Dr. Joao Couvaneiro working with teachers and students in Mozambique

Dr. Joao Couvaneiro working with teachers and students in Mozambique

We are delighted to have the expertise of Dr. Joao Couvaneiro working with us on the School in a Box project in Mozambique in a collaboration between IADT Dun Laoghaire, Irish Aid and the Mozambican Ministry for Education.  The project will measure the impact of mobile digital technology on teaching, with an emphasis on creativity and participative practices.  

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School in a Box presented at Mobile Learning Week in UNESCO Headquarters in Paris

School in a Box presented at Mobile Learning Week in UNESCO Headquarters in Paris

The School in a Box project was presented at the UNESCO Mobile Learning Week symposium in Paris on 11th March.  The aim of this years symposium was to debate and illustrate how innovation through the use of mobile technology was be leveraged to improve quality of education in line with Sustainable Development Goal Number 4; Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning.  


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Dr. N.Miguel Seabra, School in a Box's most passionate advocate and trainer passes away

Dr. N.Miguel Seabra, School in a Box's most passionate advocate and trainer passes away

It is with enormous sadness that we learn of the death of our dear colleague Dr. N Miguel Seabra.  Miguel has brought joy to countless people he met over his many trips to Mozambique for School in a Box.  As a teacher he was committed, passionate, energetic, fun and enabled learners to think in completely new and creative ways.  We cannot imagine how much he will be missed.  We express our deepest condolences to his family, friends and colleagues in Portugal.

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New Primary Education Project in Mozambique with Irish Aid

New Primary Education Project in Mozambique with Irish Aid

In a collaboration between Irish Aid and Institute of Art Design and Technology (IADT) Dun Laoghaire, working together with the Min- istry for Education in Mozambique and Guava School in Maputo city, third grade teachers in the school are implementing the School in a Box programme. Teachers are trained to use the technology in a methodology to make learning meaningful in a local context and more interesting and fun for children in danger of dropping out of school.

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President Guebuza of Mozambique visits School in a Box

We were honoured to be visited by the Mozambican President Armando Guebuza yesterday.  After viewing some works from graduating IADT students, President Guebuza watched a demonstration of the School in a Box technology and methodology.  President Guebuza was particularly interested in the progress of School in a Box projects in Maputo province in adult literacy centres, and with agricultural facilitators in Cabo Delgado province.  

We are looking forward to continuing the development of this project in collaboration with the Mozambican government.

School in a Box - India

A member of SIAB research and development team visits Chennai, India next week.

Teach For India are collaborating with the research and development team behind SIAB testing a unit in Chennai, southern India. Srini Swaminathan, City Director at Teach For India, Chennai and members of his team are testing SIAB in a number of Teach For India schools in Chennai. Philip Penny a member of the research and development team behind SIAB will spend next week there visiting 11 schools.

Teach For India launched in Chennai in June 2012 beginning in 29 classrooms across Chennai. Over 2011-2012 fourteen school leaders of various low income community classrooms signed agreements with Teach For India. Seven schools are public schools that come under the Corporation of Chennai city and the rest are private schools that take in children from under served communities.

Each school has at least two teachers and in total Teach For India impact about 1100 children across the 29 classrooms, averaging about 36 kids per class.

President Higgins Introduced to SIAB at UNESCO

President Michael D. Higgins availed of a fortuitous coincidence to learn about IADT’s School in a Box during his recent visit to UNESCO in Paris. Having delivered his address to delegates from 195 member states, President Higgins visited IADT’s stand at UNESCO’s Mobile Learning Week exhibition and enjoyed a briefing on School in a Box from IADT researcher, Philip Penny. 

Mobile Learning Week aims to explore how mobile learning can make a unique contribution to achieving the Education for All (EFA) goals of increasing education access, quality and equality.

IADT’s School in a Box overcomes one of the fundamental obstacles to deploying mobile technologies in developing countries – the lack, or very limited supply, of electricity. Its’ portable solar panels provide the electricity to support an iPad and a projector - creating a powerful teaching and learning tool which can be used even in areas of poor infrastructure. School in a Box is already deployed in South Africa, Nepal and Gabon, while a pilot deployment in Mozambique is planned for 2013 with support from UNESCO.

Himalayan School in the Mountainous Humla Region in Nepal Receive a Consignment of 10 Units of School in a Box

Watch Nepal 2 min from FÍS IADT on Vimeo.

