#78 Going From Pilots to Scale – The Journey of MENA’s First Edtech Testbed

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With so many technological breakthroughs, have you ever wondered if there was a way we could better systemize the implementation of edtech in the classroom in a way that benefits teachers rather than creating unnecessary burdens? Enter the world of testbeds.

Edtech testbeds are essentially environments where new Edtech tools and approaches can be developed and tested in a controlled setting. But why do we need testbeds in the first place? Despite the rapid growth of the edtech industry in the MENA region and globally, there are still significant challenges facing the sector, including limited access to funding and a lack of technical expertise. On top of that, there’s a crucial need for better alignment between edtech products and local education needs. This is where edtech testbeds come in as a crucial bridge, connecting edtech companies with educators to develop innovative solutions that meet the unique needs of learners in the region and around the world.

For the past two years, WISE has been building the MENA region’s first edtech testbed, located in Qatar’s Education City.

In this episode, WISE Director Elyas Felfoul discusses the journey and key milestones of the project with Seungah Lee, a senior lecturer of social research and public policy at NYU Abu Dhabi and the lead researcher on Qatar’s first edtech testbed.

Together, they delve into insights they learned that could not only benefit the region’s edtech development, but globally as a whole.

Conversation Script:

Elyas: Seungah, It’s a first in the region and you’ve been in the region. I’d love to hear from your personal experience how you ended up working in education, how you ended up in the region. We’d love the audience to learn more about you and your journey.

Seungah: Thank you, Elyas It’s a great pleasure to be here. It’s always fun to be back in Qatar to talk to you about various topics conducting research on education. To your question, I first started off more of an economics backgrounds thinking about development economics, and always looked at education as an important role for economic growth, for individual wage outcomes, learning outcomes, life outcomes.

And as I was studying in the at least in the economic literature, I found that education somehow statistically was not very significant, even though normatively we assume and we do emphasize education quite a lot. So I started questioning what is going on, Why is there not a direct link or at least a clear direct link between education inputs and learning outcomes, life outcomes, etc..

So I decided, no, I’m actually going to focus on the education piece. So that’s how I got into education from the beginning. As I was delving into it, I spent some time studying in Jordan. I learned Arabic. I got to know the region and I was really fascinated by various efforts that were going on, especially in the Arab Gulf.

When I first started coming in and out from about 2012, I think that was so relatively recent, but now it’s about a decade ago. And I thought it was quite interesting that this part of the world was relatively a young nation, young part of the world. Young modern nations are going through rapid modernization and development and just really trying very different things in terms that are innovative that other countries might not try and are just kind of going for it.

So I just kind of fell in love with this part of the world and continued to work with the Qatar, the UAE, the Arab Gulf at large, just to continue to build this effort to improve education, both locally but also have an impact at a global scale.

Elyas: That’s super beautiful what you mentioned about. So we have a young population in the region. There is ambition to modernize and education could help bridge this gap to modernization. And I feel the role of education when it comes to modernization is super important and there is also this conflict with is modernization has to be always westernization. And I think education is at the heart of how we could you know, move to that, to basically be able to modernize without necessarily changing the rules and changing the tradition and so on.

So practically speaking, I love the experience. When you came to Qatar, you worked with Teach for Qatar. Correct? And that is very much kind of a very local experience because you were working with public schools, having a relationship with the ministries. Tell us a little bit about that experience before getting into understanding the reports and the work you’ve been leading with the testbed.

Seungah: So with teach for Qatar, and that’s exactly what Elyas: had mentioned about modernizing and education being a piece of it and not completely Westernized, but trying to figure out how do we modernize and build an education system in a way that has a lot of local roots and local culture borrowing models that work and are effective in throughout the world, whether it’s Western or not, but also localizing and Qatarizing it a bit.

So that’s how I joined Teach for Qatar and why I joined Teach for Qatar, because I thought it was a very interesting exercise and an experiment and an attempt quite innovative at that time of bringing what started as an American model of education reform and education change to Qatar, and really thinking about how do we make it work for the Qatari context in growing the value of education and to bring more attention to the importance of teaching and try to encourage Qataris to enter into the education space.

