Teachers Lead Tech program is gaining momentum in Kaunas schools
128 Kaunas teachers have already joined the Teachers Lead Tech (TLT) program. The technology literacy and creative learning platform is designed for primary school teachers who receive not only knowledge but also tools to successfully implement technological creativity skills in schools and pass them on to children. According to Edita Ževžikovienė, one of the teachers participating in the program, “As a teacher, I want to keep up with my students and I am glad that I can introduce most of them not only to the theory of computer science but also help them take the first steps in programming.”
During the one-year program, in-service teachers not only practice their IT and technological skills but also receive innovative teaching content: materials prepared for quality work in different lessons with children aged 7-12.
Investing in the information technology skills of Kaunas teachers and children, Kaunas City Municipality, together with Kaunas IN, provided an opportunity for 40 teachers from 15 Kaunas schools to join the platform. Schools that join the TLT program can qualitatively prepare for the entry of IT into primary school education, teachers can systematically improve their technological qualifications, and students can learn what today’s world is like. According to Monika Katkutė, the founder of the TLT program, it is expected to involve 80% of primary school teachers and create exemplary lessons for the whole world by September 2022, when informatics will become a compulsory subject in primary school education in Lithuania.
According to Viltautė Žvirzdinaitė, the head of the Teachers Lead Tech program in Lithuania, Kaunas primary school teachers working with TLT are really active and, a few months after the beginning of the program, have already started applying new types of lessons in the classroom with children. When asked what challenges she faces, V. Žvirzdinaitė says that simply starting to learn something completely new is a challenge in itself.
“Some primary school teachers who started working with the program are a little timid and less self-confident. But as soon as they start delving into new subjects and take on specific tasks, we watch as the fear of technology is replaced by the rediscovered joy of learning and conducting new lessons. And the most important stage of learning is when a teacher brings new skills to the classroom. Children’s reaction, a desire to create and learn becomes the greatest motivation for the teacher to continue with the studies,” she says.
When asked why she decided to join the Teachers Lead Tech program, Edita Ževžikovienė, a teacher at President Valdas Adamkus Gymnasium, says that she is open to innovations and is always curious to try new things. Distance learning has also led to a diversification of lesson content.
“This program was news to me, I found out about it in the fall. I am grateful that the school has provided an opportunity to satisfy my curiosity and improve and raise my competence in the field of information technology. As a teacher (I teach second grade) I want to keep up with my students and I am glad that I can introduce most of them not only to the theory of computer science but also help them take the first steps in programming. My students are curious, they like practical assignments. With this program, I also face certain challenges in the classroom, but I try to overcome them because I want to develop this trait in my students as well. I often repeat that if you won’t try, you won’t know if you like it or not, whether you find it easy or not. Some tasks are completed at the first attempt, others require a second and maybe a third, so the most important thing is not to get upset and continue to move forward, even if in small steps,” E. Ževžikovienė shares her impressions about the first months of working with the program.
According to the teacher, nowadays we have to tame technology, especially since the TLT program is certainly not complicated for a modern teacher, “After all, distance learning has forced all educators (hopefully all) to make friends with various computer programs. Thus, participation in the Teachers Lead Tech program not only raises the teacher’s digital literacy competence but also helps to develop students’ creativity and informatics type of thinking.”