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UNESCO’s basic ICT training benefitting educators in Myanmar

Yangon, 21 December 2015 – “I have never learnt ICT (Information and Communications Technology) before. I am glad to have the chance to learn basic ICT skills for teaching,” said Daw Yaung War Lin, Life Skills teacher of Basic Education High School (BEHS) Pyuntasa 1 in Bago Region, Myanmar.

The teachers attending the basic ICT training help one another in learning basic office applications, under the guidance of UNESCO and the Department of Basic Education. ©UNESCO/A. Tam

School leaders, together with teachers, participated in the basic ICT training and discussed how best ICT can be used in improving teaching and learning in Myanmar schools. ©UNESCO/A. Tam

Daw Yaung War Lin is one of the 155 teachers who participated in late November and early December 2015 in the four-day basic ICT training organized by UNESCO and the Department of Basic Education, under the teacher professional development component of the “Empowering Women and Girls through Mobile Technology in Myanmar” project. This project is the first-of-its-kind ICT for Education project in Myanmar between UNESCO, Ericsson and the Ministry of Education under the broader Connect To Learn initiative. In the project, ICT solutions such as mobile broadband networks, laptop computers and tablet computers are provided to 31 project schools in Mandalay Region, Bago Region and Mon State, allowing Grades 8 to 11 teachers and students to benefit from access to 21st century learning and applications.

UNESCO tailor-made basic ICT skills training to teachers who teach English, Life Skills, Mathematics, Myanmar and Computer Studies in the project schools. A series of ICT training will be provided in the coming months to further develop skills of teachers to integrate ICT in their pedagogy and apply multimedia in teaching and learning.

UNESCO’s ICT for Education Expert Antony Tam said, “Based on our needs assessment and observation, many teachers in the project schools have limited prior ICT knowledge. Our training covered the basic ICT skills, including understanding of the user interface of laptops, file and folder management, word processing, spreadsheet and Internet essentials. We believe that these skills are useful for teachers to facilitate their daily teaching tasks.”

Learning ICT is not as easy as one thinks, particularly for those teachers who have never used laptops and tablets before. Daw Yaung War Lin shared, “At the beginning of the training, I felt frustrated because I was not able to follow closely what the trainers taught us. In the training, we were given assignments every night. I tried my best to complete the assignments and I realized on the next day that I did not save my work. With the guidance of the trainers, I managed to do the assignments again and then I caught up faster.”

Following the training, UNESCO, together with the Department of Basic Education, is providing ongoing support to teachers on ICT use in the school settings. Regular visits to the project schools are being conducted to meet with the trained teachers to understand their needs, challenges faced and ways for improvements on using ICT in the school.

Feedbacks from teachers about the training were encouraging, including the following sharing by some trained teachers.

Daw Pyae Hme Hme Kyaw, Computer teacher of BEHS Zin Kyaik in Mon State, 1-year teaching experience

“I learnt some basic ICT skills previously. The training strengthened my understanding of basic office applications. I can now use Word Art to make attractive teaching materials and use word processing to develop lesson plans.”

 

Daw Khin Htay Win, English teacher of BEHS Nat Gyi Chaung in Mon State, 9-year teaching experience

“This is my first time to use a laptop. I am happy to know that ICT is useful for us to manage student performance record using spreadsheet. Currently, we rely on textbook to teach English. With ICT, I believe the lesson will be more interesting and can arouse students’ interest in learning.”

 

Daw Htay Htay Hla, Life Skills teacher of BEHS Taung Sun in Mon State, 21-year teaching experience

“After the training, I am more familiar with some basic computer terminology, such as hardware and software. Spreadsheet is particularly a good office application for me to prepare student registration records. As a Life Skills teacher, I look forward to using ICT to prepare more teaching aids such as graphics and videos to show to students.”

 

Daw Htet Mon Myint, Life Skills teacher of BEHS Mone in Bago Region, 7-year teaching experience

“Internet is helpful for us to search relevant teaching materials on Life Skills, such as content relating to leadership and communication. During the training, I learnt that I could do self-learning on various topics through watching free learning tutorial videos online.”

 

Daw Thurein Aye, Computer teacher of BEHS Kawa in Bago Region, 8-year teaching experience

“I learnt to use word processing to prepare teaching timetable and examination questions. In addition, with mobile Internet access, I can join some online teacher communities through which we can exchange teaching ideas and materials.”

 

Daw Ei Mon Aung, English teacher of BEHS Htone Gyi in Bago Region, 1-year teaching experience

“I can think of using ICT in improving my English class through showing some grammar exercise on the projection screen. Also, when I teach a chapter about earthquakes, I can show some videos in class rather than merely showing newspaper cutting to students.”

Effective school leadership and support is also important in promoting ICT in education in schools. All school headmasters/headmistress of the project schools actively participated in the four-day basic ICT training, together with corresponding township education officers. The school leaders were able to get familiar with ICT and learn how they can support teachers to improve teaching and learning via ICT.

Daw Sein Kyi, headmistress of BEHS Nat Gyi Chaung in Mon State, 36-year teaching experience

“I learnt a lot about how ICT could facilitate our daily work. Not only can ICT allow more interactive ways of teaching and learning but it can also allow keeping good student records so that teachers can keep track of student progress. I will coordinate with the trained teachers in the school to transfer the ICT knowledge to other teachers.”

 

U Thein Han, headmaster of BEHS Zin Kyaik in Mon State, 34-year teaching experience

“Particularly with the widespread of mobile technology, teachers and students are ready to learn new knowledge using their mobile devices. Through the intensive training, I learnt the various possibilities which ICT could give to enhancing teaching and learning quality. I will further coordinate with the parent-teacher association and village authorities to see how best we can support teaching and learning through ICT.”

 Apart from the teacher professional development component of the ICT for education project, UNESCO is the lead partner for coordination with the Ministry of Education as well as the implementing partner for the other two main components which focus on utilizing mobile broadband technology to provide English language programme and Life Skills programme, including the development and delivery of practical English learning content and Life Skills learning content using mobile technology.

In addition to UNESCO, a number of partners are involved in the implementation of the Connect To Learn initiative in Myanmar. These partners include UK Department for International Development (DFID) providing project funding under the Girls’ Education Challenge, Ericsson being a donor and overall programme and technology lead and Earth Institute at Columbia University managing the student stipend and school grants programme as well as conducting implementation research at the schools. Finja Five, an innovative start-up at Lund University in Sweden, provides child-friendly computing solutions while EduEval Educational Consultancy conducts monitoring and evaluation. Qualcomm® Wireless Reach™ also provides funding and project management.  Myanma Posts and Telecommunications (MPT) supports network roll-out and provides SIM cards for the schools. The project also receives support from the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology in Myanmar.

For more information on this ICT for education project, please contact Mr. Antony Tam, Education Expert of UNESCO Yangon, at kh.tam@unesco.org.



21.12.2015