The new CEI is a platform for the education community to connect and share ideas

By Daniel Plaut and Nathan Martin

The delivery of formal education is evolving. Right now, a majority of schools are closed due to COVID-19. And over 1.2 billion students have been impacted in 186 countries. Ministries of education, teachers, NGOs and social entrepreneurs are diligently working to bridge the educational divide with parents and students. They are delivering lessons via Whatsapp, math problems by SMS and, as a result of social distancing restrictions, we are seeing the re-emergence of educational television and radio. 

Rightly, the focus is on mitigating damage, avoiding a “year of learning loss” and ensuring that students have support and instruction during a time of collective upheaval and trauma. But when the classroom doors re-open, learning won’t look the same. First graders in Hangzhou, China, know this first-hand. Their return to class included facemasks and social distancing headgear modeled after Song Dynasty toppers. 

Schools and teachers have always done more than simply deliver instruction, but now they will be asked to shoulder more of that necessary care work — providing nutrition, health and psychosocial support.

As more will be asked of educators on the frontline, guidance from those organisations that serve and support them will be more important than ever. From aid workers to researchers and tech innovators, those of us who make up the broader education development ecosystem will need to rise to new levels of support and efficiency. We will need to provide educators with tools and resources that are tangible, practical and effective. We’ll need to cut through the noise, avoid duplicative efforts and collaborate closely. 

To this end, we are excited to announce that the Center for Education Innovations (CEI) and Matterfund have merged into one centralized information hub for the education development ecosystem

By merging both platforms into the new CEI we’ve taken the next step forward, creating a central information hub for the education development ecosystem. This was always needed, but made essential by COVID-19: education actors urgently need ways to share and consume new knowledge, receiving updates from their colleagues and what they are working on, what they’ve learned, and how they can collaborate. In short, education development is in need of community. Only by connecting with one another can we tackle the education challenges in front of us comprehensively and maximize our resources. 

Here’s what the upgraded CEI platform offers:

  • Share content directly with people in your field: CEI users can add to their profiles, post organizational announcements or blogs, share new resources and evidence, or post new opportunities for funding or collaboration. All of these are searchable in our database, using a number of filters and tags, such as topics (ECD, EdTech, etc.) and regions. 

  • Curate your feed, receive digests via email: you can easily customize your own personal feed, following topics and organizations that are most relevant to your work. Updates based on these preferences are also delivered through a weekly email digest – enabling you to stay up-to-date without frequently browsing our platform.

  • Tools to communicate and collaborate: CEI provides individuals and groups of stakeholders the ability to collaborate through custom community pages or platforms, where members can interact and message one another privately, while also having the ability to collaborate publicly. 

  • Practical, bite-sized resources and toolkits: leveraging the experts from R4D’s Education team, CEI will create new resources and toolkits to serve the broader community. 

It won’t surprise us if the above descriptions aren’t crystal clear (describing a web platform in writing is sort of like trying to explain how something tastes — you have to experience it to understand). For a flavor of the experience, we’ve developed this video showcasing some of these features.

The best way to understand is explore the platform yourself. So we invite you to log on, create a profile or claim and update your organization’s existing profile. Above all, engage and send us feedback: We are committed to creating a global public good that is truly global, public, and good, so let us know how we can best serve you.