So that was a very exciting moment for me. Of course, it was quite challenging. It’s always challenging when you’re bringing something new, something that’s different and building these kind of collaborations with multiple stakeholders, both public schools, the ministry and other bodies within Qatar Foundation and outside of education as well, and also kind of thinking about how do we work with our global partners in a way that we communicate the Qatari context effectively, but also learn from experiences from all around the world, which actually kind of brings me to the edtech to transition into that a little bit, because I think there is a theme there in terms of what I’ve been working on and the path that I’ve been going on is how do we take these global models instead of taking a copy paste model, How do we localize it, contextual it, and really make it quite more authentic than people give credit to.

Elyas: And it, we’ll share the secret basically with our audience that when we were looking for a research fellow, we were looking for obviously someone with, you know, the knowledge you have and you got from your Phd at Stanford. But also we knew that the region comes with great opportunities, but also a little bit of challenges. And understanding the local context was super important for us.

So when we saw your experience that, you know, you’ve been in the region, you’ve been in Qatar, you know, you have a level of interest in contributing to the region, we said okay you know what, that is the person that we’d love to contribute with. And it’s been a two year journey so far. And the testbed, we started the testbed right before the pandemic, and we kind of did a lot of work to align the partners.

And finally we got a lot of people interested. And then the pandemic happened and then all that interest faded. So we had to start over and remember that?

Seungah: I do remember that.

Elyas: Because we did a lot of work with, you know, the different you know, we wanted-

Seungah: Entities, everybody was on board, we decided, and then the pandemic came.

Elyas: And then that changed completely. You know, that basically the strategy of aligning those people because we had to start over. Share a little bit. What do you feel when the teacher felt that they were under a lot of pressure and they couldn’t anymore because before the pandemic, the level of excitement was quite high, not only from principals or the kind of administration level, but also from the teacher we were talking to.

And all of a sudden after the pandemic, the level of pressure made it: Okay. I can’t add this on my schedule. You know, how did you live that kind of phase and how do we bridge to convince a few teachers to come and join this experimentation?

Seungah: With COVID and the pandemic I think globally not just Qatar, we were all shocked. And I think that part of the difficulty was initially no one knew how long the pandemic was going to be. So we’re like, okay, the pandemic hit, things are in lockdown. Let’s kind of wait, give it a few months and then we’ll restart.

Give it another month. We’ll restart. So we’re like, never mind, we’re not coming back. Things are kind of switching, so I think there was a lot of uncertainty, which was very challenging for the teachers because I think if it was clear from the onset in hindsight, if we had known that the pandemic, which we wouldn’t have known anyway, right.

If we we had lots of future foresight, and was like no, we knew that the pandemic was going to be a couple of years., then I think teachers would have had a different mentality going in and to be prepared and really look for long term solutions. Whereas with the pandemic and things were developing so fast and no one really knew what it was, and the teachers were all under a lot of pressure to figure out how do we continue learning?

Do we not continue learning? What does it mean? There are also concerns not only for the students but also their own health. So it was a tumultuous time and it’s a time of challenge and a crisis in some ways. And where changes were coming really fast because the administrators didn’t know what was going on. The teachers didn’t really know what was going on.

And so with this testbed, as we were getting ready to launch, and people were excited with testbeds, so it’s essentially you’re trying new technologies and new tools in your classroom, in your learning and your teaching practice. And so because it was another new thing, I think this, what I call a liability of newness, when something’s not quite proven, you’re not familiar with it.

It just becomes an add on to be able to learn something new when teachers are already unlearning the ways that they were teaching and then trying to figure out what do they do next. Scrambling for resources, also waiting for instruction and direction from administration and senior leadership about where they’re going. So I think that was a lot of the challenges.

