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Go-Lab Goes Africa, Deploying Contextually Engaging Digital Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Educative Content in Africa by Adapting the Proven Go-Lab Ecosystem to Local Needs

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - GO-GA (Go-Lab Goes Africa, Deploying Contextually Engaging Digital Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Educative Content in Africa by Adapting the Proven Go-Lab Ecosystem to Local Needs)

Reporting period: 2019-07-01 to 2020-12-31

GO-GA’s main objective was to adapt and deploy the successful Go-Lab Ecosystem in Africa, first piloting it in primary and secondary schools (i.e. to students between 13 to 18 years old) in three countries - Nigeria, Kenya and the Republic of Benin, before scaling up to 4 new countries, Ghana, Zambia, Uganda and Senegal.
The Go-Lab ecosystem, created in the FP7 Go-Lab project and further developed and implemented in Europe in the H2020 Next-Lab project, offers students rich, challenging, and socially embedded science and technology experiences that shape their knowledge, together with investigative, reflective and social abilities. By starting at a young age, Go-Lab intends to increase the enrolment of students in science and technology education (STEM); by offering engaging instruction it aims to decrease the level of dropout of students; and by combining Inquiry-Based Learning (IBL) and 21st century skills it expects to contribute to a better-equipped workforce.
All these benefits are dearly needed in Africa; leveraging the opportunity of the H2020 call ICT-39-2016-2017, GO-GA project took Go-Lab outside of Europe, adapting its technological elements - ecosystem and platforms - to African requirements, supporting the creation of quality local digital content and rolling it out on the African continent. Underpinning this was an extensive programme of training of teachers in pedagogical and technical skills.
"To ensure the effective adoption of Go-Lab for developing countries in WP1 we adapted the existing ecosystem platforms and learning tools and created new resources to fit within the curricula and the constraints of developing countries, such as availability and type of devices, lack of steady power supply and reliable internet access. Through a first phase of pedagogical and technical requirements’ analysis, complemented by regular feedback collection from teachers, GO-GA released two versions of the localised and adapted Go-Lab Ecosystem at Months 9 and 18 that were tested in two pilot deployment programmes (at M14 and M23). In P2, further adaptation of the Ecosystem’s interfaces and localisation of the support content were subsequently made for the second round of pilot activities. Importantly, the performance of the Ecosystem in situations of poor internet connection was improved and an offline Viewer for the use of ILSs in the classroom and a set of offline labs and apps were delivered. Until M36, maintenance of the platforms and corrections of various bugs were provided.
WP2 officially closed during Period 1 at M14; it supported the creation of the user communities and of the first set of 6 model resources, i.e. inquiry learning spaces (ILSs) with their associated labs designed for the 3 pilot countries were co-created by newly onboarded teachers and project partners, early on in the project. These model resources were the basis for the development of 208 additional ILSs in WP3 & 4 to project end date.
Building the capacity of the teachers in the communities created in WP2 was the core mission of WP3. Overall 188 Master Teachers in the 3 pilot countries were trained and successfully onboarded an additional 428 New Teachers. The competence profile of the 616 educators was raised through a capacity building journey starting from Explorers, gradually moving to Developers, Pilot and Ambassadors of the project. The consolidation of the journey was ensured by the continuous support of the STEM Cells™ created in most participating schools.
During P2, WP4 focused on preparing, running and analysing GO-GA Pilot implementation #2. In this second pilot, 83 individual classes were taught by 72 teachers to over 2,400 students using 40 different ILSs in 45 schools. Overall, satisfaction of teachers and students involved was measured as very high; issues reported mainly concern technical infrastructure, such as slow internet and a limited number of computers and laptops. Since Pilot #2 was set up with an increased focus on more remote, rural schools with poor or no internet connection, support particularly focused on producing and using offline ILSs.
Looking at ensuring solid foundations for sustainability, WP5 focused on collaborating with Strategic Partners to gradually attract more teachers beyond the pilot schools and in 4 new countries (Senegal, Uganda, Zambia and Ghana). GO-GA partners engaged 17 Key Stakeholders from the 7 countries in various programme activities such as taking part to the project Advisory Board, to Community Building activities, to the Pilot Launch activities, to ad-hoc workshops or to the project Final Events. The impact of that engagement can be seen by looking at the number of partnerships and endorsements from stakeholders in the 7 countries. They were also the basis for the post-project mentoring programme (PPMP) which offers 17 selected and trained Master Teachers (MTs) in the 4 Associate Countries to strengthen their skills and ability to effectively use the Go-Lab ecosystem through a one-year mentorship programme led by 16 fellow mentors from Kenya, Nigeria and Benin.
Regarding outreach activities, highlights include ca 790 visitors per month on our www.go-ga.org website, 9 newsletters sent to 949 subscribers, 8 videos viewed over 500 times, 529 followers on our Twitter account, 5327 followers of our Facebook and 173 followers on LinkedIn."
GO-GA is all about international technology and knowledge transfer between Europe and Africa. Our project is contributing to reinforcing the international dimension of the ICT. Infrastructure limitations across the continent (access to internet; access to physical labs) make technology enabled education of STEM an exception rather than the norm across the continent. However there is a marked trend towards it and GO-GA is helping accelerate this trend in the 3 pilot countries. Before being able to roll out the Go-Lab ecosystem it needed to be repurposed and new tools (apps, interfaces, labs) created for the African market, to make it suitable for adoption in schools. By M18 of the project, the Go-Lab and Graasp Platforms had been localised to fit needs identified across the 3 pilot countries. Two releases of the updated ecosystem (including tools such as apps, labs and support structures) were tested and validated as part of the two GO-GA pilot deployments (WP4). In parallel over 600 teachers were trained to use the Ecosystem and the Inquiry-Based learning teaching methodology. Overall, 144 individual classes were taught by 127 teachers to over 4500 students using 144 ILSs in 89 schools.

At project end, the 8 GO-GA original consortium partners signified their intention to continue collaborating in drafting and signing a Memorandum of Understanding. That document will serve as a basis to shape new Partnerships for Scale in Africa following two main routes or business models designed to engage with relevant stakeholders in the education sector to scale the use of Inquiry Based Learning and digital labs across Africa: a GO-GA offering to Schools and Ministries of Education and a GO-GA offering to Teacher Training Institutions TTIs. The registration of the STEM Cell trademark in 19 African countries is yet another evidence of the strong intention of the partners to build on the GO-GA results.
Classroom implementation of a Go-Lab ILS (Inquiry Learning Space) in Nigeria