About the EPIC Portal

COL’s EPIC Project

The Educational Podcasting for Innovative Classrooms (EPIC) project is a response to the increased need for practices, processes and systems for effective last mile teaching and teacher professional development in partner countries. 
Owing to the closure of schools and other education institutions due to the COVID-19 crisis, many countries are seeking innovative ways to ensure equitable access to learning and teacher professional development through distance and technology-enabled means. COL is, therefore, working with partners to build networks and platforms to not only effectively respond to the current learning and teaching crisis, but also nurture resilient education ecosystems that enable learners, teachers and other educators to overcome everyday challenges in learning. 
 
Educational podcasts / audio lessons are seen as a means to attain equity and access to learning even in remote areas of the developing Commonwealth. The versatility of the podcast enables  teachers to not only participate in collaborative development and peer review of the resource material, but also engage with learners in low-tech low-internet contexts.
 

Background

Governments and other education and training providers have recommended various forms of distance learning as an emergency response to the COVID-19 crisis. In the developing Commonwealth, a substantive number of teachers and learners affected by the current school closures live in rural settings where they are not likely to have access to home computers or the internet. Also, studies have shown that teacher educators and teachers in Commonwealth countries will most likely know about OER. However, many do not have access to curriculum-relevant OER for use in teacher training and professional development, neither have they trained to source for or develop resources for in-person teaching and variations of flipped learning currently being tried out in many contexts. A number of governments and teacher education institutions are, therefore, seeking innovative ways to attain last mile teaching in the circumstance.

The recognition by educators of the potential role of OER, online learning and other technologies in supporting distance learning marks a critical turning point for teacher training and professional development and will significantly impact the schooling system in the COVID-19 era. Educational podcasts are seen as a means to attain equity and access to learning even in remote areas of the developing Commonwealth. The versatility of the podcast ensures that teachers are able to not only collaborate in the development and peer review of podcasts but also engage with learners in low-tech low-internet contexts.

The EPIC graded model

The graded model provides for flexible resource development and sharing possible under varied connectivity, as well as adaptability of teacher-generated resources for disability-appropriate access 

a) Online podcast portal: The podcasts (and lesson transcripts) are available for free access and download to support teaching as well as for sharing with learners for individual / self-paced or collaborative learning, even under low bandwidth conditions;

b) Toll-free / low-cost dial-in facility: In liaison with local Telcos, the platform provides for audio-only access to the resources, from a regular-feature phone (non-smartphone);

c) Multimedia formats: The podcasts are adaptable to other broadcast-quality multimedia formats (video, animation, voice-over PowerPoint, infographics, including highly sophisticated AR/VR resources), to be used where teachers and learners have better connectivity.

d) Inclusive design: COL is working with partners to make the resources accessible across the widest range of learner variability, including special needs.

Partner Countries

Teachers are generally able to access their country space to contribute resources following the guidelines provided. COL is working with partners in specific countries to develop and evaluate pilot resources for EPIC platform.

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