2015-11-27

In 2013 the International Education Association (IEA) began using the Raspberry Pi (RPi) for e-learning programs in Lebanese schools predicated on education fundamentals, code learning, and robotics. IEA was also engaged in a parallel effort to map possible RPi-based interventions that could help address the crisis in education emanating from the Syrian refugee population in Lebanon and beyond.  As part of this effort IEA conducted field research and formulated a strategic plan for developing a RPi crisis intervention program focused for refugees, at-risk youth, and educators. In January 2014 IEA met with the UNICEF Office for Innovation to learn about their e-learning efforts.  At that time UNICEF was exploring the use of KA Lite coupled with the RPi as a potential platform to deliver educational content to Syrian refugees. Our approach was met with considerable interest by the UNICEF Office for Innovation; they were eager to leverage the potential for expanding learning opportunities beyond those available on a tablet. Over the following weeks IEA arranged field visits to The Dhour Shweir School for a UNICEF delegation where they saw firsthand how students were using the RPi as a platform for coding and technology learning. Based on our work piloting RPi based solutions in Lebanese classrooms we entered into formal discussion with UNICEF with the goal of developing a comprehensive e-learning program for refugees based around the RPi. The joint initiative incorporated IEA’s program name, Pi 4 Learning (Pi4L) and brought it under the UNICEF umbrella.