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Aliim smartphone schools contextualizing mobile learning for syrian refugee girls janae bushman

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Aliim is an international non-profit organization that leverages technology to provide marginalized youth and refugees access to education. Aliim believes that mobile learning programmes can both expand the reach of education and improve the impacts of learning among vulnerable youth living in conflict-affected countries by addressing their unique learning needs.

Aliim has developed a framework as part of its Smartphone Schools programme that addresses the specific issues faced by Syrian refugee girls and other vulnerable youth. Many face barriers to education such as insufficient space in schools, bullying and language barriers that prevent them from consistently attending school in their host country. The framework outlines ways to contextualize an active learning pedagogy, psychosocial support, mentorship, certification and community buy-in for refugee girls affected by conflict in the Middle East. Aliim’s next challenge is to expand the framework to help girls affected by war and violence around the world.

In the spirit of collaboration, Aliim hopes that this framework can help organizations design inclusive mobile learning programmes that empower girls to realize their right to education, despite living in conflict.

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Aliim smartphone schools contextualizing mobile learning for syrian refugee girls janae bushman

  1. 1. SMARTPHONE SCHOOLS: Contextualizing Mobile Learning for Syrian Refugee Girls Aliim.org
  2. 2. of Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon between the ages of 15-18 years attend formal secondary school 61 Million Children Around the World are Out-of-School Education Cannot Wait 50% 30% of Refugee Girls are Enrolled in Secondary School of the out-of-school children worldwide live in areas of conflict secondary school enrollment is 1/3 lower in conflict-affected countries compared with other developing countries 5% 1 2 3 4 5 Aliim.org
  3. 3. If Students Can't Come to School, We Must Take School to Them Reach Girls Educate Youth Despite Conflict Aliim.org
  4. 4. Framework Purpose Connect education and mobile learning theory to conflict-affected context Needs Impacts Tools Design for Context Three Steps Aliim.org
  5. 5. STEP 1: NEEDS
  6. 6. Research by the Women's Refugee Commission finds that education interventions for adolescent girls affected by conflict should include: Needs of Girls Affected by Conflict Informal Learning Opportunities Provide informal learning opportunities for out-of-school adolescent girls Flexible Structure Consider daily routines, care taking responsibilities and time issue Address Barriers Address barriers that keep adolescent girls from participating in schooling Include the Vulnerable Be aware of the needs of vulnerable girls, including girls unaccompanied, out-of-school, married, young mothers, and disabled 1 Aliim.org
  7. 7. Hundreds of Thousands Not in School 70,000 refugee children in Jordan remain outside any type of schooling. 29% of girls in Jordan & Lebanon leave home only once or less during the week, preventing many from attending school. 300k Out-of- School No more than 3 years 29% of girls 70K Out-of- School Nearly 4 years after the beginning of the Syrian conflict we still need a way to scale up access to quality education for refugees: In Jordan, if youth are out of school more than 3 years they are ineligible to enroll in formal school again. 1 300,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon were out-of- school during the 2013- 2014 school year.2 34 Aliim.org
  8. 8. Barriers to Education Examples Negative Impacts Smartphone Schools: Mobile Learning Solutions Lack of Educational Infrastructure No space in schools; insufficient transportation; limited number of trained teachers; Lack of certified education programs. Decreases access to education: Many Syrian refugee students are excluded from education including the most vulnerable. Develop a non-formal educational infrastructure by creating both local and virtual collaborative environments, utilizing technology, mentors, and certification options. High Cost of School Attendance Fees; transportation; clothing; supplies; wash facilities; missed income for families; parents need help at home. Decreased Enrollment Rates: These factors discourage parents from enrolling students in school. Eliminate the need for transportation, fees, school clothes and supplies. Make the program flexible for students to participate in their free time. Safety Concerns Parents feel school is unsafe for girls; harassment and discrimination in schools; tensions with host- community; deteriorating security. Low