Empowering Alumni Educators through Virtual Continuing Education
In July 2021, 12 Fellowship Alumni who are STEM educators attended TGR Foundation’s three-day Virtual STEM Studio, a training program that helps educators transform their curriculum and enhance student engagement through student-centered, inquiry-based interdisciplinary STEM best practices. Through this Fellowship-sponsored opportunity, these Alumni learned the fundamentals of inquiry-based STEM learning and gained access to monthly digital follow-up workshops throughout 2021. They also received printed course materials and a two-year license to access TGR Foundation’s digital curriculum resources and community forum.
Hear more from some of the Alumni who attended the STEM Studio and learn how they plan to implement their new knowledge in their classrooms.
Being in a class of educators from different parts of the world [and] sharing experiences of how we prepare and deliver sessions … and how we all desire to grow and create even better learning experiences for our learners was profound. It didn’t feel like we were hindered by the global pandemic, which clearly has disrupted education significantly… we are using every opportunity available … to make learning relevant and impactful.”Falecia Massacky, 2019 Fellowship Alumna, Tanzania
Bright Dey, a 2015 Alumnus from Ghana who is head of the planning unit and the ICT coordinator for the Volta Regional Education Directorate, enjoyed collaborating with other STEM Studio attendees in smaller groups during the practical sessions. Bright said he “strongly recommends working with the TGR Foundation again, because their content was unique and tailor-made.” It was an eye-opener for him, and he “looks forward to sustaining this impact” in Ghana through collaboration and continuous learning. He hopes to “plan and organize similar training sessions for teachers and students” in his country.
Addi Mavengere, a 2014 Alumnus from Zimbabwe and the managing director at the Learning Factory, shared that he found the STEM Studio to be professional and very engaging. In applying the tools and strategies that he learned to his work at the Learning Factory, which strives to make digital educational content accessible to all, Addi hopes to make his products and services more valuable to his clients. Addi noted that the STEM Studio helped him “think very differently about how to engage learners and how to make learning a fun and valuable process.” He wishes that he had the opportunity much earlier to participate in an activity of this caliber and is excited to take the concepts learned back to his training participants.
Through her experience at the STEM Studio, Falecia Massacky, a 2019 Alumna from Tanzania and the founder and director of Mimi Ni Nani Limited, was able to “hone new skills that support development as a leader” and strengthen and expand her professional network. Falecia has already exchanged contact info with a few colleagues that she would like to learn from and from those that she would like to collaborate with in the design and delivery of their programs, which invest in children and youth’s leadership development. In addition, she plans to adopt what she learned during the STEM Studio to enhance virtual programs administered by Mimi Ni Nani.
A STEM advocate and the founder/program director of Beyond the Walls, a program that promotes gender equality and empowerment in Eswatini, 2018 Alumnus Sabelo Comfort Mlangeni enjoyed the breakaway group sessions and would “love to work with the TGR Foundation again, because the content was relevant” to him as a teacher. During the event, Sabelo learned that learner-centered content has a longer-term impact on students; as such, he plans to move away from teacher-centered content to have a greater impact on a STEM-centered project that he is currently working on with inmates in Eswatini. He also learned that “learning is a continuous activity that is properly carried out when learners are allowed to navigate the content on their own.” He hopes to continue to build upon the skills that he learned during the STEM Studio and to find better ways to “keep sessions engaging and to break down content to suit learners of different ages.”
Learning is a continuous activity that is properly carried out when learners are allowed to navigate the content on their own.”Sabelo Comfort Mlangeni, 2018 Fellowship Alumnus, Eswatini
In closing, Falecia shared, “This program allowed for cross-discipline discussions and creating topics to instruct together, which gave room to go beyond content creation or subject plan but more focused on the whole teaching framework which captures more features and needs of learners… I will adopt it and customize it with our virtual programs at Mimi Ni Nani.” As a professional development experience, the Virtual STEM Studio enhanced Fellowship Alumni’s knowledge of inquiry-based interdisciplinary STEM best practices, and we look forward to seeing how they apply these lessons in their roles and organizations.
Learn more about the Fellowship’s opportunities for Alumni.
Written by Andree’ Omoregbee.