In this final week of the Transforming Education in Challenging Environments MOOC we introduced the concept of learning through the use of digital tools, and how they can contribute to transformative education.
The participants on both platforms, Edraak in Arabic and FutureLearn in English, expressed their enthusiasm for using digital tools in their teaching and learning environment. On FutureLearn, a poll showed that more than 60% of participants like the idea of using digital methods. On Edraak, the participants reported that digital tools enhance learning because they create exciting spaces, unlike the conventional teaching methods that lack sufficient interaction. The participants on Edraak also argued that technology is an integral part of education and education methods now. The majority of the participants believe that using technology can improve learning and teaching.
However, in the discussions, participants also raised their concerns. On both platforms, the participants discussed the barriers teachers face, especially in challenging environments, such as the frequent lack of: electricity, internet access, digital devices, good digital content resources, professional development, school managers who understand and appreciate technology. Nevertheless, those barriers and challenges did not stop the participants sharing the practical solutions from their own experiences. Participants on both platforms suggested:
using their own laptops instead of a projector,
teacher meetings to advise the school management on what they need,
printing back-ups for when the electricity fails,
getting the school to set up a generator,
teachers playing with the technology themselves to learn what they can do,
teacher teams sharing resources and ideas,
finding the digital tools to make their own resources,
engaging the learners in helping to look after the technology…
So often these discussions reflected wonderful examples of transformative teaching.
Teachers participating in the MOOC shared some great ideas, information and experiences through using the digital tools they are learning about. Mentimeter is one example, where participants created a word cloud expressing how they felt about digital tools for teaching and learning.
Throughout the course these experienced and committed teachers have been exploring the resources and working together to discover what it means to create a transformative and conducive space for learning. They are clearly aware it is up to the teacher to find the most suitable pedagogies and tools to create that safe and creative space for their learners.