Lab Mission 2012 Mongolia

This year, the lab members had an opportunity to visit project site in Mongolia. All the lab members spent seven days in this exciting trip from 18th August 2012 to 25th August 2012. Ms. Orgilmaa, Mongolian project coordinator, organized and joined the trip as well.

During the first day of the trip (19th August), trip members depart from Ulaanbaatar to Khovsgul by using domestic flight. Students were able to tour around the small town in Murun during the afternoon. In the evening, Mongolian information sharing session and Time reading session were held among the students with Prof. Yamaguchi and Ms. Orgilmaa. Okumura discussed about Mongolia’s democracy, natural resources, and how policy makers should deal with foreign investors. Poong discussed about Mongolia’s religion trend. With participant from Ms. Orgilmaa, everyone was able to gain in-depth understanding on Mongolia.

Next day, trip members went to visit the Education and Culture Department (ECD) Director in the morning for greetings as well as to acknowledge the trip purpose. Vice ECD welcomed trip members warmly and was impressed by the work to be done. Following that, trip members visited the famous spot, known as “Energy Spot”, where the Earth 50 degree and 100 degree intersects. After gaining energy from the Energy Spot, trip members began their 9 hours journey to Tsagaannuur Soum. The road towards Tsagaannuur Soum was bumpy. However, everyone could enjoy breathtaking views, with expanded land area which is a rare scene in metropolitan. Besides that, ger (a kind building resided by nomads) and herds animals were seen along the way. It was 2AM when members arrived to the soum.

[Group photo at the 50 100 energy spot]

[Yano presenting Scratch program to primary school teachers in Tsagaanuur]

On the 21st August, trip members attended a focus group discussion on “Student Centered Learning” with primary school teachers of Tsagaannuur soum school. We were warmly welcomed by school principal and twelve teachers. During the session, Prof. Yamaguchi explained her appreciation for teachers willing to spend time to attend the focus group despite school holidays. Also, Yano presented Scratch program to give the school teachers an idea on how to utilize ICT to prepare teaching materials. All teachers showed enormous interest on the Scratch program and are eagerly waiting for the training session to be held in the school. Focus group session with the teachers have addressed the issue on definition of Student Centered Learning (SCL), history of SCL, advantages and difficulties of implementing SCL, impact of SCL as well as ICT implementation in classrooms. The whole session lasted almost three hours with valuable insight gained. In the evening, trip members moved to Khatgal soum, in which everyone had the opportunity to experience staying in a ger. The night session was spent discuss individual research topics.

Next day, a focus group discussion was held with representative teachers of three schools to discuss the OLPC (One Laptop per Child) project. Among the issue discussed include role and responsibility of teachers involved in using OLPC, technical problems and challenges of using OLPC, impact of OLPC on student performance, and perception of parents on the use of OLPC in school. During the evening, John spent three hours discussing with teachers at Murun. The focus group had provided interesting finding despite being a rural area.

After all the activities, trip members went for a boat ride to go to a sacred wishing stone in the Lake Khovsgul. It was a spectacular view overseeing the lake. In the afternoon, trip members returned to Murun and spent a night.

On the 24th August, everyone prepared to leave to Ulaanbaatar. However, the flight was delayed for almost five hours. Everyone was able to return to Ulaanbaatar by 7PM, and Kenta was able to catch his flight back to Tokyo. Next day, Yano, John, Okumura and Poong had a day tour around Ulaanbaatar to visit museum and the famous Gandan Monastery, the only Buddhist temple remained during communist era before bidding farewell to this beautiful place.

The trip to Mongolia has provided interesting experience for all trip members. Besides magnificent sceneries, trip members were able to learn rural teachers’ spirit to provide the best for their future generation. And it is grateful that Yamaguchi-Takada Laboratory is able to play an important role to facilitate and assist Mongolian primary school teachers in utilizing ICT to promote teaching effectiveness and efficiency.

[Group photo in front of the ger]

[Group photo with teachers after focus group discussion in Murun]


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