Video Spotlight: EdTech Center @ World Education and Cell-Ed Pivot During COVID-19

August 18, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic transformed “distance learning” into an everyday phrase. As the majority of learning moved online, the so-called digital divide became an obstacle for learners and educators alike. ECMC Foundation’s community focuses on innovation, exploration and forward thinking technology - all critical at this moment in time.

The EdTech Center at World Education works with their partners to increase the educational opportunities for underserved populations by leveraging the latest educational technologies. World Education received three multi-year grants in the past three years from ECMC Foundation. In mid-March 2020, the EdTech Center at World Education launched the “Tips for Distance Learning” website - thanks in part to an ECMC Foundation Rapid Response Small Grant - which has since become a beacon for adult educators in the United States and across the globe. It is updated in real time, available free of charge and includes step-by-step instructions to rapidly start distance learning, links to free and low cost tools to set up and outfit a digital classroom and guides for monitoring and improving learning.

The EdTech Center also hosts regular Distance Ed Strategy Sessions which feature experts and small group discussions for educators. More than 1,000 educators have taken part in the free sessions to date, the Tips for Distance Learning site logged 10,000 visitors and 1,400 remote instruction briefs have been downloaded.

Cell-Ed, a World Education partner and ECMC Foundation is featured on the Tips for Distance Learning Site. Cell-Ed is a mobile learning platform that has been working on reducing barriers for learners with limited broadband access since 2014.

Most online learning solutions and local recovery efforts are reliant on a computer connected to the internet. But according to the Pew Research Foundation 44% of low income households lack broadband access at home, 46% don’t have a computer and many people lack access to digital literacy learning tools. The COVID-19 pandemic further highlighted the need for on-demand, mobile accessible, remote learning for adults - which is exactly what Cell-Ed provides.

Cell-Ed’s platform can be used anywhere and on any mobile phone. It delivers essential skills to adult learners through 3-minute stackable micro-lessons and live coaching. Their lessons cover basic math and literacy, provide life and professional skills, and offer certifications. Learners listen to lessons and communicate through audio or text on their basic phone or on a smartphone app. 

In March the team quickly translated the World Health Organization and the CDC’s COVID-19 guidance into a Cell-Ed lesson, available to anyone for free. Since then, they’ve formed new partnerships. In South Bend, Indiana Cell-Ed is being offered as part of their Bendable City of Lifelong Learning initiative to help residents gain the skills, training and 1 on 1 career coaching they need to find new jobs.

Cell-Ed is also partnering with the State of California’s CalWorks and CalFresh programs, in addition to New York State’s Office for New Americans, to bring Cell-Ed’s education, work readiness and training resources to residents in need of distance learning.

The EdTech Center at World Education, Cell-Ed and others are providing the tools and information needed to ensure education becomes ever more equitable during the crisis and beyond.


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