The vice-president of Intel: We train trainers

12 ноември, 2011 20:00 | English | Няма коментари

The vice-president of Intel: We train trainers

Mr. John Davies is the vice-president of Intel. This is the largest company in the world, which produces processors. Apart from the hardware business the company early invests thousands of millions in education all over the world. Akademika BG had an exclusive interview with Mr. John Davies right before he signed the Memorandum of understanding with the Bulgarian Ministry of education. Here is what Mr. Davies shared about the future of education.

– Hello Mr. Davies, how does the World Ahead program work? What does it consist of?

– What we are trying to do is reach people that don’t have computers. And we have programs that work in PCs. Sometimes for example we help design a child’s PC in school or for healthcare. You need to be connected to the internet so we work with all the telecoms. We do a lot of training. Around the world we’ve trained 10 million teachers. We just agreed to train a million healthcare workers. So they could use a PC in the very emerging areas. So we try and work across all of these and go to areas that people haven’t traditionally brought computers or they are underserved.

– And what about the Intel Teach program? What is it about?

– In the world there are over a billion school children. And probably in schools there is about 5 to 10% PC usage. So many schools have a PC Labs, not all of them use it in the classroom and mostly every kid doesn’t have a PC in the classroom so we try and target that. And only the first thing is teachers may have not grown with computers. The children grow with this technology everywhere and so the Intel Teach program is to get the teachers confident. You don’t need them to learn how to use a computer. You need them to stand in front of the classroom with a computer being couched to show the children all the things you can do with a computer. It’s how you use it to educate yourself and do collaboration and thinking. And we train the teacher for that. Around the world we have trained 10 million in many, many countries for the last several years. And it’s been probably a flagship program. We spent a lot of money doing that. And if we get computers in the classroom that can start transforming education.

– What is your motivation to do that?

– Two reasons. One of course is good business. If you help people use computers then it makes it easier for them to buy more. But also we have a philanthropy side in Intel and we spend about hundred million dollars a year on philanthropy and it is all education. We don’t say we put it in many directions. It’s all education. Science fairs, training teachers, math and science. To try and make education transformed in modern ways is to try to get children interested in math and science.

– When are you planning to start those programs in Bulgaria?

– We are having those discussions right now. And we’d like to do them as soon as possible. We’re bringing the kid’s PC here. We are working with software companies to make sure that the software is good for education and will run nicely on the teacher’s PC. And then we want to bring the other programs here .

– In which countries do these programs work now?

– The teacher training is in about 80 different countries. So nearly half the countries in the world and in most of the biggest ones. Some of them have trained many, many teachers, some have just done a few. We announced a month ago 10 million have been through this program. That is a lot, but there is still a lot more to go. I think in the world there are about 70 million teachers so we have covered 10 million. Now we say what about the other 60? And so we try to scale it up. And what we do is we don’t train the teachers ourselves. We train the master trainers. We train trainers. We equip them, we certify them and we say: “You are now qualified to be a trainer” and they can be in many different regions of the country. They come to our training classes and they can go back to their regions, not just the big cities, but the rural areas and they train teachers. That becomes their job.

– When you decide to start the program in a certain country does the initiative come from Intel or is it the local governments who call you?

– Well we need both. It’s a private-public partnership. What we find is we have very good programs. We know how to train teachers. We know how to bring kid’s PCs. We know how to work with content people. We know how to work with telecoms. It’s like a recipe. And we can bring those to any country. You need the government to want to do this. And where do you focus – do you focus on teachers, is your focus more on universities, because we have programs in universities? We have to find out where is the most interest and where the people care and focus the most. And then we work on that. The programs are all different but they are custom to what the country wants. So if Bulgaria says: “I need this”, then we can do this. But you have to do it with the government support. You need those agreements and then we can work with the PC builders, the software and the telecoms.

– Which in your opinion are the main elements of e-learning?

– The key one is the motivation to do it. What you find is in a number of countries equip every child with a computer quickly. That’s very good but the teachers must be trained and eventually you want the content to be electronic. Not just take the book and make an e-book, a pdf, so that it looks like a book, but you need interactive videos, fun, voice. So the children can understand that and be happy with that. And to do that you need the content people. You need them to bring their interactions with a computer and make it fun, make it capable. And we try to do that on the PCs. And if we do a good job we can create some local industry that will become stronger and you create a few jobs there as well.

– When we talk about e-learning a good example is South Korea where the education is so technologically advanced. Do you think this is the way education should develop?

– It’s going to go that way over time. I mean books are going to be there but you look at people today the way they read newspapers, the way they download music. Look at photography. Fifteen years ago we had to print the film and now today it’s in the computer. You are sending photographs to your friends. And it completely revolutionalized industries. And I think that the music is the same. The film industry is the same. It’s going to go that way because it’s so much easier.

– What are the political reforms a country should introduce in order to give children the 21st century skills they need?

– Two are critical. The computers are actually easily there. I think the first one is to agree to get the teachers trained and equipped. If you are not trained and equipped it’s very hard to start. And the second one is over time to decide: “I want my curriculum to become electronic”. Those are two things that government can do that really don’t cost a tremendous amount of money. If you get those two things you get the foundation.

– When we say 21-st century skills can you name some of them?

– Collaboration is a good one. I want to collaborate and I want to share a design with someone. How do I do that? Computers are a great way of doing that. I want to do critical thinking and problem solving and you can do that on the computer. You can investigate, you can research. You can create. Creativity. I want to create. Industries like with the googles, with the yahoos, and the facebooks, fifteen years ago they didn’t exist. And so the job market is changing from manufacturing to creativity and services and people need the skills for that. This is where they will create their new value and so we have got to train them to do that. And I think that is major.

Diana Trifonova

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