BERNARDSVILLE, N.J. and DAKAR, Senegal, Feb. 10, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Ecole Sinthiou Mbadane1 lies off the electric grid. Yet this rural Senegalese elementary school is providing students with a unique learning opportunity with the help of a groundbreaking solar-powered interactive whiteboard, part of CyberSmart's affordable solution to bring 21st century learning to even the poorest schools in the world.
Recently, CyberSmart received a grant from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) in Senegal to implement its innovative learning solution to extend the Senegalese national curriculum in the areas of math, science, and social studies. CyberSmart will collaborate with teachers and experts to create and implement locally adapted training and lessons designed to spark a more active, real-world classroom experience.
"USAID is excited to be working with CyberSmart to pilot its innovative model offering a highly scalable, practical solution to impact the poorest schools in the world – traditionally underserved rural schools off the electric grid – with a 21st century education," said Kevin Mullally, Director of USAID/Senegal.
"Just as the mobile phone brings affordable communications to rural Africa, our vision for CyberSmart's learning solution, which integrates mobile broadband, is to do the same for education. This provides hope for one-quarter of the world's population – 1.5 billion people – who lack access to electricity and risk falling further behind the digital learning divide," said Jim Teicher, Director of CyberSmart.
CyberSmart's patent-pending interactive whiteboard impacts hundreds of students in a single day as it is easily transported between classrooms. Its components – specifically designed for schools lacking basic infrastructure – require minimal electricity and can be powered by a low cost solar energy system.
With a "tech-lite" model at its core, CyberSmart flips the traditional economics associated with 21st century learning, and focuses heavily on teacher training. This is accomplished by using less equipment, eliminating the need for infrastructure modifications, and by reducing ongoing costs. The result is an instructional shift where teachers learn to engage students with the learning skills most closely associated with success in today's globalized workplace.
CyberSmart also works in partnership with The Earth Institute at Columbia University's Millennium Villages and Millennium Cities projects, and started its work in Senegal in 2007, partnering with the Senegalese Ministry of Education.