Trainings

Armenia School Connectivity Program (ASCP) is committed to enhancing the professionalism of its employees, beneficiaries, and any relevant parties.

Drawing from the fact that the integration of ICT in education is a constantly evolving area, training of teachers, students as well as community members is critical.

Based on participant needs assessments, different training packages have been tailored to maximally address the different needs of the program operations and training participants.

To achieve maximum impact and to avoid replication of training activities funded by other donors investing in the same area, ASCP has consulted with relevant organizations, considered partners’ recommendations, and whenever applicable, utilized the methodically tested and piloted materials as well as best practices shared.

New Technologies and Elementary School

nte1Starting from October 28, 2005 until March 3, 2006 in the framework of “New Technologies and Elementary School” Project, six teacher trainings were conducted for 81 teachers from six marzes of Armenia: Vayots Dzor, Syunik, Tavush, Ararat, Shirak and Aragatsotn.

The goal of the project was to promote the integration of technology and Internet based activities in teaching, reading, writing and math skills in low grades. Objectives included exposing elementary school teachers to interactive methods of teaching, providing an opportunity to them to use the computer during the teaching process, providing critical thinking skills for writing, reading and math applications, introducing web links for more information and new approaches in the teaching, as well as equipping participants with basic computer skills and internet search.

This was a curriculum-based training for the elementary teachers of Armenia, which took place in the Internet Computer Centers, with approximately 13 teachers in each training. The topics selected for training focused on developing teachers’ skills of integrating information technologies in teaching writing and reading. The teachers played the roles of students, thus, step-by-step completing assignments, they mastered the instructions to be given to their students in the classroom. Interactive methods were utilized during the training. Since math is sometimes hard and dull for students, the trainings on math enabled the teachers to improve the skills of applying technologies in teaching math applications by introducing online games and quizzes.

Participant Selection Criteria included willingness to gain and develop the skills of integrating technologies in teaching, getting acquainted with new approaches of the teaching based on the curriculum needs. The language of the trainings was Armenian.

For the majority of participants, the training sessions provided a meaningful context for using ICT during their teaching process, and if some of them have never been motivated before to use it, after the training they felt like doing so. They learned how to use the computer in writing and mathematical applications, which was challenging before. The sessions were quite hands-on and the teachers got out of the training with novice level doing new activities. It is noteworthy that the topics selected as examples for the training were taken from the state curriculum.
As a result of the trainings, several open lessons were conducted by the trained educators in November-December, 2005.

Fun with English and Computers: Training Module for EFL Teachers

From March 10 to April 5, 2005, training sessions were held for ASCP EFL teachers in 12 ICCs all over Armenia. The training aimed at familiarizing the English teachers with the resource “Fun with English and Computers” developed within the framework of Armenia School Connectivity Program, more specifically at introducing the teaching methods underlying the resource;
suggesting tips how to use the resource;
encouraging teacher feedback.

The training was conducted according to the following outline:

Introduction to the resource: the history behind its development, its importance;
The teaching principles underlying the majority of activities (teamwork, information gap, computers as a means);
The structure of the resource;
Practice (teachers were practicing one of the activities from the CD, “English Painting”);
Discussion about the teaching implications behind the activity (Will the activity work in their classrooms? What potential challenges might there be? How to address those?)
Suggesting a few teaching tips that will make the use of the CD more efficient.
Emphasizing the importance of getting feedback about the resource from the teachers: introduction to the forum “Fun with English and Computers” at http://forums.ascp.am.

Overall, 128 teachers in all the regions participated in the training.

The participating teachers were eager to introduce change into their teaching, especially with the use of computers. This in many cases guaranteed the success of the sessions. A lot of teachers commented on the presentation style, noting that the practice of the activity and the follow-up discussions were very helpful to understand how the resource works. All the participants commented on the usefulness of targeted training. They found this training more relevant to their specific needs. Some of them noted that besides learning about the use of computers for language teaching, they acquired some techniques and tips they can use during their lessons regardless of the use of computer.

During the sessions, teachers from different locations in the same regions had a chance to meet. Not only the importance of learning something new from a trainer was emphasized, but the necessity of sharing experiences, exchanging ideas, etc.

ICC Sustainability training initiative

Project Harmony-Armenia successfully finalized Training of Trainers and Internet Computer Center (ICC) Sustainability Trainings, the purpose being the increase of sustainability efforts effectiveness aimed to overcoming the financial barriers.

