Universal Learning Solutions (UNITED KINGDOM)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2019 Proceedings
Publication year: 2019
Page: 10028 (abstract only)
ISBN: 978-84-09-08619-1
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2019.2527
Conference name: 13th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 11-13 March, 2019
Location: Valencia, Spain
This presentation will show how educational technology is enhancing the impact of the largest English literacy project in Africa, in terms of numbers of teachers and pupils reached.

The Jolly Futures project was initiated in 2010 in Nigeria in just over 1000 government primary schools, with the aim of increasing the English literacy skills of underprivileged early grade pupils. Today, because of its positive impact on pupils’ literacy skills, the project has reached tens of thousands of teachers and millions of pupils across Nigeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Namibia, Pakistan, India, and several other countries. Under this project, top-quality Jolly Phonics materials are donated to schools from the publisher of the programme, Jolly Learning Ltd, alongside which a licence to continue printing the materials is donated to governments. Jolly Phonics uses the systematic synthetic phonics methodology to teach initial English reading and writing skills, where children are taught the sounds, how to blend them together/segment them, in a fun and multi-sensory way. Training is provided to early grade teachers on this approach, and monitoring mentoring and other activities, aimed at enhancing and sustaining the impact, are then implemented, usually funded by government. Universal Learning Solutions is a not-for-profit organisation that partners with governments, Jolly Learning and other donors, literacy experts and educators around the world in order to successfully manage the implementation and sustainability of Jolly Futures projects.

The use of educational technology for improving teaching, learning, monitoring and evaluation is fundamental to Universal Learning Solutions’ approach. Technology is used in three key ways, all of which will be visualised on the poster. Firstly, a smartphone application is used as a way to distribute high quality interactive lesson resources directly to teachers through a smartphone application. The app is given for free to teachers at training events and during monitoring via Bluetooth. The Jolly Phonics Lessons application is designed specifically for use in the classroom by Jolly Phonics teachers that are operating in challenging environments. Secondly, Lifeplayer media players, that are solar powered and can be charged through a winding mechanism, are used to provide enhanced audio content, aimed at improving fluency, vocabulary and comprehension, within classroom environments where the use of English is limited. Thirdly, we have recently started implementing the Jolly Data Hub, which provides a single unified approach to data collection, using an app for monitors to replace paper / form-based data collection, and an advanced dashboard, which is used to understand the impact of the projects. Impact data, information about the factors that we believe make the technologies successful in developing contexts, and their theoretical underpinnings, as well as the limitations to these technologies for such contexts, will also be displayed.
Literacy, technology, apps, monitoring.