Attendance Rates and Levels of Meaningful Learning: These factors disrupt learning in school and discourage students from consistently attending. Allow students and parents the freedom to choose locations they feel are safe learning environments. Lack of Support to Address Refugees’ Special Needs Students struggle with adapting to new curriculum; students can't understand language of instruction (English and French); students struggle coping with trauma and distress; students fall behind peers from the host-country. Low Levels of Meaningful Learning: These factors inhibit students from succeeding in school, which leads to increased drop-out-rates, greater frustration, and loss of hope and motivation. Reach vulnerable students. Provide psychosocial support, language learning opportunities, catch-up classes, local supervisors, virtual mentors and community and parent support. Barriers to Accessing Quality Education Amongst Syrian School-Aged Refugees in Lebanon and Jordan According to UNHCR’s 3RP for 2015-2016 1,2 2,3 4 5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12 Aliim.org
  9. 9. Smartphone Schools Preliminary Needs Assessment in Sida, Lebanon Surveyed parents and youth, both attending / not-attending school Survey in Syrian School Small Focus Groups in a Shelter Aliim.org
  10. 10. What we learned from our Survey Results 13 out of 19 parents said they did not currently live close to a school. Key Barriers to Formal Schooling While school costs about $50 USD/month, most parents can only pay $25 USD/month for 1 child to go to school. CAN'T AFFORD COST SCHOOL IS TOO FAR Openness to Non-Formal Education Students indicated they want to learn English, Business, and Finance to help them get good jobs. NEEDED SKILLS Half of the students said they contribute to their family income. WORK TO EARN MONEY SAFE LOCATIONS PARENTS COMMITTED MENTORS HELP Total Respondent Number: 19 students and 19 parents Average age of respondent/adolescent: 13-14 years old Location: Sidon, Lebanon CERTIFICATION Feel mosques, and their home are safest places for learning outside of formal school, but also open to co mmunity center. Though formal schooling is preferred, the majority of parents said they at least want their kids to go to school, even if it is not accredited. If given tools, most parents would spend at least 1 hour/day to help their child learn at home. 84% of students feel it's extremely important to have a mentor’s help, 10% said it was important, and 6% not important. Aliim.org
  11. 11. Survey Results: Student Use of Technology and Internet 74% of students know how to use a computer 68% have at least one smart phone in their family 53% say they use the internet once or more per day 16% use it at least once per week Aliim.org
  12. 12. STEP 2: IMPACT
  13. 13. Mobile Learning Impacts Work Backwards: What social impact do you want your mobile learning program to have on participants and their communities? Tip 1 Learning Objectives Tip 2 Fit for Purpose: Clarify objectives to be achieved through technology and through social components1 2 • Cognitive - What do I want my graduates to know? • Affective - What do you want your graduates to think or care about • Behavioral - What do you want your graduates to be able to do? Aliim.org
  14. 14. Smartphone Schools Program Impact Amongst Out-of-School Syrian Refugees and Marginalized Youth Ages 12-16 in Lebanon and Jordan By Delivering Non-Formal Educational Tools that Empower Students to: be resilient in their current situation Increase Access to Quality and Relevant Education contribute positively to their new communities actively build a good future for themselves Aliim.org
  15. 15. Learning Objectives Cognitive Affective Behavioral English Certification - Students will be prepared to successfully take and pass the TOEFL iBT/Junior TOEFL Social Cohesion - Students will feel a sense of belonging to both virtual and physical learning communities by interacting, teaching, and serving those in their communities. Peace Building - Students will feel a sense of purpose, think for themselves, practice tolerance, value human rights, and deal with the traumas of war productively Literacy and Numeracy Skills - Students will learn 7th and 8th grade literacy and numeracy skills in both their mother language (Arabic) and in English Life Skills - Student will learn about how to deal with new environments and different cultures, personal finance basics, goal setting, basic entrepreneurial computer skills Aliim.org
