BridgeIT was launched in the Philippines in 2003, developed jointly by Nokia and the Pearson Foundation. The first program in the Philippines was also developed in partnership with the International Youth Foundation and with support from the United Nations Development Programme. The program is now being implemented in ten countries worldwide, funded and supported by Nokia and the Pearson Foundation, in conjunction with varying partner organizations in each country. BridgeIT brings teacher training and educational content to teachers and classrooms through mobile phone technology. Each teacher receives a Nokia mobile phone, through which they are able to access and download a variety of educational content and teacher training material. The mobile devices therefore serve two functions: the first being to deliver educational content directly to teachers through mobile networks, the second being to conduct teacher training and allow teachers to connect to one another in a network of support and ongoing professional development.
Educational content in the form of video, audio, and text files are developed and stored on BridgeIT's server, organized by topic and grade level. A small group of local teachers work alongside the local BridgeIT team to go through this digital content and map it against local/national standards to create accompanying activities. Once the content has been localized, it is uploaded to BridgeIT's server for BridgeIT teachers to download and use alongside the accompanying lesson plans and activities. Videos and digital content can be downloaded directly to teachers' mobile phones, TVs, or projectors, and used alongside the lesson plans in the classroom.
A key component of BridgeIT's model is its comprehensive teacher training program, delivered through a blended model of in-person teacher training workshops and virtual support through mobile technology. Teachers are trained in not only how to use the mobile devices, but also in how to effectively use the technology to engage students. Teachers can also use the mobile phones to take videos of themselves teaching or of their students' work, and share them on the server with the wider network of teachers using BridgeIT.
Part of what has enabled BridgeIT to replicate effectively has been its approach to forging local partnerships. In each country that it operates, BridgeIT works closely with Ministries of Education and other local organizations to ensure that BridgeIT content and solutions are localized and meeting each context's specific needs. Content is adapted and developed locally, in the local language, as part of this process.
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CEI approaches in action
Works with 2,272 schools
BridgeIT launched its first program, Text2Teach, in the Philippines in 2003, and the program spread rapidly throughout the country using existing cell phone infrastructure. In 2007, BridgeIT launched in Tanzania, in partnership with USAID and the International Youth Foundation, in a program called Elimu Kwa Teknolojia. Since then it has served over 200,000 students in Tanzania, and the Ministry of Education has incorporated the program in its educational policy. BridgeIT was launched in Chile in 2010, and in Colombia in 2011. BridgeIT India launched in 2011, and in its first three years it aims to serve approximately 300 teachers and 8,000 students. BridgeIT collaborates with the International Reading Association in Bangladesh and Indonesia, and launched its program there in 2011. BridgeIT has recently launched new programs in Nigeria, South Africa, and Haiti, and is currently piloting a project in Vietnam in partnership with the British Council.
BridgeIT continues to look for new countries to expand its programs to, and is also seeking to increase the evaluation and effectiveness of its existing programs, through looking at how the model could be improved and what other sorts of technologies and content could be introduced without significantly raising the costs. BridgeIT is also bringing on new partners such as Microsoft, which in the past has supported development of teacher training material that emphasizes 21st century skills. This aligns with BridgeIT's plans to incorporate 21st century skills into its teacher training modules in the future. These modules would train teachers in how to best provide these skills to their students and how to create innovative lesson plans to do so.
Monitoring & Evaluation
BridgeIT monitors its impact through individual monitoring of each of its programs. Learning outcomes are measured and compared between students that participate in BridgeIT's programs and students that do not. Teachers are also evaluated in the classroom, both before and after the implementation of the program.