But simultaneously we were able to get some teachers in some schools who are still quite keen on participate in the testbed. Right as the pandemic was starting. And it was just the first year of complete remote learning, partly because I think there is, there was that recognition of the potential of the edtech, particularly at a time when students could be coming into the classroom and teachers had to be teaching remotely, whether it’s from the school or from their homes.

So there was a recognition and it was really helped with the WISE team were kind of pushing this forward and continuing to engage with the school leaders and the teachers as well. I can’t say enough about all of the WISE staff who were just going at it and trying to engage, even as the staff were also lost and confused as to where we’re going in terms of education, technology, what are we doing with the pandemic? I think that recognition that it could actually provide an opportunity to open doors initially with the first few schools to try it out. It helped that at least in our pilot phase, which is different from our new most recent iteration of the testbed, is that we were trying to test this online science lab tool.

So that was definitely an aspect where you would think you need to be physically in the classroom to run experiments and labs for science classes. But because this was a digital solution, it made sense as an interesting alternative for teachers to test it out. So it was challenging. It took a lot of work, but I think it was the combination of a few teachers, administrators who were really on board and continuous efforts of the WISE team to engage with the schools and other stakeholders and can keep that momentum going was quite critical to getting us started.

Elyas: So it took about a year to kind of come back on track. And finally, we do have now this testbed report, which is once again I emphasize on the fact that is a first of its kind in the MENA region. I would love now to hear from you. You know, what are the main objectives of this study? How did the context affect the outcomes?

Seungah: That’s a very good question. So with the objective of the testbed study with the edtech testbed is first to understand how do we build a testbed at a fundamental level in a context like Qatar. Essentially, for those who might not be familiar with testbeds just to give you a quick definition and explanation of it is essentially we are trying to introduce new digital tools, learning tools, edtech tools into the classroom, into schools, give schools and teachers, administrators some time to trial it.

Test it, play around with it a little bit and understand how it works and then be able to assess critically whether or not it’s useful for them for the short and long term and hopefully really embed educational technology into the teaching and learning practice because we’ve come to a point and I think increasingly so, especially after the whole recent ChatGPT craze, you can’t ignore education technology.

It’s always going to be part of the learning and learning progress and learning process from now on. So that’s kind of the basis. So our fundamental question is how do we create a testbed and launch this testbed in a way that’s collaborative, in a way that’s engaging with various stakeholders, especially schools and teachers, in a way that’s really based on the needs of the schools and needs of the students who are learning.

And this piece of how do we build these collaborative testbeds that are based on need is really important for us, especially in the Qatari context. And wider to the Middle East as well, because unfortunately, I think traditionally, historically, a lot of education solutions were really implemented at this copy paste model where you can see something that works really well in the U.S. or in the UK, Australia or other parts of Europe.

And you just bring it in assuming that there is this universal solution to education. We wanted to really recognize and understand that no, the context is different, context matters. And really want to root solutions on the needs, the learning needs of students and pedagogical needs of teachers. Instead of of bringing something the next new thing or the coolest thing, and just implementing it just because. We want it to be used. And we want to have an impact on the students.

Elyas: The key word is adaptation and contextualization and look, this works. I mean, I don’t believe in, you know, knowledge exists everywhere and you need to be inspired. But you know, what the Finnish are doing or, but the key, and I think some Asian nations have done it properly. They took what exists, what is done great in a place, but they adapt it and they contextualize it.

And the effort is not to recreate the content, maybe sometimes, but just to take the great content that exists out there and just adapt it to reality. And I think a testbed is also a way to see how the solution can be adapted to this context and how can we make it, you know, tailored to the context, because there’s a lot of sensitivity, this cultural mentality that we have to keep, you know, attention to in order to succeed in

the implementation of new technologies. And just to make before asking my next question, just also to make a parallel to the health sector. I don’t know why it’s taking time for education to adopt and adapt technology. I mean, look at the health sector. If we did not have more integration of technology, as humans it would have been really bad for us.