  16. 16. Empowerment Projects: Solidify Learning by Doing At the End of Each Curriculum Unit, Students Must Complete a Project Using Critical Thinking Skills 1, 9 Individual to Community Collaboration Contextual Application: Learner Driven / Meta Learning Perceptive Writing: Active Learning Research-Based Inquiry and Reasoning: Collaborative Learning 2 3 4 Virtual Journals Community ProjectGroup Presentation Problem Solve Individually Sets Own Goals Strategize Approach with mentor Self-Evaluate Progress Problem Solve as a Group Formulate Questions and Identify Resources Opportunities to Lead Solidify Learning by Teaching Others Apply Lessons to Surroundings Utilize various modes of communication Self-Reflection: Relationship to New Environment Feedback from Mentor and Peers 5 11 10 6 7 8 Aliim.org
  17. 17. STEP 3: TOOLS
  18. 18. Enabling Technology to Achieve Learning Objectives Asynchronous and Synchronous Technology Use Effective Learning Principles (Watkins, Carnell, and Lodge, 2007) 1. Produce work based on feedback (Active learning) 2. Collaborate with others (Collaborative learning) 3. Make choices about their learning (Learner-driven) 4. Monitor and review how they learn (Meta-learning) Aliim.org
  19. 19. Student Motivation and Incentives Leverage Gaming Principles and Social Networks AB Test User Interface for Girls vs Boys Opportunities to Earn Incremental Rewards Build Support at Home and in the Community Aliim.org
  20. 20. Transactional Distance Theory by Moore (2007) InstructorLearner How Do We Develop the Program to Provide Quality Education in a Conflict Context? Aliim.org
  21. 21. High Transactional Distance (H) Individualized Activity (I) Socialized Activity (S) Low Transactional Distance (L) Park’s Pedagogical Framework for Mobile Learning (2011) HSHI LSHL 1 Aliim.org
  22. 22. Core Program Components Your Capacity in Given Context Low Transactional Distance, Individualized Activity High Transactional Distance, Individualized Activity Low Transactional Distance, Socialized Activity High Transactional Distance, Socialized Activity Internet connection speed 3G - 4G X - X - 2G - X - X Mobile Device Type Smartphone/ Tablet X - X - Basic Mobile - X - - Access to In- person Teachers/ Mentors Generally Accessible X - X - Limited - X - X Access to Electricity Reliable X - X - Unreliable - X - X Type of Program Formal Curriculum - X - X Non-Formal Curriculum X - X - Mapping Exercise: Identifying Transactional Distance in Conflict Context Strive for more circles in the “Low Transactional” columns and an equal number of “Individual” and “Social” Activities Aliim.org
  23. 23. Smartphone Schools Example: Technology Enabling Feedback Aliim.org
  24. 24. # Refugee Girls Matter # Education Can’t Wait # Education DESPITE War Other Conflict-Affected Contexts Aliim.org
  25. 25. Thanks! janae.bushman@aliim.org Special thanks to my colleagues and advisors: Bassel Akar, Evaline Schot, Dominic Mentor, Andrea Varadi aliim.org Aliim.org
  26. 26. Education Cannot Wait 1. UNESCO, INEE, International Institute for Educational Planning. High Level Symposium on Conflict-sensitive Education – Why and How?, 8 April 2013. 2. UNESCO, INEE, International Institute for Educational Planning. High Level Symposium on Conflict-sensitive Education – Why and How?, 8 April 2013. 3. UNESCO, INEE, International Institute for Educational Planning. High Level Symposium on Conflict-sensitive Education – Why and How?, 8 April 2013. 4. INEE. Education Cannot Wait: Protecting Children and Youth’s Right to a Quality Education in Humanitarian Emergencies and Conflict Situations, 2013. 5. Chatty, Dawn, et al. Ensuring quality education for young refugees from Syria (12-25 years): a mapping exercise, Oxford: Refugee Studies Center, 2014. References: Aliim SMARTPHONE SCHOOLS: Contextualizing Mobile Learning for Syrian Refugee Girls 1. Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation. Jordan Response Plan for the Syria Crisis, 2015. 2. Lebanon UNHCR. 3RP Regional Refugee Resilience Plan 2015-2016, 2014. 3. Refugee Studies Centre. Ensuring quality education for young refugees from Syria (12-25) years: A mapping exercise, 2014 4. Mercy Corps. Advancing Adolescence, getting Syrian refugee and host-community adolescents back on track Mercy Corps Lebanon & Jordan”, 2014. Hundreds of Thousands Not in School 1. INEE Minimum Standards. Access and Learning Environment: Standard 1: Equal Access, 2010. 2. Women’s Refugee Commission. "Provide informal learning opportunities for out-of-school adolescent girls is a guiding principle“, I’m Here: Adolescent Girls in Emergencies, 2014. 3. Women’s Refugee Commission. "Consider Daily Routines, caretaking responsibilities and time is a guiding principle”, I’m Here: Adolescent Girls in Emergencies, 2014. 4. INEE Minimum Standards. "Learning Environments are secure and safe, and promote the protection and the psychosocial well-being of learners, teachers and other education personnel“, Access and Learning Environment: Standard 2: Protection and Well-being, 2010. Barriers to Accessing Quality Education Amongst Syrian School-Aged Refugees in Lebanon and Jordan Needs of Girls Affected by Conflict 1. Women’s Refugee Commission. I’m Here: Adolescent Girls in Emergencies, 2014. Aliim.org
