to promote education is not new but there are calls to make the method more practical, efficient, effective, and inclusive.


What is EdTech?

Educational Technology or EdTech is the use of technology to manage, facilitate, and monitor learning. These may be done through submitting homework or taking tests online, using learning applications, using platforms to earn degrees (online high school, distant learning), and playing educational games. It is designed to enhance teacher-led learning and improve students’ performance.

Through EdTech, curriculums can be customized for students. Their abilities are recorded and analyzed through analytics. These then create content that is fit for the student’s abilities and level—focusing on areas that are weak to improve overall performance.

EdTech startups often have products that offer unique learning experiences to users. Currently, these are limited to interacting with software by reading and providing answers through different input methods either through typing or voice. While this may benefit some types of learners, others are at a disadvantage. Auditory and Kinesthetic learners are the biggest losers with regard to this. However, these issues are slowly being addressed by introducing different media that cater to the needs of all types of learners.

EdTech in Africa

Education Technology has revolutionized and reformed education in Africa. As the continent is faced with issues and problems in education, many companies are finding solutions to improve Africa’s future social and economic growth through education. The growing number of mobile phone use in Africa has prompted many EdTech firms to innovate and create new methods of educating people. Africa is currently one of the world’s fastest growing markets for mobile communication. Many African EdTech companies have used this to address the regions’ educational needs.

Currently, there are 128 million school-aged children in Africa. 17 million children will never attend school. With the use of mobile phones, EdTech firms are creating platforms that could help these children with their educational needs. These platforms could host learning materials and support material. Some even have peer-to-peer learning and remote tutoring support through social networking services.

The use of mobile communication has made education administration easier to manage. It also improved communications between teachers, parents, and schools.


Benefits of EdTech

Education Technology has many benefits. In today’s classrooms, more teachers are using and incorporating technology into their lessons. Some of the benefits of using EdTech include:

  • Improved Student Engagement

Incorporating EdTech into the teaching routine improves student engagement by keeping learning through apps interesting. There are plenty of software programs in the market that make learning fun.

  • Easy Progress Tracking

A student’s progress can be tracked through educational tools that are able to retrieve real-time data on student engagement and performance. This greatly helps educators focus on improving areas where students are weak.

  • Paperless

With efforts being taken to reduce waste, utilizing EdTech means going paperless. All students need are devices that can access the tools that will be used in their lessons.

  • Improved Digital Literacy

Students who use EdTech are trained to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information. Being able to use technology and navigate the internet is a skill that everyone will need in this day and age. Preparing students to be digitally literate would open up opportunities for them.

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