Science and Arts Foundation, Newsletter
No. 45, March-May
SAF LAUNCHES ONLINE COURSWARE FOR IRANIAN STUDENTS
As part of its effort to promote e-learning methods and articulate the advantages of online educational tools among students and educators at the high school level, the Science and Arts Foundation has designed and implemented 3 online courses for SchoolNet members. The courses consist of web design, primary JAVA and advanced JAVA. Initially, students from 11 schools in Tehran participated in the training programs. During the second phase of the program, students from Semnan, Rafsanjan, Zanjan, Babol, Isfahan, Shiraz, Ahvaz, Shahroud and Tabriz also took part. Registration, instruction and assignments for the courses are all handled via the Internet in Persian.
Currently, the e-learning courseware team is organizing a new set of courses focused on other aspects of technology, from the beginner to advanced levels. Additional non-technology-based courses are also being prepared for students in disciplines such as psychology. For more information regarding SAF's online courses, please visit: http://www.schoolnet.ir/courses
SAF PARTICIPATES IN THE GLOBAL KNOWLEDGE PARTNERSHIP'S INTERNATIONAL FORUM AND ANNUAL MEETING 2005
From the 2nd through the 6th of May 2005, SAF representatives participated in the Global Knowledge Partnership's(www.globalknowledge.org) international forum entitled "Advancing ICT Solutions for Development through Cross-Sector Partnerships: with a Special Focus on the Middle East and North Africa" and the Partnership's Annual Meeting 2005. Both events were held in Cairo, Egypt and attended by high level officials and representatives from the public sector, private sector and civil society organizations throughout the world. In addition to serving as the focal point for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) regional cluster, SAF has also joined the Youth and Local Content thematic clusters. A GKP member since 2004, SAF continues to be an active participant, working towards GKPs' two main pillars of sharing knowledge and building partnerships in pursuit of information and communication technologies for development. The GKP MENA
work program for the year will include the translation of key GKP literature into Arabic and Persian as well as plans for a panel presentation on ICTs in Education at the second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society- WSIS (to learn more about the WSIS process, please visit http://www.itu.int/wsis/).
To view the press release issued by the GKP, please visit: http://www.globalknowledge.org/am/index.cfm?menuid=30
SAF LAUNCHES SCHOOLNET IN SHIRAZ
In partnership with the Ehsan Educational Center, SAF launched Shiraz SchoolNet in an inauguration meeting on 21st April at the Ehsan Center. SAF provided the center a server, computers, scanner, printer, video-conferencing technology and other equipment. With the assistance of the staff at the Ehsan
Center, SchoolNet Shiraz is now operational. As members of SchoolNet, students and educators can take part in numerous virtual activities, including e-Clubs and online courseware. In addition, SchoolNet members can participate in both the local and national workshops and conferences supported by SAF across Iran. Currently, 3 other schools in Shiraz have joined SchoolNet with other members on the way.
As part of its commitment to facilitate the use of information and communication technologies among Iranian youth, SAF also organized a series of workshops and training courses on various topics including website design and the Linux operating system in Shiraz.
SCHOOLNET'S CREATIVITY WORKSHOPS FOR INTERNATIONAL CREATIVITY DAY
The Creativity e-Club, http://creativity.schoolnet.ir/, hosted on the SchoolNet portal, organized two creativity workshops to correspond with International Creativity and Innovation Day and Iran's Creativity Day, held on the 21st and 23rd of April 2005 respectively. Over 120 students participated in the workshops which were held at Roshd Boys' and Roshd Girls' High Schools in Tehran. In the first segment of the workshops, e-Club members, composed of high school students and educators, introduced the topic of creativity and innovation, followed by the presentation of inspirational quotes by innovative leaders and examples of innovative works. Students were then encouraged to collaborate and engage in initiating their own creative ideas and proposals.
At the conclusion of the workshop, students formed teams of five individuals in order to take part in a hands-on competition organized to promote creative and innovative problem-solving skills and teamwork. The Creativity and Innovation Day workshops set precedence for monthly meetings which will take place starting summer 2005.
FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF DISCOVERY CENTERS IN TEHRAN
The Science and Arts Foundation, internationally acclaimed for its success in the establishment of Iran's SchoolNet (www.schoolnet.ir) and its continuous contribution to research and educational programs in Iran, was approached for consultation by Tehran's Department of Education in early 2004, which led to the idea of developing regional ICT centers for school children in the educational districts of Tehran.
Working with SAF representatives in the planning process, as well as employing graduates of SAF programs, five such centers, entitled "Discovery Centers" or Kavoshkadeh", were established in 5 separate educational districts of Tehran.
Within their first active year, the Discovery Centers have successfully presented a series of comprehensive educational programs for local school students and educators. See www.kavoshkadeh.ir
Supervised and regulated by the city's department of education, each Discovery Center consists of modern computers and Internet access and provides extracurricular courses for students of the district. Working closely with district schools, each Discovery Center engages students in research activities and offers opportunities for collaborative ICT-based projects. The work accomplished by students at these centers is frequently presented at local and national conferences and seminars.
One of the most successful programs implemented at the Centers is the development of Robotics laboratories and Robotics courses. Future plans include the establishment of similar laboratories, namely Open Source, data processing and computer graphics labs. At the Centers, both students and teachers gain access to special websites which not only serve as valuable source of information, but also encourage their engagement in research activities. Notably, they can contribute to electronic content through these websites.
The establishment of the Centers serves as a successful example of how effective and positive educational programs presented by SAF are being expanded and integrated within the future plans of the Department of Education. Plans are currently underway to create Discovery Centers in all of Tehran's 22 educational districts, followed by programs in other provinces.
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