Even as COVID concerns cause travel restrictions, faculty in the Oklahoma State University College of Education and Human Sciences are using technology to connect with teachers around the world through two outreach programs.
In Thailand, kindergarten to 12th grade teachers at The American School of Bangkok virtually discuss strategies to promote literacy in the classroom through five professional development sessions, said Dr. Shelbie Witte, OSU professor of English education and adolescent literacy. In Nepal, Dr. Tutaleni I. Asino, associate professor of educational technology and director of the Emerging Technologies and Creativity Research Lab, leads efforts to provide Nepali university professors virtual training on teaching with technology during COVID through the Emerging Technologies and Creativity Research Lab.
In both countries, feedback is positive, and Witte is optimistic her outreach efforts with The American School of Bangkok will lay the foundation for future outreach in Thailand.
“This opens many doors for future opportunities, including perhaps one day taking steps for a team traveling there to explore options for student teaching and research possibilities,” Witte said of her work with The American School of Bangkok.
Witte partners with several colleagues, including Dr. Susie Popplewell, international programs coordinator; Dr. Adrienne Sanogo, associate dean for Academic Programs and Student Services; and Dr. Robin Fuxa, director of OSU Professional Education.
“The teachers at The American School of Bangkok were so pleased with the training we provided, they asked if more of the American schools in Thailand could participate,” Witte said.
Meanwhile, in a separate outreach program, Dr. Tutaleni I. Asino works with two OSU doctoral students, Kushal Jah and TommyShawn Long, to provide training in Nepal. Asino, with a background both in comparative international education and educational technology, is optimistic his outreach to Nepali university professors will provide more opportunities for OSU students.
“Working with people from different systems helps us learn more about our systems,” Asino said. “By learning how other people learn, it helps me improve my learning. I am really interested in how people across cultures learn, and this is also a learning opportunity for my doctoral students to expand what they study in the classroom.”
The cross-cultural experience strengthens pedagogical skills of all involved.
“It also helps our doctoral students connect their research to the real world,” Asino said. “Broadly I think it also continues to build exposure of our OSU program around the world.”
From Thailand to Nepal, two outreach programs within the School of Teaching, Learning and Educational Sciences and the School of Educational Foundations, Leadership and Aviation are equipping teachers to better serve their students, laying foundations for future OSU partnerships and student opportunities.
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