Training of Trainers (ToT)
To make the ICC strategies more localized and intensive the focus of Regional Field Coordinators (RFCs) team was shifted to more sustainability activities. In December 2004 Regional Program Coordinators and Regional Community Developers together with Project Harmony Program Coordinators passed “training of trainers” seminars to be able to provide schools with local consultations and trainings. This training initiative aimed at PH RFC team and consisted of 5-day training seminars and home tasks implementation. The training package, which includes 5 modules, had been developed as a theoretical and practical resource for the “training of trainers” course.

ICC training seminars
Principals and site staff from all ASCP schools were invited to 1-day sustainability seminars based on the Sustainability Tool Kit. In total 20 rounds of seminars were conducted by Alexander Chilingaryan and RFC staff: 751 people from 290 schools participated in the seminars during March – April 2005. Each training seminar was organized for a group of 12-15 schools (principle and ICC monitors from each school). Participants were provided with general vision of sustainability and main skills and knowledge.

Sustainability

Project Harmony is currently implementing an Internet Computer Center (ICC) Sustainability Training initiative aimed at:

providing ASCP schools with knowledge and skills on management, marketing, and advertising;
developing local strategies for income and funds generation;
developing motivation among the principals and site staff.

Within the framework of this initiative, PH Regional Program and Outreach Coordinators will move away from their current focus to more sustainability activities to make the ICC strategies more localized and intensive.

Principals and ICC staff are invited to 1-day regional seminars based on the Sustainability Tool Kit. Seminars are conducted both by Program Sustainability Chief Specialist and RFC staff. In total about 20 seminars are proposed to be organized. The participants are provided with general vision of sustainability and the main skills and knowledge. They receive the following tasks:

1. to organize the work of the ICC work and develop a short-term action plan;
2. to develop and conduct an ICC promotional plan.

After the seminars RFC staff will make site visits to check in on progress and offer assistance, allocating enough time to work with schools online.

A special online forum “Ask for advice” has been opened to share information between schools. It also contains practical models and samples of effective ICC practices.

Online Facilitation

The Online Projects Implementation & Facilitation Training, and Getting Familiar with Online Interaction Tools

Since February 2005 Project Harmony Armenia has been implementing a series of Online Projects Implementation & Facilitation trainings in all 11 Armenian regions, for ICC monitors and lead teachers from ASCP network. Following the theoretical part of the training, all participants received an opportunity to design, develop and facilitate their own projects to implement the knowledge they gained. As an addition and continuation to the training, PH announced a new series of seminars for most skilled ICC monitors and lead teachers certified and interested in new technologies to share knowledge of online interaction tools. The training should help participants to independently initiate online collaborations and interactions for educational purposes. Using interactive methods, the training tried to give answers to the following questions: Why interact online? Are there alternatives? What can be accomplished with online interaction spaces? Is it motivating or important enough so that people will overcome time and technical barriers to initiate learning through online interaction? After each training participants tried to initiate and implement an online educational project using one of learned interaction tools and, as a conclusion of the training, participants took part in online conferences sharing the outcomes of their initiated projects. Selection of candidates was based on both the application forms’ content and Regional Field Coordinators’ recommendations.

In total with 25 rounds of seminars with 525 participants from all 11 regions of Armenia the courses successfully ended in May, 2006.

Purpose of Training of Trainers (ToT) Guide

Project Harmony has begun to establish a legacy of helping individuals, groups and communities use online communication to address real local needs. Through topical online events, collaborations and partnerships, Project Harmony seeks to support change through the connection of people with shared needs and interests. One way is through the Internet using online communication and community.

Moving to this new way of communicating and blending it with our more familiar face-to-face interactions asks us to try some new things and work in new ways. This guide is designed to help trainers introduce these new ideas and ways to leaders who can then support their own online initiatives. It has been created out of the materials and experiences of Project Harmony staff and Full Circle Associates from 2002 � 2004.

This guide is not meant as a precise, step-by-step set of instructions. It is a toolkit of resources. You can determine what you need and select the appropriate pieces. You can and should adapt any piece to your situation. You may discover other pieces and can contribute them back to this guide, allowing it to become a “living, breathing” resource for connectivity-based interaction in Armenia.

This guide assumes that the user has a base knowledge and familiarity with online interaction. The PowerPoint presentations, for example, do not contain all the content and information, but instead offer you a framework to organize YOUR knowledge and experience.

