Every year there seems to be a new technology product that reaches the market designed to enhance educational experience.
One of the major pillars of EENSAT is expanding the quality and reach of education and training in GIS and related technologies. Towards this end, EENSAT plans to leverage modern technological innovations to offer learning platforms hosted at the three partner Ethiopian universities, namely: Addis Ababa, Bahr Dar and Mekelle. The digital teaching-learning media will be supplemented with face-to-face classroom component to deploy a full fledged blended learning. The blended learning approach will provide the learner a large degree of choice and flexibility in terms of control over time, place and pace of learning.
The establishment of the digital learning platforms will have three components:
- Delivery: Already software and various equipments such as desktops, servers, printers and high capacity digital storage have been acquired, preconfigured and shipped to the three partner Ethiopia universities. Over the coming weeks, an operational smart classroom with the requisite front-end and back-end infrastructure will be laid out. For the time being, the learning platforms will rely on public network infrastructure, but alternate opportunities are being explored to capitalize on the extensive network infrastructure established by the Ministry of Education dedicated to serve public universities, research institutions and TVETs.
- Content: The digital learning platform is the repository and conduit for on line learning. The teaching-learning material itself will be developed by contextualizing the core science and technology by assessing existing curricula and enriched based on real case studies. The material will then have to be customized to digital delivery platform.
- Skills: The digital educational platform offers a new model that is, by and large, unfamiliar to most educators who are only accustomed to the traditional ‘brick and mortar’ setting. The instructors will have to be made familiar with the shift in the role of educator, undergo training to equip them with the requisite skills to make full use of the digital platform and gain a grasp of the shift in the approach and philosophy of the blended learning model. Detailed and extensive plans are in place and adequate resources are allocated to ensure that the educators that will engage in the blended learning component to prepare them to the classroom of the future.