This article was originally published on the Project Hello World Blog
Last week, Project Hello World was invited to a google hangout panel discussion addressing the question of how digital resources are making an impact in the context of development work. The panel was co-hosted by the Center for Education Innovations (CEI), and the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE). Drew Edwards, Manager Project Hello World, was one of the panel members, together with Alexandra Iselin Waldhorn, Communications Officer at UNESCO's International Institute for Educational Planning, and James Centenera, Co-Founder and CEO of The Ultimate Learning Accelerator (TULA).
The conversation revealed interesting insights into the experiences and perspectives of the three organisations, particularly with regards to learning platforms and portals. Drew Edwards presented the distinctive approach of Hello World which, due to the unique self-organised learning environment that is generated by the Hello Hubs, is markedly different from other education projects in the field.
Inclusion is key
Despite the variation in programs that the panel members facilitate, they all agreed that inclusion is key when working with communities in the field. Involving stakeholders in the design and implementation of any technology is crucial for the long-term success of any development project. Platforms and portals that are disconnected from the users, their needs and requirements, are destined to fail. Project Hello World has understood this from the outset and constantly adapts its product, the Hello Hub, to the demands of the users. This approach, together with the concept of rapid prototyping, has led to the longevity and depth of use that can be seen in every community Hello World operates in.
The process of introducing these kinds of technology, and making them widely accessible to developing communities, is at a very early stage. The platforms that are being developed and introduced into these communities require constant re-evaluation, rapid prototyping, and input from the stakeholders as these two worlds collide, in many ways, for the first time. Traditional community expertise and new technology can combine to create a powerful force for good.
A pioneer in connecting communities to digital resources
As evidenced by the panel itself, Project Hello World is one of the pioneers in connecting communities to these amazing educational resources that have the ability to liberate learners and educators of all kinds, and give a voice to those communities that are disconnected from the global conversation. We are thankful for the opportunity to have shared our experience and knowledge with our colleagues, as we continue to work together to leverage the minds and technology on offer, and to make the world a better, fairer and richer place for all people.
Monika Hubbard is the Director of Communications for Project Hello World. Her passion to work with underprivileged communities in developing countries stems from her early studies, and she is determined to giving them a voice and making their stories heard.
Photo Credit: Project Hello World