Since 2003, Cambridge-Hitachi has offered assistance to a variety of organizations seeking to make a difference in education. The firm draws heavily on research, industry collaboration, and comprehensive prototyping to develop unique, effective educational programs and materials. In April 2014, Cambridge-Hitachi launched a new series of educational workbooks for children, using innovative new technology to revolutionize the learning experience. Ideal for children ages 3 to 5, Penpals at Home supplements the popular UK handwriting curriculum Penpals for Handwriting.
Penpals at Home is the first Penpals publication designed to enable parents to work together with their children. Paired with a free mobile app, the book allows readers to view extra content by simply scanning its pages with a tablet or smartphone. This new Hitachi Solutions technology, known as 2D code, adds excitement and imagination to the learning process, displaying animated demonstrations of patterns and letters. Children can use this feature to guide them as they learn to write, following the example pen movements.
The Penpals at Home series includes books for two distinct skill levels. The first volume, Getting Ready for Handwriting, presents vibrant practice patterns and exercises, aiming to build a firm foundation for consistent handwriting. The second book, Forming Letters, serves as an introduction to basic handwriting skills.
Established in February 2012, the Nigerian Research and Education Network (NgREN) has already made great strides in improving communication among schools and research institutions across Nigeria. Founded with funds from the World Bank and through the cooperation of the Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (CVC) and the National Universities Commission (NUC), the organization has strived to create a national network that can ensure access to broadband Internet connections, as well as a network monitoring center to keep the connections working smoothly. In recognition of these efforts, Nigerian president Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan hosted a September 2014 event at the Presidential Villa.
The president emphasized the degree to which work remains to be done, especially in expanding the network to reach institutions of higher education across Nigeria. However, in an address to the NUC Governing Board, he praised NgREN for its exceptional efforts, highlighting the program as an important part of his administration’s overall agenda. Currently, the network accommodates 27 universities, but in additional remarks, the vice president, Namadi Sambo, noted his support of President Jonathan’s wishes that the network be expanded further. Professor Julius Okojie, the NgREN board chairman and executive secretary for NUC, spoke for all in attendance in declaring the project an important part of bringing Nigeria’s educational system into the 21st century.
In a presentation titled “Creating Digital Multimedia Academic Content for Online Education through the NgREN Platform,” Howard University professor Folahan Ayorinde showed Nigerian educators the advantages of using digital tools to expand educational opportunities and create better learning environments. Organized by the Nigerian Research and Education Network (NgREN) in order to raise awareness of its platform’s capabilities, the presentation welcomed numerous participants from each of the NgREN clusters. Participants included vice-chancellors or deans and heads of departments, all of whom were interested in bringing these new technologies to their universities and teaching staff how to use them.
Professor Ayorinde’s presentation covered multiple topics within the realm of digital multimedia use in academic settings. NgREN, a high-speed network designed to link member campuses, enables the delivery of academic materials to Internet-ready devices, collaboration among teachers at distant institutions, and research-sharing across departments. The NgREN videoconferencing platform provides numerous opportunities for the academic community, including access to distance learning and digital multimedia content, which promises to expand the reach of educators across Nigeria. The session concluded with suggestions for future meetings as NgREN continues to expand throughout the country’s universities and schools.