Bucharest, 20th of January 2020 – Over 40 teachers in rural areas participated in a two-day Design Thinking workshop, conducted pro-bono by six facilitators from IBM Romania and Vodafone Romania. The participating teachers are part of the project envisaging the digital transformation of education School in a Box (Școala din valiză), funded by the Vodafone Foundation Romania and carried out by the World Vision Romania Foundation in ten schools from the rural areas.
The schools enrolled in the programme School in a Box receive Instant Classroom kits, each consisting of a laptop for the teacher, 25 tablets for students, a top of the range server, a modem, a sound system and a video projector. Digital boxes provide access to the www.scoaladinvaliza.ro platform, so that teachers can conduct their classes in a digital, modern way.
In order to ensure the best experience for users from various schools in the rural areas, Vodafone Romania employees teamed up with IBM Romania employees to jointly volunteer in running a Design Thinking workshop for teachers beneficiaries of the School in a Box programme. Design Thinking is an innovative, tailor-made, beneficiary-oriented method, which aims to discover and better understand its needs in order to improve, optimise and innovate the working method and develop a dedicated product.
“The digital education programme School in a Box implemented by the Vodafone Romania Foundation provides a new learning experience for schools in rural areas, converting the teachers’ traditional method of teaching into an interactive and captivating experience for the students”, pointed out Luiza Jipescu, IBM Romania CSR Manager. “Connecting new generations to the requirements of the digital age labour market and artificial intelligence is a direction strongly supported by IBM, through its CSR programmes. IBM employees who volunteered to support this project are part of the IBM iX multi-disciplinary team, consisting of specialists we call “business designers” , managing to remove barriers between strategy, creativity and technology. IBM iX experts approached the Design Thinking method, probably for the first time in Romania, with teachers in rural areas, to build a “Persona”, namely an archetype conjugating the common characteristics, roles and behaviours of the teacher beneficiary of the School in a Box programme, aiming to discover their needs and ways to improve the programme to meet such needs.”
Jointly taking the steps of the Design Thinking workshop for School in a Box and applying the interactive techniques and mechanisms specific to the method, the teachers have highlighted the strengths of the digital educational business, what motivates them to use the technology in class, what difficulties they encounter, assisting with their own ideas in improving the experience of all users.
“In the story School in a Box, teachers are our heroes. Apart from providing them with a technical solution or a training course facilitating their teaching in a new, modern, digital way, we try to empathise with them, understand their needs and thus, in their turn, provide their students with the best educational experience”, stated Ciprian Zamfirescu, Digital Transformation Vodafone Romania and volunteer in the project.
School in a Box is a project encouraging the digital transformation of the education system in Romanian rural areas. This transformation accounts both for a change of mindset and an upgrade of educational practices, supported by information technology and systems.
According to the Teaching and Technology study, published by Campus Technology, 73% of the teachers said that technology makes their job easier or much easier. The aim of theSchool in a Box projectis to develop the digital skills of teachers and students in primary and secondary schools in rural areas, by using a mobile box equipped with technology equipment (tablets, routers, laptops, etc.) and access to the platform www.scoaladinvaliza.ro, which helps them deliver interactive lessons and fascinate students through multimedia educational content. The project grows every year, thus proving the interest for technology of schools located in Romanian rural areas: 8,000 beneficiaries in 2019, as compared to 3,700 beneficiaries in 2018.
The Design Thinking workshops shall be held periodically, and the School in a Box project shall be tailored to the needs and feedback of teachers.
The Vodafone Romania Foundation is a Romanian nongovernmental charitable organisation, established in 1998, which operates separately and independently from the company’s business. Over more than 20 years of activity, the Vodafone Romania Foundation has funded 1,168 programs run by 745 NGOs throughout the country, in the fields of healthcare, education and social services. These projects had more than 3 million beneficiaries – children, young and old people, physically, socially or economically disadvantaged people. So far, the Vodafone Romania Foundation has invested 31 million euros in projects run by non-profit partner organisations. More details about the Foundation’s programs are available at fundatia-vodafone.ro, http://jurnaldebine.fundatiavodafone.ro/ și www.facebook.com/fundatiavodafone.
World Vision Romania is a part of the World Vision International partnership, and is active in almost 100 countries worldwide. World Vision Romania is a foundation that carries out emergency humanitarian intervention, development, and advocacy programs, placing the well-being of children at the centre of its activities. The foundation focuses on working with children, families and communities in order to overcome poverty and injustice. Inspired by Christian values, the foundation works with the most vulnerable people in the world, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. In its almost 30 years of activity in Romania, the foundation has helped over 500,000 children and adults from 400 communities in 8 counties. More details about the foundation: www.worldvision.ro, www.facebook.com/WorldVisionRomania, blog.worldvision.ro/.
IBM iX, IBM Services’ business design group, is one of the largest digital agencies in the world, with a global network of over 17,000 business designers in 57 studios worldwide. IBM iX operates at the crossroads between progressive strategy, creative vision and transformational technology to help customers cope with today’s major business challenge: tomorrow.
For more information about IBM iX, please visit ibm.co/ix. Follow @IBM_iX on Twitter.
IBM Design Thinking – Enterprise Design Thinking is the framework used by IBM to cooperate, align teams and build up their intention to address user issues – while improving customer experience, at the scale and speed required by modern businesses.