Teacher Training & Professional Development in Costa Rica with Apple
In Costa Rica, Team4Tech partnered with Apple and TabLab (now called TeachUNITED), a US-based nonprofit organization that works to advance teaching and learning in rural schools via teacher training, mobile technology, and personalized learning.
In the rural rainforest region of Sarapiquí, TabLab provides iPads and other hardware and training to teachers from eight schools, reaching 2,000 students. This area of Costa Rica primarily serves students of families working in pineapple and banana plantations, many of them Nicaraguan immigrants.
In January 2017, participating teachers in the eight partner schools began a new online professional development with TabLab. For Team4Tech’s project in August 2017, TabLab asked that the volunteers from Apple develop and facilitate an in-person teacher training workshop to reinforce skills learned during the first six months of the online professional development program. After observing local classrooms to better understand the unique contexts and challenges that they teachers face, the volunteers prepared a highly interactive workshop which helped them move towards mastery of concepts in personalized and blended learning, and also empowered them to explore and further develop their own technical skills in order to put those concepts into practice in the classroom.
After the workshops, the volunteers supported the teachers at their schools as they practiced the new skills with their students. In their final presentations – prepared on their iPads – the TabLab teachers demonstrated an increase in student engagement practices, a higher comfort level with iPads, and an ability to plan lessons based on pedagogical best practices (e.g., blended learning and PBL).