The year is 1995, it’s 5.30pm on a Summer Holiday evening in your living room. You are 12 years old and your father just returned home from work so its time to look as busy and smart as possible. You power up the Macintosh computer and put in your favourite diskette….Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing.
You begin trying to show off your freshly acquired skills to your dad, he’s impressed, but he’s more interested in the aroma coming from the kitchen.
For some of us, this was what our holiday evenings were like; Self-Learning. Over the years, software packages got better and we had cool software on human anatomy, aircraft engineering and many other disciplines. These things combined with the wealth of information from the Discovery channel, and the language skills we learnt from Multichioice TV shaped our childhood learning experiences.
Fast-forward 25 years later. It’s 2020, your living room. You’re now 37 years old and three of your four kids have a smartphone, some sort of tablet and the one not old enough is watching the disney channel on the Highest Volume. They barely even noticed you walk in. Your wife reminds you its time to caution your 12 year old about his poor grades. You think back to the days when you couldn’t even look like you were having a good time whenever you had a bad end of term result….
As parents/teachers/counselors/siblings, we are all to familiar with the fact that the Standard of Education in Nigeria and also Africa has severely plummeted. One could go as far as to say our children are not exposed to the same level of academic challenges that kids faced in the 80s and 90s. There was a certain pride that came with knowing you were the smartest in your class, aced every quiz and you were always the number 1 student expected to completely destroy the other School during inter-school debates.
Today, it seems that those accolades may have been rendered irrelevant in this Social Media age of Double-tapping and Swiping Right. The interest children have in education is dwindling, just like the amount of funds allocated to Education in our National budgets.
However, in the midst of this crisis, like an oasis in the desert, a product called ULESSON has come up with a simple, affordable and accessible solution. The tagline for ULESSON is “Love Learning”and part of their mission statement goes as follows:
“At uLesson, we are building an app to help African students be the very best they can be. Our team of talented people are passionate about media, technology, education and the continent. Together, we seek to build a learning experience unprecedented in its richness, scope, interactivity and effectiveness.”
What captures our attention the most is their acknowledgement of the diversity of education, even within Africa. To quote their exact words; “We seek to engage African students in a manner that is culturally relevant, and responds to the syllabi in their respective countries”
This is super important, as the importance of relating a childs education to the sights, sounds and objects native to their geographical area has long been ignored in the African Education system. We are all very familiar with Chika Ezeanya-Esiobu’s amazing TED Talk on why for Africa A is not for Apple and B is not for Ball.
With every private school in Nigeria re-branding as a mix of the UK & Canadian curriculum (whatever that means), its a breath of fresh air to see an entity proudly embrace the concept of A Curriculum that is culturally relevant.
So What makes ULESSON different from Youtube Learning?
We could write a whole paragraph on this. However, we won’t. Instead we’ll share this LINK to one of their recent tweets. In the cut they show a video that demonstrates the ease, accessibility, affordability and robustness of the ULESSON system, highlighting how ridiculously simple and convenient it is to use. Navigating through their twitter feed, you will also find some more awesome facts like:
“We have squeezed thousands of WAEC-curriculum relevant, richly -animated yet high resolution lessons unto a dongle you simply plug in. NO DATA COSTS”
“The ULesson app will require that you log in once a week so we can share some analytics and reporting data with parents and guardians and optimize the learning experience. This will not consume more than 50kb of your data”
Reading those two quotes we are sure you can point out some obvious pros ULESSON may have over youtube learning. We’ll let you be the judge once they roll out their platform completely.
Why is Lu Gold EDC Excited About ULesson
Every quarter of every year we embark on what we call an EDC School Tour to various parts of the country of Nigeria. While in those regions we visit the Secondary Schools that we work with and also those we plan to build a new relationship with. The purpose of this trip is to help these schools put a face to our organisation, interact with students, provide counselling and make donations in form of IT Equipment or Furniture to these schools.
However, during these School tours, we also make unplanned trips to Local Public Secondary Schools. Most times, the contrast is usually too embarrassing to share with the public. We meet hundreds of students, eager to learn, intelligent and vibrant. Sometimes, They have zero support, zero facilities, zero learning tools as compared to their counterparts in the Private Schools we visit. There is a small but bright beam of hope in sight, as organisations like R2S have made it their mission to improve the public school learning environment in Nigeria.
Knowing that ULESSON has taken it upon themselves to have the knowledge from all the similar content from our recognised textbooks, syllabi, and curricula properly documented and demonstrated in high resolution Animated Colour videos, readily available to the public at NO COST OF INTERNET DATA, is laudable. They have our respect and if in any way applicable, our full support.
What Are The Things We Would Love To See After the Launch of ULESSON
Accountability: At every point in time, it’s never been just good enough to create a solution that works. We must always hold others accountable for choosing not to implement these solutions when there are clearly no other options. Educational Leaders must be held responsible for the failing state of the Education system and work in unity with Ulesson to see how their platform can be deployed and implemented in the areas where such solution is needed the most. This is not a war on Conventional Teaching, but an effort to supplement the efforts of our precious Teachers, and to also synchronize teaching methods with the technology that our Kids are used to in 2020.
Transparency: If you are familiar with the founder of ULesson, then you know you’ve probably not met another entrepreneur more honest, transparent and goal-driven. It would be admirable to see these same values somehow represented in the platform. We believe all stakeholders (Parents/Teachers/Commissioners of Education/Ministers), at the right time, should all be sensitized on the applications, features and also any existing limitations of ULesson and plans to overcome them.
History: We all have been a teacher to someone at some point in time, so we have a vague idea of the MONUMENTAL amount of work that must be involved in not only capturing the entire curriculum but representing it in a unique way for each African Country. If you’ve ever had to write a note of lesson for a class of students, you would understand.
Regardless, HISTORY IS NOT BEING TAUGHT WELL ENOUGH IN AFRICAN SCHOOLS. It probably would cost a lot more, but wouldn’t it be amazing to have the whole amalgamation of all the former Nigerian Protectorates by Frederick Lugard as a 12-episode animated series with a “tales by moonlight morale of the story” at the end of every episode. (Teni voice: Is it too much?)
Support: ULESSON is a great initiative, their founder is a visionary and he has put together a magnificent team working out of one of the most serene places in Nigeria. We would love to see Support for this initiative. Tweet, Share and Repost to raise awareness. Tell your friends and colleagues. Write an article in support of their initiative. And when U-Lesson does roll-out, patronize them. We can’t wait to make this part of our next EDC School Tour!
To find out more about Ulesson you can
visit their website at www.ulesson.com
Follow them on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ulessonapp
Send them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Awesome post! Keep up the great work! 🙂
Awesome project. As a primary school Maths and Science educator, I’d love to be a part of the team.
Great content! Super high-quality! Keep it up! 🙂