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Teachers share innovative practices at UNESCO seminar

30.10.2012

Teacher training initiatives are often limited to “one-time-only” workshops that lack follow-through activities to provide the teacher trainees with continuous guidance and models when they go back to their actual school settings.

In realization of the huge potentials of information and communications technology (ICT) in education, governments have poured huge investments on developing their respective ICT in Education plans and bringing ICT equipment and various tools into schools. Alongside these infrastructure investments came professional development programs for teachers. These programs equip them with knowledge and skills on the use of ICT to support pedagogy appropriately and meaningfully and to enhance the learning experiences among students. 


  In the three-year “Facilitating ICT-Pedagogy Integration Project” funded by Korean Funds-In-Trust, UNESCO Bangkok trained over 460 teachers and teacher educators from 150 schools and teacher education institutions across the Asia Pacific region.  

    

The challenge is how to enable teachers not only to overcome the technology barriers but also to empower them to integrate appropriate technology into the learning process. 

With this in mind, UNESCO Asia Pacific Regional Bureau for Education in Bangkok, British Council-East Asia, and SK Telecom recently co-organized the second run of the “Innovative ICT Practices in Teaching and Learning: A Regional Seminar” in Seoul, Republic of Korea on 9-11 October 2012. It served as the culminating activity of the three-year “Facilitating ICT-Pedagogy Integration Project” funded by Korean Funds-In-Trust that aims to create an enabling environment for student-centred use of ICT by building stronger partnerships among teacher education institutions (TEIs) and schools using project-based learning and telecollaboration. 

“We believe in teachers’ capacity,” said UNESCO Asia Pacific Regional Bureau for Education Director, Gwang-Jo Kim in his opening remark of the Seminar. “There can be no quality education without competent and motivated teachers. Teachers are among the many factors that keep children in school and influence learning.”

The objectives of the seminar were to supplement knowledge and skills gained from past workshops by providing a platform for teachers, teacher educators, and school administrators to share and learn about the latest and innovative teaching and learning practices supported by ICT. The workshop also served as a venue for participants to build collaborative networks and carry on the discussions and partnerships initiated during the series of seminars. 

Over 60 teachers, teacher educators, and school administrators from nine countries, Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Thailand and Vietnam attended the Seminar.  In addition, thirteen speakers from various international organizations and areas of expertise from Canada, China, Malaysia, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam were invited to present relevant topical ICT in education programmes and projects. They shared valuable experiences and insights on project-based and collaborative learning as well as initiating and sustaining school-wide innovations and reforms. A number of participatory mini-workshops were also facilitated by ICT in Education key players in the region to showcase various approaches and methodologies that teachers can adopt in their classrooms. 

Teacher participants were also invited to display and present the outputs of their innovative teaching and learning practices during an exhibition and poster session. This session, along with the “School Collaboration Corner” and a school visit to Hanyang University’s College of Education and Affiliate High School, provided participants with opportunities to gather ideas on potential integration of ICT into their classes as well as to explore and develop potential collaborative projects towards building a community of innovative teaching practices. 

A Key Players’ Meeting was also convened as a side event during the Seminar, where UNESCO and regional partners shared their respective programmes and activities in the area of ICT in Education, hoping to leverage partnerships in providing the necessary support and models for new innovations towards promoting the quality of student learning.

UNESCO Bangkok has been providing technical support for teacher education institutions in various ways, such as through pre-service teacher curriculum development activities, in-service teacher capacity building workshops, education deans’ forums, distribution or publications and resources, and much more.

Under this three-year project, UNESCO trained 460 teachers and teacher educators from 150 schools and teacher education institutions in six countries across the region.