Little did the teachers of Al Rubaie’ Bint Al Mouawath Girls School in Mafraq know what awaits ahead after the launch of the Youth Information Center (YIC) in February 2016. In a school where limited resources and the continuous influx of Syrian refugees in Mafraq Governorate challenge welcoming any new students, a drive to excel, empower and give hope is not stopping a group of teachers from shaking the status quo.
Tech Tribes, with the support and direction of the UNESCO Amman Office and a kind donation from the Government of Finland, joined forces with a group of 12 teachers to activate the Youth Information Center (YIC). This effort came in the form of a teachers’ training program that aimed to expose teachers to recent technologies in order to use information and communications technology (ICT) skills in the attainment of curriculum learning objectives, and to promote research and innovation in both teaching and learning.
This training course was customized for school teachers who have not yet used ICT as aid tools and group learning channels in their teaching courses. It aimed at enabling teachers to discover and increase ICT usage, mainly in an individual learning system. The methodology relied on the “learning by doing” method to elaborate learning activities that illustrate many ICT applications and experiment on shared activities within a community of teachers.
Ms. Bardees Awaidat, an Art Teacher with a mission to revolutionize her classroom with new interactive learning techniques, embraced this opportunity to develop her skills in what the World Wide Web has to offer. She says “My journey was both fun and fruitful. As an Art Teacher, I experimented with joy some of the different applications and websites through which I can make use of online resources to enrich the classroom environment. I am still learning (giggles) but I can proudly say that I am not the old-fashioned Art Teacher that uses scissors and coloring pens.”
Khaled Hijab, the Executive Director of Tech Tribes and the lead trainer commented “Our efforts to shed light on how ICT can be successfully utilized to enhance learning and foster collaboration inside the classroom were paralleled by a group of teachers who enthusiastically embraced the idea. Had it not been to this eagerness to learn, we would not have been able to fully achieve the objectives of the training. Digitizing education comes from a great idea, but more importantly, from a teacher who is determined to develop her capacity.”
The Youth Information Center (YIC) project consists of two computer clusters and a renovated interactive library; it aims to help strengthen community cohesion in a setting where Syrian refugees are hosted. The project equips students and their educators with the knowledge, personal and social skills to be part of a cooperative, rights- based, and understanding medium.
By drawing on experiences from a number of local and international partners, the project aims to turn the school learning environment into a one that fosters collaboration and mutual understanding amongst students, and between students and teachers alike. It also aims to expand the usage of existing spaces to develop the capacity of teachers and librarians in taking bigger roles and bringing different non-formal education methodologies to the learning experience.