Unicef study finds digital learning for many students wanting outdated platforms
About 30 percent of digital learning platforms worldwide are already outdated and have hindered students’ progress in digital learning amid the pandemic, according to a study by the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef).
“One-third of nationally developed platforms have entirely shut down, are outdated, or no longer fully functional, limiting learning approaches to help schoolchildren recover their education,” the UN agency said in a news release on Dec. 22.
After mapping national digital learning platforms from more than 180 countries, Unicef’s “Pulse Check on Digital Learning” report concluded that “the current digital learning experience is subpar for most learners around the world.”
It said further that these outdated platforms and technologies were prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
On the other hand, 70 percent of those platforms did not offer “offline functionality,” such as the option to download videos for offline use.“
In terms of equity, this functionality is critical with almost half of the world’s population still offline,” the report said.
One-third, or only 33 percent of the technologies had interactive content, which Unicef called a “central component” in the digital learning experience of students.
“Most offered only static content, such as videos and PDFs of textbooks. Where available, interactive content takes the form of quizzes, comments on videos, forums and messaging via WhatsApp and chatbots,” the report said.
DepEd’s ‘renewed focus’
It noted further that “in many instances, content that does exist has not been quality assured,… is poorly organized or resides behind paywalls.”
Among that study’s recommendations are the need for multisectoral investments not only in electricity, infrastructure and connectivity, but also in teachers’ training and educational technology (edtech) and content.
Regarding the Philippines, the study noted the Department of Education’s “renewed focus on digital learning [through] … platforms like DepEd TV on YouTube.”
One edtech innovation introduced by DepEd is “game-based teaching”—particularly the mobile app Minecraft Education Edition, done in partnership with Microsoft Philippines.
The agency launched the new tool early this year which incorporates school lessons into the sandbox video game. The format gives players a lot of creative leeway to adjust or reshape their game settings.
Unicef also cited DepEd’s consolidation of digital platforms through a “National Education Portal.” The UN agency’s Philippine office is also involved in that project, contributing content through digital stories, games, apps and ebooks. INQ
Unicef points out effects of missing in-person classes on Filipino kids
Unicef: Many children drop out as in-person classes reopen
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.