A shortage of equipped teachers highly contributes to low student retention rates and the 57 million primary-aged children who remain out of school.
Teachers in Sub-Saharan Africa can have a class of up to 80 students. They have little technological resources outside of their personal cell phone and aren't given up to date curriculum and or core competencies. With little connection and communication channels to other teachers in the region, they struggle to find and implement a new curriculum that engages students, meets nationwide educational standards, and prepares students for critical assessments that directly determine their educational and career trajectory.
We also identified that there is often sufficient government spend allocated to educational resources, especially in Africa - However, corruption and politics dilute this financial resource so that when it does eventually filter into where it needs to be, it's a minute fraction of what it started out to be. Thus meaning the educational resources are sub-par and in some cases not existent.
What does it do
Introducing, OpenCurriculum, an online platform that allows local teachers and educational experts on a global level to collaborate and curate educational resources which are aligned within core competencies set out in the local region.
These resources include, but are not limited to:
- Lesson Plans
- Core Competencies road map relevant to the region so the teacher can stay on track.
- Downloadable Worksheets
- Video and Sound Clips
- VR Content
The platform is, in essence, a repository of educational content which will be at the fingertips of educators from around the world. Created for educators by educators.
Our OpenCurriculum platform also provides the ability to:
- Summarize resources stored in our platform using advanced DL PyTorch models.
- Translate resources from and to most international languages.
- Collaborate to develop educational resources with teachers from around the world.
OpenCurriculum is accessible in many ways:
- React Web Portal, which is also optimized for mobile consumption.
- Facebook Chat Messenger, users can follow a journey to get and retrieve lesson plans for particular subjects.
- Face Chat Messenger allows the user to communicate with the app in their native language
- A FreeBasics view which is a slimmed down version of the platform which is zero data rated. Meaning it can be accessed without the user having to use their own data. This makes it extremely accessible and inclusive.
Benefits to Teachers:
- Free access to top quality content
- Increase student engagement due to up-to-date coursework
- Government expenditure can be better spent on enhancing content within the platform - instead of textbooks etc which cost lots of money
- Contribution to global education - each contribution bridging the gap in educational level across the globe
Open Curriculum provides teachers around the world the access to various lesson plans so that they can focus on their day to day work and not the mundane planning.
How we built it
We split the team into backend, frontend, ml, architecture and management. Each subteam worked on their respective component and then we glued it together.
Challenges we ran into
Troubles with DevOps in AWS. Decentralized decisions that didn't always play together and we had to reiterate priorities. Using FairSeq models - FairSeq model is quite heavy and we had to fall back to traditional transformer models
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Chatbot and live deployed servers. We have a single backend serving all the components. Concurrently running 3 Amazon instances.
What we learned
Learned how to work in a team with people from around the world.
What's next for OpenCurriculum by WATTBA
- Creating lesson plans out of current books using Computer Vision and Deep Learning.
- Allow content to be automatically populated by the use of AI and ML.
- Enable text to speech translations for blind users.
- Enable resource conversion to sign language, which can be consumed by a VR headset.