Even though Taiwan is a relatively small island, its education system faces many of the same challenges as others in providing high-quality teaching to students living in more remote areas.
All the top schools are located in the island’s biggest cities and are a magnet for the most highly-qualified teachers – not to mention the most highly-motivated parents eager to make sure that their offspring make it into the best universities. This makes it very difficult for schools in smaller towns and rural areas to attract the talent they need to provide students from poorer families a proper start in life.
A foundation that we work closely with is addressing this issue with the LearnMode platform were developing. This features an app that can be installed on a tablet or smart phone that makes it easy for teachers to monitor their students’ progress and identify the subjects or skills they are having problems with.
When a teacher gives her class an assignment to learn a Tang poem, for example, each student records their recitation of the text on their device and the app flags up any issues such as poor comprehension or incorrect pronunciation that the student may be experiencing. Having this information not only lets the teacher know which students have completed their homework assignment, but more importantly enables her to focus her limited time and attention on the ones that really need it.
Teachers have also been using LearnMode to help students further improve their reading comprehension and verbal reasoning abilities by assigning them model essays to recite. They report that this method also helps the students to boost the quality of their written assignments because it enables them to internalize the grammar, syntax, and structure required for them.
LearnMode is still in its early stages, but the positive feedback we are receiving is encouraging. Working closely with both teachers and students through the foundation is giving us us a powerful insight into the challenges they face and the technology we need to develop to help them to overcome them.