Danielle, a single mum of two teenage boys, had recently been made the team lead on a learning management system project targeted at secondary school students.
She was particularly interested in this project because monitoring her boys’ digital learning had become more challenging than she had imagined.
Her boys were undergoing that confusing transition from childhood to adolescence so getting them to join their school virtual forum and focus on their homework and online learning was proving tough.
How was she to monitor the extra-curricular activities they participated in during their online study? With her busy schedule, could she assess how effective the digital method of teaching really was? Also is the issue of the internet quality and costs – was the investment all worth it?
These salient concerns by parents on the issue of digital learning have informed the roundtable discussion of the May edition of EdTech Monday, an initiative of Mastercard Foundation in partnership with ccHub.
The platform is to facilitate critical conversations on the use of technology for teaching and learning by bringing together key stakeholders, including policy makers, EdTech entrepreneurs, teachers, and parents.
The May edition of Ed Tech Monday played host to three panelists who aired their views on the subject of how receptive parents are to EdTech learning in Nigeria.
On the question of the impact of the pandemic on online learning, Bayo Oshinaga, an EdTech entrepreneur and founder of Schools Compass, an online platform with over 4,000 schools, Bayo, opined that the pandemic brought about an acceleration of the use of technology in the classroom. According to him, parents have come to see the new value of homeschooling by being more involved in their children’s education.
Speaking on the product and packages that parents have shown the most interest in, Jadesola Adedeji who is a social entrepreneur and founder of STEM METS, a programme targeted at bridging the skill gap between the skill of the Nigerian graduate and the skills-set needed for the future workplace, she posits that parents are now more aware of alternative methods of education and are more curious in exploring international learning platforms.
Parents are now savvier at assessing the quality of teachers and teaching delivery. Also, it is a process of relearning for parents where team building tools are being appreciated to enhance social skills.
Baring her mind on how to convert more parents into embracing EduTech, Helen Obiageli Oshikoya, an advanced autism specialist and special education needs consultant who runs an online platform to train teachers for all-inclusive practices says that embracing Edu Tech will prove to be a challenge for special needs children.
According to her, special needs children and children living with autism cannot engage with online learning and because most parents are not professionally trained, they cannot stay long enough with the child to help them achieve meaningful learning.
She said “while this is a herculean task for special needs children, it is not insurmountable but will require that parents painstakingly work with their children ahead of class Though the harsh economic realities may result in parents having reduced time to spend with kids, the more involved parents are, the more effective they will be in encouraging children with special needs to learn..
On the potential of EdTech to reduce education-related costs, Oshinaga said that critical discussions such as EdTech Monday can engender partnerships between the government and telecoms companies to introduce a one cost data bundle model for schools.