classroom participation


Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Sep 25, 2009
BridgeIT data sheet 7074 Views

BridgeIT, a mobile teaching tool deploying in Tanzania, is changing the way students and teachers interact in the classroom. The program, launched in 2007, allows teachers to download educational videos (focusing on math, science, and life skills) onto mobile phones. The phones are then connected to classroom televisions which display the videos. Students watch the videos, which usually run four to seven minutes, and then teachers use BridgeIT-designed lesson plans to build on the ideas set forth in the videos.

The short educational videos are transmitted to teachers in 150 schools in seven regions of Tanzania (Lindi, Mtwara, Pwani, Dar es Salaam, Tanga, Dodoma and Kilimanjaro). In a country in which classrooms are often overcrowded (the program originally aimed to reach 10,000 students; due to crowded classrooms and teachers teaching multiple classes through the day, BridgeIT lesson plans have so far been taught to more than 40,000 students) and the demand for books greatly exceeds the supply, lessons via video are an effective way to reach a large number of students.

Basic Information
Organization involved in the project?: 
Project goals: 

BridgeIT has two main goals; 1) to use mobile phone and digital technology to increase achievement among primary school boys and girls in math, science, and life skills, and 2) to increase the quality of teacher instruction in Tanzanian primary schools.

Brief description of the project: 

BridgeIT creates four-to-seven minute videos in subjects such as math, science, and life skills and distributes those videos via mobile phone to classrooms across Tanzania. BridgeIT-trained teachers then incorporate the videos into lesson plans.

Target audience: 

The target audience is primary students in rural Tanzania, and their teachers. 

Detailed Information
Length of Project (in months) : 
What worked well? : 

The project worked closely with the Forum for African Women Educationalists to create female-centric roles (portraying women in the videos in professional settings such as scientists, doctors, and leaders). The project originally aimed to reach 10,000 students, but greatly exceeded that number due to more teachers being trained in BridgeIT technology. Preliminary results show that student attendance and class participation (especially for female students) have risen in BridgeIT classrooms.

What did not work? What were the challenges?: 

The lack of reliable Internet access forced the project to embrace a mobile-centric plan, so the deployment in Tanzania became a true pilot program rather than just a reworking of the Philippine Text2Teach program (on which BridgeIT was based). Schools must have electricity in order to use the program, leaving some of the most rural and in-need populations out.