To culminate a very successful Learn Smart Pakistan 2015, Knowledge Platform conducted their first ever Education Forum. The event, held on 5th November, proved to be a huge success with more than 250 attendees from private and government organizations, teachers, administrators, principals, aspiring educators, policymakers, parents and students from across the country.
The event started off with a welcome address by Knowledge Platform’s country manager Talha Munir Khan who spoke of their journey and entrance into the e-learning solutions market. Back in 2012, the team started focusing on improving quality of education in Pakistan, specifically education for the less privileged. The team’s main aim is to put the student at the center of the learning process and they want to scale this by bringing technology into classrooms and learning environments. This is what the Knowledge Platform team specializes in and these are the two concepts they hope to revolutionize.
Speaking at the event, Learning Solutions Director Mehr Shah told the audience about Knowledge Platform’s experience in innovative learning and teaching. Basically, they design blended learning strategies and have had the government’s help in the past. They provide content that is mapped onto the local syllabus, which means that they take the local syllabus of a country and make sure that their curated content is relevant in terms of language and cultural context.
Mehr also gave a brief overview of how Knowledge Platform’s LMS system works:
“We find that our solution is very cost-effective because we give only one laptop per classroom unlike other projects in the past which have employed a laptop per student. The laptop is used by the teacher and to the students we give small hand-held devices sort of like a small remote and students interact with the system using those devices. Our system is also uploaded on a cloud which the students and teachers can use from their homes.”
In order to create the content, which the team calls a learning taxonomy they use the national curriculum of a country, the textbooks, the examination papers for the last 7-8 years. Most importantly, they involve the teachers that are teaching the content prepared by Knowledge Platform. The learning taxonomy breaks the syllabus into smaller chunks which include educational videos, activities and learning games. The teacher can ultimately judge the students performance via assessment objects.
Mr. Tahir Mushtaq, Member HRD of Ministry of IT & Telecom, came forth for guest remarks and lauded the efforts of the Knowlwge Platform team.
“We are living in a time where there is a prominent paradigm shift towards digital learning. The need of the hour is to make people realize the potential benefit that comes with it. Development in Pakistan is on the rise and we need to make full use of our human capital.”
Wadood Ahmed gave the audience a little insight to educational games and their impact on skills and learning. He gave an exclusive sneak peak of Knowledge Platform’s new game Mind Tussle, in which two students participated in a friendly face-off. Mosharraf Zaidi, Campaign Director of Alif Ailaan, conducted a digital competition for the audience on ‘Education in Pakistan’. Followed by that was panel discussion moderated by Athar Osama, CEO Pakistan Innovation Foundation. The panelists of the discussion were some very well-renowned figures: Michael Foley, CEO Telenor Pakistan; Helen Kamal of Ilm Ideas; Haider Ali Daud Khan, CEO Bigger Picture Consulting; Dr. Sarah Tirmizi of DIL Foundation and Zubair Elahi, Vice Principal, Modern Language School.
Athar Osama initiated the panel discussion by giving an overview of the EdTech landscape with the support of his latest research work which highlights technology as a force multiplier to address the education emergency. Michael Foley spoke about why we need to spend more money to develop low cost solutions and also incorporate technology with education. Speaking during the discussion, Helen Kamal said: “Technology might not be the first solution to enhance quality of education but certainly it is a necessary one.” She explained how only a correctly designed technology based education solution possibly will improvise quality of education.
Dr. Sarah Tirmizi briefed about how e-learning methods employed by her organization have improved teaching methodologies and hence not only improved engagement in schools but also escalated number of enrollments. Zubair Ellahi, told the audience about his experience in implementing Ultrabot for Knowledge Platform, a service which was developed by some of his students. He also spoke about how such revolutionary technologies should be used in schools across Pakistan.
The panel discussion ended with some very enthusiastic questions from the audience. Before commencing the awards ceremony, Hira Zainab – Manager Learning Solutions presented an overview of Learn Smart Pakistan, a non-profit initiative by Knowledge Platform. Hira elaborated about the Digital Challenge which was conducted this year for the 2nd time. She clearly showed, with support of analytical trends, how participation of students, teachers, and schools from across Pakistan had grown 7.9 times in comparison with the first ever Digital Challenge which was conducted in 2014.
This was followed by a speech from Yusra Nadir of Sideeq Public School, winner of the Digital Challenge 2015. Impressed by her enthusiastic nature, Michael Foley, CEO of Telenor, insisted that she must keep his business card for he would like to know what she grows up to be after graduation.
Winning students and teachers were rewarded with iPads, tablets and certificates as a token of appreciation for their participation and to promote healthy competition. A few winners from the Digital Challenge 2015 are:
- Student of the Contest Shield: Wajiha Shakeel Awan of IMCG F-8/1
- Best Performing School Network: Developments in Literacy (DIL)
- LSP Champion School: Siddeeq Public School
The event proved to be an overall success and succeeded in bringing together the likes of students, educationists, technologists and several education stakeholders of the country.
Knowledge Platform, founded in 2000, is one of Asia-Pacific’s leading learning solutions companies, working to tackle the quality of education challenge with reference to the Millennium and Sustainable Development Goals. They have won a P@SHA ICT Award and 2 Brandon Hall Excellence awards. Their Learning Management System, developed in Pakistan, is the only such solution available locally.