Darakht-e Danesh Online Library
How the Darakht-e Danesh Library is Changing Learning in Afghanistan. www.ddl.af
The Darakht-e Danesh Library
'Darakht-e danesh' means "knowledge tree" in Dari, one of the official languages of Afghanistan. The Darakht-e Danesh Library is a digital repository of open educational resources (OERs) for teachers, students, and anyone with a curious mind who wants to learn more on a particular subject. These learning materials include lesson plans, pedagogical tools, exercises, experiments, reading texts, work books, curricula and other resources for use in Afghan classrooms, as well as general information on a range of subjects, which is growing all the time. To our knowledge, this is the first and only initiative in Afghanistan exclusively focused on increasing teachers’ access to classroom material. It responds to a pressing need to address the extreme lack of educational materials available to teachers in Afghanistan, in their own language, who face unprecedented enrolment rates, poor infrastructure, large class size, and isolation.
The Darakht-e Danesh Library aims to increase access to quality resources for Afghan educators, encourage teachers to consult a wide variety of resources in their practice, to use these tools to adapt their own, and to share their own resources with other educators through this open-source collection. We believe that digitalization can make more out of less and nurtures teachers' independent learning and professional development. The DD Library uses a custom-designed interactive, multilingual web platform custom-designed for this initiative, and currently houses more than 2,000 resources in 23 subject categories, for both primary and secondary teachers, in three languages: Dari, Pashto and English. There are also materials for early childhood education, teacher professional development and higher education.
Our thanks to the Linda Norgrove Foundation for their support towards this initiative in 2015.
Parwan Teacher Training College
CW4WAfghan is establishing a 3G connection at the newly opened computer lab at the Parwan teacher training college (TTC), to allow students of the college and their instructors to access the Darakht-e Danesh Online Library. This our pilot TTC and we will use the experience to plan connecting other TTCs in Afghanistan.
Computer Science Curriculum Development
We are currently working to refurbish the computer lab at the CW4WAfghan-funded school Fatema tul Zahra, in Kabul. Once the lab is equipped, we are partnering with an Afghan volunteer-led initiative, CodeKids, whereby young Afghan software developers will develop and pilot a computer science curriculum for the children at the FTZ School.
Impact Study on Open Education Resources in Afghanistan
In early 2015, CW4WAfghan was awarded a research grant to study the impact of open educational resources (OER) in Afghanistan, by the Wawasan Open University in Penang, Malaysia, which is coordinating a series of OER impact studies. These together with the series of OER adoption studies coordinated by the University of Cape Town, form the Research on OER for Development (ROER4D) programme. ROER4D is funded by Canada’s International Development and Research Centre (IDRC) and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID). As defined by UNESCO, OER are “any type of educational materials that are in the public domain or introduced with an open license. The nature of these open materials means that anyone can legally and freely copy, use, adapt and re-share them.” OER can include lesson plans, courses, textbooks, storybooks, images, maps, activities, teacher guides, and a variety of other materials. CW4WAfghan is among several grantee institutions focusing on education in Asia, Africa or Latin America and experimenting with the use of OER to strengthen the quality of teaching and learning. The ROER4D programme aims to provide evidence-based research to help understand with what impact and under what circumstances the use of OER can best address the demand for accessible, relevant, high-quality and affordable education in the Global South. The study, currently in progress, allows CW4WAfghan to measure the impact of the educational resources in the Darakht-e Danesh Library, to understand how exposure to the materials changes teachers’ knowledge and pedagogical skill. CW4WAfghan’s Programs Director, Dr. Lauryn Oates, is Principal Investigator of the study, the results of which will be published in 2016.