Teachers for Technology
Teachers for Technology is a platform that turns everyday teachers into digital content creators for students in Kenya.
The traditional teacher is under siege as the structure of current forms of education are questioned in the conversation on the future of work in Africa. The newly introduced digital enhanced curriculum in Kenya has come as a big surprise to teachers demanding the retraining of 78% of the teaching staff in the country to keep them relevant to its digital design. Teachers are naturally resisting the change, putting themselves at odds with parents, students and governments that see them as the bottle neck. This is unsustainable and detrimental to teachers in the long run. The option to replace teachers in classrooms with teachers-in-training is a very real threat.
With digital content becoming the new learning special-source, schools, parents and local governments are spending more on devices and software than teacher training. Our solution is to bring teachers to the heart of digital content creation and make them the most affordable, reliable and culturally relevant source of digital content.
The solution we are proposing is a web and mobile platform for local teachers who create digital content with us to share their content with students from their schools and communities starting with Kenyan teachers. Kytabu is one of the content creation companies working with the Kenyan government to create digital content for the new curriculum. We would like to give teachers and teachers-in-practice an opportunity to be part of the digital content creation process including voicing audiobooks and short video courses in various Kenyan languages. By providing teachers an opportunity to create and commercialize digital content, they are more likely to embrace it in their classrooms and empower their students through the new curriculum introduced in Kenya.
Watch our elevator pitch:
Where our solution team is headquartered or located:Nairobi, Kenya
The dimensions of the Challenge our solution addresses:
What makes our solution innovative:
The Teachers for Technology solution is a combination of current technology (a mobile app and a content management system) to give teachers that have been left out of the digital content creation circle and opportunity to become stakeholders in digital education. This combination of currently available technology and the empowerment of teachers in their use, solves the problem of ownership and buy-in by teachers simultaneously, even though the numbers would begin with a few teachers and grow progressively based on the capacity and reach.
How technology is integral to our solution:
Technology and the ubiquitous availability of mobile devices and mobile money payment in Kenya are a great stepping stone when trying to deliver education material to students in Kenya. This makes the use of mobile devices and mobile money a cornerstone advantage for us to scale faster and more affordably for our users and teachers at less cost to us. Adopting these available advantages and getting teachers to directly benefit from them to can be an opportunity that reverberates from community to community for students and teachers alike.
Our solution goals over the next 12 months:
In the next 12 months we have a very specific target of making 4000 short topical videos, 1500 audiobooks and 8000 assessments for students to consume on their mobile devices. We aim to use the Teachers4Tech platform to provide 2500 teachers with an additional revenue stream from digital content and reach 35,000 students in Kenya through an app on their phones.
Our vision over the next three to five years to grow and scale our solution to affect the lives of more people:
Our vision is to see a thriving collaborative learning community, providing students with a relatable digital educational trajectory with real world opportunities. Teachers working as content creators and classroom facilitators play a fundamental role in making this a possibility. Empowered by good government policy, the digital learning gap can be bridged with better content for students that can be accessible outside the brick and mortar structures of schools and classrooms. We believe this is possible if it is driven by an abundance of relevant digital content by local experts and an approved curriculum.
Our promotional video:
The key characteristics of the populations who will benefit from our solution in the next 12 months:
The regions where we will be operating in the next 12 months:
The countries where we currently operate:
Where we plan to expand in the next 12 months:
How we will reach and retain our customers or beneficiaries:
We have built an app (Kytabu) for students to access curriculum required digital textbooks, audiobooks, videos and assessments. The textbooks are by approved publishers and retail on the app at 30% the bookshelf price. An endorsement from the Kenyan government for Kytabu as a digital distribution partner has validated the app and is helping with traction. The number of students using the app increases as the switch to the new curriculum in 2019 approaches. With a complete move to a new curriculum next year, the number of students embracing the digital options will drastically increase as hardcopy books play catch-up.
How many people we are currently serving with our solution:
We are currently serving 25 teachers creating content serving 2378 students with textbooks, audiobook and assessments. Every teacher has a content creator account on the platform, much like a content creator on Udemy or other MOOC platforms has. This account is linked to the teachers’ mobile phone number, through which they get mobile money payments from the content users. Because mobile money is ubiquitous in Kenya, all the teacher does is create the content (tests, assignments, course work) and price them on a pre-set range.
How many people we will be serving with our solution in the 12 months and the next 3 years:
In 12 months, our target is 35,000 students served with digital content including textbooks, audiobooks, videos and assessments as well as video-course by teachers, tutors on the application and collaborative learning rooms. With expect to double the number of users we have every year as we enroll more schools and hope to increase the numbers much more when we have a direct student engagement from the application. We currently engage with schools directly for their students to download the application to meet our targets but expect applications usage will increase outside the schools organically.
How our solution team is organized:For-Profit
How many people work on our solution team:13
How many years we have been working on our solution:3-4 years
The skills our solution team has that will enable us to attract the different resources needed to succeed and make an impact:
The team has extensive mobile value added services (VAS) capabilities in the area of digital content both in entertainment and education that we bring to the solution. The additional educational background in our leadership, currently including two school heads, propels our understanding of students and the teachers working to reach these students daily. This gives us a comprehensive grasp on the needs, opportunities, challenges and threats we face as we deploy our product.
Our revenue model:
Kytabu is a digital re-distributor much like Kindle is with a revenue share model with content creators such as publishers and teachers. The value addition Kytabu has is its ease of scale with little effort required to support an increase from 10,000 students to 1 million students in the software itself. The burden of technology and is lifted from the publishers and content creators and they get a larger revenue percentage (70%) from the sale of their content. Their content, however, draws users to the application where they find a larger pool of content we create ourselves which then draws income for us.
Why we are applying to Solve:
The wealth of knowledge at MIT solve is immense and having visited the MIT campus once before, we know there is much we can learn from your monitoring and evaluation teams. There is more than the grant itself, as we begin to come across various data sets and user analytics that we lack expertise to make meaningful decisions with. AI and Machine learning are an opportunity for real adaptive learning opportunities that we would like to use to empower our student and teacher communities an MIT would be a great source of that support.
The key barriers for our solution:
Analytics and data management are a big challenge for us, as well as access to meaningful funding. The opportunity to lower the cost of access to affordable education resources needs to be a well targeted solution for a targeted population of students living in very divergent circumstances and cultures. The opportunity to incorporate data science into the entire project would be immeasurably valuable in creating a meaningful learning trajectory for students that leads them to success in a singular national examination. I believe this is at the core of our success matrix.
The types of connections and partnerships we would be most interested in if we became Solvers: