Rationale and description of the platform
To boost teacher ICT competency development, provide educators with advanced digital resources and AI-based educational solutions, strengthen teaching networks, and overall contribute to capacity building in target regions, UNESCO IITE and a global leading creator of Internet communities NetDragon Websoft Holdings (NetDragon) have joined efforts to create the online platform – “E-Library for teachers”. This platform represents a hub that serves as a resource and training as well as, communication and networking center for teachers around the globe with open education resources in English and Russian languages (Arabic is coming soon). For over a year partners and members of the project team have been working together to bring this platform to life. In order to amplify the impact of the platform and provide teachers with quality resources, IITE reached out to international organizations holding expertise in the upliftment and empowerment of educators worldwide.
Project implementation partners
On June 8, 2022, UNESCO IITE and NetDragon officially launched the “E-Library for teachers” to the high officials and partners such as the representatives of the Ministries of Education from the target countries (the Republic of Serbia, the Republic of Tunisia, the Republic of Ghana, the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Russian Federation, the Kingdom of Thailand) and partners from Beijing Normal University (BNU), the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), Autodesk, Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO) and Go-Lab. The webinar was moderated by Ms. Galina Udayadas, Programme Assistant at UNESCO IITE.
At the opening of the event, Dr. Tao Zhan, Director of UNESCO IITE, welcomed all the participants and partners and stated that teachers are at the heart of education transformation and they need relevant support. Finding ways to provide this support and enhance teacher competencies are core objectives of the projects, which UNESCO IITE realizes with its partners. Dr. Xiong Li, CEO of NetDragon, in his video address, emphasized NetDragon’s commitment to its social responsibility and the transformation of education globally.
The launch of this platform is just the beginning of our collaboration, new courses, and teacher training initiatives will be integrated to further improve this project.
Ms. Emma Lin, Overseas Strategy Director at NetDragon
On behalf of UNESCO IITE, Ms. Galina Udayadas thanked the stakeholders and presented the milestones, achievements, and planned activities within the UNESCO IITE-NetDragon project on “Teacher Capacity Building with AI and Digital Technologies: E-Library for Teachers”.
The partners from COL, ISTE, ALECSO, Go-Lab, and Autodesk supported the initiative and contributed with open educational resources, tools, and courses for the platform, minding the needs and capabilities of teachers in different regions.
This project in the future will not only help achieve Sustainable Development Goal 4 but will also promote inclusive education and equip teachers around the world with the necessary skills to do that.
Professor Ronghuai Huang, Co-Dean, Smart Learning Institute of Beijing Normal University (SLIBNU)
This event enabled UNESCO IITE and its partners to share existing practices and exchange ideas to foster knowledge and engagement for further development and expansion of the project. This initiative has provided a platform that will help build a dialogue with partners and education sector representatives interested in supporting this project and reaching the target audience.
Ms. Annie Ning, Director of Asia Affairs at ISTE, presented the advantages of AI in teaching and learning transformation as well as the projects ISTE is developing at the moment in this field. UNESCO IITE consultants, Dr. George Saltsman, Chief Academic Innovation and Strategy Officer, Abilene Christian University (USA), and Dr. Nicky Mohan, Director of InfoSavvy21 (Canada, New Zealand), shared their vision and main objectives of this project during the next phase of its development as a means to ongoing growth in the era of smart learning and stronger partnerships that would enhance teachers’ capacity, facilitate access to digital resources and encourage networking.
Mr. Bilel Amri, ICT expert in ALECSO on behalf of Dr. Mohamed Jemni, expressed their gratitude to be invited to be part of this project and presented the main objectives of ALECSO. Mr. Max Zhao, Director of Business Development at Autodesk, congratulated all the partners on the success of this collaborative project and its future development.
Representatives of the Ministries of Education
The honored guests from the Egyptian Ministry of Education and Technical Education – Dr. Reda Hegazi, Deputy Minister for Teachers’ Affairs, and his colleague Dr. Ahmed Daher, Deputy Minister for Technology Development, emphasized their collaboration with other partners attending the webinar and highlighted the necessity to equip teachers with vital skills to adopt new standards.
NetDragon is one of our partners and we are working in collaboration on different aspects of technology related to content development and delivery to enhance the teaching experience. We need to equip teachers with 21st-century skills to excel in new learning styles.
Dr. Ahmed Daher, Deputy Minister for Technology Development, the Egyptian Ministry of Education and Technical Education
Other stakeholders were able not only to present their perspectives but also the challenges they were facing to transition into 21st-century teaching.
Since 2017 we have been working to improve digital competencies within the Serbian education system among educators and learners by considering two pillars: digital competencies of teachers and students and the use of ICT in schools. These new resources will be integrated into their revised digital competency framework for teachers that will be prepared in 2023 as digital education and blended learning are of utmost importance.
Ms. Danijela Šćepanović, Senior Advisor in the Sector for Digitization in Education and Science of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia
Some of the activities launched within the framework of this project are the development of courses on emerging digital technologies and the upcoming course on Metaverse, the organization of webinars for teachers, and the establishment of a teachers’ community to share best practices, as well as a competition for educators ‘Teaching in the 21st century’. Teachers will have an opportunity to apply and consolidate new skills and knowledge developed through these courses by participating in the competition. They will be able to acquire first-hand experience in the use of various digital technologies with their colleagues and share and discuss the results to effectively incorporate ICTs and SDGs in their curriculum.
At the conclusion of the webinar, Ms. Galina Udayadas and Ms. Emma Lin thanked all the participants for their valuable contribution to this project and expressed hope for continuing collaboration to support teachers and promote SDG 4 globally.