Give us Your Feedback, Suggestions and Contributions
As you use this guide, please send your feedback to ph@projectharmony.am. If you develop new materials, please send us a copy and we will incorporate it into this guide. If something did not work out well, tell us why and we�ll strive to improve it.

Training of Trainers (ToT) Theatre, April 12 – May 8, 2004

Project Harmony was pleased to resume the next series of Online Facilitation Trainings in Armenia conducted by Nancy White of American Full Circle Association within the framework of Armenia School Connectivity Program (ASCP). The trainings, creatively titled “ToT Theatre”, included the two traditional stages: online interaction and sharing of ideas and offline workshops. The “theatre” lasted 3 full weeks, starting from April 12 till May 8, 2004.

All 11 Regional Community Developers (RCDs), 7 Regional Educational Coordinators (RECs), out of which 4 were the “new bees” and 4 Project Harmony Yerevan staff participated in the training. Since it has been a very full online facilitation year (2003-2004) for most of these trainees (the first basic part of the ToT training was held last year) and they all had many stories to tell, the online reintroduction of participants began with a structured storytelling, which covered three key questions concerning online projects:

What was the best thing they did as a facilitator?
Worst mistake?
What would they do differently next time?

It was so beautiful to be surrounded by this circle full of stories about ASCP online projects. During the online interaction the participants also wrote, created, practiced and prepared to take their “show on the road” for communities across Armenia. At the completion of the online and offline workshop, the trainees were able to:

Describe the qualities and skills of a good trainer
Understand the basics of adult education
Develop a plan for an online facilitation training
Prepare a customized agenda for an online facilitation training series which include both online and offline elements
Customize and prepare any needed materials and resources
Understand and be able to improvise
Present an online facilitation training series

As a final outcome of the ToT, the group of newly-developed trainers, equipped with innovative training ideas, conducted a regional workshop in Ijevan, in the Internet Computer Center (ICC) of secondary school #4. There were 20 participants in the workshop from Tavush and Lori regions- NGO members, teachers and ICC staff. The workshop was a real success, as both the trainers and the participants were pleased with the potential ideas of partnerships generated during the working sessions of the workshop.

A mailing list of all those participants is created, by means of which PH will network with these people and implement sustainable online projects, as well as school partnerships in near future. A ToT Guide is also process of preparation based on the training materials, lessons learned and additional resources on adult learning.

“Online Interaction Exploratorium” exchange program, April 26 – May 8, 2003

Project Harmony, in cooperation with Full Circle Associates in March-April 2003 was implementing an “Online Interaction Exploratorium” project. The project was designed to foster participant understanding of how to build an online community and how online interaction could be integrated with offline work to strengthen groups, networks and communities.

The project focused on equipping regional coordinators with the theory and practical skills necessary to conduct effective online events and develop healthy online communities. Participants included Regional Community Developers, Regional Education Coordinators, and Project Harmony project implementers.

The US expert in creating and facilitating online communities, the president of Full Circle Associates Nancy White visited Armenia and a series of intensive workshops on implementing online projects were conducted, and PH is most proud to be the pioneers of this kind of exciting initiative in Armenia.

Before Nancy White’s visit, a 3-week online forum named “Online Interaction Exploratorium” took place, where the main purpose was discussion of the techniques of online events creation and facilitation skills, several projects purpose checklists had been created for their implementations in Armenia. With Nancy’s arrival, an intensive four-day workshop was organized in Yerevan for online project participants, including 8 PH staff members, 11 Regional Community Developers (RCDs), 2 Junior Education Coordinators and 1 Senior Education Coordinator. The Yerevan workshop had theoretical sessions, where Nancy White presented topics about online interaction and facilitation, and practical sessions, where the participants had hands-on practice. They specified their projects, the target audience, created the space with folders and discussions for their projects, the timelines, invitation letters and orientation material. As the result of these four days, a national project entitled “Community Service” was created, and 5 other cross-regional projects. These are “Job employment market in Armenia”, “Assistance of the Armenian parent to school”, “Young volunteers corps”, “Marketing consultancy”, and “Teaching healthy lifestyle”. Besides the main workshop sessions, there were also Trainer of Trainers sessions organized for 7 of the PH staff, where After Action Review (what we intended to do, what was done, what will be done differently next time) were conducted and discussed what we, as future trainers learned out of that day.

On May 5 and May 6, 2003 regional workshops in Sissian and Vanadzor took place, where the participants formed working groups and conversations about what it will take to implement those projects. They focused on purpose statement, outcome goals and determined next steps by involving regional experts in these projects.