I was honored to attend a workshop organized by Generation YES project and LabTech. This workshop entitled “GenYES Workshop—21st Century Learning Skills for Teachers & Students” was held for a day at City Seasons Hotel Muscat.
What was special about this workshop is that it included a practical proposal on empowering kids (with the help of ICT tools) at schools by encouraging them to innovate in different fields and to relate to what they learn through real life experiences and perceptions. Dr. Dennis Harper (the Founder and CEO of the not-for-profit Generation YES organization (GenYES) and the inventor of the Student Technology Leaders movement , AND an intimate friend of Steve Jobs) was keen to explain the adaptability of his project as he customized it to work in many countries. And I have to sincerely give him the credit for his entertaining and insightful talk in this regard. We also had Dr. Norrizan Razali (Head of Digital Learning at Malaysia’s Multimedia Development Corporation—MDeC) to talk about their experience with this project, how far they’ve reached, and the challenges they had. The MOE of Malaysia is also working closely with LabTech and other Malaysian tech institutions to make this happen. She pointed out that teachers have this tendency of NOT collaborating or working together to achieve a bigger, more wider goal. And I have to say that this applies to this (Middle East) region as well. Since the use of ICT DOES require collaboration; we’re still struggling to convince teachers to change their ways and work collaboratively and teach their students this trait as well! And to “learn how to unlearn” (a quote I liked by Dr. Dennis 🙂 ) ; we need to unlearn the old-fashioned ways and learn new ways and techniques that work now with the students of “now”!.
What I learned:
I learned that it’s extremely important that administrators, teachers, and students realize the fact that ICT should be included in the learning process as a practical “tool” for learning and discovery. This is a pivotal point that many overlook in many ways across the educational field. I totally agree with this point since I think it’s pointless to teach the methods but never actually use them! I believe that once the students are genuinely involved in a “curriculum-related project” and directed to use various technological tools, then they will eventually learn the various ICT tools available (or they could even make their own tool at advanced levels) and the learning process will be much more natural and significant to students.
The other thing is that.. YES.. Let the students help you out.. (Not in the sense that you don’t teach :p ).. Make them “digitally literate” and they can help others and teach themselves the various skills related to ICT. Plus, some students are “already” into this, they have a lot of knowledge and experience that even teachers can benefit from. That’s one of the benefits that we definitely need in our schools.