Amidst the ongoing uncertainty of coronavirus, many educators are preparing for a return to distance learning and digital classrooms. This week we look back at how a few top-performing education systems have offered specialized training and support for their teachers as they navigate new technologies for teaching and learning.
Top performers use a range of approaches to prepare educators to use technology for teaching and learning. One key strategy is facilitating peer mentoring. In mid-March Korea piloted and then fully launched an online peer support program to help teachers transition to distance learning. The program connects volunteer teachers nationwide with peers who have requested support, and they work together to set up an online classroom or plan for online lessons. Between 2015 and 2019, Finland provided national-level funding to train a network of “tutor-teachers” responsible for supporting their peers’ learning, with a focus on using digital tools. Almost all municipalities surveyed reported that they planned to continue the tutor-teacher program even once national funding ended. Similarly, Estonia has a network of school-based educational technologists, teachers who specialize in helping their peers integrate technology in innovative ways. During distance learning, they have provided support in their schools and at the national level through an educational technology advice hotline. While strategies vary, each of these jurisdictions trusts teachers to serve as experts and lead their peers in the rapidly evolving space of online teaching and learning. Learn more about how top performers are using technology during distance learning in our archive of International Education News.