Take a look at our Facebook page

Dear Friends of Global Diploma,

We’ve been a bit quiet here on the blog for the past months. Do not worry – there are two reasons for that:

1.) We’ve shifted a lot of communication to our Facebook page

We have found the Facebook page to be a good way of providing short and quick updates on our progress, including some cool photos. Please make sure to check it out and become a fan here:

https://www.facebook.com/The-Global-Diploma-625786374132446/timeline/

2.) We’ve just been really, really busy

You can see some of the highlights on Facebook, but mostly, we have been busy over the past months to integrate Global Diploma deeply into our partner schools: we held many workshops, trainings and informal conversations with teachers and students. The feedback has been incredibly positive and it’s amazing to see how we are changing school routines, one school at a time.

We are also bringing Global Diploma to Ghana and will address two schools there. There will be more information on that in the next weeks!

All the best,

Marc and the Global Diploma team

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Kicking it off in Windhoek

Dear Friends,

These days some exciting new developments are occurring in Windhoek and we wanted to share them briefly in this post.

First and foremost, our new friend and colleague Constanze has started her work in Windhoek and we are very excited about her support in making Global Diploma happen. Her first big project is to equip several schools with hardware – we’ve got some other good news: we are expecting another large batch of laptops being shipped to Namibia at the start of next week. We will then installt the new laptops at our pilot schools to take the pilot projects to a whole new level. Now these schools will get further kick-off workshops for students and teachers in the coming days and weeks and then gradually roll out Global Diploma in more and more classrooms.

A lot of things accomplished, a lot of things ahead of us. Excited to get even more going on the ground in Windhoek with the new devices!

Best,

Ari and Marc

Looking back at 2014 – and getting ready for an exciting 2015!

Dear Friends,

Exactly one year ago, at the end of 2013, Ariane and I were sitting in the Austrian alps with our laptops, putting together the project plan for Global Diploma. That was literally all we had at that point: a plan.

A year later, we are in the Austrian alps again, taking the time to see how much has changed over the past 12 months. Let us share the highlights with you:

1.) The pilot projects

  • After we went to Namibia in April, we immediately started to contact local schools and to establish the first pilot projects to test the Global Diploma approach. We selected 4 institutions to start with but had a further 9 schools expressing interest to join. We decided to start with a small number that we could serve well.
  • Setting up the schools was a long process: the batches of laptops that we sent to the schools took months to be put into operations but we used the waiting time well to host intensive training sessions for the teachers thanks to our representative on the ground: Nenad.
  • Once the schools started the pilot projects, we couldn’t have been more proud! The first results have flown in by now: there has been a 21% performance increase across all students (in terms of grades) thanks to Global Diploma. That’s superb encouragement!

2.) Getting on the government’s agenda

  • We took the first important steps towards getting Global Diploma officially accredited in Namibia and we are very well on our way by now, having met key stakeholders and preparing the content in the way it is needed. These experiences in accrediting our program will be key once we move into new countries.

3.) New friends

  • It quickly became clear to us that we needed more support to effectively run our pilot projects. This is why we met Constanze Neidlinger, who has joined Global Diploma and will support our pilot projects in 2015. Constanze previously worked at TeachFirst in Germany and we are excited for her to join our team and to work on the implementation of Global Diploma!

What’s next for 2015?

  • By mid-2015, we plan to cover all state schools in Windhoek. Given the interest from the schools and the contacts already established, we are well on our way to achieve this target.
  • By the end of 2015, we plan to move into South Africa and Ghana. In both countries, we have already established relations to schooling organizations.
  • We want to increase our work on partnerships – more on this in a post in the new year – but basically, we would not only like to work with the schools on our own but take part in existing initiatives that already have formed relations to schools elsewhere. This will make the spread of our content a lot faster.

So far for a quick update. We are very pleased with our progress so far. Young people can finish high school because of our work; they can find a job or attend university because of our work. They get the starting chance towards a more fulfilling life because of our work.

We have found 2014 to be highly exciting and rewarding and are looking forward to continuing the journey in 2015!

Best,

Marc

Global Diploma at the Annual German Ambassadors’ Conference in Berlin

Dear Friends,

We were invited to the Annual German Ambassadors’ Conference in Berlin where we had the chance to discuss the Global Diploma concept with the German Ambassadors to Namibia and South Africa and the German Foreign Minister Mr Steinmeier.

