Dr Brij Lal – The Permanent Secretary for Education in Fiji (like the Director-General of a department in Australia) visited Naidovi in January. He was impressed by the work we started there last year. It is good to see that there is interest within the Education hierarchy on exploring innovative ways of teaching and learning.
We have presented a number of professional development ideas to the Ministry of Education in Fiji – this conversation is still in progress. We have also tried to keep the conversation going with the teachers via Skype. The Internet connection has been playing havoc. What we take for granted here can be such a problem in some places. I have received some very positive emails about how the library is being used. I am still trying to work out how the computers and robotic kits are being used in classrooms. This is a big step and I do not expect to see miracles overnight. Some education systems have had access to these digital technologies for more than 25 years. Yet as the literature reports, there is evidence of a range of challenges and barriers that teachers face with technology integration.
Our promised 300 books have already been sent – thanks to the support of our friends – Phil and Jackie. We were able to buy these books secondhand at Bookfest in Brisbane earlier this year. I also sent some teachers resource books on using computers and robots.
We have started discussions with people who are engaged in similar projects in Fiji. Two of my colleagues from the university – Graeme and Geoff have been working with schools in the Western Division of Fiji for the past three years. They have done some exceptionally good work with the QUT alumni and schools. We are hoping to work together in another village in Fiji- probably next year.
A closed group has also been set on Facebook. It is good to see that of the 40 of so friends, a handful are very keen on supporting this project.
We have started collecting books and laptops – a big thank you to my colleagues in the Faulty of Science and Technology. Our lounge room has been transformed into a storage/workshop are for these resources.