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360ed Myanmar:

Using Technology to Advance the Country’s Educational System

By Phillip Subu

· Asia,Technology,Education

In the past fifty years, Myanmar was trapped in a dictatorial regime and was isolated from the rest of the world. Its current antiquated educational system cannot prepare the young generation to solve new challenges and its teachers are not equipped to teach 21st century learning skills. Rote learning, a memorization technique based on repetition is the solution to its current educational problem yet it keeps students from being proactive and motivated learners and creative thinkers.

Evidence of successful educational reform from other developing countries suggests that a teacher’s professional development is one of the most important levers for improving quality of education. In a developing country like Myanmar, there’s a lack of knowledge, skills and expertise for developing teachers. Experiential learning and one-on-one mentoring with expert teachers are luxuries the country cannot afford. Although these practices are the most impactful, Myanmar faces limitations in both financial and skilled human resources.

Myanmar teacher uses traditional teaching in the classroom

Photo by Zarni Phyo/The Myanmar Times | https://www.mmtimes.com/news/govnment-plans-add-10000-teachers-annually.html

A Solution is Born

In 2016, educator Hla Hla Win got selected to join the Global Solutions Program at Singularity University in the NASA Research Park in Silicon Valley. The Global Solutions Program selects 80 students out of 8000 applicants each year and the participants learn about new technologies, and intensively work together over the summer to start companies. It was then that a solution to Myanmar’s current education system was born: 360ed Myanmar.

Hla Hla Win and her two co-founders, Laurent Boinot, and Perttu Pölönen saw this potential for teacher training with the use of a new virtual reality (VR) technology. It has always been Hla Hla Win’s dream to send Myanmar teachers to the best classrooms around the world and learn from the best teachers. They were able to achieve this by teleporting teachers through utilizing immersive technologies.

360ed Myanmar’s mission is to leverage advances in virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), and other education technologies to bring scalable, immediate, and exponential impact in transforming national education and beyond. In response to the lack of effectiveness of the typical rote learning model, they provide a vision of classrooms with more dynamic teaching practices for students to become more engaged and attentive to their learning opportunities. Their work is grounded in experimentation, innovation, collaborative partnerships and extended fieldwork. They are on a mission to educate teachers to teach 21st century skills and knowledge to their students and to empower students with new goals, dreams and opportunities, helped by digital tools and 21st century learning environments.

Teachers are using the virtual reality device on their training

Photo from 360ed Myanmar

How 360ed Myanmar works

360ed’s Virtual Reality Apps to Elevate Teacher Training to Worlds Best Practice Standards

Designed to immerse teachers in the best learning classrooms in the world and give virtual first hand engagement with the teachers teaching them, 360ed’s Virtual Reality apps have the potential to rapidly transform teacher training in Myanmar and to impact upon the quality of teaching in schools almost immediately.

Using a $2 cardboard headset, 360ed’s VR solutions can instantly place a teacher from any school in Myanmar into the classroom in say Silicon Valley, or any other location, so they can experience best practices and teaching methods first hand. Instead of sending every teacher overseas to the centers of excellence for teaching, 360ed’s technologies mean they can do this from their own classroom.

360ed’s Augmented Reality Apps to Improve Student Engagement and Learning

360ed’s approach to student learning harnesses children's play and curiosity by incorporating mobile devices into the everyday learning process by developing AR apps. These apps are aligned with the curriculum and dramatically expand the capability of current textbooks to be engaging and stimulating foundations for learning.

One of 360ed’s tools to achieve the disruption of learning by rote and encourage a durable love of learning is its 3D visuals and 2D videos on Augmented Reality flashcards, which increase students’ engagement, understanding, and memory.

Augmented Reality Apps of 360ed Myanmar

Photo from 360ed Myanmar

The Challenges

As 360ed aims to create this massive impact on Myanmar’s education and beyond, they can’t do this alone. They need students, parents, teachers, policy makers, and also the media who shares the same belief and will to reinforce leapfrogging Myanmar’s education system. In order to achieve moonshot goals, they need talented individuals, strategic industrial partners, and visionary leaders who can foresee and paint the future of education with them.

360ed CEO Hla Hla Win introduced the AR apps and VR technology to former Myanmar President Htin Kyaw

What is the Future for Myanmar?

In the coming years, 360ed Myanmar aims to continuously improve Myanmar’s education system, through improving student engagement in the classroom and to rapidly bring teacher training up to world’s best practice standards.

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