Monday, November 19, 2012

DNLE #2: Educational Challenge Scenario

Assignment # 2:

Write a description that tells a story of a real or hypothetical educational challenge or problem scenario. You can research and describe a real learning/training challenge facing a school or organization, or you can make one up of your own. Describe the learners, the learning needs, the ecosystem, infrastructure and resource factors that influence implementation, and any existing learning program (if applicable).

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With the fast-paced changes brought about by using technology in the field of Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL), the Professional Academy for Teachers (PAT) in Egypt is seriously thinking about training teachers of English language to be ready for this digital revolution in their classrooms. Most schools are now technologically equipped, however teachers are not trained to use them effectively. That's why the PAT searches for a way to train EFL teachers of all educational stages (Elementary, Preparatory, and Secondary) in all cities of Egypt (28 cities) to keep up with the latest digital integration into English curricula. The challenge here is that in spite of having a good broadband internet connection, the PAT in each city has no enough training rooms, computer labs, and trainers to achieve the objective mentioned above in a year. Another challenge is that the target teachers have different levels of using technology, in addition to their demotivation to develop their technological skills. The question here is ... How to train all the country's English language teachers on integrating technology into their teaching in a year?

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Retrieved Nov. 3, 2012 from here

A proposed solution is to Digitize TEFL Training through creating a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) using CourseSites**. A needs analysis survey will be conducted to identify teachers levels of using technology and according to their skills, they will involve in one of 3 online courses (Basic, Expert and Master). Once the target teachers finish their courses, there will be a follow-up course for all teachers to see how far they apply what they have learnt and identify additional training needs for the target audience.

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1. Training Topics:

Using technology in the following areas:

  • Learning Theories and Approaches.

  • Motivation.

  • Lesson Planning.

  • Teaching English Language Skills.

  • Presentation skills

  • Assessment.

  • 21st Century skills, e.g., creativity, communication, critical thinking, collaboration ... etc.

2. Training Objectives:

By the end of this series of courses, EFL teachers will:

  • Cognitive: learn more about integrating technology into many areas of teaching English as a Foreign Language field, e.g., planning, presentation, assessment, ... etc.

  • Psycho-motor: use technologies effectively in their classrooms.

  • Affective: realize the importance of integrating technology for their professional development and their students.

3. Trainees:


  • Who: The target trainees are English as a Foreign Language Teachers of all educational stages (Elementary, Preparatory and Secondary) from all 28 cites of Egypt.

  • Age Range: They are those teachers who fall in the age group 22-50 years old. More specifically, these trainings are addressed to both novice and experienced teachers. This doesn't mean that those who are between 50-60 years old are excluded. There will be some special online courses for them that aim at integrating technology in the educational administration.

  • Technology Level: They are of different levels of using technology. The basic users are those who can just use a variety of ready-made technologies and try to involve them into their teaching. The expert users are those who can create their own products and technologies. The master users are those who can conduct similar courses to other teachers or students achieving some objectives.

  • Motivation: Those teachers are highly motivated to know more about integrating technology into their teaching and digitizing the way of communication among the country's teachers. There is also a space for those who are demotivated as a result to their lack of technological skills.

  • They should have computers with a broadband internet connection at home.

  • They will work online 5-10 hrs per week.

4. Environmental Context/Training Conditions:


  • Name: The Professional Academy for Teachers (The Central Branch in Cairo)

  • About: PAT is affiliated to the Ministry of Education in Egypt. It is responsible for planning, designing, evaluating and following-up the professional development trainings for teachers and administrators.
Challenges and Important Conditions:

  • PAT (Central Branch) is located in the 6th October city that is far a way from the capital. Teachers from other cities spend 4-10 hrs to get there.

  • PAT has a good broadband internet connection, however, it has no enough training rooms, computer labs and master trainers to achieve the objectives mentioned above.

  • There are no enough experienced trainers in creating and moderating MOOCs.

5. Implementation Factors:

Existing Training Programs:

  • The existing training program is face-to-face workshops using printed handouts. Technology appears in the use of PowerPoint program to create presentations and downloading some YouTube videos to support the material.

  • The type of technology available is using the academy's computer labs in which the trainers find some PCs, projector, scanner, photocopying machine, and a broadband internet connection.

  • If the face-to-face training is done in the academy's branches in all 28 cities, this needs a huge amount of money (costs of the internet connection, trainers, technicians, travelling of teachers ... etc).

Proposed Training Programs:
The proposed training program includes 3 stages:

  • Pre-Training Stage: In this stage, some master trainers will be trained to create and moderate MOOCs using CourseSites. A needs analysis survey will be created to identify the English teachers' levels of using technology. Three online courses will be created and prepared to address 3 levels of teachers (Basic, Expert and Master). The agenda of the online training will be distributed to all the country's directorates 2 weeks before the start.

  • Training Stage: Teachers start their courses according to their levels of using technology. Each course lasts 5 weeks. If a teacher passes the basic one, he can enroll in the expert or master courses in the next run.

  • Post-Training Stage: After training all teachers of English language, a follow-up course will be created and conducted to see how far they apply what they have learnt and identify additional training needs that can be put into consideration when running other courses.

To Sum Up:

My educational challenge lies in training all Egyptian teachers of English language to integrate technology into their teaching in the school year 2013-2014. The Professional Academy for Teachers can't achieve this objective with its limited facilities. A proposed solution is shifting to the e-training through creating a MOOC using CourseSites in which teachers can be selected according to their technology background and levels of use. It is expected that teachers will not only use this digital revolution in their teaching, but also participate in sharing and creating similar experiences among their colleagues and students.

Resources Used:

1. CourseSites by Blackboard (Dec. 16, 2010). CourseSites Tutorials. Retrieved Oct. 27, 2012 from YouTube.
2. Porter, D. (2011). Understanding the Benefits of Digitization. Retrieved Nov. 3, 2012 from this link.
3. Youssef, A. (Nov. 4, 2012). What is MOOC? Playlist. Retrieved Nov. 4, 2012 from YouTube.

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