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On July 24 Dimagi hosted a Round Table discussion on using mobile technology in education. Representatives from 14 leading NGOs and education organizations from across India came together to collaborate and share ideas about mobile technology and its place in the education sector.

We started the conversation by talking about the numerous needs and challenges in education programming today. We quickly saw that though each organization ran separate programs, all faced similar problems, like low teacher quality, or difficulty conducting monitoring and evaluation of programs. The first half the day consisted not only of this small group discussion, but also a general overview of mEd programs and Dimagi’s open source tools. It included a demo some of our existing CommCare education applications used by organizations like UNICEF and Save the Children. We were also fortunate enough to have Rupinder Kaur of JPAL present a session on Theory of Change in M&E which helped organizations think about mobile phones as more than just a tool for dissemination.

The second half of the day allowed time for organizations to speak with each other and Dimagi facilitators about features they would like to see in future applications. Participants split into four groups based on similar use cases, and discussed how they would build and implement a sample mEd app. They outlined who the users would be, what cases they would track, and how the general workflow would go. Groups also included types of questions they would ask, and gave suggestions on how they could use the data they collected. The exercise helped organizations see what the process was in building an app, and helped everyone think about how they could take mEd tools and use them effectively in their own organizations.

Overall the Round Table was a great success. All the organizations were very interested in collaborating—both with Dimagi, and with each other—which made a great environment for discussion. The Dimagi Team was able to learn a great deal from all of the organizations about the pain points they face in running education programs, and how we can modify and build our mobile tools to better serve their needs. We look forward to collaborating more with this great group of changemakers as Dimagi continues to break into the education sector!

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