By Nam Ngo Thanh, 5th Grade Teacher, MIE Fellow, Skype Master Teacher, Microsoft Teacher Ambassador
With more than 11 years of teaching experience, my teaching concept has changed a lot over time. In the beginning of my career, I felt my main responsibility as a teacher was to provide knowledge to students from textbooks. Over the years, I began to follow in the educational purpose proposed by UNESCO: learn to know, learn to do, learn to live, learn to assert yourself. To achieve this, cooperation is one of the skills I always prioritize to help students develop. In efforts to accomplish this, I have started to participate in many projects with other teachers around the globe, including We are Little Volunteers, Wai Water, Human Differences (Koen is founder), Women in History on Tour (Angels is founder). Recently, I have dedicated efforts to creating and developing the Five Safe Fingers Project to help stop child abuse.
How did the idea for the Five Safe Fingers Project originate?
In recent years, child sexual abuse has been raised as a global problem in general and in Vietnam in particular. Through discussions with teachers in many countries, I learned that children often do not have the skills needed to protect themselves in situations where they are at risk of harm. They do not understand the limits of love. This continued to trouble me, so in April 2017 I decided to call on teachers around the globe to work together on the Five Safe Fingers project. For the project, our mission is to provide children with the skills they need to protect themselves from sexual abuse and to work to support Goal 3 and Goal 16 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. I am fortunate to have received the participation of more than 30 schools from 37 countries and to have had more than 100 teachers registered to become ambassadors for the project.
From 20 students to 2500 students
At the beginning of the project, I had no idea that our work could impact so many schools around the globe. I was thrilled to receive e-mails from teachers and schools from around the globe asking how they could get involved. Some schools started with only a group of 20 students, but then whole schools with up to 2,500 students would join in. Working with this project has become an important part of my daily work, and I continue to be inspired by messages I hear from teachers on the impact of the project. "Feels truly great to be a part and touch the lives of so many children" - Nerru Mittal, India.
How has technology helped this project be more successful?
Technology plays a large part in helping 100 global teachers to work together effectively, and we continue to see great impact from using Microsoft tools.
OneNote: This great tool has helped create a unique space where participating teachers can work together anytime, anywhere. OneNote allows us to store, set up, and share a variety of information in one location. During the time using OneNote in collaboration with teachers from other countries, I also created many sessions. Some are mutually occupied, and some are designed for particular individuals. Subsequently, I assigned tasks and shared this digital notebook. We easily track progress and use the platform to plan for next steps. Students also have their own sessions for mutual communication, such as for sharing videos, presentations, and brochures or for asking questions.
PowerPoint, Office Mix, Sway: These Microsoft tools have been used by students to create many interesting projects related to the program. Tammy's students used Office Mix to create Safe Tips for kids to prevent child sexual abuse. With the combination of sound, image, and automatic run mode, this guide has become more vivid. With the advantage of ease of use, many students have used Sway, including first graders using Sway to create animated presentations with pictures, videos, and more. They can update at any time and no need to send it back to the recipient as it automatically updates. Teachers also use these tool to create presentations to share with others.
Minecraft: With the participation of Francisco Brazil, Minecraft Global Mentor, Minecraft has been included in the project. “I was scared when I received the invitation to be an ambassador of the Safe Fingers project, it is not an area that I dominate, but as an educator and citizen it is a duty to be able to contribute as I can.The north of my compass was: how can technology have a real paradigm shift that helps improve children's lives, their defense processes? Well, I came to a conclusion, technology is a factor that increases our human capacity, that makes us think, reflect, change reality.” - Francisco says. In this project, Minecraft is used as a tool for free thinking. Each country has been charged with creating an image, a construction that refers to the theme. And then, the others will try to understand what the other wanted to do. We use Minecraft as a simulator of solutions, dialogue, and humanization. Students also can create a slogan with Minecraft. The constructions are shared in OneNote and others can add comments. To conclude, the participants make personal reports describing these experiences, and all the information serves as a metric for assessing activity and impact and provides research materials to improve the activity and use of technology in the classroom. In this way we can create an activity that uses the skills and competences of the 21st century and that exercises the pillars of UNESCO. At the same time, we have created an innovative activity that can really push the barriers and create the future.
Skype: Skype acts as a key tool in the project to connect teachers to teachers, teachers to students, and students to students. Skype helps break the limits of the four walls in the traditional classroom. Just click on the connection icon in the project website and participants will be moved to the MEC site to send a Skype connection request. During the exploration knowledge, students use Skype to connect with project ambassadors who do work in preventing child sexual abuse. After completing the products, students use Skype to connect with other classes to share what they have done in the previous weeks. Through sharing, they will have an overview of the problem of sexual assault in many other countries.
What will be next?
Although "Five Weeks: One Life" is used as a slogan for the project, we do not want to limit this project to just five weeks. This project has been posted as a lesson on the MEC site, so any teachers can access and sign up for Skype collaboration to work on the project. We hope the project will continue until the problem of sexual assault is over.
Do you love global learning? Do you love contributing to share your knowledge with the world? If you are over the age of 18, apply here