In 2010, Sam Ng got the opportunity to help do something to fight modern day slavery. The entire family relocated to Asia and helped establish a charity that encourages businesses to help abolish slavery. That experience ultimately led us to Cambodia where we learnt first hand that slavery and human trafficking is just a subset of many other complex social issues.
A common theme that was often raised was the issue of education - or the lack thereof. With young children of our own, education was already something we were thinking a lot about. It was, and still is, humbling to see the opportunities we can give our own kids when children in our neighbourhood could only dream of a comparable opportunity. Education, combined with good health will provide most people the opportunity to change their lives for the better - and be less vulnerable to traps like human trafficking.
In mid 2012, we started a project to see how technology and particularly the internet, can create better learning opportunities. A local school, run by PIO, was a willing partner as we experimented with new ways to accelerate learning and complement formal education at the school. Results from our initial trial are encouraging. We are now aiming to extend that trial with a program called Grit Labs.
At this early stage, Grit is mostly just Sam's time. We're funding it ourselves so far but hope to gather support as we extend what we are doing. We are also working with a leading education NGO in Cambodia called KAPE who are using our expertise to complement some of their work, including a Khmer literacy project.
Grit is an experimental mobile learning solution.
Grit is a mobile software platform that brings high quality, low cost educational content to learners in the developing world. Early results suggest that average improvements of 52% on math test scores are possible after 18 hours of use at an approximate cost of US$4.10 per student.
Grit works on the assumption that re-use is better than re-invention. There are numerous innovations and quality educational content designed primarily for learners in developed countries. We work on finding ways to make use of the same innovations and content available to people in developing countries - and particularly ways to deliver learning through smartphones and mobile devices.
Our first project, Grit Math, was trialled successfully from September - November 2012 at PIO school. In the first month, it showed a 52% increase in math test scores when compared to a control group, and an average of 93% improvement after 3 months.
Grit Math used 8 Android tablets running a collection of grade 3 math applications and the Famigo Sandbox application to give learners a safe user experience. Learn more about Grit Math.
Our next project is Grit Labs, starting in December 2012. Under Grit Labs, we plan to extend what we did with Grit Math to hundreds of students at the PIO school at Stung Mean Chey, Phnom Penh. The main purpose of Grit Labs is to further develop the Grit concept and then share our knowledge and lessons learnt with other educational institutions.
One of these groups is Cambodian education NGO, KAPE. We are currently working with them to replicate Grit Math at various school in the Cambodian province of Kampong Cham. We are also looking to extend to topics to include Grit ESL and local Cambodian content.