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Bridging the digital divide to foster effective learning
What we do?
At Learning Equality, we build open-source educational products and tools that enable high-quality learning resources to be distributed on low-cost hardware, and integrated into communities in low-bandwidth or offline contexts -- including tools to support self-paced learning, blended learning, and peer instruction. Building on lessons from 6 million users of KA Lite which brought Khan Academy’s videos and interactive exercises offline, Kolibri is being used with partners in more than 30 countries around the world.
How we do it?
Our educational software and distribution and access model makes open educational resources available in areas without internet connectivity. The Kolibri ecosystem encompasses a set of interacting products, while also having an architecture designed to easily integrate a wide variety of digital innovations and make them accessible to audiences they may not ordinarily reach. They include:
1. Kolibri, an offline, lightweight distributed learning platform with tools to support differentiated and personalized learning.
2. Kolibri Studio, a web-based tool for curriculum alignment.
3. Kolibri Content Library, an offline educational library of both formal (e.g. formative assessments, interactive textbooks) and exploratory (e.g. games, reading books) educational materials, available to all users of Kolibri and Kolibri Studio.
4. Kolibri Content Pipeline, a set of software products that support automated processes to aggregate content from external sources and integrate it into Kolibri Studio, helping to build out the Kolibri Library.
5. Kolibri Edtech Toolkit, a customizable set of resources to support understanding how to implement Kolibri to create effective learning environments in a do-it-yourself model.
6. Kolibri Data Portal, a central online platform for aggregation of Kolibri learner data, to guide and support implementations involving installation of the Kolibri Application across multiple sites.
How is this unique?
Kolibri is unique in that it provides educational content offline that can be curated to standards or to meet local needs, while providing pedagogical support to educators. It shines in environments where mini learning hubs can be created to replicate the experience of some tools with LMS functionality available online, but without Internet. How it works? Digital content is first scraped from the web and hosted in a library which runs on a local server. From there, content can be organized by a curriculum developer or any other educator into channels, or lists of curated content, which are then synced to instances of the app installed on local devices. The content is then able to run without any further internet connection, and the teacher is able to work with learners through a special teacher view which allows them to manage classes, view student progress, create exercises, and more. Syncing of both content and data through peer-to-peer or storage devices is seamless.
What is our demonstrated impact?
Learning Equality’s work has had impact on a number of fronts; for example, it supported acquisition of certifications by helping inmates obtain high school equivalency diplomas in the US, boosted math scores in rural schools in Guatemala through a self-paced and blended learning model, and improved educator confidence in India and learner confidence in Sierra Leone.
What is our route to scale?
Our route to scale is two fold: (1) do-it-yourself adoption model that has led to Kolibri being used in more than 198 countries and territories globally; and (2) strategic partnerships such as with UN agencies, governments, and international and NGOs where Learning Equality can work closely with different organizations to learn from and iterate on the Kolibri ecosystem to inform the continuous development of a needs-based ecosystem to support learning.
The Kolibri Learning Platform and most elements of the Kolibri Ecosystem are free, open source and/or work with openly licensed materials. Users of the Kolibri ecosystem benefit from more than five years of development, testing, and iteration that have gone into these products, with financial support from a combination of grant funders (including Google.org and Hewlett Foundation), contractual work (including UNICEF Innovation, UN Women, Vodafone Foundation and the World Bank), and general philanthropy. To support the ongoing development of the Ecosystem and to support organizations in effectively deploying Kolibri and surrounding technologies to serve the educational needs of their programs, Learning Equality often provides specialized assistance to organizations and governments to support mutual sustainability.
What are we doing next and what is the impact of COVID-19?
Our product roadmap is informed both by feedback from grassroots users globally and dedicated partners, and Learning Equality’s own user research. In the next year, we're continuing to focus on our roadmap which includes offline content curation, supporting at at-home learner and educator experience, and increased supportive tools for assessments.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, what has changed most for Learning Equality is the underlying design assumption that there is a physical point of social connection -- that people with devices would be able to come together to the same location at some interval. Social distancing and school closures have forced some additional creativity in terms of how learners and educators access Kolibri and relevant content.
Given the shifting scope of learning needs during COVID-19, we’ve had to not so much change our products and services, but rather reprioritize. Reprioritizing includes releasing an Android App, expanding pedagogical documentation, and supporting innovative access such as by MNOs. Learning Equality engaged in an ongoing, iterative response to evolving needs, and is sharing with its community new resources to support users of Kolibri, as well as its general response -- all of which is outlined here: http://learningequality.org/r/covid-19.
Who are we?
Learning Equality is founded and based in San Diego after a dedicated group of student volunteers at UCSD brought idea of providing Khan Academy videos and exercises offline to life. The team has grown to include software engineers, designers with a background in cognitive science, implementations team members with classroom/on-the-ground education experience, Product Lead who is a former teacher and teacher trainer and those with expertise in accessibility & educational game development.
Why we do it?
We are dedicated to enabling equitable access to quality basic education, for learners all around the world. Education is a powerful force for enabling opportunity and social mobility, yet there is inequitable distribution of learning opportunities and outcomes globally, with hundreds of millions of children out of school, and hundreds of millions more in school but not learning, preventing them from reaching their full potential.