by Ellie Meleisea, UNESCO Bangkok
As part of the UNESCO “Strengthening ICT in Schools and SchoolNet in ASEAN Setting” project, a training session was recently provided for teachers which aimed to assist them in learning to facilitate telecollaboration (sharing knowledge through the internet) with their students, and how this enhances teaching and learning.
The telecollaboration activities that are undertaken as part of the above-mentioned project are referred to under the broad title of “ASEAN Bridges of Learning”.
During their training, teachers learned to use “Learning Circles”, an e-learning activity which brings together teachers and students over the internet to collaborate on investigative activities, involving the sharing of information and experiences.
The “Learning Circles” concept was developed by Margaret Riel
The telecollaboration training was followed by the first round of Learning Circles in the ASEAN (Association of South-East Asian Nations) region.
Teachers and students from Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines and Thailand participated in this pilot round.
The investigative learning activities in the Learning Circles are centred on certain secondary-school subjects and curriculum-related themes.
In the first round, there were three Learning Circles:
- Mathematics -
Theme: Measure by Measure
- English -
Theme: People and Places
- Science -
Theme: World Environment
Participation in a Learning Circle can be a very rewarding experience for both students and teachers. For teachers, it provides a way to develop working relationships and team-teach with other teachers in a virtual classroom. Developing such relationships with fellow-educators all over the globe enables teachers to gain knowledge and develop their teaching skills.
This tool for professional development is more dynamic and up-to-date than traditional training avenues.
For students, working in a collaborative setting with peers around the world gives them a wider perspective on issues and a greater understanding of similarities and differences. The collaboration with others can be a powerful mirror that will help them see who they are and where they live in a new way.
More information about the Learning Circles can be viewed at the UNESCO ICT in Education website www.unescobkk.org/index.php?id=3334
To view the student’s work in the first round go to www.unescobkk.org/index.php?id=3327
The second round of the Learning Circles will start in January 2006. Teachers in 24 participating pilot secondary-schools in eight ASEAN countries – Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Viet Nam – will be invited to participate.
top of page