All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development, a partnership between USAID, World Vision, and the Australian Government, and Benetech collaborated to launch a working group focused on the use of educational technology to promote inclusive education globally. The Inclusive EdTech Working Group will address gaps in identifying and sharing best practices around how EdTech can be used to create and support inclusive and accessible education solutions and programs for students with disabilities globally. The members of this group include a combination of service providers, NGOs, funders, researchers, and technology companies from developing countries. Learn more about Benetech’s collaboration with All Children Reading and how to get involved in our interview with Vanessa Lombardo, Training and Learning Manager at Benetech.
How would you describe the mission statement of the Inclusive EdTech working group?
The purpose of the working group is for a globally diverse set of organizations to collaborate to maximize the contribution of educational technology to inclusive education for learners with disabilities in low- and middle-income countries as well as marginalized communities within these countries. Its primary objective is to assist underserved communities throughout the world in adopting and implementing educational technology to support inclusive education.
For many years, various groups have conducted this work around the globe. Unfortunately, these initiatives were not sustained due to insufficient funding and leadership. We are diligently working to ensure that this group is not only financially sustainable but also has dedicated leadership and participation.
Within this working group, which organizations are you all collaborating with?
Currently, we have approximately 30 organizations as members, including World Education, Save the Children, Light for the World, GIZ, SIL International, eKitabu, DAISY, RTI, USAID, and World Vision. To ensure that we have a mix of direct service providers, funders, technologists, researchers, and governments, we are actively seeking additional organizations to partner with. We have recruited members through various events, including the mEducation Alliance Symposium in Washington DC and the ICEVI Africa Conference in Nairobi Kenya. We also receive referrals from members asking if their colleagues or partners are interested in joining. The initiative is generating a great deal of excitement and momentum.
Would you be able to tell me how new organizations, charters, and members may join? What are the criteria for joining the organization?
To join the working group, please contact me directly at [email protected]. I maintain a distribution list. Applicants must be an organization that has an interest in inclusive education and how EdTech can promote inclusion and improve outcomes for marginalized students in low- and middle-income countries.
How does this working group plan to promote equity in education?
Education technology has the potential to transform our educational system, especially for our most vulnerable students. As a result, it equalizes the playing field and promotes equity. We would like to focus our efforts on ensuring that EdTech is accessible and affordable to these students and help them utilize EdTech to achieve their goals and to live productive and fulfilling lives. To compile best practices around acquiring EdTech as well as implementing it, we are learning what works and what has not worked in the past.
In what ways can members of the community outside of the group help support or participate in the impact?
In December, there will be a virtual meeting. It is intended that they will present findings from various meetings that took place this year, as well as continue to work on activities related to our mission statement. Please consider joining if you are interested.
For more information about The Inclusive EdTech Working Group, please contact Vanessa Lombardo at [email protected].