IT and Internet provide great opportunities for poor students deprived of good education opportunities.
Modern education focus on the skills considered more important than factual knowledge which can easily be found online today. That means the core competencies to help young people to navigate in the 21st century: Critical thinking and problem solving, communication and collaboration, creativity and innovation as well as digital literacy and an open mind, flexibility.
IT and Internet provide great opportunities for poor students deprived of good education opportunities. Now that young people stay connected via their smartphones, the opportunities are even better! A major challenge is of course to encourage young people to use their smartphones 'wisely', as learning tools. Consider, what if they spent just 25 % of their chatting and selfie exchanges on learning online? But there is little desire to use IT for learning! What lacks is curiosity and the motivation to look for knowledge, to want to learn online! This is the major challenge, creating motivation, something traditional education is not very good at, though there are of course outstanding exceptions, teachers!
Openmind Projects, an NGO based in Thailand, is blending online learning with modern pedagogical thinking!
Openmind Projects engage students in concrete learning tasks, create teams and design team work activities using IT for finding, sharing and discussing facts and information.
We stimulate teenagers to find information and learn online, thus improving online searching skills, and move towards more independent and proactive learners.
Motivation, confidence and ability to work in teams are keys to becoming successful learners. So too are critical, analytical and creative thinking, IT and online searching skills as well knowledghe of the English language. Openmind Projects learning activities are designed to foster these skills. Students form teams to interact, learn and solve tasks together while using the Internet. Openmind Projects staff, trainees and overseas volunteers only act as facilitators, not teachers.
Children learn to solve tasks together, to share knowledge and exchange views with other students in debates thus reflecting on their learning.
Openmind Projects focus on tasks linked to questions about the environment,such as deforestation, global warming, waste and recycling, as well as technology and jobs, technology and education, healthy living and food.
What happens at our Camps and Training Center for Burmese, Laos and Thai village children from poor families?
Openmind Projects learning activities are designed according to the principles of learning by doing, task based learning. Learn and then use the new knowledge to solve tasks! Openmind Projects people act as facilitators.
Typical and provocative questions we ask are:: Is technology good or bad for jobs? Are social media good or bad for learning? Should smartphones be used or banned at schools? Should cars be banned from cities?
Students are told to search online, use their smartphones, find information, form opinions and then debate pros and cons, good or bad. While they do their fact finding, analyses and debates, they also improve their English and online searching skills. They become more aware of important issues for their own future, and grow more confident to express their own opinions.
Says Wah Wah 17, from Myanmar.
'I liked the debates because I can share information with friends in my group and search the internet to debate with another group. When I studied in my school every teacher teaches in lessons but when I come to Openmind Projects they make us learn English when learning about the world, environment, health and I search the internet for the debates together with my friends, teamwork.'
About Openmind Projects https://www.openmindprojects.org/nonprofit-organization
Contact [email protected]