Posted on | March 19, 2013 | No Comments
Teacher trainer from TTC Matimba and his students
The eTeacher Training in Service program addresses the strategic implementation of the NICI plan on ICT Policy and strategy for developing the Rwandan information society, economy and education system. It also address the Education Sector Strategy Plan (ESSP) especially when it comes to the sector priorities Developing a skilled and motivated teaching, training and lecturing workforce as well as Integrating ICT within all subject areas.
eTeacher Training at Teacher Training Colleges in Rwanda started as a pilot project operated in three teacher training colleges (TTCs): Save, Matimba and Rubengera during 2011 – 2012, with 30 teachers participating. The evaluation of this piloting was done by the University of Eastern Finland. One of the things it could conclude was that it is possible to run an eTeacher Training project to rural areas in Rwanda.
Next step - Innovation for Education
This pilot project has now led us to a next step in implementing ICT in teaching in Rwanda. Through Innovation for Education we are now able to develop our eLearning- concept in Rwanda more and have defined the following innovative areas in our project:
- e-Learning as a way to reach the rural areas using ICT in education: the teaching takes place online in a learning management system called Moodle
- Authentic work-based learning within ICT in teaching: the participants are to use their authentic environment for learning as well as concentrate on student-centered methods in their assignments, this using ICT as a part of their planning, teaching and reporting as well as in communication with other participants, teachers and e-tutors
- Sustainability: an important part of the project is the training of the future Rwandan e-tutors to take over the teaching of the course after the two years when the project is finished. This way also the rest of the TTCs and hopefully many secondary schools can participate in this program. Also the course material will be a part of the Rwandan educational system after the project – Rwanda Education Board is our partner in the implementation.
- Online community of practice: as a part of the concept of sustainability we see that both the course participants as well as the future Rwandan e-tutors need a platform where to continue their professional development. Forming this could be partly done for example in cooperation with Rwanda Education Commons.
As indicated above the project eTeacher Training aims to increase the integration of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) into the practices and research of Teacher Training Colleges. In addition, the project aims to support e-learning development for teacher training in Rwanda in general and as mentioned, specifically in Teacher Training Colleges. We hope also to include one secondary school in this project. This in order to see whether this structure of e-learning could be applied even in the secondary level of schooling. The third aim of the project is to utilize digital technologies to provide flexible online professional development for teachers: creating an online community of practice is part of this aim. Ultimately the project aims to improve classroom practice through the teaching of the tutors at the TTCs.
Working closely with Teacher Training Colleges
During the project’s first three months we have started to work on the baseline study thus needing to visit all the five TTCs on the project: TTC Gacuba II, Kirambo, Matimba, Rubengere, and Save. TTC Muhanga has agreed to be our control group in the baseline study, thus giving us valuable information when looking at the results after two years. One of the pictures in this article is from our trip to TTC Matimba – we observed a music lesson, which was part of the Early Childhood Development program. During this lesson the teacher used ICT in order to teach about nursery rhymes and songs. We have been met with a lot of interest in using ICT in the classrooms – the teachers are eager to learn about ICT in teaching and directors open their schools for this development. Nevertheless there is still is work to be done to improve for example the standards of the computer labs and making it possible for teachers to use ICT outside the lab. A good start is to keep the labs open after school hours for the purpose of learning through ICT!
We have also started the revision work of the pilot course together with Rwandan teachers and eLearning experts from Sweden and Finland. The revision group focuses on ICT and learning in five different modules:
- Introduction to ICT and learning
- Integrate ICT in your subject
- Use online community to develop your teacher profession
- Create digital course material
- Teachers Community of Practice
We intend even to give USB memory sticks to all of the participants. This to ensure that when the Internet is weak or not working, the teachers have a possibility to reach certain material offline.
In May we will start with the first group of participants! You are welcome to follow us at http://www.facebook.com/EducationFinderRwanda
Education Finder Rwanda www.educationfinder.rw