UNICEF Lebanon is investigating innovative ways to provide non-formal education to the millions of displaced children as a result of the Syrian crisis. Recent studies have highlighted the scale of the crisis and put forward some recommendations on what can be done. Innovation has a major role to play in addressing the need for basic education.

Pi4Learning Program, Pi4L

The Pi4L programme is built around four learning tracks delivered both offline and via small computer labs (1 – 10 nodes). Three of the tracks are optimised for students and one is focused on teachers and teacher-trainers. The learning platform will be built on a Raspberry Pi hardware/software combination that includes distributions of Raspbian (the operating system) and associated teaching software together with dedicated content curated for primary, secondary and remedial students. The system will be optimized for offline delivery such that at the most basic level it can function as a content and continuing education delivery tool.

The first prototype of a low cost computer for accessing learning resources using a raspberry pi computer and a screen from: http://hdmipi.com/ - created by the innovation team in Lebanon. Photo credit: James Cranwell-Ward, UNICEF Lebanon
The first prototype of a low cost computer for accessing learning resources using a Raspberry Pi computer and a screen from: http://hdmipi.com/ – created by the innovation team in Lebanon. Photo credit: James Cranwell-Ward, UNICEF Lebanon

Pi4L / 3 Tracks

1.  Core Skills Modules (ages 6 – 12)

Literacy, numeracy and science. (KALite content)

Skill-based learning modules that include online and face-to-face teaching units that provide the opportunity to acquire and master core skills and basic competency requirements. Community teachers will be trained in teaching methodologies that guide students as they gain skills and confidence, and advance through the curriculum.

2. Technology Applications (ages 5 – 18)

Learning to Code and Coding to Learn

Develop hard skills by providing coding instruction as a vehicle for learning.

Utilizing the Raspberry Pi[4] and associated offline and online teaching tools, students will learn the basics of computer programming starting with SCRATCH, the popular visual programming tool for children developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.[5]  The benefits of learning to code and learning through coding are two-fold. Children learn valuable and exciting coding skills while at the same time practising language, math, science, arts and computer competency skills.  As children advance there are opportunities to explore a range of topics from arts to robotics. The SCRATCH curriculum also encourages peer to peer learning through a sharing portal within a wider student community.

3. Continuing Education and Certification for Teachers

Quality Assurance and Certification by The College of Teachers, London, UK

Teacher training courses and together with training kits for community teachers and teacher-trainers delivered by International Education Association with oversight and accreditation by The College of Teachers in London. The programme will provide training for community teachers and teacher-trainers, with a particular focus on those working to meet the needs of those children who have had their studies interrupted or have otherwise left the school system.

The teacher training course and the teacher kit will be developed in collaboration with The College of Teachers in London. The College of Teachers will also provide quality assurance, standards oversight, and a certificate of completion for those who successfully complete the training programme.

Read more about Raspberry Pi: http://www.raspberrypi.org/

More about the Raspberry Pi in the humanitarian context: http://www.hackersforcharity.org/education/

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