TEACHERS ARE IN THE HEART OF ENGAGED LEARNING
Why is the digital transformation of the education process so important?
Why is the digital transformation of the education process so important? What is the role of teachers and professors in that process? How to keep up with technology and make learning engaging and attractive? How to use tools like Kahoot, Slido or Google Earth in class? How can technology assist students with disabilities?
More than a hundred participants from Bosnia and Herzegovina, learnt this at the workshop on active learning techniques, organized by the University of Sarajevo with the support of UNICE BiH. The workshop participants were the teachers, students, assistants and professors from primary and secondary schools and faculties in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
This workshop is part of a continuous process of training for education personnel, most of which are available on the platform https://digiedu.unsa.ba/, the platform which was built and launched with the support of UNICEF in partnership with @USAID BiH and contributes to the process of digital transformation in education. This platform aims to assist teaching staff in strengthening their digital and pedagogical competencies. It offers innovative resources to help modernize teaching methods and is being continually updated to align with educators' needs.
The author and facilitator of this workshop, Ms. Elizabeth Hanlis, felt honored to collaborate with UNICEF BiH and the University of Sarajevo.
“The focus was how do we create engaging instruction from something as simple as creating an icebreaker to create a better environment for learning, to active learning strategies to make sure you are learning and engaged, and tips to facilitate that. We also talk about classroom management strategies so there is more effective classroom management and effective delivery.
The workshop is also addressing disabilities, relying on the tools available online and for free. There is scientific evidence that technology helps to improve the grades of the learners. So, technology is a critical component of education moving forward. It not only helps improve their grades, but it helps them to prepare for the workplace and the workforce in the future.”, Ms. Hanlis said.
In 2021, a study conducted by UNICEF, UNESCO, ILO, and UNV in Bosnia and Herzegovina confirmed that students expect greater motivation and responsiveness to their needs from educators. Both students and educators agreed on the need for improved education in the use of digital tools, online teaching methodologies, and the acquisition of software and licenses required for conducting high-quality online classes.
Aida Kulo Ćesić, the Professor at The Faculty of Medicine of University of Sarajevo, said the application of digital technologies and engaging learning methods resulted with the increased motivation of students and positive change of the entire atmosphere in the classrooms “We can see and measure the difference with an increased number of publications issued by the students, we can measure the outcomes also through the number of PhD studies, our students are being enrolled with, abroad.“
The digital transformation of all aspects of society is inevitable. Our children are not only anticipating it but are better prepared for it than we are. It is imperative that this transformation occurs within the system, particularly in the context of the education system.
“It is of outmost importance to standardize the process of digitalization in education, at all levels. After almost twenty years of experience in the classroom, I can really see the progress, better outcomes of my students and increased motivation.”, said Elma Drpljanin, the English Teacher from a primary school in Sarajevo.
Digital transformation extends beyond providing Internet access, acquiring software, hardware, and licenses. It also necessitates the alteration of established norms and habits, creating new requirements that the system must respond to. Teachers are the most crucial link in this chain of change. Without proper training, equipping them with essential skills, knowledge, motivation, and ongoing support, it is unreasonable to expect that this link will remain stable, bridging the generational and digital divide.
The teacher, being closest to the student, holds a pivotal position. Placing the student at the heart of a high-quality and inclusive education process demands well-trained and motivated teachers. Without such teachers, the outcomes of education will fall short of the standards expected by 21st-century children.