Find out how TA helped the Ministry of Education of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana launch an online learning platform for the delivery of education.
ABOUT THE CLIENT
The client, in this case, was the Ministry of Education of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana (Guyana for short). With a current estimated population of 750,00, Guyana is the third smallest sovereign state in South America, with approximately 900 schools and an estimated 8,000 teachers.
Infrastructure challenges impact access to education, especially students in the hinterland. A World Bank assessment showed roughly 50% of teachers were “untrained, operated with inadequate teaching materials, and served children of parents with low levels of adult literacy”1
Based on the above, the current government has placed a significant emphasis on using technology to transform education in Guyana. As such, they are in the process of implementing a national Online Learning Planform based on Office365 and Microsoft Teams.
To deliver distanced education while schools were still closed, the Ministry of Education in Guyana launched a new $174 million online learning platform that is set to initially support over 1000 Year 7 teachers. After successful completion of this, the project will roll out organically to teachers of other year groups.
The project collaborates with the Global Partnership for Education, and Tablet Academy (TA) is a component of the Guyana COVID-19 Accelerated Funding Project. TA is providing advice, education consultancy and training to support the MoE with their national transformation programme.
Educators will receive laptops with the accompanying software, and the roll-out will further support training for 60 master teachers – who will then offer training in a cascading model.
Initially, the role of TA Education was to train the 60 Master Teachers in the best way to use Office365 and Teams to support teaching and learning. These Master Teachers would then cascade the training to their colleagues across Guyana.
During the early parts of the project, it became clear to the Ministry that the expertise of TA Education went far beyond that of training and, as such, is now a key partner in the full digital transformation of education across the country.
Our commitment to Phase one of the project was to:
1. Develop a training plan and content to conduct training for 60 Master Teachers in the practical use of the Microsoft Teams platform.
2. Demonstrate to educators and practice virtual classroom activities utilising Teams based on new pedagogy and methodologies.
3. Provide capacity building on utilising Microsoft Teams to develop Communities of Practice around distance learning delivery, collaboration in planning, and knowledge sharing.
4. Develop a monitoring framework and demonstrate how to monitor the effective use of the technology by future trainees/ classroom educators.
5. Provide offline support as needed to participants over the training period.
Having successfully won the open tender, our first task was to assess the current skill set of the Master Teachers to develop a training programme that met both the needs of the Master Teachers as well as the project timeline. We did this in collaboration with the Ministry by means of an online skills audit, a service we offer to all clients before we create a bespoke training plan.
To support not only the Master Teachers but to begin engagement with all teachers across Guyana, TA Education delivered a 1hr Teams Live event on “The Art Of The Possible”. This webinar, for an unlimited number of participants, allowed us to set the scene for what is possible in an education setting using all of the functionality available in the Microsoft Office 365 suite of applications with a focus on Teams. This was also broadcast live on the Ministry Facebook page and attracted over 4,000 participants.
To provide the necessary training condensed into a 7-Day intensive period, we ran the training as the following sequence of activities:
1 x 60 min Introductory’ Art Of The Possible’ Live Event
7 x 90 min Interactive Training Workshops
5 x 60 min Remote Q&A Clinics to answer questions based on the previous day training
1 x 60 min Wrap-Up Session
Offline support was also provided via a dedicated MS Team with Channels devolved to specific users/outcomes such as Events, FAQs, Master Teacher Chat etc.
Given the tight timescales and depth of training required, all the outcomes defined by the client were met, well beyond the scope of the work. All 60 Master Teachers attended every training day and were skilled enough in technical usage of Office365 and Teams to begin training their cohorts of Year 7 Teachers.
During our work on the project, it became clear to the client that we have a wealth of experience beyond the initial skills required to deliver the element assigned to us. This is down to us having an in-depth understanding of the Digital Transformation process in education.
TA Education have now been commissioned to provide additional training to the Master Teachers in ‘How to teach remotely’, consultancy on the Digital Transformation process, technical training of Ministry Staff, support for Head Teachers and other key stakeholders, and the design and delivery of an ongoing support mechanism assisting Teams, and bookable remote face-to-face clinics.
1“Improving Literacy and Numeracy Outcomes for Guyana’s Early Learners”. [World Bank. Retrieved 6 March 2021.]