Cassava Smartech has announced the launch of Akello, a digital classroom platform for students at Primary and Secondary level to be able to access online Zimbabwe School Examination Council (ZIMSEC) curriculum lessons for all subjects to make learning resources available to students during this coronavirus pandemic.
Cassava Smartech said that all interested Zimbabwean students will have free access to live online lessons for the next 30 days.
Chief Executive Officer Eddie, Chibi of Cassava Smartech Zimbabwe explained the set up of the digital classroom
Akello Digital Classroom has two components; live online classes and an online platform that provides lesson videos on-demand after the live classes.
The live classes are designed to encourage the interactive aspect with the teacher while the video-on-demand platform is meant for revision purposes after the live lessons.
Chibi added that students will be able to register for the live, online classes administered by qualified teachers via videoconferencing.
The live lesson timetable is available on the Akello Digital Classroom website–https://www.akellobooks.com/live-class.html. Said Chibi:
We want students to achieve good grades, regardless of the school they go to or their financial circumstances. Akello Digital Classroom was designed with this in mind and we are proud to provide this for free to all Zimbabweans at this time.
Akello EduTech Chief Operating Officer Tendai Mashingaidze said the solution allows students to get extra lessons online from qualified teachers using a highly discounted e-learning data bundle from Econet Wireless. He said:
We are putting our hands up to lead from the front in creating jobs by identifying deserving teachers to train and equip to use this technology as Akello Digital Classroom teachers.
After the initial free access in response to COVID-19, the live classes will be available for a fee. The on-demand class lessons platform will, however, be accessed free of charge to all participants of the live classes as well as beneficiaries of the Higher Life Foundation.
In order to assist with revision after the lessons, Akello Digital Classroom’s video-on-demand platform is powered by Kolibri, an open-source platform developed by Learning Equality for contexts with limited or no connectivity to provide the world’s learners and educator’s access to educational materials that are traditionally difficult to access.
Kolibri also provides functionality built into the platform so that educators can track learners’ progress through the materials.
Akello Digital Classroom’s use of Kolibri will see students who attend the live classes get zero-rated access to the lesson videos and additional exercises after the live classes.
Speaking about the launch of the Akello Digital Classroom’s video-on-demand platform, Learning Equality’s Co-Founder and Executive Director, Jamie Alexandre, lauded the importance of providing equitable access to learning resources, especially to students from marginalized communities and backgrounds. He said:
COVID-19 has reminded us of our commitment to building free and open software tools and making learning resources available for children traditionally marginalized by not being able to benefit from the wealth of materials available online. We’re motivated by the ability to enable equitable access to locally produced, relevant content.