Dev4X wants to change that. They are working to solve this global challenge, while these children are still young, through a wildly audacious open project that goes beyond current approaches. They are working on a software platform that can empower these underserved children and their communities to take control of their own learning and create better lives for themselves. To this end, the Dev4X team has just launched their Indiegogo Campaign to raise funding.
Dev4X was founded on the belief that this global challenge can be solved while these children are still young by globally sourcing solutions and open collaboration. Team members from around the world with diverse backgrounds and skill sets collaborate to provide innovative new solutions to age old challenges. “We know current educational approaches just cannot be deployed easily and quickly enough to reach all who need it. We need to think radically different ” says Bodo Hoenen, Founder of Dev4X.
Adopting a radical philosophy allows Dev4x to tackle this challenge in a unique way through developing state of the art learning software for mobile devices that can operate disconnected from the internet and in some of the most challenging environments. From research and experiments conducted they know that children can and do teach themselves and their friends. In fact, this is commonly used as one of the best mechanism within formal learning to teach. Dev4X’s approach is to focus on that, and flip the traditional —hard to scale— method on its head.
In their approach the main teaching mechanism is child self-directed learning, peer-to-peer learning , mentorship learning and collaborative learning. However the individual resources and activities can still be used in Instructor based learning if a trained teacher is available. They are designing the software platform to work in both informal and formal schooling environments where It can be used as either a supplemental educational tool or a primary tool when children do not have access to teachers, or the child requires additional help.
A key part of their technology is a highly adaptable recommendation engine that provides a personalized learning journey to each child even in an offline environment. Built on an open learning map which is pioneered through crowdsourcing the expertise of pedagogy specialists, the platform presents the best learning approach and content to each child based on what it knows about the child and the context they live in.
This approach will allow each child to receive guidance and instructions from high quality educators through software that is able to operate in the most challenging environments. The Dev4x open learning map underlies a quest based learning journey that is designed to keep children engaged, and motivated through gamification. Through the use of mesh networking technology, the platform utilizes social tools to facilitate collaborative learning opportunities even in disconnected communities, encouraging the children to teach each other.
Partners include educational researchers, gamification designers, technology and software engineers, NGOs, and individuals working at the front lines with refugees, marginalized youth, and children living in extreme poverty. Learning from past efforts to achieve universal primary education, Dev4X’s approach is inclusive and collaborative. An open-community project, it mirrors progressive learning environments where the curriculum is co-constructed and personally adapted rather than dictated from the top.
After their successful prototype field tests in East Africa, Dev4X is continuing to Phase 2 of the project. In the next year they hope to have reached into some of the most challenging environments and given children who otherwise would not have had any opportunity, the opportunity to learn literacy and numeracy. In the next few years, they hope to extend their reach to help hundreds of millions to learn all they need. “We are a group of engineers, educators, technologists, scientists and designers working together to solve a grand challenge, come join us!” said Hoenen.