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Asia-Pacific Education Deans Workshop: Technologies in Pre-Service Teacher Education

08.07.2011

As part of Scaling Up the Next Generation of Teachers Project, funded by Japan Funds-in-Trust, this year’s Asia-Pacific Education Deans Workshop was held in Hong Kong, 7-9 June 2011. The Project aims to strengthen the institutional capacity of Teacher Education Institution (TEI) in integrating ICT with pedagogical approaches for pre-service teacher training.

Deans Forums are an important part of activities that orient education leaders and decision-makers to the need for relevant curriculum that fosters ICT integration skills in the next generation of school teachers, and teacher trainers. Past three regional and national forums have been organized in Perth, Australia; Colombo, Sri Lanka; and Bangkok, Thailand.

This year’s Workshop was co-organised with UNESCO, the Hong Kong Institute of Education, SEAMEO and Microsoft. It aimed to build the capacity of teacher education institutions in the Asia-Pacific region to prepare their pre-service teachers to teach and learn in 21st century schools and classrooms with ICT.

More specifically, this workshop intended to provide a regional platform for education policymakers, deans of education and presidents of education universities, teacher educators, international and regional organisations, and public and private corporations to 1) discuss and share effective technologies in pre-service teacher education practices and policies; and 2) develop a network of partners, including teacher education institutions, to work with other teacher education institutions and agencies in the region to enhance the use of technologies in pre-service teacher education.

Fifty-eight delegates from 17 countries participated in the workshop. The three day programme consisted of the following themes:

1) Day 1 (7 June 2011): Sharing promising practices

On Day 1, UNESCO and Microsoft presented ICT Competency Framework for Teachers (ICT-CFT) and an online tool developed under this framework (Teacher Education Institution Toolkit: www.ps-toolkit.com). The Toolkit introduction was followed by a series of sessions where participants from six countries shared their promising practices in pre-service teacher education using ICT.

2) Day 2 (8 June 2011): Hands-on activities with Teacher Education Institution Toolkit

The second day was dedicated to the hands-on practices with the Toolkit. Under facilitation of Drs. Lim Cher Ping, Chai [will find first name] and Daniel Churchill, the three authors of the Toolkit, the participants experienced milestones of developing policy and plan for pre-service teacher education programmes with and for the use ICT.

UNESCO digital materials were also introduced to the participants, some of whom had never been aware of the available resources from UNESCO.  

3) Day 3 (9 June 2011): Planning for scaling up

On the last day of the Workshop, groups of participants presented their plan and policy that they had developed during the hands-on session on Day 2. The plans developed by participants appeared to be well contextualized in their institutions and the ICT-CFT was helpful to frame the plans.

The last session of the three-day workshop was to discuss how to scale up the use of ICT-CFT and the Toolkit at the institutional and national levels. UNESCO and Microsoft presented their plans to follow up on this initiative and advised different channels that participants could access to the technical support.

The workshop was extremely well received. Thirty-nine participants  responded to the evaluation forms designed by the organizers (87% response rate). According to the evaluation, all the nine sessions of the three-day workshop were rated as “Great (4)” or “Excellent (5)”, resulting in the average of 4.56 for the overall quality of the sessions. Comments from the participants include “Giving this opportunity I must thank all the sponsors and organizers; HKIE, MS, SEAMEO and specially UNESCO. I hope they implement the action together with my colleagues.”; “Excellent organisation; very important conversations taking place.”; “This is very useful workshop since all the leaders from Asia Pacific TEIs come to share & discuss on the important topic ICT in Education”.

Suggestions for the future workshop were also valuable, including: “Development from action plans (that participants made during the workshop)”, “More practice or case studies of ICT Implementation in various context from more developed countries”, and “Best practices in using ICT tools to design and implement constructive lessons/topic in pre-service training”

Active participation and well-organized workshop agenda with diverse exposure to new tools, innovative practices and other resources synergized the effect of the Workshop.