Techno-pedagogy to ensure distance learning

Techno-education sessions led by the Université Virtuelle du Sénégal (UVS), in partnership with the Senegal’s Ministry of Education (MoE) and the UNESCO Regional Office for West Africa (Sahel), took place from 17-26 August benefiting 200 trainers from MoE.

Techno-pedagogy: being equipped to ensure distance learning

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to school closures since March 2020, educational continuity can be ensured by using specific media and digital tools. For over ten days, various capacity building sessions for trainers, conducted by UVS with the support of the Capacity Development for Education (CapED) Programme, enabled them to master designing, uploading and administrating of courses using IT support and/or media (radio and television).

During the training, the participants confided their doubts about these new teaching methods, to which they must adapt: "I had doubts about the use of ICT in teaching. At my age, I didn't think I could be competent using media in teaching," revealed one of them.

However, once they were equipped to deliver the courses remotely, from design to evaluation, the participants quickly integrated the distance learning systems. Dr. Tidiane Sall, CapED Programme Officer at the UNESCO Office for West Africa (Sahel), stated that:

The trainers are familiar with scripting, creating resources, implementing these courses on a platform, and conducting online exchanges. After this training, we will develop other skills with them, in connection with the Ministry of National Education, to set up an SMS platform that allows interactivity between the trainer and groups of learners.

In accordance with the contract signed with the MoE prior to the training, each participant commits to train at least 100 trainers in turn. Senegal will therefore have 20,000 teachers trained in editing and administrating online courses.

Ensuring pedagogical continuity for all learners

Subsequently, the MoE is responsible for providing a space to host the resources that will be produced, designing a SMS platform and train the actors how to use it, as well as developing an expansion plan with a system to monitor participants.

CISCO, a partner of UVS which specializes in manufacturing computer equipment, heard about this training and offered two free training sessions to the participants. The first was an introduction to cybersecurity, in order to clearly present the potential threats associated with the use of the Internet and how to protect against them. The second focused on the essentials of GetConnected IT or IT Essential for teachers who are already IT specialists.

In terms of hardware, Huawei provided each participant with a "flybox" to facilitate the connection of the 200 tablets offered to the participants.

This pioneering and innovative initiative aims, as UNESCO intended, to develop the resilience of education systems. In conjunction with the MoE, the impact of this training and related activities and will enable the knowledge of thousands of education stakeholders to be multiplied in terms of techno-pedagogy, in order to best serve all learners.