CyberSmart Africa implements a practical and scalable solution to enlighten the frequently ignored rural schools with contemporary education. Funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), CyberSmart’s “tech-lite” approach, which includes a specially adapted interactive whiteboard and other low-power digital tools, puts learning first. The system uniquely focuses on teacher training and puts the latest low-power, portable equipment to work directly in the classrooms of off-the-grid rural schools.
Jim Teicher, director of CyberSmart, said:
Just as the mobile phone brings affordable communications to rural Africa, our vision for CyberSmart’s learning solution, which integrates mobile broadband, is to do the same for education. This provides hope for one-quarter of the world’s population – 1.5 billion people – who lack access to electricity and risk falling further behind the digital learning divide.
Located in Bernardsville, N.J. and Dakar, Senegal, Ecole Sinthiou Mbadane 1 is one of the 13 IWB (interactive white board) integrated elementary schools. It is a growing rural primary school at approximately 7 kilometers from the town of M’bour. CyberSmart Africa tends to educate hundreds of students at a time by making use of contraptions like the interactive whiteboard and other low-power digital tools. Ongoing teacher training guides the educators in using these tools to facilitate an active and engaging classroom and enhance students’ learning skills.
CyberSmart’s partners include The Earth Institute at Columbia University’s Millennium Villages and Millennium Cities projects. It started its work in Senegal in 2007, partnering with the Senegalese Ministry of Education.