So why we’re unable to integrate as fast as other sectors? And I’m talking specifically about health because it’s also related to government decision, right? These are what I call impact pillars. So you have education and health, which is always priorities for any government. Why is it so different to Integrate technology in health but not in education?

Seungah: That’s a very difficult question. And in some ways it’s a provocative question not just for the testbed or our conversations around this report, but just broadly speaking, in terms of general education policy. Something that I think about and, they definitely do need to find more evidence for this, but I do presume with education is something that almost every single person thinks they are an expert.

And because we all went through some form of education, some form of schooling, which is quite different from the health sector, we’ve all been sick, but we’ve never been in that process of treating patients or treating people. And it’s much viewed as a very specific expertise, unlike education where we are very much influenced by our own backgrounds, the way that we were brought up, the way that we were schooled.

I read a recent study that was looking at how people perceive the best education system to be the kind of education system that they grew up in and they benefited from. And with that, I think the change becomes a little slower because there are a lot more people coming in with an idea of what education should look like, what schooling should look like.

So if it doesn’t look like you went through and what you are familiar with, it looks very strange and different and people tend to not want to kind of change and respond to what’s going on in terms of society, the way the society is progressing. So I think there’s been a lot more reactive responses to challenges in education than a proactive response.

So we’re looking into the future and thinking backwards of what is the education system, what are the kinds of content, the way that we teach that needs to be changed or implemented to prepare us for ten, 15, 20 years down the road.

Elyas: So we need a paradigm shift. All right. Coming back to to the research, why is it so important to conduct this type of [research] and on the impact of that edtech can have on learning design and practice? And this is based basically on specifically the testbed report we’ve been doing with Qatar Foundation schools.

Seungah: So I think it’s really important to have this kind of report which focuses on the learning design and the iterative process of learning design and the collaborative process. How are we engaging with the schools? And we made this choice intentionally, at least in these early stages of running the testbed instead of looking at impact on student outcomes, because in terms of our theory of change, we really do believe that it’s important to give the ship that needle.

It’s going to take time, it’s going to be a little slower. So really think about how do we build relationships between the edtech partner between and the schools and organizations like WISE and Qatar Foundation who kind of sit in the middle as in some ways brokers of these relationships so that they can be both productive and fruitful.

And we focus on these relationships of learning design, because if that’s not set up right, then the likelihood of having greater long term outcomes and learning long term impact on student learning and actual changed practices of teachers and administrators around these edtech ideas might not come to fruition. So we really wanted to focus at least these initial phases of building out the testbed over time to really understand how can we create collaborations, how can we create buy in, how can we get more people to be excited so that they actually use the tools and use them well and not just use them for the sake of checking off a list, but really engaging with the content. And so I think what was really unique about this testbed and the way that we are approaching this is how do we build a stronger relationship between edtech ventures and the schools that are using them so that they’re not it’s not just a client service relationship, but it’s more of a collaborative relationship for the sake of the students that even the edtech companies, at least the good ones, I would say, do care about student learning.

And it’s not just about profitable and money and wealth. And so when you have a common shared understanding and a common goal and we rally people around that common goal and there’s a lot more exchange to be done and it’s good for the edtech ventures so that they can iterate their programs and their services and their products in a way that makes sense.

And it’s tailored to the school context. Schools and teachers are more likely to use them because it’s a lot more customized, it’s a lot more personal. So there’s not just any other tool that exists in the interwebs and kind of this digital space, but they actually know how to use that and there’s continuous feedback. So that was a very intentional design.

Elyas: Before getting into the main findings of the report, just a question came back to my mind, because I’ve been getting when I talk to people who say, oh, we’re doing a test bed, we’re having one company within a classroom. And some people say, how can you assess, you know, with only one company? If someone is being kind of not super convinced, what can we tell them?

That hey, it makes sense that we do it with one company or two companies Because the idea behind this is really a mind shift, right?

