A Webinar organised by Samtse College of Education on 4th November 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged all education systems round the globe including Bhutan. Since March 2020, schools across the country had to be closed as precautionary measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak in the country. For the colleges of the Royal University of Bhutan, although online teaching and learning is not a completely new practice, the sudden need to transition to a complete online mode of teaching and learning did put some academics off-guard. In schools across the country, school teachers and students were compelled to immediately switch to online teaching and learning without any formal training and experience to handle such unexpected situation. The need to enhance the use of technology-based teaching, learning and assessment has become all the more critical in the wake of challenges presented by the current COVID-19 pandemic. To address the challenges of online teaching and learning, the STEM Education Research Centre of Samtse College of Education organised a webinar titled “The Promise of ICTizing Education: Making Online Teaching and Learning Engaging, Interactive and Immersive” on the afternoon of 4th November 2020.
The webinar was the first of its kind and was organised with an aim to orient and familiarise higher education academics and school teachers to a variety of interactive digital pedagogy or tools to make online teaching and learning more engaging, interactive, and immersive.
In the opening remark, Dr. Rinchen Dorji, President of the College emphasised the importance of higher education academics teaching in RUB and teachers in the school system to build their capacity to integrate ICT in teaching methods to fulfill the learning needs of the generation exposed to technology. He stated:
A digital immigrant who do not possess the drive, the passion, the energy to upskill our own knowledge and skills of technology in teaching and learning will certainly fail to become an effective teacher to teach our children – who are all digital natives. Today’s generation are born with technology. They breathe, communicate and live with technology. And thus, the need to build our educational practices in or with technology.
The webinar was a huge success attended by over 500 participants mainly school teachers from across the country as high as Laya and Gasa and as far as Trashiyangtse and Lhuentse. Some of the academics from the colleges of RUB also attended the webinar. In addition, more than 17000 viewers watched the live broadcast on the Facebook page of the college. The webinar was designed to be interactive and engaging and the participants had enough opportunity to interact with the speakers real-time virtually to seek clarifications related to the theme of the webinar.
This webinar was organised to give an overview of how online teaching and learning can be made more engaging, interactive and immersive by introducing some of the digital tools and platforms available online. Future webinar series will focus on providing a more hands-on knowledge and skills of using some popular digital tools and platforms for online teaching, learning and assessment.
Mr. Ran Singh Tamang and Mr. Tandin Penjor, both lecturers of the College were the speakers for the webinar and Mrs. Reeta Rai, the STEM-Education Research Center Coordinator moderated the webinar.
Post webinar feedback was collected from all the participants to help the College improve the choice and focus of such webinars in future.
Mrs. Reeta Rai (STEMERC Coordinator)
Ms. Rupa Rai (B.Ed.IV Sc B)