Digital Learning – A Look Into The Future
Establishing and Enhancing the Information Management System (IMS) in Education with "Reimagining Education" programme
Improvement of digital learning by establishing and enhancing Information Management Systems (IMS) in education was one of the many activities within the Reimagining Education United Nations joint project, implemented by UNICEF, UNESCO, ILO and UNV in three administrative units in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Republika Srpska Entity, Una Sana Canton and West Herzegovina Canton). With the general objective of supporting the digitalization of educational processes through quality data management, the activity helps building a more resilient system able to quickly respond to emergencies, particularly when addressing the needs of the most vulnerable students. These systems aim towards a more efficient communication between all actors in education, including parents, guardians and caregivers, school administration and relevant education authorities.
Integrating this type of Information Management System is being currently undertaken in Una Sana Canton. On September 2, 2021 in Bihać[i], Ministry of education, science, culture and sport of Una Sana Canton organized the official signing ceremony for establishment of the IMS in education sector. Implemented by the Breakpoint company based in Mostar, the functions of this system aren’t solely about managing the information but improving the distance learning process in primary and secondary education as well. In cooperation with UNESCO and Microsoft, the system is being improved by integrating the Office 365 package and Teams platform.
In regards to the two remaining administrative units, Republika Srpska Entity has an already established and centralized IMS in education, while West Herzegovina Canton is in the ‘pilot’ phase of the implementation of the IMS in education, developed in coordination with the IT Center of the University of Mostar.
E- Learning labs on digital TVET – Online course for TVET specialists and teachers
Within the same context, the International Training Centre of the International Labour Organisation (ITCILO) organized an online course ‘E-Learning Lab on Digital TVET’ for TVET ((technical and vocational education and training) specialists, managers and teachers of three abovementioned administrative units.
This online course’s objective revolves around increasing the capacities of TVET experts and practitioners for transforming available materials to suit online delivery and to operate distance learning programmes with a strong focus on multimedia, digital and interactive learning solutions. The duration of this course is 6 weeks total, and the course is conducted through ITCILO online platform, covering the most essential elements, quick tips and hands-on practice allowing participants to rapidly shifting face-to-face content of a module into an online offer.
The course is being carried out and taught by SmartLab, a learning design company based in Sarajevo. SmartLab experts held an initial introductory meeting in October in all three administrative units’ centre cities, Banja Luka, Široki Brijeg and Bihać. Participants of the course had a face – to – face opportunity to interact and gain answers to any questions they had about the following course activities. At this moment, participants are finalizing their training sessions and are about to engage in final course activities.
Media and Information Literacy (MIL) and Digital skills for primary and secondary teachers in Republika Srpska Entity, Una Sana Canton and West Herzegovina Canton
As one of the core preconditions for the digital learning, two activities have been initiated in coordination with Antenna Office in Sarajevo of the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe.
Media and Information Literacy (MIL) and Digital skills for primary and secondary teachers[i] in Republika Srpska Entity, a workshop that initially started in May 2021, is a one-week training course aimed at enhancing teachers MIL and digital skills and competencies as pre-requisites in delivery of e-learning and blended learning. The objective of this series of workshops is to raise capacities of approximately 1800 primary and secondary teachers from these three administrative units.
By the end of the MIL course, taught by experts from UNESCO and communication specialists from the University of Banja Luka, participants are expected to have learned about the difference between media and information literacy, to classify areas of media and information literacy. Participants are also equipped with techniques on explaining these basic concepts of media and information literacy to their students. More precisely, a variety of topics are addressed, including but not limited to cyber security of children, ways in which online space and technology influence daily life of children and their mental health as well.
In the framework of UNESCO Global Education Coalition, Microsoft is supporting the project Reimagining Education by providing its expertise in training of teachers and educational professionals from three administrative units in the use of Microsoft - developed tools for e-learning and blended learning delivery.
This is the activity which also started in May 2021, and it included 90 primary and secondary school teachers in West Herzegovina Canton. Groups of 15 - 20 teachers participated in sessions about using Microsoft 365 tools and applications (i.e. Teams, SharePoint, Forms) in everyday e-learning and blended learning delivery. This way teachers are able to quickly create practical solutions in a somewhat demanding e-learning environment, and therefore elevate the interaction with students by creating virtual classrooms, online quizzes and other engaging and fun multimedia content.
,,The goal of the Reimagine Education project - mitigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, strengthening the capacity of education authorities and teachers to provide quality inclusive distance learning and combined teaching models should significantly contribute to the most fragile, yet the most important social sector – the sector of education.’’