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OU project shares in £5.5M research portfolio to improve education tech in low and middle income countries

Lady in a brightly coloured sari looking at a mobile phone

Academics from WELS have launched a study with global research partner, Edtech Hub to investigate the impact of technology on teaching in Bangladesh. 

Tom Power from the School of Education, Childhood, Youth and Sport, and Professor Agnes Kukulska Hulme of the OU Institute of Educational Technology will lead the project Mobile Learning for Empowerment of Marginalised Mathematics Educators (or 3MPower, pronounced 'empower'). The two-and-a-half-year study will fill a significant gap in global evidence by researching the effectiveness of Muktopaath, a unique e-Learning platform in Bangla, developed by the Bangladeshi Government for skills development over multiple sectors. Focus will be on how the platform is used to professionally develop maths teachers at scale and the research will examine how these programmes shape teaching and learning, and their cost effectiveness. 

Tom commented, “The use of technology for teacher development is a rapidly growing research field, yet there are significant gaps in evidence around its use in marginalised rural schools and the impacts of such use on teaching quality and learning outcomes3MPower will address these evidence gaps as part of the OU's ongoing commitment to research into societal challenges and global development. 

Principal Investigator for 3MPower, Tom is also co-convenor of the Professional Learning and Technology Hubwithin the OU Centre for the Study of Global Development, researching the ways in which frugal technologies can be harnessed to improve professional learning for frontline workers in health and education—often in challenging circumstances. 

Co-Investigator Agnes is Professor of Learning Technology and Communication at the OU, and brings to the project her expertise on online distance education, mobile learning, language teaching and linguistics. 

Accessing a £5.5m research portfolio 

3Mpower is one of 13 projects within EdTech’s first research portfolio, which - at £5.5m - represents the largest investment in primary research on EdTech's use in low- and middle-income countries. 

“We are thrilled to be collaborating with The Open University, as one of the studies in our research portfolio,” says EdTech Hub Executive Director, Verna Lalbeharie. “The evidence generated by this study, we hope, will inform key, future education decisions, and influence the design, development and implementation of EdTech solutions for our world’s most vulnerable learners.”   

The EdTech Hub research portfolio will be conducted over the next two to three years and is supported by the FCDO, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the World Bank. 

Read the full story on OU News.

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