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UNESCO and partners help teachers bring technology to the classroom

16-01-2008 (Paris)
UNESCO and partners help teachers bring technology to the classroom
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As part of its mandate to build capacity in education worldwide and enable all students to benefit from high quality teaching, UNESCO initiated, in 2006, a project aimed at providing core standards for the integration of information and communication technology (ICT) into the classroom.
The Competency Standards for Teachers (CST) were launched on 8 January 2008 after two years of development, at the Moving Young Minds conference, an international seminar gathering 100 education ministers from around the world to discuss the role of technology in enhancing education.

Reflecting the growing importance of technology in today’s information-based world, the CST initiative was motivated by the need to equip both young people and the education sector with the necessary knowledge and skills to succeed in the 21st century. While more schools and universities are becoming equipped with computers, one of the challenges in incorporating ICT into education has been that teachers have not had the right training and knowledge to harness technology for teaching.

Bringing ICT into education is increasingly recognised as important to help students develop the skills necessary to live and work successfully in today world, support teachers to improve the learning experience for students through interactive tools and help them provide a stimulating and richer learning environment.

Working in close consultation with technology leaders Microsoft, Cisco, and Intel as well as the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), UNESCO developed the ICT Competency Standards for Teachers (CST). The standards provide for the first time a clear set of internationally recognized guidelines on what constitutes appropriate ICT skills and professional development for teachers.

“These standards consist of modules that will help trainers prioritise their needs and design training curricula adapted to specific requirements and resources, reflecting UNESCO’s belief that countries must occupy the driver’s seat of educational planning,” says Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO.

The standards are about improving the way teachers teach, resulting in better education and more highly skilled students to advance economic and social development. They also seek to harmonise views and vocabulary from across the globe regarding the uses of ICT in teacher education.

The project has shown how public-private cooperation involving several partners at one time can lead to the development of unique and innovative results, with broad reaching impact. The technology companies provided firsthand input for the development of the standards based on their existing work on bringing ICT to schools. As part of this work, they have developed teacher training that is consistent with the emerging standards.

While the Competency Standards for Teachers specify the competencies needed to bring ICT into education, it is up to approved governmental, non-governmental, and private providers to deliver the curriculum and training programmes for these competencies through the means and technologies most appropriate for their needs. The guidelines provide an evaluation tool to ensure that the most relevant training is given.
Related themes/countries

      · Private Sector Partnerships
      · UNESCO International Conference and Exhibition on Knowledge Parks
      · ICT Competency Standards for Teachers
      · ICT in Education: News Archives 2008
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