Seungah: So with the testbed I think it’s really important for us to note that the focus of the study is not the company itself, and we’re not trying to evaluate, conduct an impact evaluation on the company, which will be a very different design in the study. But we start with one or two companies in the beginning, instead of rolling out and launching multiple companies and edtech ventures at once, partly because we want to really focus on these relationships and and conversations and collaborations, especially in contexts like Qatar and a lot of places in the world as well.

Well, where testbeds is a relatively new idea and there hasn’t been an integrated edtech in school ecosystem. Edtech has really kind of been in the innovation entrepreneurship space and have been bought by schools, but they haven’t really been integrated into the education ecosystem in terms of what happens on a day to day basis, especially in K-12 education and so you need a mindset shift.

So I think for places like Qatar, where things are new, edtech is used, but there’s not a lot of examples of how to use it well in the classroom. There are a lot of examples of tech companies that focus specifically on the MENA region and what was unique about this particular company that we were launching, it’s an Arabic learning tool, a digital learning tool, and there’s a huge need for Arabic learning resources.

So there is a gap. And so even the way we identified the venture wasn’t one of those like, here’s an edtech company who really wants some evaluation to test their tools. No it was based off of the needs of the schools and learning needs of not just the Qatar Foundation schools, but also just widely in Qatar. And I think this is quite true for all of the Arab Gulf and the MENA region, where there’s been a lot of studies and reports and policy papers talking about the lack of Arabic learning resources.

And so it became an opportune time. And they’re willing and the edtech company was also willing to receive constructive feedback and iterate and think about their future. So it was like, how do we bring these parties together at the same table? And I think that was the biggest contribution of the testbed and the WISE team of bringing them together at the same table.

How do we tackle these kinds of challenges, learning challenges, teaching challenges together in a way that hopefully makes sense for everybody involved and and engage us for students into that learning process.

Elyas: Terrific. So walk us now through the main findings of the report and in practical terms, Seungah. What are the potential implications that could these findings have specifically for policymakers and practitioners.

Seungah: In terms of alerting the important findings from this report, especially around the learning design, I would say you can have it summarized into three different things. One is the obvious thing of first, make sure that the solutions that you’re proposing and as you look at building out this testbed, it is an identified need that is based on the local context and that in that process of identifying that need, engage school stakeholders, engaged school leaders, administrators, department heads who are already thinking about these issues.

The schools know their reality and their context best. They know their students best. And so I think it’s really important for organizations like WISE and others to start from a posture of a learner and invite the schools – we want to learn from you, what are your needs? Let’s have a conversation to see if we can identify specific things.

So that’s the first one is really engage with the school leaders that identify needs together. And the second one would be actually start early in having these conversations. I think schools have a pretty standard cycle that runs by the academic year, but there’s a lot going on between national standards and exams and preparing for lessons. So I think a big learning was how do we start early in engaging with not only the school leaders but also the teachers themselves, so that when a testbed is introduced, an edtech tool is introduced, it’s not coming in the middle of the term or off cycle, but it’s actually coming a little bit early now so that teachers are oriented to what these tools are and giving them some space and time to test it themselves and kind of play around with it without the pressure of having to fully implement it into the classroom. So giving this interim period where they get to learn about the tool or play with it, implement it in the classroom here and there, and also receive feedback from the edtech venture.

I think that’s a very important part in building that collaborative mindset. Shifting that mindset, having the teachers see the potential of the tool itself I think was critical in getting them. So it was quite interesting to see that in the beginning some teachers were not really into it. I would be very honest.

Elyas: They even look at the testbed as suspect, you know?

Seungah: So yes, they look at it as suspect. Some teachers look at, oh, it’s one of the any other things that kind of come in. And we’re going to do this for a couple of months and then khalas (finished) we’re going to be done. And at time it becomes an administrative thing. But with some of the teachers, as time progressed and they got to kind of play around with it saw some students to implement here and there and saw that students reengage and that they saw that that it could provide additional reading resources. That the tool could provide a way for them to benchmark themselves against other schools and other countries in terms of how the students are doing. And so some just really got into and became very active and implementing it on their own. And so I think that was really important to give them that space and time to experiment with them themselves. And then the last thing I would really highlight is the importance of having a champion or advocate in the schools.

