Innovation in Teaching and Learning
On 18 May, 2016, Knowledge Platform launched Learn Smart Pakistan. You can read about the learning platform in our Press Release here. This year Learn Smart Pakistan is complemented by an online community of students and teachers on Facebook. While initially we were a little hesitant about how this would pan out—Facebook being notorious for enabling procrastination among the young and old alike—we’ve come out at the end of our first week pleasantly surprised. Students and teachers have been sharing memes (one of the greatest things to come out of the 21st century!) about Math and English, responding to each other’s questions and wishing each other luck. A positive atmosphere prevails. So positive in fact, that it’s rubbed off on us in the office. We even had a party (with cake) to celebrate the end of months of hard work.
As students become used to the platform and start engaging with it and with each other, our team has been working to get schools and principals on board. Schools across Pakistan have been generous in doling out their support. The odd principal or teacher will raise the inevitable question, “Why are we giving them tablets as prizes? We’re trying to get them away from tablets!” to which we have our answers ready. “We have to work with change, not against it”, we reply. A tablet after all, can be used for good and evil.
Working with change is one of the mantras of the Knowledge Platform team. It’s a busy office working in an industry that requires adaptation to change on a day to day basis. Mobile apps come and go, as do bugs and viruses. The Learn Smart Pakistan application channels some of the energy prevalent in the culture of the organization into the education sector. LSP engages students on many levels. It requires them to interact with each other, to interact with their smart phones, their computers and, most importantly, with their brains. It asks teachers to monitor their students’ progress and nudge them in the right direction as they engage with self-study. In this way it pushes students to work with their teachers and technology to learn.
We’re gratified when teachers in classrooms write to us, (“Thank you for providing standard online learning, Proud of Pakistan”), but even happier when students engage in debate about language and culture. Where some discuss the merits of English, others encourage their classmates to keep their native languages alive by using them. In this way and in many others, they move beyond the platform into a stratosphere that encourages critical thinking and honest debate.