NC partners with UNESCO-UNEVOC on best practices for teacher education, use of digital technology


Niagara College is celebrating its first project with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) International Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (UNEVOC). NC is partnering with UNESCO-UNEVOC to develop a discussion paper on emerging best practices for teacher education on the use of digital technology in Technical Vocational and Education Training (TVET) pedagogy.

As a part of a series of knowledge-sharing activities to be used to develop the discussion paper, Niagara College will host 10 TVET experts, both in-person and virtually, and two members from UNESCO-UNEVOC, for a validation meeting on February 4. NC will also be hosting members of the UNESCO-UNEVOC team on February 5 to discuss future collaboration opportunities in TVET and teacher training.

Striving to include multiple innovative and globally engaged learning opportunities, the discussion paper model involves engaging several education partners and their students in the validation process, including Brock University and TA Marryshow Community College in Grenada.

Director of global education and partnerships, Justin Williams, PhD, shared that the project allows NC to make strides towards several of its key goals. “Through collaborating with Brock University, it allows us to expand our in-country relationships, but more importantly, it allows us to grow our international presence,” said Williams. “Working with UNEVOC, we are able to highlight on a global scale the skills and expertise of NC. I anticipate that this will deepen our relationships with the organization and lead to other areas of collaboration.”

Entitled “Understanding Opportunities for Adopting the UNESCO Information and Communication Technologies Competency Framework (ICT CFT) version 3.0 in TVET,” the project’s objective is to increase understanding of the opportunities for using UNESCO’s existing tools. It will investigate barriers to adoption and propose strategies to expand and improve use of the ICT CFT 3.0 in Canada and globally, increasing their practical implementation in TVET teacher education and training programs and policies around the world.

NC’s manager of international projects, Kyla Pennie is coordinating the project on behalf of the joint partnership between NC and UNESCO-UNEVOC, working closely with NC’s director of the Centre for Academic Excellence, Mary Wilson, EdD. The opportunity to collaborate on this project came to fruition as a result of Pennie representing Niagara College and Canada at the 2018 UNEVOC Leadership Programme held at the United Nations Campus in Bonn, Germany.

“Thanks to Kyla’s interactions with UNESCO-UNEVOC, NC and the partnering institutions in this project are benefiting from the opportunity to engage more deeply with the UNESCO 2030 Goals for Sustainable Development, particularly those which foreground the vital importance of expanding and enriching technical and vocational education opportunities around the world,” said Wilson.

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In addition to the face-to-face validation meeting hosted at Niagara College, research for the discussion paper involves other knowledge-sharing activities such as participation in online surveys and discussions as well as a second face-to-face validation meeting in Grenada in late February. These engagement activities seek to allow TVET practitioners and policy makers from different systems to collaborative on recommendations and inclusions, proactively addressing practical challenges surrounding the adoption strategies.

“The focus of this project is on identifying promising strategies for advancing teacher development in the uses of information and communications technologies and that direction holds so much potential for higher technical and vocational education and training,” said Wilson.

“It is exciting for the College to contribute to such international efforts and the staff of the CAE who are involved in this project have enjoyed learning about the ICT CFT 3.0 and the efforts of teaching centres and teacher-educators around the world to support faculty in learning more about teaching with technologies. ”

Through NC’s collaboration on this TVET discussion paper, the College is continuing to expand its global partnerships to become further culturally and globally engaged and invested in the learner experience at the College and around the world.