2014 Educators Workshop (15th - 16th April 2014)

Education can change the world. At Microsoft, they believe that education is the single most important investment in the future of individuals, communities, nations, and the world - that it is vital to sustainable social and economic success. It is also a fundamental human right. But the reality is that education globally faces a crisis; a crisis of resources, time, and support.

The CILL (formerly through VCILT) has been very active and engaged with Microsoft Indian Ocean Islands and French Pacific in capacity building endeavours for educators throughout the country at all levels. 35 Educators participated in a two-day training on the Microsoft PIL Network. The theme of the training was "Building Educator Capacity". The workshop was conducted at the University of Mauritius on 15-16th April 2014 and it was led by the VCILT team. The workshop was supported by Microsoft Indian Ocean and French Pacific once more. Two educators received a Windows phone offered by Microsoft through a lucky draw.

17th July 2014 - Capacity-building day for Loretto Rose-Hill Educators

60 Educators from the Loretto Rose-Hill participated in a one-day workshop at the University of Mauritius in the context of their professional development day. The educators come from different departments and teach different subjects. The day started with a presentation from Microsoft Indian Ocean and French Pacific on Office 365 potential in Education. After the presentation and demo, the participants were introduced to the partners-in-learning programme and the Microsoft Educator Network. After lunch, the participants worked on a hands-on session on the development of interactive learning materials using Powerpoint. They went through a guided learning session using a self-instructional guide to develop a simple learning resource which is interactive, and which contains graphic elements and self-assessment activities like quizzes and other drill-and-practice questions. 

The 2012 Seminar on Educational Technology

The VCILT organised a one-day seminar on Educational Technology on the Saturday 14th July 2012. About 40 educators of the primary schools and a few secondary school educators were present to discuss on related issues with respect to the state of affairs in their schools, and also to hear from academia about the latest emerging trends and technologies. Presentations related to Open Educational Resources, Educational Cartoons or the use of Creole Language in the development of Interactive Educational Resources were at the heart of very constructive debates. The seminar was supported by Microsoft Indian Ocean and the Microsoft Partners in Learning Initiatives were presented to participants. 
The participants acknowledged the ability of the team from the VCILT to motivate teachers for a full Saturday was something to be praised.  On top of that 50 educators were trained to developed their own interactive learning materials back in March/April 2012, and which were conducted on Saturdays and Sundays. The whole idea behind this capacity-building programme was to decentralize the development of content to the educator's community to enable a sharing culture among peers. Technology is moving at such a pace that the modern technology of today is considered obsolete by tomorrow and we just cannot keep relying on a few persons to develop a whole curriculum. Teachers and students should become co-creators and co-consumers of content. 

The 2013 Educators Seminar on "ICT in the Classrooms from An Action Research Perspective" 

The seminar of the year 2013 was centred on action research and the use of ICTs in the classrooms. The seminar was organised by the Association Helping Our People (www.helpingourpeople.net) in collaboration with the VCILT and Microsoft Indian Ocean and French Pacific Ltd. 75 educators attended the one-day workshop which was graced by two foreign guests. Professor Jack Whitehead talked on action research and the principle of researching, inquiring on and improving one's own practices while Prof Noel Conruyt from University of Reunion spoke on the living labs concepts in the context of teaching and learning. Three students (educators) who have recently graduated from the University of Mauritius course in the BSc (Hons) Educational and Instructional Technology and the MSc in Educational Technologies also presented their research projects and findings to their peers. The key difference of this year's edition with respect to the 2012 edition was that in this edition the focus was rather centred on the humanist side of the ICT in the Classrooms while the previous edition focused primarily on the technology side of the concept. 
This workshop was a followup on the training sessions conducted in April 2013 by Helping Our People under the funding and support of Microsoft on the Partners in Learning Network (www.pil-network.com) program. Educators were trained to develop their own interactive learning materials and to use the Partners in Learning Network as a common educational social network and sharing platform. The presentations of research work done by educators demonstrated the work being done at grass-roots level in the schools that would definitely have a much wider impact in the longer term especially at influencing and informing Government's policy on education. For instance, the presentation on Tablet PCs revealed a number of elements that are important to address from the stakeholders perspectives prior to the introduction of tablet PCs for students in the secondary schools. The workshop demonstrated ability of the University and the VCILT to do high level research in education technology and to ultimately bring this to the community at large to benefit through knowledge dissemination initiatives and application in the real world context (the schools).

Training of Agricultural Extension Officers on Development of Multimedia-based Distance Education Materials (May-June 2014)

The training was conducted by the Dr Santally acting as consultant to the Commonwealth of Learning to train 15 extension officers of the Food and Agricultural Research Extension Institute. It was a 10-day training spanned over a period of 1 month in May-June 2014. All participants successfully achieved the learning outcomes as can be demonstrated by the submitted works. The difference in quality of the two versions of materials that were developed during the 3 day training in 2012, compared with those produced under this extended and more in-depth training is obvious. Participants had more hands-on training and used real equipment such as cameras, and tablet devices to get the feel of how their content will look on the destined devices. The objectives were such that it was expected, that at the end, participants would be able to (i) design a storyboard for an interactive multimedia course; (ii) Use an e-learning authoring tool to design good-quality interactive learning resources; (iii) Convert and burn interactive materials into DVD format; (iii) Design and implement self-assessment instruments in an elearning environment; (iv) Manipulate images and videos to create simple animations in a pedagogical context and (v) Mount a full-fledge e-learning short course to be deployed on PC and/or mobile devices