  27. 27. Barriers to Accessing Quality Education Amongst Syrian School-Aged Refugees in Lebanon and Jordan (Continued) 5. INEE Minimum Standards. “Education facilities promote the safety and well-being of learners, teachers and other education personnel and are linked to health, nutrition, psychosocial and protection services“, Access and Learning Environment: Standard 3: Facilities and Services, 2010. 6. Women’s Refugee Commission, I’m Here: Adolescent Girls in Emergencies, 2014. 7. Women’s Refugee Commission "Address barriers that keep adolescent girls from participating in formal schooling is a guiding principle“, I’m Here: Adolescent Girls in Emergencies, 2014. 8. UNICEF. "Conduct a gender analysis is a guiding principle“, Integrating Information and Communication Technologies into Communication for Development Strategies to Support and Empower Marginalized Adolescent Girls, 2013. 9. INEE Minimum Standards. Teaching and Learning Standard 1: Curricula, 2010. 10. USAID. “Ensure contextually-appropriate educational content is a guiding principle“, Using Technology to Deliver Educational Services to Children and Youth in Environments Affected by Crisis and/or Conflict, 2013. 11. UNICEF. "Ensure programs are community-driven is a guiding principle“, Integrating Information and Communication Technologies into Communication for Development Strategies to Support and Empower Marginalized Adolescent Girls, 2013. 12. UNICEF. "Use an ecological framework to asses circles of influence and program effectiveness is a guiding principle“, Integrating Information and Communication Technologies into Communication for Development Strategies to Support and Empower Marginalized Adolescent Girls, 2013. References: Aliim SMARTPHONE SCHOOLS: Contextualizing Mobile Learning for Syrian Refugee Girls 1. UNICEF. “Clarify Objectives to be achieved through technology”, Fit for Purpose, Integrating in Information and Communication Technologies into Communication for Development Strategies to Support and Empower Marginalized Adolescent Girls, 2013. 2. University of Connecticut. How to Write Objectives Outcomes accessed January 25, 2015 from http://assessment.uconn.edu/docs/HowToWriteObjectivesOutcomes.pdf Mobile Learning Impacts Aliim.org
  28. 28. Transactional Distance Theory 1. A Pedagogical Framework for Mobile Learning: Categorizing Educational Applications of Mobile Technologies into Four Types (Park, 2011), International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning. Vol. 12.2 February 2011. Virginia Tech, USA. References: Aliim SMARTPHONE SCHOOLS: Contextualizing Mobile Learning for Syrian Refugee Girls 10. UNICEF. “Use real-time feedback from girls/peers is a guiding principle“, Integrating Information and Communication Technologies into Communication for Development Strategies to Support and Empower Marginalized Adolescent Girls, 2013. 11. Watkins, Carnell, and Lodge. “Constructivism, where individuals construct knowledge through interactions with their environment is a part of Active Learning“, Effective Learning in the Classroom, 2007. Empowerment Projects: Solidify Learning by Doing (Continued) 1. Blumenfeld, P., et al. “Educational Psychologist", 26 (3&4) 369-398, Motivating Project-Based Learning: Sustaining the Doing, Supporting the Learning, 1991. 2. Watkins, Carnell, and Lodge. “Produce work based on feedback“, Effective Learning in the Classroom, 2007. 3. Watkins, Carnell, and Lodge. “Collaborate with others", Effective Learning in the Classroom, 2007. 4. Watkins, Carnell, and Lodge, “Make choices about their learning along with monitor and review how they learn“, Effective Learning in the Classroom, 2007. 5. Ambros, S., et al. “Apply what is learned“, How Learning Works: Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching, 2010. 6. UNICEF. “Provide girls with inspiring mentors and opportunities to lead is a guiding principle“, Integrating Information and Communication Technologies into Communication for Development Strategies to Support and Empower Marginalized Adolescent Girls, 2013. 7. Ambros, S., et al. “Students set own goals and receives feedback: Goal-directed practice, coupled with targeted feedback, is critical to learning“, How Learning Works: Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching, 2010. 8. USAID. “Prioritize the Human-Ware over the hardware and software is a guiding principle“, Using Technology to Deliver Educational Services to Children and Youth in Environments Affected by Crisis and or Conflict, 2013. 9. INEE Minimum Standards. “Instruction and Learning Processes are learner-centered, participatory, and inclusive“, Teaching and Learning Standard 3: Instruction and Learning Processes, 2010. Aliim.org

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