This initiative is part of the 2017-18 WISE Accelerator Cohort.
What they do
Tabshoura in a box aims at deploying an offline server filled with Tabshoura platform digital resources. Tabshoura content is aligned with the Lebanese School Curriculum in order to fill the learning gaps and avoid school dropouts in deprived areas of Lebanon and refugee communities. Tabshoura is a free digital platform that provides interactive resources and activities aimed to reinforce knowledge, critical thinking and STEAM skills through technology. The content is developed together with local teachers and pedagogical experts and follows a learning by doing approach, engaging the students actively in their learning. To solve the internet unreliability and the electricity restriction in certain areas, LAL’s technology team developed the box, based on the Raspberry Pi technology. The box is a very low cost tiny server loaded with the Tabshoura light content. It can work with a power bank and hotspots up to 30 computers. LAL partners with NGOs and educational institutions to provide them, free of charge, with training on the usage of Tabshoura in a box.
Why it matters
The education system in Lebanon is under great pressure in part due to the large influx of refugees coming from Syria. The refugee population is often based in rural areas resulting in overcrowded schools, producing a high dropout rate among refugee children and Lebanese students. Moreover, teachers are unable to provide students with quality education based on student centered methodologies and differentiated learning. As a result, refugee children fall behind in both literacy and numeracy. So, innovative digital solutions are one of the main responses to this crisis, as they encourage creativity and allow scalability.
If international ICT resources are numerous, they are not adapted to the local culture, the national educational system objectives, and the reality of the field. This makes it hard for a teacher to use ICT in class for enhancing his teaching methodologies and for the students to find the proper resource to meet their needs.
To implement ICT in all schools, especially in deprived areas, a good internet connection is usually needed. Unfortunately, rural areas in Lebanon face limited access to internet, due to the lack of infrastructure, although many of them are equipped with a computer lab and interactive boards that were donated.
Tractions so far
The Tabshoura platform uses Moodle free learning system and integrates H5P innovative plugins to make its usage friendly and motivational. Digital resources developed by the Tabshoura team are pre-selected and adapted to the learning objectives of the Lebanese Curriculum. They also respond to the assessed needs of the field. They are accessible easily, providing the teacher with help and solutions not extra work and children with adapted content. The subjects covered by the resources are all school’ topics, Arabic, English, French, Sciences, Mathematics as well as extracurricular resources about art, culture, civic education and life skills.
After the creation of educational material on the platform, all material is converted to a light version and loaded on a micro SD card inserted in the box. The card allows an easy upgrade of the content when available. The box hotspots up to 30 computers at the same time and can be used on areas that have no internet connection and even no electricity.
Main future developments include completing the platform content to cover all school levels and to bring it to as many children as possible by fostering partnerships with governments and NGOs to facilitate operations on the field, as well as with leading universities to improve impact evaluation. Also, scaling plans to Turkey and Jordan are envisaged. This will require a sustainability strategy allowing LAL to recruit a stable team of education professionals.