And so we tested this out with one of the schools that participated, or we had an innovation officer that’s really part of digital learning. And she was critical in engaging with other teachers as being a peer and teacher herself and having used edtech and trying to bring this forward. I think it’s really important to have someone internal who’s not just the administrator and not the school principal, not your line manager advocating for it, because then it could feel like I’m being forced to do so by my managers.

But having a peer teacher who’s a champion and advocate of these edtech tools, trying it out and towards innovative pedagogies, it was quite important.

Elyas: The question of incentives. So you mentioned it’s great to work with teachers convinced they want to be part of the experimentation, but in most cases we know that, you know, we need to incentivize teachers. And when I bring the incentives, you know, word into into this conversation, I don’t mean financially only I mean, is there a different type of incentive to make sure that, you know, this is a worthwhile experience, although we know it’s adding hours, and probably a little bit of pressure or stress on teachers schedules.

Seungah: Yeah, I think incentives are really important. And I wish we could do more to leverage these incentives. And there’s, you can also talk about all the complications for why that might not always be feasible. But I think some of the big incentives that are non-financial incentives for teachers, at least for one of the teachers that became our big advocate was it was also a learning opportunity.

A development opportunity for that teacher themselves, that it was a leadership role. Right? It’s professional development. It adds to her teacher portfolio. And so although it was additional work, having that kind of training and also with that professional development came a lot more intensive coaching and mentoring for that teacher. I think that was a big reason for why she was like, okay, I’m going to be an advocate.

I really care about this. I’m incentivized to do so. So I think that’s a big piece of how do we link these kinds of engagement in the testbed to the teachers professional development. And with some schools, we were able to arrange it. So that part of the professional development sessions that were conducted by our edtech partner also counted towards teachers continuing education, professional development requirements.

These are things they have to do anyway. So giving them an opportunity to do so in a way that’s a little different, that’s a little more interactive, I think was another source of incentive because then you’re not actually adding things on, but you’re just reconfiguring what they’re already doing in a way that allows them to test different edtech tools and something that we’ve talked about and hasn’t quite come to fruition yet is how do we also leverage edtech and the testbed for the schools as well.

Schools are also increasingly being pressured by external bodies to integrate edtech in a more effective way and have data to be able to back it up. So I think testbeds are actually a good place where schools are able to meet those objectives and those kind of visions for a development. The future and the requirements of various accreditation bodies that are asking for more edtech integration.

So it’s a way for them to do it. By participating in a testbed, data is being generated automatically so that they themselves don’t have to go out to collect the data. It’s already being done. It’s part of the testbed. So that’s actually a big incentive for the schools to be able to participate and what that gets passed down to teachers and the way that they’re performing, it’s not just about performance, but that also matters for some of their own kind of motivations and incentives as well. So I think that helps.

Elyas: In their own growth. Although, you know, you’re giving me good ideas. Maybe we should explore later on how we can have something on the WISE summit at the end of the year. A way to incentivize, is maybe to amplify some of the work of these great teachers that are underdogs in a way. Right? So if it could be a way to, you know, give them that amplification and give them a stage to share that experience, maybe it could be a way.

All right. So are the findings and their implications applicable to contexts outside of Qatar? And if so, what are some of these learning?

Seungah: Yes. So the findings are definitely applicable to contexts outside Qatar, as much as we’ve emphasized the need to adopt and contextualize. But I think there also general broader learnings that could be shared globally as different countries in different contexts and ecosystems are also thinking about how do we build an education ecosystem that’s a little more integrated with the edtech ecosystem.

And on the collaboration front, I think it’s important. And I think that’s a big finding and that’s an important finding for people all over the world of how do we build collaborative outcomes and for testbeds that are going on and that are being launched in different places, I think it becomes a very important part of the toolkit for as a way to look at how do we get started.

