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MirandaNet Fellowship Profiles (MirandaNet Archive - as of March 2015)
Osamah Abdulwahab Almaghlouth
I should briefly describe my work experience and training in education. That work experience has been with the Saudi Arabian General Directorate of Education in Dammam City over a period of around 16 years, beginning in a teaching capacity and developing through further study and as an inspector of schools and a trainer of teachers. In 1995 I started to teach computer science in Saudi Arabia, and taught this subject for five years in three public secondary schools for boys (the schools were in Al-Dammam, Mecca and Okaz). In addition, I trained teachers in those schools by providing courses in the ways in which they could use the computer as a tool to help them prepare their lessons, and on how to blend this tool into their daily teaching. I also provided the same courses to teachers chosen from a number of other schools by the advisors from the Education Technology Department of the General Directorate of Education in Dammam. In 2002, I became involved with the Education Technologies Management Department as a technology trainer in the city of Dammam. This department has provided ICT tools to schools, across the primary, intermediate and secondary systems and these tools are used as teaching aids in all curriculum areas. ICT tools are also used to support teaching and learning and to improve students’ abilities in the use of telecommunications to collaborate, publish and interact with peers, experts and other audiences – all of this preparing them for the e-learning environment.
As a supervisor in the Education Technology Department in Dammam between 2000 and 2005, I visited schools as an advisor on ICT tools. I observed that there were only a limited number of teachers who were aware of the benefits of using ICT technologies that had been provided for them and who had integrated these into their classroom programmes. I also noticed a reluctance of many teachers towards ICT, many of them not wanting to increase the burden on themselves, for reasons of their age. In their responses to my questions, teachers indicated a lack of desire in changing their way of teaching, a fear of wasting time if they used technical means, and a lack of incentives and encouragement from those responsible for the promotion of e-learning.
My familiarity with this area of educational development and my academic knowledge in the field of ICT tools has grown with the studies I have undertaken.
In 2005, I enrolled at the University of Waikato, New Zealand for this Master of Education. My thesis examined the perceptions of Saudi secondary school science teachers on the use of ICT tools to support teaching and learning. During the first year of this Masters study, I completed a postgraduate diploma in education through studying three courses by distance learning and I found this way of teaching and learning suggested a number of possibilities that could be applied in teaching in Saudi Arabia. From these learning experiences I gained confidence in what I had been doing while working with the General Directorate of Education in Dammam as well as an opportunity to challenge myself to continue my study in a field that I was interested in.
The experience and the knowledge that I had gained forced me to reconsider my beliefs. On my return to Saudi Arabia in 2008, I started by providing schools that I visited by knowledge about e-learning environment and how teachers can benefit and prepare themselves to cope with new mode of learning in Saudi Arabia. I sat with the principals of these schools to encourage and motivate them, and to select one teacher who was aware of the use of ICT devices to become as a technical supporter/coordinator for the others. I was able to persuade some of those principals to make a schedule for their teachers to have prepared at least one lesson a week using this tool.
Through my visits to different schools I drew a general picture that described teachers as needing to be more and more prepared to become fully aware of the benefits of the ICT tools that could enhance teaching and learning.
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