Regina Avendaño, Susteinability Director
O-Lab: Education Without Barriers
HundrED shortlisted this innovation
What is O-Lab: Education Without Barriers?
What do we dream of?
At Fundación El Origen, an organization born from a small group of innovators' inability to close their eyes, we want to make education available and adapted for all. We believe in education that takes you, the learner, into account. We believe in real-world skills and project based learning that has community and its needs in mind. We founded this organization as people who are from La Guajira (the area with the highest number of high school dropout as well as the largest indigenous population in Colombia), as people who understand the beauty of this place as well as its deep-rooted issues. What we have created is a reproducible project, for all those areas who encounter the same issues, and believe in education as the base towards equality, true democracy, and change. Because we believe is the importance of cooperation and dialogue, El Origen is not just working in delivery education but in providing a customizable platform that will aid teachers and rural schools across the Global South. We dream of cooperation, and feedback loops that allow for solutions that are constantly learning from themselves.
How are we changing things?
By partnering with rural schools, NGO's and local governments we are putting communities and inclusion at the heart of digital education. Through O-Lab, our offline app, we are providing children with STEAM, vocational, artistic, empowerment, and practical courses. Our entrepreneurship and empowerment courses have the aim of helping people from the community grow in it, and support its development. With these contents, we are making supplementary education available to at-risk children and youths from rural areas. This gives them the support as well as the preparation to continue their progression through school.
O-Lab has a virtual assistant that translates all the contents created to native languages, thus creating inclusion for indigenous learners. In addition to providing the courses for schools, O-Lab is a technological ally to teachers and organizations, allowing them to easily and autonomously upload their own content into the app and track students' progress.
Through our content management platform teachers can view data which will commonly be impossible to gather in classrooms of 40+ students. But with the help of O-Lab, teachers can improve and personalise approaches to students and clearly see their engagement and progress in the courses. O-Lab creates clear and targeted results, using indicators such as (but not limited to):
● Basic Learning Rights (DBA)
● Socio-Emotional Cross-Sectional Competencies
● Basic Cross-Sectional Competencies
● 21st century Digital Competencies.
The way we reach our beneficiaries is in two ways:
1. By partnering with private institutions or grant makers that support our work. We in turn, create courses together with local schools and universities, digitize them, and partner with government by supplying O-Lab downloaded in tablets to the children and youths of the community.
2. By acting as technological allies to educational ventures around the Global South. We 'sell' O-Lab as a service and alliance in which we help them adapt their courses to O-Lab, provide remote technical training and support to use O-Lab and the Content Management Platform easily and autonomously, as well as give licensing for the use and selling of O-Lab in their country.
How are we growing?
Currently, our work concentrates in Colombia, mainly in the area of La Guajira; and has reached 4000 beneficiaries. Although this is our main area of implementation, we feel deeply connected to other regions suffering similar inequalities to the place in which we grew up. For this very reason, we are currently creating dialogues and partnerships with educational organizations in countries across LATAM, and expect to begin pilots in other countries across the Global South such as Nigeria and Pakistan in mid-2021.