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Big Brain Zimbabwe using video and social media to push e-learning content

Big Brain Zimbabwe

Big Brain ZimbabweA local e-learning startup, Big Brain Zimbabwe, recently released a DVD tutorial for Ordinary Level ZIMSEC Physical Geography to assist students in their preparations for the October/ November examinations.

The 90 minute video which is also available on YouTube covers ZIMSEC typical diagrams, examination hints & tips, topics in ZIMSEC Physical Geography, techniques for answering questions, geomorphology video tutorials as well as typical ZIMSEC questions.

DVDs for all Grade 7 and High School subjects are set for release in the short term. They are available to all public & private schools for free and are priced at $2 to registered members of Big Brain Zimbabwe and at $5 for unregistered members.

Big Brain Zimbabwe is an online learning platform which was designed as a community to help students and teachers find each other. Teachers are able to create and upload study material which students are able to access. The content includes typical exam questions as well as video and audio tutorials.

According to the team lead at Big Brain, Timothy Shava, they have been getting assistance from other educational organisations to create video and audio tutorials. In the recent production of the geography video for example, they received volcanic video tutorials from the National Geographic Channel.

Although the Big Brain Zimbabwe platform has managed to attract some significant student traffic, it hasn’t been able to fully expand its reach because of challenges to do with data bundles costs, something that is a significant hurdle because the Big Brain Zimbabwe platform runs on the Moodle open source platform which requires a lot of bandwidth.

Big Brain Zimbabwe DVDThe DVD release is meant to provide offline access to material, as well as a revenue stream for the startup and the content creators. These creators are experienced teachers, approached individually, who have had involvement in ZIMSEC content formulation.

One of Big Brain’s other workarounds has been the use of social media to maintain engagement with learners.

Through Facebook and various WhatsApp groups distributed according to subject and level, Big Brain Zimbabwe has created platforms for academic discussion and revision.

The Big Brain Zimbabwe Facebook page which is easily accessible to most mobile internet thanks to options like bundles and zero rated access, has been used as a rally point where students get to inbox requests to be placed in specific WhatsApp groups. It is in these groups (aided in growth by WhatsApp bundles) that students get to crowd source solutions for questions and discuss subject concepts.

Shava says that his team has been taking note of the feedback that has been received from users of the Big Brain platform and its material. As such they are in the process of refining and improving their product.

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4 thoughts on “Big Brain Zimbabwe using video and social media to push e-learning content

  1. Congratulations Big Brain Zimbabwe for for your initiative. It is a depressing fact that our educational system has hardly changed much relative to technological development. In the same regard, with all due respect to your efforts, if you are going to do something that has been done before, simply make it more awesome. That progress. Much credit to your for offering your educational content to schools for free.

    I however, want to suggest that instead of spending much time and resources doing what has been done before and which is available with commensurate rights for you to use…additionally being state of the art, why not start from there and then tweak it to use our local needs? There are websites such as http://www.khan , who have millions of hours of free world class tutorial matter. Who share perhaps the same vision with you and are already very accommodating of ambitions like yours e.g the is a platform for teachers on the website…and a student can track their own progress as well and much much more.

    I believe true progress starts from building up from there and finding solutions to our indigenous problems such as the ‘Bandwidth’ one…which is not so big anyway with visionaries like you. For all those hour spent at internet cafes on gaming and other stuff, there is an equal number well resourced knowledge hungry students who not only want to learn geography or a Zimsec O’level subject, they want to learn as Sal Khan puts it “anything for free”.

    I was at a very popular and old government school that is nationally famed for recruiting only the ‘creme de la cream’ (i am part of the alumni). There was a prize giving and i got to to chit chat with some form 1 students. They have NEVER heard of a career day in their LIVES…how can such schools be complimented so that eventually they do not produce garbage from cream. Are we going to leave the aging staff compliment to achieve it on their own?

  2. Do you mean focusing on Shona and Ndebele as a medium of instruction or on these particular language subjects?

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