BoKo1

It was great to receive so much positive feedback from the government side. For example, we established contacts to new schools in South Africa that already work with the German embassy.

BoKo

Meanwhile, the implementation of Global Diploma continues and we are excited to be sharing great news in a couple of weeks from now…

Best,

Global Diploma Team

Securing our eLabs

Dear friends,

Many of our schools are situated in communities that are far from being super-safe. That’s okay for us – these schools will profit the most from using our eLearning platform.

In order to prepare the launch in August/September, we will soon be installing many new facilities in our schools, including dozens of laptops per classroom. These valuables need protection before we can put them into use.

One of our partner schools, Augustineum, has now introduced security measures including burglar doors and barred windows so that all equipment will be secured well. We will be rolling out the security measures to all our schools as needed.

One more step on the path to our launch! Stay tuned for more updates!

Best regards,

Marc

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Implementation in Windhoek!

Dear friends of Global Diploma,

It has been almost a month since Ari and I have returned from Namibia – and a lot has happened since then. Most importantly, our colleague Nenad is progressing with implementation in Windhoek:

We had formal kick-off meetings with all our schools and made definite agreements about the start of Global Diploma. Next, we went into a needs-assessment and learnt what infrastructure will have to be set up at the schools: from the number of laptops needed, the set-up of secured facilities to store the machines to the Internet speed in the schools.

We were all a bit surprised by the number of small steps that need to be thought of, worked on and completed before everything is ready – but the good news is that with the right force on the ground in Windhoek, we are moving forward, and we are moving fast.

We will have the first cohort of several hundred students starting to use Global Diploma when the new school year starts in August and we are looking forward to this date!

Best regards,

Marc

First visit to Namibia – Pilot Project Kick-Off!

Dear all,

Ariane and I have just returned back to Germany from our first trip to Namibia. Here, we give you some insights as to what we’ve learnt and what our next steps are

1.) We visited our first pilot project at P.A.Y. Namibia

P.A.Y. is an after-school center for disadvantaged kids from the township of Katutura in Namibia’s capital, Windhoek. The guys at P.A.Y. are doing an aeLearning in actionwesome job with their afternoon program: Through a combination of academics and sports, they provide guidance and perspective to the children. Earlier this year, we entered into a cooperation with P.A.Y.: We provided laptops and a beta version of our eLearning platform for the students to use during the academic sessions in the afternoon.
Our support for P.A.Y. is also our first fully-fledged pilot project in Namibia. The pilot is being run and supervised by our partner Nenad Tomic , who is on the ground in Windhoek to coordinate the program and – most importantly, to start the data collection phase: Until December 2014, we will collect quantitative and qualitative data to analyze how well our eLearning platform works, i,e, by how much students in the area improve their academic results compared to students from earlier years. Just think about the fact that the average pass rate in the national secondary examinations in some schools in Katutura is only 40% – then you realize that we can really make a difference here.

2.) We visited 9 schools and kicked off the large-scale pilot project

We need to collect data from thousands of students to deliver a meaningful proof of concept. As such, we visited most of the state-run secondary schools in Windhoek, introduced the Global Diploma concept and asked for feedback. No matter who we talked to, Principals, teachers or students, they all were enthusiastic about Global Diploma and declared that they want to become our pilot schools.

One school that particularly impressed us was Augustineum Secondary School. AugustineumOnce one of the leading schools in Namibia, the school’s quality in terms of teaching and infrastructure had been declining for decades (see photo). Under new leadership by Mrs. Ferreira, the school has embarked on a journey to become great again: metrics to measure teacher- and student-success have been introduced and you literally feel a new spirit in the school. Of course, the introduction of Global Diploma comes at exactly the right time and we are looking forward to supporting more than 200 students from Augustineum from the Summer onwards by integrating Global Diploma into the daily teaching routine. The same principle holds for all the schools that we visited – we are absolutely thrilled to introduce Global Diploma at all these schools in Windhoek by September.

 

3.) What’s next?

We are now starting to turn the closed beta version of the platform into a public versions. Tests with several hundred students in Germany have delivered very positive results and we will be ready for roll-out in Namibia by September.

We are now working on selecting the right hardware to use for the students (laptops, desktops, tablets) and will come up with a scalable hardware concept by July.

Best regards,

Marc