Middle school teachers in Myanmar receive four years of pre-service training through 25 Education Colleges (ECs), which are spread across the country. Since 2014, the Ministry of Education (MoE) has been working on year focused projects intended to improve pre-service teacher education. The MoE has been working with University of Education (UoE) personnel and UNESCO with the intent of redesigning of pre-service teacher education curriculum. Under the title, “Strengthening Pre-service Teacher Education in Myanmar” (STEM), I’ve been part of a team developing curriculum materials for pre-service teachers and teacher educators. I was hired as a subject specialist and facilitator to support the drafting and editing of the new EC student teacher textbooks (TBs) and teacher educator guides (TGs) for Year 2 of a 4-year degree programme. This STEM curriculum development project has been run under the auspices of Montrose International, and I acted as lead author for ICT an textbook and teacher guide.
Here’s an extract I wrote for the introduction to the textbook
“The rapid digitisation of the economy and society has already prompted many to think about incorporating ICT into daily lives and schooling. In this book, you will discover more about the role that ICT plays in teaching and learning and how digital may be used to solve problems, be creative, complete tasks and prepare students in middle schools for the future.Adapted from ICT Student Textbook Semester 1
Education is concerned with information exchange, communication and the creation of knowledge. ICT allows these three activities at scale and this opens-up new education opportunities. But the realities of the educational impact of ICT are not always predictable. We really don’t know whether the web, mobile phones, computers, apps etc. will improve, transform or even disrupt schooling. No one can tell you exactly about the nature of the relationship between educational potential and actual use in Myanmar. While we may hope that digital will shape education’s future to benefit all, the history of education technology shows that innovations are usually shaped by traditions and the powerful.
We want students to start thinking about a model for understanding the relationship and fit between ICT and education. We propose three simple statements.
• We learn about ICT
• We learn with ICT
• We learn through ICT.
These three simple statements are an attempt to explain how ICT’s should be incorporated into the teacher education curriculum. The statements are to guide the authors and readers of textbook as we explore future classrooms, teaching aids, digital literacies, assessment, school management and professional development. These statements do not address the many pedagogical challenges associated with using ICT for teaching and learning. Nor are they context specific and hands on expertise when using ICT in an education setting. Technical issues such as connectivity, hardware and software provision, technical support are not addressed either. These statements are intended to focus our attention, because reality is often too complex to portray or because much of that complexity is unique to specific situations.
The textbook asks that future teachers think, plot, plan and strategize about how they intend to use ICT in their teaching, learning and administration. We hope to prompt them to consider how they can take on the challenge of learning about, with and through ICT to develop the skills, knowledge and understanding required to make effective use of a range of technologies to solve problems. We hope that by learning about, with and through ICT, future educators will be able to address challenges and find solutions to the future of education in Myanmar.