It was an amazing sight: 25 teachers and proprietors representing 7 schools coming together to learn about 21st century teaching skills, specifically how they can go from teaching about computers to teaching using computers. This is what I have been working towards in the year and a half that I have been with Edify. I’ve talked about this before – true technological integration in the classroom is like three legs of a table, with hardware, software and finally professional development coming together to equally support the platform of teachers using technology to equip their students in the 21st Century – not just merely learning computer theory, but using the machines, the software, the hardware to augment and expand their educational outcomes.
We held the training away from home for the attendees, in the Windy Lodge in Winneba on the coast of Ghana (which, coincidentally is known for being a very windy place!). It is a small fishing community that is away from the distractions of day-to-day life that allowed the attendees to focus on the training. We started on Monday and went for seven days straight, covering fundamental topics like conducting better research using the Internet, utilizing PowerPoint in your classroom to cutting-edge topics like Intel’s curriculum on 21st Century Learning Skills and using the Khan Academy in a classroom rotational model. It was a jam-packed week with plenty of hands-on experience for the attendees and cumulated with the presentation of group projects presenting how the teachers can write lesson plans around using these new software packages to integrate them into their teaching.
One of the attendees said “I am very happy to be a part of this training – I have been looking for a long time ways that I can improve my ICT [Information and Communication Technology] skills.” For the teachers in attendance, most of this information was new, and alongside the hands-on training with plenty of screen-time, there was considerable excitement as their knowledge grew. I am looking forward to the reports of how they have started to use these new tools and skills in their classrooms as school (and the early reports are promising!) here in Ghana gets back into session.