ROTA hosts annual iEARN-Qatar Open house at Qatar University

May 28, 2014 11:04 am

Reach Out To Asia (ROTA), Qatar’s leading not-for-profit organization, has hosted the International Education & Resource Network (iEARN) Open house on 26th May at the Qatar University, College of education building.

The iEARN-Qatar open house is an event organized every year to give space for participating schools in the iEARN-Qatar program to showcase their completed projects, and to award them for their hard educational work.

Since the beginning of 2014, the iEARN-Qatar program is run in partnership with Qatar University’s College of Education as one of the programs of the National Center for Educators Development (NCED). This project builds upon the basic principle of Project-based Learning (PBL) by connecting classrooms around the world via an online network. iEARN’s model of Global Project-Based Learning allows young students to acquire skills in critical thinking, and cross-cultural awareness while connecting their learning to real world issues, making learning both challenging and enjoyable.

For this year’s iEARN-Qatar Open House, 115 students and 35 teachers representing 5 schools have gathered to showcase 17 projects. The participating schools were: Al Ahnaf Bin Qais School for boys, Khalid Bin Al Waleed Ind. Prep. School, Umm Al Qura Model Independent School for Boys, Um Maabad prep. School for girls, and Rabaa secondary School for girls.

“At ROTA, we have always believed strongly in the use of technology to develop education and promote global collaboration and debates. The iEARN- Qatar was a perfect platform that allowed us to showcase educational activities, school partnerships, new Internet-based professional development tools and the collaborative efforts of youth and educators from across the world”, pointed out ROTA’s Acting Executive Director Mohamed Al Naama.

“iEARN enables young people to go beyond learning about the world, to learning with peers from around the planet by using connective technologies. Instead of just a few students who are able to physically visit another country, the entire class can have personal and educationally valuable experiences with other cultures” added Al Naama.

iEARN, the International Education and Resource Network, is a non-profit organization made up of over 30,000 schools and youth organizations in more than 130 countries. iEARN’s vision is to enable young people to undertake projects designed to make a meaningful contribution to the health and welfare of the planet and its people.

In July 2013, iEARN-Qatar hosted the 20th Annual iEARN International Conference and 17th Annual Youth Summit. This platform was open to all educators and learners, and brought together participants from over 50 countries. Qatar was the first GCC country to stage the iEARN international conference when ROTA hosted the annual event.

The theme for the 2013 conference was ‘ICT for Education: Reaching Out, Building Bridges’. The conference focused on the use of technologies in education to reach out, learn and build a better world together. It provided ROTA with an opportunity to showcase innovative uses of technology in the classrooms, school partnerships, new Internet-based professional development tools and collaborative efforts of youth and educators from across the world.

The 2014 (iEARN) Open house was just the fruit of the hard work from the participating teachers and students, the support of NCED’s professional development specialists, and the iEARN-Qatar coordinators from ROTA. All iEARN projects were designed by educators to fit school curriculum and are meant to be integrated within classroom teaching.

Dr. Hessa Sadiq, Dean of the Faculty of Education at the University of Qatar, said: “Showcasing project outcomes and exchanging ideas and lessons during the annual open house is a great opportunity to enhance the quality of teaching and learning in our schools. iEARN-Qatar program helped our students and teachers in Qatar to improve their skills through experiential learning and online collaboration within the global iEARN network”.

She added: “The cooperation between ROTA and the National Center for Educators Development (NCED) in the College of Education at Qatar University is an essential step for the development of schools and universities in Qatar.”

Sharing ROTA’s belief in the importance of supporting the educational sector in the state of Qatar as one of the main factors to realize Qatar National vision 2030, Qatar Chemical and Petrochemical Marketing and Distribution Company (Muntajat) has signed a 3 year sponsorship agreement for the iEARN-Qatar program. This sponsorship will allow the program to grow in size and to improve in quality for the coming 3 years.

The annual iEARN-Qatar Open House event has grown in popularity and importance since ROTA initiated the iEARN program in 2008, which has reached out to 1400 students and trained 450 teachers from 95 schools across Qatar.