Purpose of the Forum
Education, as a backbone of peaceful and sustainable development, is now under the great pressure due to the crisis caused by the spread of COVID-19. The pandemic revealed the importance of strong partnership as a leading force behind the exchange of best teaching strategies and efficient tools for learning. Today, more than ever before, the cooperation of teachers and knowledge sharing among them immensely promote and ensure the continuity of quality out-of-school learning. This situation demonstrates the urgency to support teachers by creation of wider and stronger networks together with provision of advanced solutions for distance learning.
Hence, UNESCO IITE joined forces with HEDU Group Company for the organization of International Online Forum for teachers “CONNECT”, which stands for “Combine Online Novation and Networking for Education Catered by Technologies”. The Forum was held within the IITE-HEDU joint project for UNESCO ASPnet schools of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization countries (SCO) “Connecting Schools Online for Inter-Cultural Teaching and Learning”.
The first step
National Commissions for UNESCO of seven SCO countries recommended schools for participation in the Forum. In order to enrich cooperation between schools and facilitate exchange of practices among teachers, there were 2 special webinars and a competition conducted before the Forum. UNESCO IITE and HEDU Group held the first introductory webinar for teachers on 23 October 2020 and presented the sequence and purpose of activities. During the second half of the webinar there was a facilitated discussion of teachers from different countries on challenges, drawbacks and advantages of distance learning for educators and students.
The next task for teachers in breakout rooms was to create a roadmap on how to deliver knowledge to students on 4 Sustainable Development Goals: no poverty (SDG 1), good health and well-being (SDG 3), quality education (SDG 4), and climate action (SDG 13). This brainstorming activity provided teachers with ideas for the next stage of the Forum, which was the competition of videos on how technology and education meet for the achieving SDGs, as well as for more engaging and fun learning. Each school selected one of the SDGs mentioned above and produced the educational video for promoting various online solutions in order to achieve SDGs.
The competition for schools
An additional follow-up webinar was held on 17 November 2020 with a view to supporting schools in their research for video production. Teachers seized an opportunity to present an outline of their video and received a feedback. Apart from this, each school shared one educational resource that proved to be an effective tool for teaching and learning before and during school closures. The deadline for submission of videos was set to 5 December 2020, and as a result UNESCO IITE and HEDU Group received 13 videos of schools from 7 countries: China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Pakistan, and Tajikistan. Experts selected one video in each of 4 categories related to the aforementioned SDGs, and one more video drew experts’ attention for demonstrating a creative approach towards promotion of SDGs in schools.
The International Online Forum
Schools and ASPnet National Coordinators from the SCO countries took part in the Online Forum that was held on 21 December 2020. The Forum started with opening speeches of Mr. Tao Zhan, the Director of UNESCO IITE and Mr. Cheng Hui, Vice General Manager of HEDU Group, and the event was moderated by Ms. Natalia Amelina, Chief of Teacher Professional Development and Networking Unit of UNESCO IITE. The Forum gathered teachers for panel discussions on 4 SDGs, providing them platform to present and offer EdTech solutions, share their experience and teaching strategies to build sustainable learning environment. The demonstration of 5 best selected videos followed the discussion of teachers. The winning videos were from China (SDG 3), India (SDG 1), Russia (SDG 4), Kazakhstan (SDG 13) and Kyrgyzstan (SDG 1). Each teacher of the teams that worked on production of the selected videos was awarded with tablets in order to continue exploring and implementing new online solutions for quality teaching and learning.
The Forum and prior activities provided a platform to share and exchange experience and expertise gained before and during the pandemic, and intended to contribute to the teacher professional development, as well as presented new ways of making learning more engaging and interactive for students. In conclusion, all participants acknowledged that information and communication technologies, in this regard, hold great potential in providing educational institutions with necessary solutions and tools for maintenance of the undisrupted learning process.
Videos of all the schools
Videos in the category “Innovative tools for affordable quality education”
The best video in the category “Innovative tools for affordable quality education”
International Educational Complex “Harmonia – School No. 97” of city Izhevsk, Russia
Videos in the category “Distance learning for good health and wellness”
The best video in the category “Distance learning for good health and wellness”
The High School Affiliated to Shandong University, China
Videos in the category “Online learning for climate change mitigation”
The best video in the category “Online learning for climate change mitigation”
Nazarbayev Intellectual school of Physics and Mathematics in Semey, Kazakhstan
Videos in the category “Achieving zero poverty through education”
The best video in the category “Achieving zero poverty through education”
LK Singhania Education Centre, Gotan, India
The video awarded for a creative approach towards promotion of SDGs in schools
“Ilim” Educational Complex, Kyrgyzstan