Classrooms have seriously changed since I was a kid. The other day I awkwardly sat on a miniature 5-year-old sized chair and watched my daughter do a presentation in her kindergarten class. She was pointing and moving things on an interactive whiteboard and fielding questions from her peers, while her teacher facilitated a discussion. To me it was a true example of student centered learning and an environment that was fostering curiosity and critical thinking—starting at the age of 5.
Many students around the world aren’t so lucky- and especially girls. While doing research in rural India and Kenya in the past, I spent hours in schools where teachers stood at the board lecturing, telling students what to memorize and how to do it. The Intel Teach program attempts to try to change that paradigm by training teachers on integrating project-based teaching methods into classrooms to better prepare young people to thrive in today’s digital world. Launched in 2000, the program has trained more than 10 million teachers in over 70 countries.
The International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) just released a study of the Intel Teach Program’s impact specifically on female students and teachers. They looked at the program globally and traveled to three countries, Chile, India, and Jordan, to speak with male and female school administrators, teachers, and students about the program. Specifically, they looked at how the program may create an enabling learning environment for girls; how it may contribute to female teachers’ personal and professional advancement; and finally, how Intel Teach may enhance female students’ learning and whether they’re applying these skills to their everyday lives.
ICRW determined that Intel Teach cultivates greater knowledge, skills, and self-confidence among female educators to use technologies in their professional and personal lives. The program also helps them to strengthen opportunities to enhance their career.
In the classroom, they found that Intel Teach graduates use technologies to create a more engaging, and interactive environment with lessons that resonate with students’ lives for both boys and girls. It motivates students to learn, to collaborate with others, and to think critically—all key characteristics for employment in the 21st century workplace. But specifically for girls, they found that this instructional approach elevates girls’ voice and confidence in school and at home. Teachers’ use of student-centered and project-based teaching methods can reduce the power imbalance between students and teachers. This allows girls to feel more comfortable asking questions and communicating with their teacher and classmates. In sum, ICRW’s findings demonstrate that Intel Teach is contributing to empowering women and girls with skills for success in today’s increasingly interconnected, digital world.
Read the full report: Preparing Girls and Women for 21st Century Success: Intel® Teach Findings