The idea for Team4Tech was born in 2012, when Julie Clugage and Lila Ibrahim, witnessed the “transformative power of education”: Julie worked in a school in rural Guatemala while Lila worked in an orphanage in Lebanon. After working closely for years at Intel Corporation, to advance education and economic development through technology, they launched the Intel Education Service Corps in 2009. This program was met with incredible support as a large number of Intel employees began volunteering their time and expertise to the improvement of education.
In September 2012, they had another idea: creating a platform accessible to talented professionals from a variety of technological companies, to improve the quality of education around the world. With this in mind, in May 2013, they launched their first project in Kenya with a total of nine volunteers. The plan was to introduce an adaptive learning software solution to increase the education level of the primary school children. Within six months of this implementation, the students had doubled their literacy test scores. Since this project, Team4Tech has engaged in many similar projects, broadening their impact on education standards. One such project was run in November, 2016, in Hardoi, Uttar Pradesh by Dawn Kwan, the project manager for Team4Tech.
VMware and Udaan Mewat Teachers
She led a project with CARE India's Udaan Mewat school where a team of VMware employees brought technology to augment the teaching and learning objectives for a residential bridge-building school for girls, who had previously dropped out of school. Udaan Mewat is an innovative 11-month program where a group of 80 girls complete Grades 1 - 5 through innovative teaching methods, and continue their studies in government schools. After 5 weeks of preparation, the VMware volunteers spent a week in Mewat, showing the teachers how to use the technology provided - building long term sustainability of the equipment.
One of the tools used in this program was Pratham Books' StoryWeaver. Dawn taught three of CARE India’s master trainers, who work with government lower and upper primary school teachers (giving them a reach of over 1000 teachers and 50,000 students), how to use StoryWeaver. She reported that they “loved StoryWeaver's wealth of stories, the ability to translate and the ease of creating new stories.”
CARE India trainers learning about StoryWeaver
She also shared Varseena's story with us. A student in the first batch who had graduated from Udaan Mewat, Varseena learned how to use StoryWeaver. “She's extremely bright and created a story, and taught her story to the rest of the Udaan students”. Varseena will play a continuous role in the implementation of StoryWeaver since she was asked to teach the teachers how to use the platform. On the last day, one of the teachers even used a downloaded Pratham Books story in her class.
Team4Tech has clearly made a lot of progress in bettering the education system all over the world through their programs and outreach. The existence of platforms like StoryWeaver and KA Lite (an offline version of Khan Academy - also used by Team4Tech) makes this job easier and more fun for the students. The technological aspect of this is what excites people the most and, in a world where electronic devices have taken over lives, introducing education via technology engages the audience more than anything else. This is why, although few in number, organisations like Team4Tech are successful in completing their goals.