From the outset, IADT have recognized the vital importance of developing and fostering relationships with organizations and partner institutions that act as representatives or champions of SIAB on the ground. Choosing the right partner with key personnel who understand the SIAB solution in a ‘holistic’ way is a vital part of the process and great care is taken at this initial stage.

IADT*  partnered with Karuna-Shechen (www.karuna-shechen.org) a non-profit humanitarian organisation that works with a network of local partners and volunteers to provide education, health care and social services in the greater Himalayan area.

 This relationship has allowed us to proceed with our second SIAB pilot deployment. Ten SIAB units have been deployed in Humla, the highest (3,500 meters) and most remote region in northwestern Nepal, close to the border with Tibet. The Nepal deployment presents most of the challenges that the SIAB solution was designed to overcome.

David Baugh, digital media expert and Apple Distinguished Educator / Mentor travelled to Nepal to oversee deployment and deliver the Train-the-Teacher program to 11 teachers and 3 teaching assistants.  David’s prior experience of living, working and trekking in Nepal stood him in good stead for this challenging assignment.  

*IADT researcher, Philip Penny is carefully monitoring the roll out and providing support to the school on an on-going basis to ensure the best possible learning outcomes for the students and teachers involved.


IADT’s School in a Box Recently Showcased at UNESCO Educational Conference in Paris 

IADT’s School in a Box Recently Showcased at UNESCO Educational Conference in Paris 

Since June 2012, IADT have been in discussions with UNESCO and the US Delegation to UNESCO regarding potential collaboration in respect of a number of further deployments. In August 2012, Philip Penny of IADT and representatives of UNESCO undertook a scoping mission to Mozambique, with significant assistance from the Irish Ambassador to Mozambique and Irish Aid. The visit confirmed the immediate relevance, usefulness and usability of School in a Box in a number of settings.

It also allowed us to build some very positive links with corporate entities who are interested in lending their support to the initiative. We hope to be delivering School in a Boxes and the associated training programmes in Mozambique in the near future.

IADT’s “School in a Box” Will be Presented at the Southern African ICT for Education Summit 2012

The ‘School In A Box’ (SIAB) project team is pleased to announce their involvement at ‘The Southern African ICT for Education’ Summit in Zimbabwe on Friday January 27th 2012.

After a number of relevant presentations in 2011, the SIAB project team was encouraged to showcase SIAB at AfricanBrains which is devoted to the promotion of innovation and attracting investment into new technologies such as SIAB.

For more information on this go to: http://africanbrains.net/edusa/

Cape Peninsula University of Technology to deploy 15 School In a Box units in South Africa.
IADT / SIAB are also pleased to announce that an order for 15 SIAB’s has been received from Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) in Cape Town. A delegation from CPUT visited IADT last month for a SIAB training workshop that included instruction on follow-up online ‘Continuing Professional Development’ (CPD) for CPUT which is part of the overall SIAB package.

What Is School in the Box?
IADT School in a Box (SIAB) (http://www.iadtschoolinabox.com/) is a new FÍS/IADT initiative that addresses the global problem of inequitable access to modern educational tools. It is an innovative solution to a third world problem in an educational context that can transform classrooms in rural India and sub Saharan Africa into twenty first century learning spaces.

What’s In School in a Box?
There are four connected elements that constitute the innovation in SIAB. 1) The portable solar panel that powers a 12v lithium battery; 2) The passive connected hardware technology, the iPad2, Pico Projector and Speakers that runs of the solar powered battery delivering the learning content; 3) The pre-installed curriculum and 4) The ability of the solar powered iPad2 to deliver customized curricula and crucially, learning content that is locally driven and rich in multimedia.

Why it’s needed?
Access to Information and Communication Technologies in Education (ICTs) can advance the well-being of rural populations in India and sub Saharan Africa. Seventy per cent of the poorest people in the world live in rural areas where low literacy is common – better education is seen as crucial for achieving advancement and sustainable development. The ability to deliver ICTs in this context has never been easier due to advancements in technologies that enable development of locally driven curricula and access to knowledge repositories via the World Wide Web.  One of the main infrastructural barriers preventing access to education in rural communities is the lack of access to electricity. More than 70% of sub Saharan Africa has no access to electricity and in rural areas this often exceeds 90%.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) in 2010 published data on India that showed that over 60% of the population of 1.2 billion was without access to electricity.

The aim of SIAB is to overcome this lack of basic infrastructure and transform Multigrade and Single Grade classrooms in rural India and sub Saharan Africa into twenty first century learning spaces through the use of solar power.