Great technology alone is not the answer to education. But technology in the hands of a great teacher can transport a classroom enthusiastically into the unknown! Teacher training is a key part of the implementation of technology-for-education projects, especially in the Comitancillo region where many teachers lack formal education and where professional development opportunities are few.
Before the tablets hit the classrooms, before math classes became more interesting, and before researching, collaborating, and sharing in small groups became part of the student routine in the new technology classrooms, it is the teachers who first became the students. Learning not only how to use the technology and how to access the offline content, but also learning how to integrate content in an engaging and interactive way is critical to making student learning not only successful, but also fun.
For students, the RACHEL includes extensive educational content presented in engaging ways that go beyond what is available in traditional textbooks, but it is also a tool to train the trainer – to teach the teachers!
Technology itself is not enough. Preparing teachers to make the best use of this technology is essential to project success.
To supplement the initial teacher training received, the RACHEL also plays offline host to a Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) for teachers which encourages new ideas in pedagogy including collaborative and interactive learning, creativity, and critical thinking.
With assistance from AMMID staff providing bi-weekly support visits to participating schools, teachers are becoming more comfortable with the variety of content available and with navigating the information sources to incorporate the use of the mobile devices and the RACHEL into their lesson plans.