If your children are anything like ours, the minute they walk in the door from school, they shrug off heavy packs loaded with books and grab their phones and tablets. Kids these days are extraordinarily tech-savvy and connected. So why are we still teaching these 21st Century kids with 20th Century tools?
Looking at international educational rankings, government officials in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) believed their children – and schools – could perform better. Kids weren’t learning about or using the tools that they would actually use in their future professional lives, and so they were missing out on the vast educational opportunities technology could provide. Educational professionals in these countries recognized this and selected ITWORX Education to help. After a few conversations we set out to create a complete solution which would meet their lofty goal: to transform students’ entire educational experience.
There were a number of issues that led to low student engagement and scores: according to our customers, educators were struggling to keep high-tech kids interested and engaged in low-tech classrooms and activities. Not only were teachers spending hours creating lesson plans, they weren’t able to leverage the enormous resources available on the web. And in this increasingly collaborative world, students often still worked in isolation, toiling alone instead of collaborating with peers and teachers. They weren’t learning entrepreneurship, teamwork, creativity, teamwork, or innovation – the skills they would most need to succeed in the professional world.
The Connected Learning Gateway (CLG) is a social learning management system that addresses the pain points our customers identified. Our AuthorKit tool allows teachers to easily create interactive eLearning resources by choosing from an array of content types, including videos, multimedia files, presentations, HTML5 interactive objects, and more. AuthorKit Reader provides students with the ability to access this content anywhere, anytime, on a tablet or even a phone. Now students have access to a wide variety of quality educational resources, via the latest technological tools.
For example, imagine the difference for a learner between writing notes on paper and adding knowledge to a Wiki. One is static and solitary – the other, dynamic and collaborative. It’s this gap between old-fashioned teaching methodologies and the learning opportunities created by new technology that our products were created to address.
Ease of communication was another concern for educators. Because CLG utilizes SharePoint, students can work collaboratively on projects (wikis, blogs, discussion boards), and Lync keeps students in contact with each other and with their teachers, even outside of the classroom. CLG’s parent app, ParentLIVE, also brings parents into the learning process by giving them a way to see children’s assignments and communicate with educators.
In the UK, Broadclyst Community Primary school wanted to use technology to improve teaching in their classrooms. Broadclyst chose CLG because our platform allows teachers to tailor learning to each child’s needs and learning style.
The end result? CLG has seen great success. In the UAE, our system is in 123 schools and in the hands of more than 12,000 students. Among those students, 94% said interaction with teachers had improved through e-learning, and 69% said it had facilitated the assignment process. Students in Qatar overwhelmingly rated the e-learning solution as helpful or very helpful, along with 78% of teachers.
On the strength of this success, we are expanding into other schools and other parts of the globe. As technology continues to change our world, it’s important that tomorrow’s innovators, leaders, and educators be as prepared as possible to meet the future. We’re proud to play a role in helping them succeed.