School teachers set for 'techy' lessons

To keep pace with the ever-changing 'teen technology' and introduction of ipods, funky mobile phones and playstations in classrooms, school teachers will soon be put through 'techy' lessons. Beginning this month, Global Education Management Systems (GEMS) teachers will get 'techy' lessons from professional trainers on the use of latest technology and gadgetry in teaching. Through several workshops, the teachers will get hands-on training in employing modern gizmos effectively in different subjects.

Cameras in mobile phones could be used to take pictures of students' projects and projected later to the entire class for assessment. Similarly, educational videos and documentaries could be downloaded from the Internet and could be 'podcast' to make education more exciting. As part of the group's ICT  workshops, 30 professional trainers will impart pedagogical knowledge to the teachers. In fact, they will also be taught to use social networking sites like Wikipedia. They would also be tutored on blogging.

In an effort to make teachers more friendly and approachable to students and parents, GEMS is organising more than 100 workshops through the year for its teachers. ICT, being only a part of it, teachers will also develop skills to make students more independent and responsible thinkers. launches speed learning has launched “Speak Japanese Fast”, a downloadable e-Book specifically designed to teach Japanese vocabulary at a rate of 100 words per hour, by tapping unused memory. publishes an e-Book that enables students of Japanese to learn vocabulary by discarding the traditional approach to language learning. Key features of the new product include specialised memory tasks, regular drills and categorised vocabulary learning.

Nepalese teacher wins award for connecting his village to the Internet

The 2007 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership has been awarded to a teacher, Mahabir Pun, from Nepal, for his achievement in establishing Internet connectivity in his remote village and bringing the benefits of the Internet to his region.

Mahabir Pun was born in Nangi village, high in the Himalayan foothills of Western Nepal. Nangi is seven hours' climb from the nearest road and has no telephone lines, so is seemingly cut off from the world. Pun attended school and university away from his village but returned to Nangi in 1992. His quest to bring Internet connectivity to his village began in 1997, when four used computers were donated by a school in Australia. Pun began teaching his students to use computers and wanted his students to learn to utilise the Internet, but connectivity seemed impossible without telephone lines or satellite phones.

Pun searched for solutions and contacted the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in the UK. With publicity from the BBC, Pun was able to get volunteers from Europe and United States to help him rig a wireless connection between Nangi and the neighbouring village of Ramche, using TV dish antennas mounted in trees. Small grants led to the construction of improvised mountaintop relay stations and a link to Pokhara. By 2003, Nangi was online.

With the help of more volunteers, Pun expanded the wireless network to embrace twelve villages. He distributed used computers to local schools and communication centres, connected them to the Internet, taught teachers how to use them, and then helped to troubleshoot until everything worked. Pun also established a “tele-teaching” network, through which good teachers in one school instruct students in others. The students of the region now surf the Net and are learning globe-savvy skills.

Cambodia signs agreement to train the next generation of teachers in ICT skills

On 20 August, the Cambodian Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport and Cisco Systems signed an agreement to train up to 25 teachers in five teacher education institutes (TEIs) in the skills needed to utilide information and communications technology (ICT) to improve teaching and learning.

The agreement was made in the context of the UNESCO Next Generation of Teachers (Next Gen) project, for which Cisco Systems has pledged financial and resource contributions through the Cisco Networking Academy.

The Next Gen project aims to build the capacity of TEIs in the Asia-Pacific region to prepare the next generation of teachers to utilize ICT in the classroom. Ten countries in the region are participating in the project: Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, the People's Republic of China, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Viet Nam. In each of these countries, three TEIs are participating in project activities, making a total of 30 participating TEIs.  

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