DIVERSIFIED digital services group, Cassava Smartech, has launched Akello Digital Classroom, a platform that offers Zimbabwean learners from primary level to high school, access to online approved curriculum lessons.
As part of its launch for the new product, the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed company has announced that all interested Zimbabwean students will have free access to live online lessons for the next 30 days.
“Akello Digital Classroom has two components — live online classes and an online platform that provides lesson videos on-demand after the live classes.
“The live classes are designed to encourage the interactive aspect with the teacher while the video-on-demand platform is meant for revision purposes after the live lessons,” said Mr Eddie Chibi, chief executive officer of Cassava Smartech Zimbabwe. Under the new model learners will be able to register for the live online classes administered by qualified teachers via video-conferencing, he added.
Mr Chibi said after each day’s live online classes, learners will be able to learn at their own pace by re-visiting the lesson videos and materials and also assess their understanding through exercises. The live lesson timetable is accessible on the Akello Digital Classroom website, he said.
“We want students to achieve good grades regardless of the school they go to or their financial circumstances. Akello Digital Classroom was designed with this in mind and we are proud to provide this for free to all Zimbabweans at this time,” Mr Chibi said.
Akello EduTech chief operating officer, Mr Tendai Mashingaidze, said the solution allows students to get extra lessons online from qualified teachers using a highly discounted e-learning data bundle from Econet Wireless.
“We are putting our hand up to lead from the front in creating jobs by identifying deserving teachers to train and equip to use this technology as Akello Digital Classroom teachers,” said Mr Mashingaidze.
“After the initial free access in response to Covid-19, the live classes will be available for a fee. The on-demand class lessons platform will, however, be accessed free of charge to all participants of the live classes as well as beneficiaries of the Higher Life Foundation.
“In order to assist with revision after the lessons, Akello Digital Classroom’s video-on-demand platform is powered by Kolibri, an open source platform developed by Learning Equality for contexts with limited or no connectivity to provide the world’s learners and educator’s access to educational materials that are traditionally difficult to access,” Mr Mashingaidze said.
Kolibri also provides functionality built into the platform so that educators can track learners’ progress through the materials. Akello Digital Classroom’s use of Kolibri will see students who attend the live classes get zero-rated access to the lesson videos and additional exercises after the live classes, said the company.
Speaking about the launch of the Akello Digital Classroom’s video-on-demand platform, Learning Equality’s co-founder and executive director, Mr Jamie Alexandre, lauded the importance of providing equitable access to learning resources, especially to students from marginalised communities and backgrounds.
“Covid-19 has reminded us of our commitment to building free and open software tools and making learning resources available for children traditionally marginalised by not being able to benefit from the wealth of materials available online. We’re motivated by the ability to enable equitable access to locally produced and relevant content,” he said.