A project using cloud technology to teach Syrian refugee teachers how to better work with traumatised students was presented as part of UNESCO’s flagship ICT event, Mobile Learning Week (MLW) at the Organizations headquarters from 7 – 11 March, 2016.
The Connect to Learn pilot project is run by the International Rescue Committee (ICR) in ten pilot schools in Domiz Camp in the Kurdish Region of Iraq (KRI).
The project recognizes the expertise of Syrian refugee teachers, their importance in creating safe and nurturing spaces to learn in and their challenges in dealing with vulnerable students who may have suffered varying degrees and types of trauma.
IRC launched a yearlong pilot project with information and communication company, Ericsson providing a technology platform that gives refugee teachers access to resources to help meet the complex needs of conflict-affected children, specifically social-emotional skills, literacy and numeracy.
Academic, social and emotional skills
In the ten pilot schools the project provides ICT hardware and connectivity via a cloud-based local server and the internet accessed through notebook or tablet and giving specialised training to around 150 teachers. Internet connectivity is provided in the camp by KRI telecommunications provider AsiaCell.
Presenting the project, which is in its second phase, Kimberly Smith of IRC said: “The platform allows teachers to upload comprehensive teacher training materials curated by the IRC.
“It aims to cover academic as well as social and emotional skills taking into account the stress students may have experienced. From the teachers’ point of view, the cloud is accessible all the time and allows them to work at their own pace and share experiences,” she added.
How technology can make a difference in conflict and crisis
Strategies to enhance education for refugees also featured in two separate workshops during MLW. In Cultivating Coordination: Making quality mLearning a reality for Syrian refugees, Jacqueline Strecker presented Learn Lab, a virtual space giving refugees access to relevant and high quality learning opportunities.
In Education on the move: Technology for quality education in refugee settings, GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft fur International Zusammenarbeit) the organization that works with the German government in the field of international cooperation for sustainable development, launched a landscape review entitled Education in Conflict and Crisis: How Can Technology Make a Difference? The review aims to identify major trends, patterns, knowledge gaps and lessons learned about the use of mobile technologies in crisis and conflict settings.
UNESCO has been active in responding to the fact that education must be a principal part of any humanitarian response through its Education in Emergencies programme, and more specifically in regard to the refugee crisis with its Syria Crisis Response and key publication Bridging Learning Gaps for Youth.