The Sandbox Model: A Novel Approach to Iterating while Implementing an Emergency Education Program in Lebanon during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Jusoor’s Refugee Education Program helps Syrian refugee children living in Lebanon integrate back into formal schooling. When schools closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the refugee program adapted to distance learning by developing Azima, a novel program that used WhatsApp to enable children to keep learning. Azima had to respond immediately to the emergency context while maintaining high education standards, and it also needed to find an effective way to test and refine its content quickly. To do this, the Azima program adopted an innovative experimental approach called a sandbox. A sandbox model operates in rapid iterative cycles and uses multiple methods to quickly test a program’s assumptions about how it will meet its goals. In this field note, we use Azima as a case study to report on our experience of applying the sandbox model. We reflect on the benefits and limitations of this novel approach in supporting the use of education technology in a crisis situation.