TEACHERS HELPING OTHER TEACHERS TO GO DIGITAL
The future of work is now fully upon us. In this new normal, critical thinking and problem solving are key requirements for any career in the digital age. With the pervasive use of computers in all realms of our lives, there is global consensus that these essential skills should be coupled with computer science concepts. This combination of skills is referred to as Computational Thinking.
MDEC has been working closely with MoE to integrate computational thinking (CT) into the national school curriculum and teacher training since 2017. From 2017 to 2020, 88,000 teachers have been trained in CT in partnership with MoE and selected public universities nationwide. Out of these, MDEC has unearthed 56 teachers who have outstanding computational thinking and digital skills, and who are also passionate about sharing their knowledge with other teachers.
These teachers have been given the title of “Cikgu Juara Digital” (#CJD) and by 2025 MDEC intends to identify 250 CJDs, or 2 CJDs per education district. #CJD will play the role of inspiring and guiding teachers in their respective districts, in CT and digital skills. #CJDs will continue to upgrade their skills via continuous professional development courses provided by MDEC and its industry partners. In this way, the #CJDs play a key role in cascading essential digital skills to teachers at the grassroots level.
In order to support the #CJDs in sharing their knowledge with other teachers, MDEC has facilitated the establishment of Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) in various regions of the country. These PLCs bring #CJDs together with other teachers to share expertise and work collaboratively, in order to guide teachers on integrating CT and other digital skills into their teaching and learning approaches. Under the auspices of these PLCs, MDEC and 56 #CikguJuaraDigital (#CJD) kicked off live webinars focusing on CT, in October 2021. These highly interactive sessions covered the six concepts of CT – Abstraction, Decomposition, Patterning, Algorithm, Logical Reasoning and Evaluation, and how CT skills are applied in teaching and learning.
Five webinars were conducted in various regional zones – Northern, Central, Eastern, East Coast and West Malaysia, where the #CJD community in each zone took part as the organising committee and led the sharing sessions.
In total, the 5 webinars garnered more than 6,000 educators. Participants included teachers from national schools, the Institute of Teacher Education (IPGM) lecturers and pre-service teachers, as well as private school teachers. The webinars extremely well received by participants who hailed from urban as well as rural areas. For example, Puan Mary Ann Serdina, an officer from Subis District Education Office (PPD) in Sarawak, thanked MDEC and #CJD for organising the webinars which have helped her to understand more about CT. Puan Mary welcomed more PLC sessions which would be beneficial to rural teachers such as those in the Subis area.
The #CJDs who led the sharing sessions were also highly encouraged by the response by teachers, for example, #CJD champion for 2020, Cikgu Abdul Rahman Ali Bashah from SMK Jenjarom, Selangor was delighted that his session received 2,300 views via YouTube.
In order to strengthen the learning outcome of the webinars, MDEC also organised a Computational Thinking Educator Champion (CTeC) competition which ends on Dec 5, 2021. The format of the competition requires teachers from the same zones to form a group of five members and each group has to create a daily lesson plan with an activity that supports any of the six CT concepts. The champion team will win Tello drones worth RM700 each, a trophy and certificate of participation. In the coming year, MDEC and its group of #CJDs aim to guide 6,000 teachers.
For more information about MDEC’s efforts in equipping educators with digital skills, and related resources, please refer to https://mdec.my/mydigitalmaker/cikgu-juara-digital/.
*Dr Sumitra was previously the Chief Digital Skills and Jobs Officer at MDEC and has taken the role of Head and Senior Vice President of Strategy & Policy