An innovation featuring a unique digital platform with capabilities to link students and teachers across Africa has been voted winner in the just-concluded Season 2 of Game of Learners competition (GOL).
The competition sponsored by Microsoft’s Africa Development Center – Kenya, was launched three weeks ago targeting university students from Kenya and Nigeria.
The winning solution dubbed Bloom-Learn, is a creation by a team of five students drawn from different universities in Kenya and Nigeria and emerged best of the 12 teams comprising 60 participants. The GOL is organised as a virtual hackathon and aims to enhance digital and coding skills amongst university students in Kenya and now extending to Nigeria for Season 2, whilst also helping them to develop impactful digital solutions to address some of the continent’s pressing challenges. This year, the task was to develop possible digital solutions that can aid Africa to overcome serious bottlenecks facing education in the region.
For instance, the Bloom-Learn platform is designed to allow teachers to upload classes, create one-on-one sessions with students, and communicate with students on each course via a chat forum. The innovation is informed by a desire to address education challenges such as lack of qualified teachers, facilities, and infrastructure especially in public schools due to inadequate funding.
“The platform’s mission is to digitise education, ensuring that everyone has access to learning opportunities. Furthermore, the platform allows one to donate space and computers to students, allowing the less fortunate to benefit from digital learning,” said Bethany Jepchumba from the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and the Bloom-Learn team leader.
Other members of the winning team were Joy Kathure (Dedan Kimathi University, Kenya), Festus Idowu (Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria), Fortune Adekogbe (University of Lagos, Nigeria) and Afandi Indiatsi (Strathmore University, Kenya).
While announcing the winners at the side-lines of the Africa Development Center (ADC) virtual Open Day, Jack Ngare, the ADC Kenya Managing Director said “It is exciting to see young people from across Africa coming together and being so enthusiastic about finding local digital solutions to some of Africa’s problems in areas such as education and health. At the ADC, we are committed to supporting these young innovators to develop some of their ideas to viable solutions,”
Now in its second year, the Game of Learners competition is structured as a 5-week virtual hackathon comprised of weekly sprints where, at the end of the 5th week, all participating teams submit their final projects for judging. Besides having the winning team featured on the GOL site along with announcements on social media, each standing member of the winning team will be awarded a smartphone, one-year Azure credits, one year LinkedIn Learning voucher, Azure Developer exam voucher, digital certificate, digital badge, a swag bag, and one-on-one mentorship from preferred professionals for winning.