- A Smart Education solutions provider and systems integrator working with partners to implement and deliver platforms and devices in the Dominican Republic
- A full portfolio on implementing information communication technology (ICT) in emerging markets’ smart classroom in Kenya
- Well-planned projects geared towards enabling teachers to use smart education networks in both the Dominican Republic and Kenya
Device Providers to Solution Providers
Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS), with origins as an OEM/ODM device provider of laptops, PCs, tablets, and other products, has in recent years branched out, marking ECS’ transition to becoming solution providers.
Collaborating with other subsidiaries within the group, ECS has set their sights on providing solutions for the industries of smart retail, smart energy, smart city, smart education, and smart mobility.
Top Three Providers of Smart Classroom Hardware
As of 2020, ECS projects in smart education have deployed to over 70 countries in the world, benefitting 30 million students ranging from K-12 and above in age.
“ECS is, in terms of hardware, perhaps one of the top three providers of smart classroom workstations worldwide,” ECS Associate Vice President TA Chang (張子安) said.
Smart Education Solutions in Kenya
ECS developed the software system known as Inspire Knowledge Education System (ikES), which features programs for virtual labs, virtual canvasses for art creation, and an in-built anti-theft program, among others used on its machines and devices, with partner JP-IK.
During a 2013 project for the Digital Literacy Program in Kenya, ECS and partner JP-IK furnished 13,500 classrooms with devices and hardware, trained 30,000 teachers with the requisite knowledge to use the tools, and ultimately benefiting 695,000 students.
Smart Education in the Dominican Republic
In 2016, ECS secured another contract with the Dominican Republic for three years, to provide equipment and train teachers to use ICT equipment for smart classrooms.
The project specifically designed its devices to be semi-rugged – more resistant to shock, dust and, humidity – considering that its products will mostly go to students of K-12 or under in age, ECS Senior Specialist Amanda Lin (林美如) said.
“Students of that age are more lively, and these students may use the laptops as a device for more physical interaction with their peers,” Lin said.
We have also included a retractable carry handle on the laptop, providing portability to and from school, to deposit in their lockers, or to hang from the deskside, Lin said.
Recognizing that poor network infrastructure in developing countries would be a potential setback, ECS introduced the CMAL100 content access point. The device functions as local content storage and would allow users to download the contents from the device onto their devices or tablets, via internal networks.
The device also provides students in the classroom with Wi-Fi connectivity with which students could also access the contents stored on the device.
Further Solution for Equipment Familiarization in the Dominican Republic
The company has realized, since its initial foray into the field of smart education, that intended users of the product are unfamiliar with the devices, including both teachers and students.
As part of the solution, ECS is able to work with a local partner to offer a training program to help teachers familiarize themselves with such devices and tools, which would bolster interactive and collaborative learning and foster better teaching practices.
“The teacher is an authority figure in the classroom, and it would be difficult to persuade the students to use the devices if the authority figures themself cannot,” Lin said.
ECS is in communication with local partners, who offer helpful feedback for the company to draw up plans that would help local teachers more effectively utilize its products.
Project Funding in Africa and South America
ECS recognizes the potential problem in funding for countries in the emerging market, especially for specialized software and hardware such as smart education.
The company would refer the government for which they are establishing the program to the World Bank Group, which has set aside funding to facilitate the introduction of digital education in developing countries.
Often this referral would be made with the collaboration of ECS partners, which specialize in the relevant research and are better connected, Lin said.
Smart Education in Taiwan
ECS said it was very willing to implement its smart education system for use in Taiwan, but said that it was still in search of a suitable partner.
Taiwan’s education system separates funding and policy on two tiers, with the former delegated to local county or city governments. In contrast, the central government’s Ministry of Education is mostly concerned with educational policy.
“Finding a local partner that has more intimate knowledge of how local governments work and think would greatly facilitate the deployment of ECS products to schools and classrooms on the local level,” Lin said.
Finding such a local partner would allow ECS to focus on providing product solutions and services such as maintenance, repairs, and training.
The Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS)
- Semi-rugged smart education devices with in-built handles to facilitate device portability
- Content Access Points resolve instability or poor Internet service while doubling as an on-site data content storage
- System continuity allowing schools to progress through generations of hardware without much difficulty