‘The Learning Village’: Education with iPods in Haiti


How Can Technology Change A Nation?

Here is a report about a project  called “The Learning Village” in Haiti that aims to educate children using iPods:

In this idea, kids and adults living in Haiti can actually learn using little more than iPods and solar chargers. A few of the key strengths of the idea include:

  1. By using audio & video, we can teach people that cannot read.
  2. The process is user controlled (students can learn at their own pace).
  3. The process is repeatable (students can watch videos as many time as they’d like)
  4. The entire family can learn with one iPod (making it very affordable).
  5. Education can move into areas where schools are unavailable or struggling.
  6. Teachers can learn to be better teachers right where they serve.
  7. Where schools are available, iPods are easily integrated into classrooms

First they created 5 videos covering information ranging from shapes and colors, to numbers, characters from the alphabet, found objects, and more. They loaded these videos onto 6 iPods. and identified 20 children in a remote community to learn with the iPods. They measured exactly what the children knew about the information in the videos and then introduced the iPods. The children were shown  how to operate them, and money was left  for the local pastor to charge them using his generator.

One month later we returned to administer the same test again. We shall refer to this as the “post-test” since it was administered to close the experiment.

The results were STAGGERING. There was an average increase in score of 44%! That is without any formal teacher present! In addition to the notable increase in scores, students turned in more than 140 sheets of practice papers (which we did not give them supplies for nor ask them to produce). While chatting with them, several explained that they had even taken it upon themselves to form their own informal discussion groups as they sat around their yards discussing the things they were learning on the iPods. Incredible!

Here is a typical result:

FROM HERE: While we are thrilled with these initial findings, we know that we need to repeat these experiments to see if different communities will deliver similar results.

We’re calling it “20 iPods in 20 days” and are officially announcing it right here, right now! Please consider helping us with this project. This next experiment will test five communities simultaneously, using 20 iPods which we do not presently have. In addition to the actual iPods we need to raise funds to pay for things like fuel, personnel, protective cases, charging cables, and so forth. This 1-month-long, 5 community, 20 iPod, follow up experiment will cost $5,000.

Follow the link if you need more information or to donate to this worthwhile project.


‘We’re practically related’. Jordan

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I’ve just been to a school where the children and staff are wearing casual clothes and making a donation to the Haiti appeal for the privilege. This school is in an area of economic deprivation.

One child, dressed in somewhat scruffy t-shirt and jeans with holes in told me he had brought in £1 of his own money. His auntie’s friend had once travelled to a country not too far away from Haiti (the Dominican Repbuplic possibly?). He had decided to donate some of his own cash – ‘£1 is a lot’ – as ‘we’re practically related’.

How right he is.