At the end of February, the first case of the pandemic COVID-19 was confirmed in Lagos, Nigeria. With the discovery, the State Government stated to put in place measures to curtail the spread. Among the many measures is the immediate closure of all schools and learning centres (including after school centres) across the state. This affected our “After School Coding Centre” business. In March 2020 World Bank reported that (Managing the impact of COVID-19 on education systems around the world: How countries are preparing, coping, and planning for recovery) “While school closures seem to present a logical solution to enforcing social distancing within communities, prolonged closures tend to have a disproportionately negative impact on the most vulnerable students. They have fewer opportunities for learning at home.” The report said further: “Hard-won gains in expanded access to education could stagnate or reverse as school closures are extended and accessibility to alternative options like distance learning remain out of reach for those without means to connect. This may cause further loss in human capital and diminished economic opportunities.” The report suggests that: “The outbreak of the virus and lockdowns at the national level could be used as a best test for the education technology interventions for distance learning.” And “Education interventions during a crisis can support prevention and recovery of public health while mitigating the impact on students and learning.”
What it does
COVID-19 Incident Volunteer.Future_Today is part of a series of creative online educational materials adapting existing platforms such as You Tube and Laptops’ to extend our Gamified after school learning program through distance learning to encourage social distancing, support prevention and recovery of public health while mitigating the impact on students and learning. Additionally, it is aimed at preparing residents of Lagos State for any eventuality. The game takes user through all the emergency numbers to call in the case of any occurrence of COVID-19 in their area and help test user’s competency if they have mastered the numbers.
How I built it
We employed the open source platform of MIT Scratch and its derivative; PictoBlox from thestempedia to code the information made available to the public through social media by the National and State Health Authority to build the game series.
Challenges I ran into
Offering Gamified Educational program as a distance learning option during crisis period such as this comes with the following challenges as identified in the aforementioned World Bank report: • Access to technology such as laptops in most households vary, and • Access to high bandwidth internet or to smart phones is related to income even in middle income families due to the prevailing pandemic condition. Therefore, the programs reach has been hindered.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
We have through this endeavour push forward a resilience educational system that “has the potential to contribute to the protection of children and youth; it helps them cope or maintain some normalcy during a crisis, and recover more quickly, hopefully with some useful new skills (i.e. acquiring distance learning skills and deeper digital mastery where applicable).” (World Bank, 2020) Furthermore: • Health Authorities can adopt this to socially reward (Gamification and entertainment) and enlighten the residents without the fear of citizens putting a false call to the system. • With its innovative user interface, it is easy for all and sundry in the community to comprehend. • The Game is opened for remix, through which the first responder numbers can be updated as the case requires. • First responder cum Educational administrators and policy makers can employ the game as an opportunity to introduce new learning modes that can reach everyone, to prepare for emergencies, and to make the system more resilient.
What I learned
• As a Techpreneur cum STEM Teachers, with access to up to date information ahead of many neighbour in our locality, offering to serve as communication campaign advocates in times like this helps to overcome this common crisis faster and efficiently. • As we look forward to the emergency phase dissipates, communities could move into a “recovery” mode, with governments implementing policies and measures to regain lost time. The approaches may include continuing with distance learning in parallel to schools. • Remote learning and education resources can mitigate loss of learning in school during crisis as exemplified by countries such as China, Italy, France, Germany and Saudi Arabia that have adopted full online classes. They have shown greater resilience in repeated crises, benefit from lesson learned and respond quickly to new crises such as this one. “They have been able to use the momentum to re-prepare, investing and reinforcing systems going forward.” (World Bank, 2020)
What's next for Future_Today Gamified Education Apps
• Produce more series of Gamified educational materials. • Build a web base and smart phone Apps for Gamified Distance learning Education • Establish collaboration with sponsors, governments, health, first responder, educational authorities etc. for up scaling and appropriate feedbacks. • Develop the game to incorporate emergency numbers from other first responder agencies, states within and outside the country. • Procure e-learning equipment such as video enhanced laptops, robotics kits, Wi-Fi kits, smart phones, data subscriptions and cash to cover out of pocket expenses for distribution to our students to encourage them to learn and contribute from home.
• Incorporate Future Today as a not-for-profit outfit with proprietary right of the series.
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