Coaching + Training + Technology
TeachUNITED actively supports our schools and teachers to understand their day-to-day needs rather than imposing a rigid one-size-fits-all program. TeachUNITED has built an intentional balance between standardization and consistency of training and content, and autonomy and flexibility for each coach to customize the program to meet the needs of each school. By understanding each school’s challenges, we are able to provide the right resources in order to accomplish the change that we envision together.
250 million children around the world cannot read, write or do basic math, according to UNESCO. Many of these students are in rural schools which lack internet and even electricity. Teacher recruitment and retention is difficult in rural schools, especially in math and science. Morale and engagement, for both students and teachers, is low. Governments have done a reasonable job improving the quality of education in urban schools, but do not have a cost-effective way to deliver technology and teacher training to rural schools. Ministries of education around the world are struggling to find a “last mile” solution for rural schools. TeachUNITED is the answer.
TeachUNITED partner schools receive long-term support from a teacher trainer, a professional development curriculum and a mobile tablet lab. The technology can be used offline and even off-the-grid, meaning even the most rural schools can access thousands of hours of educational resources. With TeachUNITED, teachers and administrators are the principal agents of change, and we use student data to measure our impact. Our mission is to partner with rural schools to transform teaching and learning. Our vision is to create a global network of TeachUNITED schools to revolutionize rural education.
Transformed schools. Teachers are supported, coached, and empowered to make meaningful shifts towards student-centered, engaged learning. Learning becomes purposeful. Energy and motivation returns to the school, and we see increases in student attendance, assessment scores, and 21st-century skills.
What components make up TeachUNITED?
Our partner schools have committed leaders and hard-working “champion teachers” who work with TeachUNITED coaches during the two-year program. We understand the school’s basic challenges and solve them with support of the local community. The coaches help the champion teachers integrate student-centered forms of teaching, such as blended learning, into the classroom experience. After the program, all equipment stays at the school and the champion teachers help mentor teachers at a new TeachUNITED school.
The mobile tablet lab (aka “TabLab”) and all the equipment can be wheeled between classrooms. This allows the students to learn anywhere, not only in the confines of a computer lab. Portability allows for TeachUNITED sharing between nearby classes and multiple teachers. The TabLab can be secured at school, or it can be taken home each night by our lead teachers or school leaders.
Each TabLab is designed to withstand extreme conditions, such as cold, heat, humidity and dust. We start with a shock- and humidity-proof plastic box with foam interior slots provided by CPD Industries. We use high quality and durable tablets with a Defender Series Otterbox case. At night we place silicate canisters inside the plastic box in order to prevent condensation – therefore eliminating the need for expensive air conditioning systems in tropical climates.
Many rural schools have no electricity. Internet, when available, is often unreliable or expensive. The Digital Divide (those with internet, and those without) follows the Electrical Divide (those with electricity, and those without). TeachUNITED’s suite of offline content and apps are designed to work fully offline, if necessary. The tablets and the offline servers can be charged with a solar panel, and our tablets can generally run 4-6 hours per charge.
Another big issue of traditional computer labs is IT support. Tablets typically have fewer problems with viruses than PC laptops. But the cloud-controlled configuration of TeachUNITED allows us to fix problems, or load new software, to both the tablets and the remote hybrid server. Our coaches can also bring the equipment to a place with a suitable Wi-Fi connection, which allows teachers to upload and share content, lesson plans, and activities remotely, even off-the-grid and without an internet connection.