Ghana's Open Learning Exchange (OLE) is introducing innovative teaching and learning models which involve the use of affordable technology tools to make learning more pleasurable, and improve universal literacy. Local experts and politicians believe technology is the ultimate solution to alleviate the country's low literacy levels. Last year, former finance minister Dr. Kwesi Botchwey called on students to take advantage of technology to enhance their knowledge.
According to BizTech Africa, these tools include the Raspberry Pi server, which houses the OLE's Basic eLearning Library (BeLL). A Raspberry Pi is a small computer that uses an ARM 11 processor running at 700MHz with 512MB RAM. It uses much less power than a PC, and takes up much less space.
OLE said the BeLL system, which is powered by the Raspberry Pi, is designed to work on or off both the electric grid andthe Internet. This ensures that the most marginalised students in resource-limited areas have access to high quality learning resources. OLE said the Ghana National BeLL network will be used to update each of the School BeLLs periodically with new resources.
A feedback functionality worked into the BeLL system will then send usage data (such as pupils‘ and teachers‘ comments and ratings of the effectiveness of the resources) to the Ghana BeLL, which would make such data available to educational authorities, curriculum developers,and resource developers, among others.
This, OLE said, will provide unprecedented, rich data that can help improve the effectiveness of the learning materials and strategies to achieve universal child literacy.
Most of Ghana's Grade 6 schoolchildren still cannot read or write properly even after five years of primary education. The majority of Ghanaian adults' handwriting is almost unreadable and their reading skills in English are also often very poor. It is this alarming situation that prompted OLE Ghana to team up with World Vision Ghana to launch the Ghana Reads project.
OLE Ghana director Kofi Essien told the press that the Ghana Reads project, currently being piloted in 28 schools, provides low-cost tablets and hand-held technologies to school children. This project is backed by effective pedagogical and teacher support strategies to increase access to high quality, interactive learning resources in the classroom.