The River of Knowledge is part of the Open Schools Program, a joint project of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MoEYS) and the Open Institute to improve the quality of teacher training through the use of video as support material.
The goal of the River of Knowledge Project is to improve the quality of education by producing and distributing high quality video-based training materials for general education and for teacher professional development.
These materials - recordings of demonstration classes for all classes of general education - can be used in locations where the quality of teaching or the access to education is specially poor, to improve the quality of teaching of remote teachers, or in teacher training institutions.
In particular, the following expected results have been integrated in the draft of the 2009-2012 Master Plan for ICT in Education of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport:
- Improving the quality of General Education
10% of rural schools in Cambodia will have significantly improved the quality of their educational outcomes (as measured in national tests) by using high quality video recording of actual classes (recordings of high technical and educational quality).
- Improvement of pre-service Teacher Education
The quality of the training of teachers in the Teacher Training Centers will be significantly improved by using - in all TTCs - the high quality video materials recorded by the project. The videos will be used to illustrate how different teaching techniques can be applied to specific subjects, as well as to show how experiments can be prepared and executed in class by lower and upper secondary school teachers.
- Improvement of in-service Teacher Education
The quality of in-service education offered for general education teachers will be significantly improved through the use of the high quality video materials recorded for use in general Education. Besides teacher learning while using the materials for teaching, school technical group meetings and District workshops will be important learning opportunities for in-service teachers and school directors.
- Improvement of School Director in-service Leadership Education
The quality of in-service leadership education for school directors will be significantly improved through the use of high quality video materials. School directors will be able to use the materials for learning on their own or may participate in cluster meetings, DoEYS or PoEYS leadership workshops, where the materials can provide the opportunity for discussion, interaction and practice.
- To create high quality videos of teaching situations that can later be used to support the training of students, teacher, and principals.
- To create videos in which good teachers - in a class situation - teach every class for each one of the subjects of all 12 grades of formal general education, covering the whole general education curriculum. Usage - in these recorded classes - of different educational techniques that can help students understand better the subjects, as well as allow the teachers to learn new teaching methodology. Approximately, 9,000 sessions of 30 minutes will have to be recorded.
- To create similar set of videos for each one of the levels of the upcoming Equivalency program (primary, lower secondary and upper secondary certificates). Approximately, 2,000 sessions of 30 minutes will have to be recorded.
- To create videos of principal leadership workshops. A Maximum of 18 days of class will be recorded.
- To use these videos in schools, teacher training centers, in-service teacher trainer situations, and principal training situations for improvement of the quality received by the students, to improve the pedagogical skills of teachers, and to improve the leadership skills of principals.
- To train principals and teachers of all teacher training centers, and at least 10% of schools on the possible benefits and ways of using these video materials for improving the quality of the Education that they deliver.
- To distribute the materials to 26 teacher training colleges, to be used as examples of good pedagogy. To equip these colleges with delivery mechanisms (TVs and DVD players).
- To distribute the DVDs to 10% of schools. Selection of levels that are most favored will depend on which materials are found to be more effective, and also in which primary schools there are more teachers will a strong will to pass the Equivalency exam. Equipment of as many of these school as it is necessary and possible.
- To use the materials to train principals in teacher training workshops, and to provide the trained principals with all the video materials for later review.
- To monitor the quality of the materials being created, as well as the impact of the use of the materials.
- School students in schools that do not have qualified teachers for a given subject will be able to improve the quality of the education that they receive.
- Students in rural areas will receive better education either directly from the videos (with local teacher intervention) or because their teachers have learned or are motivated to teach better through watching the videos.
- Primary school teachers who do not yet have a high school degree will have access to good quality training materials to study for the exam.
- In-service teachers will learn from the videos - while teaching - how to use better pedagogy in their work.
- Pre-service teachers will be able to see how certain pedagogical techniques can be used in practical teaching to improve the results of their teaching.
- Principals will receive good leadership training, with lessons offered by the best trainer in the country. They will be able to take these lessons home, in video, to review them when necessary.
Project Partners and Framework
In Cambodia the project will take place in the context of the Open Schools Program of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport and the Open Institute NGO, and will be included in the Master Plan for ICT in Education that is being developed for the years 2009-2012.
The project must be aligned with the present curriculum and textbooks, developing them and expanding on them, following the standards for teacher of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport.
In addition to the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport and the Open Institute, project partners would be Digital Study Hall (a similar project in India, sharing their long term experience on this type of project, and providing networking with similar projects) and the University of Washington, who will ensure that monitoring is done correctly. Funding for the first stage would come from Spanish Cooperation, and the Del Rio Family Foundation. Funding for later stages is still to be identified.