So it’s not just coming in and launching a testbed, but then in that process, what does it look like to build relationships with schools? Maybe it has these kind of testbeds launching professional development programs on the side and giving opportunities for teachers to really participate and grow and develop professionally as a way to incentivize them to further participate in the testbed.

And I think another big part of the learning. We learned so much about the importance of collaboration and understanding both the challenges and the opportunities in the collaborative process with schools. And if there was a more global sharing of the different contexts, I think the experience of different testbeds and Qatar Foundation and WISE could play a role.

You could really capitalize on the networks that WISE has developed over the years, is what might it look like to kind of pull these testbeds together as collective learning to really understand what are similar across the board? And then what’s very different by context, Although we can have a fuller understanding of what are these key ingredients that are needed to be able to launch a testbed effectively, but then also the ingredients might be the same, but the doses are going to be different by contexts, that they might be able to get better learning of how do we change those doses so that it makes sense for the particular flavor of the context.

Elyas: I wanted to actually ask you about would your work have been easier if you had a toolkit that is, you know, based on a global network of knowledge or even a kind of a consistent and a shared vocabulary on this? But I guess you just answered, in the sense of yes, it would have would have made our life much easier when it comes to testbeds. On this note, actually, UCL and Jacobs Foundation are gathering a group of people in March actually in Rome. They’re bringing about 50 to 60 stakeholders working on different testbeds in different regions in the world and their

goals and objectives is to say, okay, maybe we need to create a kind of a benchmark and we need to create a toolkit to help design these testbeds to be more effective. And definitely I’m going to pitch that, you know, we will contribute to that effort and see if maybe the next meeting after March could be at the WISE Summit, because it’s super important.

And I think probably the pandemic have been, you know, the catalyst. We need to understand better because now with all these new technology and A.I., we’re going to miss the train if we don’t adapt and integrate technologies in education. My last question Seungah, is what are the next steps now for WISE Edtech research program?

Seungah: So for the next steps for us, at the WISE Edtech Research Program is first to continue with this testbed. So we are actually sticking with the same edtech company and expanding across schools and beyond just Qatar Foundation schools to really understand, you know, what are similarities and differences even within Qatar because the schools, depending on whether it’s a QF school or it’s a private school or a public school, it’s all very different.

So we want to kind of understand more of how do we contextualize the various school contexts, What does it look like for the Qatari context and how do we learn from each other and allow the schools to learn from each other? I think that’s kind of a next stage that we’re moving into is how can we promote shared learning across schools?

Because they’re all dealing with very similar challenges and issues but have very different resources, understanding and context themselves. And another direction that we’re taking, we’re exploring a little further is how do we engage with the stakeholders outside of these schools, whether it’s Qatar Foundation or the ministry or other policymakers around the testbed ideas so that when we’re building out this education edtech ecosystem locally, it’s not just in silos, but it’s also happening with what’s going on in the wider development of Qatar as a country, what’s happening globally, where are things going in terms of education policies, accreditation policies.

So that’s all aligned. So it doesn’t sit in silos, it doesn’t become this one off program, but it’s very much well integrated to the educational experience of both teachers and students.

Elyas: Thank you so much for this great conversation, Seungah. I really love the insight and I’m grateful for the fact you’ve given time to the region and contribute with your knowledge and experience and making education better not only in Qatar or Qatar Foundation and Education City, but hopefully this report and the work we do will help the region.

And I also hope that we could obviously create this global network of knowledge and bring kind of a one toolkit to enhance and help more of folks like us that are doing testbeds and hopefully you know, technology is going to contribute to much better learning outcomes for students and make teachers life easier.

At the end of the day, that’s the objective of why we want to, what we’re pushing for. A bit more technology in education is at the end of the day, we want to make sure that teachers, we enhance the experience for teachers. We don’t want them, you know, to disappear from the class. But we really want to make sure that life is easier, that life, administration is easier and learning outcomes is greater for learners.

On this note, I really want to thank you once again on behalf of the team. This has been a great conversation and I look forward to future collaboration.

Seungah: Great. Thank you.