In a school where resources are limited and the demand of new student registration never ceases to shorten due to constant Syrian refugee influx into Jordan, both teachers and the administration of al Rubaie’ Bint Al Mouawath Girls School in Mafraq find it difficult to cope with all pressure. Having to teach an average of 45 students in a classroom only gives little space for creativity. A group of teachers decided to stand together to shake the status quo and revolutionize teaching. This is the story of one.
Ms. Bardees Owaidat, 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. “Having taken the decision to enrol in the training, I knew I had the creativity (given that I am an Art Teacher), but maybe not the skills to use the Internet with my students. I am a firm believer that talent is developed by practice, but it never occurred to me that I can work with my students on developing their sense of art online.” she expressed.
Early in 2016, Tech Tribes, with the support and direction of UNESCO Amman Office and with a kind donation from the Government of Finland, joined forces with a group of 12 teachers to activate the recently-launched Youth Information Center (YIC) in al Rubaie’ Bint Al Mouawath Girls School in Mafraq. 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.
“I teach a group of students who fled the war in Syria. I can see that some still suffer from trauma and cannot express themselves to the fullest. I always tried to find a way to help; but with our limited resources, I mostly felt helpless.” Ms. Owaidat says.
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.
“Both the computer clusters and the library have given me enough space to get creative with my students. I now assign them in groups to research world artists, sculptures and sometimes musicians! (she says in excitement). They are embracing this opportunity to access information to the fullest. The exposure they can get to online resources is one of a kind.” Ms. Owaidat added.
“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.” Ms. Owaidat expressed.