Olive's workshop looking ahead - practices to support curricula renewal

OLIVE teams from Al Azhar, Birzeit, Helsinki and Joensuu universities met for a three day workshop on 24.-26 May both online and face-to-face in various locations. The workshop, coordinated by the University of Eastern Finland, handled topics such as the use of ICT tools in teaching, virtual peer mentoring and renewal of teacher education curricula.

The Joensuu workshop was built around the themes emerging from the needs of the Palestinian STEM teacher education. The aims of the workshop were to offer tools and ideas for planning and evaluating experimental work, recognising the pedagogical practices that connect the curricula objectives with course planning and supporing the process of choosing suitable tools for online teaching. 

The workshop hosted vivid discussions that explored different angles of the main themes. These included main aims and objectives of STEM education and how multidisciplinary approaches and methods can be integrated into the revised curricula. The workshop also welcomed new members and affiliates to the project whose perspectives and participation enriched the narrative that emerged out of the whole event. Participation and sharing views and experiences is an integral part of Olive, as it is tightly linked with the goal to explore new avenues for mentoring, including strategies for peer support and learning in informal ways, both on- and off-line. Within this framework, the Olive team invited and discussed dimensions of mentoring with Professor Hannele Niemi at the Faculty of Educational Sciences. The participants raised important questions about different approaches to  mentoring and how the mentor/mentee dialogue can be linked with professional development.  

OLIVE workshop was a platform for enthusiastic exchange of ideas and deep collegial discussions but also very concrete steps were taken towards how to use pedagogical technology in learning and teaching. Lecturers and professors from Al Azhar and Birtzeit universities shared their detailed course plans that inspired lively conversations.  In addition to education related matters, this workshop matters to us in multiple ways. Most importantly it was an opportunity to meet with our colleagues at the aftermath of unrest in Gaza and in other parts of Palestine, and look ahead into the future together.  The series of OLIVE workshops will continue in September when Al Azhar University will take the coordinating role of the event.