From September to November 2021, regional teacher training was conducted online as a part of the second phase of JICA’s grassroots project. Based on the pilot training conducted in Khovd aimag in June 2021, the training was conducted in Bayankhongor aimag, Selenge aimag, Songinokhairkhan District, UB City, and Khentii aimag, with a total of 220 lower secondary school teachers and 64 methodologists (local education administrators) participating. Seven members of the training implementation team from Khovd aimag also participated to support online training. From the Yamaguchi-Takada Laboratory, Prof. Yamaguchi, Prof. Takada, Mr. Hirai, and Ms. Oyun, a Yamaguchi-Takada lab graduate, participated in the training. During the training, teams of five or six teachers from each aimag presented the digital teacher training materials they had developed and discussed for further improvement.
The training in each prefecture was conducted in five days. It started with an opening and general introduction on the morning of the first day. From the afternoon of the first day to the morning of the fourth day, the teams of teachers presented their digital training materials and discussed ways to improve them. The teams who represented each of the six subjects covered in the aimag took turns providing the presentation. The presentation included the process of developing the digital training materials, the teaching methods, and the ICT used in the materials. After the presentation, the team demonstrated the digital teacher training materials they had created. After the demonstration of digital teacher training materials, each subject team was divided into subject groups to discuss the points of excellence and points for improvement and then gathered again for discussion. Following the discussion among the teachers, experts from the Mongolian National University of Education (MNUE), Prof. Yamaguchi, and Prof. Takata gave their feedback. From the afternoon of the fourth day to the last day, the session for teachers’ guidelines developed by MNUE professional teams was conducted. Teachers went through the guideline and discussed for further improvement. During the five-days training, additionally, the Tokyo Tech team provided training on how to create interactive training materials at the end of each session.
As tested in the Khovd pilot training in June 2021, Google meet was used as the platform for the online training, and Zoom was used to communicate with the Tokyo Tech team for translation. Google Drive was used to manage and share training materials, and Youtube was used to share digital teacher training materials. Google Forms was also used to obtain participant information and evaluation on the training materials through online questionnaires. Methodologists in each province developed training websites using Google Site, and access to these applications was integrated into the website. In order to make sure that those applications were functioning during the training, the Tokyo Tech team and methodologists made careful preparation prior to the training with repeated rehearsals.
Online training at Bayankhongor aimag
The training in Bayankhongor aimag took place from September 25 to 29. Fifty lower secondary school teachers from Bayankhongor aimag and 20 methodologists from five neighboring aimags participated in the training. Six subjects were covered: Informatics, Chemistry, History and Social Science, Mathematics, Geography, and Physics. Although the evaluation of the teacher training materials of each subject varied, in common with all subjects, the active participation of students in the classes and the interaction between teachers and students as an approach to student-centered education were well recognized. One participant commented, “although this was my first time participating in an online training program, I was able to learn effectively because the program was designed very interactive way.”
Online training at Selenge aimag
The training in Selenge aimag took place from October 25 to 29. Fifty lower secondary school teachers from Selenge aimag and 20 methodologists from five neighboring prefectures participated in the training. Six subjects were covered: Mathematics, History and Social Science, Biology, Chemistry, Technology and Design, and Physics. The digital training materials for the six subjects produced in Selenge aimag were all highly evaluated. As a point for further improvement, the participants suggested that the explanations of the scientific or theoretical knowledge behind the students’ activities introduced in the teaching materials should be enriched. This point will be improved in the future. One of the participants mentioned the advantages of the online training, saying, “I highly appreciate the opportunity to hear the opinions of professors from MNUE and Tokyo Tech, with whom we normally cannot have the opportunity to communicate.”
Online training in Songinokhairkhan District, UB City.
The training in Songinokhairkhan District, UB City, took place from November 1 to 5. Seventy lower secondary school teachers from the district participated in the training. Six subjects were covered: Mathematics, Biology, Geography, History and Social Science, Technology and Design, and Chemistry. All of the digital training materials for the six subjects produced received high evaluation in terms of topic selection, use of ICT in the classroom, and interesting content. On the other hand, there was room for improvement in the aspect of creating teaching materials using local materials. In addition, sound and video quality were found to be insufficient. Teachers will work on improving these points. Participants commented that they learned a lot from the training and would like to apply what they learned to their practical work in the future.
Online training in Khentii aimag.
The training in Khentii aimag took place from November 8 to 12. Fifty lower secondary school teachers from Khentii aimag and 20 methodologists from five neighboring aimags participated. The six subjects were Technology and Design, Biology, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, and History and Social Science. All of the digital training materials for the six subjects produced in Khentii province received relatively high ratings in terms of consistent with the curriculum and creative and interesting content. On the other hand, the use of local materials and the use of ICT in the classroom were identified as points to be improved in the future. A participant commented, “we were able to learn important things for sustainable use of ICT in the future by participating in this training.” Participants also expressed their gratitude to the methodologist from Khovd aimag who supported the training, indicating that cooperation among the provinces has been enhanced.
Training on the development of interactive teaching materials.
The Tokyo Tech team has initiated interactive material training in Mongolia since 2016. This was in response to requests from local teachers for self-learning materials to check their acquired knowledge through the teacher training activities. Tokyo Tech team developed interactive self-learning materials for teachers in collaboration with MNUE professors and conducted training on how to use them. Upon this training teachers further requested to teach how to develop their own interactive materials. That led Tokyo Tech team to conduct training on the development of interactive teaching materials at the onsite training in 2019. In this online training, the content of the previous training has been reorganized into an online format. To implement the training in an online format, Tokyo Tech team created an electronic training guideline (e-Guide) and distributed it to all participants. Participants learned how to install the necessary software and develop interactive quizzes including three types of question types: multiple choice quiz, gap fill quiz, and group sorting quiz. On the last day of the training, the teachers gave presentations and various interactive teaching materials developed by teachers were demonstrated. Throughout the training in 4 regions, 120 interactive teaching materials in 8 subjects were developed. Additionally, the participating teachers learned about other types of interactive quiz types and functions that were not covered in the training and introduced them in the presentations.
Comments from Professors:
I am happy to see the confidence of teachers. I have seen and felt it from the presentation and demonstration. I see teachers gain confidence throughout this five-day training. Collaboration among teachers and methodologists across the aimags was impressive. My gratitude will go to methodologists and Khovd training implementation team who gave substantial efforts for this online training (Prof. Yamaguchi, at Bayankhongor training)
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been facing unprecedented difficulties and had to shift all our educational activities including teacher training online. On the other hand, I believe, it brought us new opportunities for the use of ICT. I was impressed by the teachers’ skills to utilize new types of ICT programs. We are very happy to see that many different new ICT programs were introduced through the training. Academic societies agreed that teachers’ roles are even more important during Covid-19 regardless of online or classroom teaching because ICT cannot replace teachers. I believe this training opportunity provided meaningful experiences for online classroom activities. (Prof.Takada at Songinokhairkhan trianing)