From Sutherland Miller III, RTAC Project Director
On April 8, 2020, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)/U.S. Global Development Lab’s Center for Digital Development (CDD), under the auspices of the Research Technical Assistance Center (RTAC), hosted a live public webinar on “Digital Strategies in Education: Evidence from the Field.” The webinar was led by RTAC’s partner Arizona State University (ASU) and was based on two in-person training courses on “Applying Digital Tools to Support the Journey to Self-Reliance” that were provided to USAID staff working in overseas Missions and Washington in 2019.
The webinar was moderated by Ryan Johnson, Senior Sustainability Scholar, and led by Dr. Mary Jane Parmentier, Clinical Associate Professor, and Dr. Faheem Hussain, Clinical Assistant Professor in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society at ASU. The webinar focused on recent developments in education delivery using digital technologies and the emergence of artificial intelligence in education for ensuring greater learning and achievements. The team also highlighted the development of an independent, solar-powered educational library that provides localized educational content to resource-constrained locations around the world. The webinar sought to address several key questions, including:
1) How do digital education programs capitalize on resources to prioritize learning populations in need?
2) Where have these programs been implemented and what have the results been?
3) What are the benefits and opportunities of digital education programs?
4) What are the risks and challenges they present?
Participation in the webinar was robust and very international, reflecting an immense and growing interest in using digital strategies and technologies to enhance education. Out of 522 individuals who navigated the RTAC website to register for the event, 233 individuals from 62 countries and territories logged in to watch the presentation. In addition to the Unites States and Canada, participants were from: Africa (14 countries); Central, South, and Southeast Asia (14 countries); Europe (16 countries); Latin America (8 countries); and the Middle East and North Africa (8 countries). The webinar included a few polls and a live chat stream feature, enabling the ASU team to answer questions as the session progressed. Several participants requested access to the materials and suggested opportunities for future collaboration with the RTAC team and ASU faculty.
Dr. Parmentier directs the M.S. in Global Technology and Development (GTD) program in the ASU School for the Future of Innovation in Society. Her research and curriculum development have focused on the role of technology in economic, social, and political development as well as the regions of Latin America and North Africa. Dr. Hussain has over 15 years of experience conducting socio-economic development and technological interventions related research in Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and North America. Dr. Hussain brings subject matter expertise in the intersection of information and communication technology (ICT) with: 1) women’s empowerment; 2) refugees; 3) digital afterlife; and 4) public policy.
The webinar video can be seen here: https://asu.zoom.us/rec/share/yPdPLu7i9yRLXKvjs1yGaq54GbnDT6a8gykf-KcJzB1TyJyhsZ-KCwSGPR938fdl
The webinar presentation materials can be found here: USAID Digital Strategies Education
The original training presentations and associated materials for “Applying Digital Tools to Support the Journey to Self-Reliance” can be found here: