At the beginning of this week, the Orange Foundation started the digital education pilot-project through which it aims to promote digital education to the secondary school and to improve the students’ school results by means of interactive working methods and “learning by playing” digital content. The pilot will be held in 10 schools from the rural areas during the 2016-2017 school year, currently having a budget of EUR 350,000.
The 10 schools will receive a full package for students and teachers: technological equipment for a laboratory (tablets, a projector and a laptop), digital educational content and supporting materials for Mathematics and ICT, an online catalogue, dedicated training for teachers on using the digital materials at the courses, as well as permanent support.
“We chose these two subjects because they involve notions that are difficult to be assimilated, and we believe that by using digital apps and games, this difficult notions will be much easier assimilated and they will be learned in a more attractive way for them, so they will be more active”, stated Amalia Fodor, Orange Foundation Executive Manager.
The project aims to motivate teachers and students across the country to create their own innovative digital content, to be used at the course classes, as well as to encourage this kind of school experience by using an online platform with open educational content, so that they can be accessed by all interested students and teachers in the country.
Digitaliada suggests an educational method based on digital apps and games – „digital game-based learning (DGBL)”, designed to complete the classical methods used until now at the courses, with educational resources based on technology. Within several Mathematics and ICT classes, video games and apps with educational content will be used to encourage a higher involvement of the students at the classes and to provide them training opportunities in interactive learning and necessary skills for the globalized, technological society of the 21st Century. The digital games in the pilot are identified in a tight relationship with the learning objectives from the curriculum. They are complemented by digital apps to provide teachers and students with a larger framework of using digital equipment during classes.
Starting from the educational content of the games and apps, teachers will receive examples of demonstrative lesson plans for the way the digital content can be used during classes. At the same time, for ICT, students and teachers will benefit from materials supporting the improvement of the digital skills for tablet and PC, developed by the ScratchED team at Harvard Graduate School of Education and released under the Creative Commons license, as well as by Romanian experts in education. All the digital resources suggested in the project and not only them, will be available for free for the general public on the online platform www.digitaliada.ro which aims to become a digital educational content hub, without being limited only to Mathematics and ICT.
“The quality of the results depends on the quality of education. We hope that the ‘learning by playing’ and using apps method will open new doors to the students, will improve their school results, and we hope to be able to contribute together to the development of the education in the coming years”, stated Dana Deac, Orange Foundation President.
Digitaliada represents a natural complement to the Orange Romania strategy to involve into the community through educational initiatives that lay the foundation of the sustainable development of the community, and complements the company’s existing programs.
“The digital component and the education is one of the key components of our Social Corporate Strategy. We are trying to play our role as a player in telekom and to contribute through the digital education to the community development”, said Liudmila Climoc, Chief Executive Officer Orange Romania.
“Investing in education in any way – financial resources, volunteers, internships, mentoring – is an investment in the future. Digitaliada is an example of investment in the future through an ambitious and complex project, with a 360-degree approach. It addresses to schools, teachers, students, providing all of them with new resources that will have a long-term positive impact in the future, contributing to a significant change in the community”, added Liudmila Climoc.
Being launched two years ago, and being based on a national survey performed by GFK, the Digitaliada pilot-project can be extended at the end of the testing period by increasing either the number of schools, or the number of subjects, but this will happen only if it will have the expected positive results. However, the project doesn’t aim to replace the classical system, but only to support it.
Digitaliada is developed with the support of the General Directorate of Primary and Secondary Education within the Ministry of the National Education and Scientific Research, being implemented with the support of the NGOs: the “Actori Europeni” Association, the “Cartea Daliei” Association, the “Societatea Online” Association and the “Noi Orizonturi” Foundation, as well as with the support of the local authorities.