The current Covid-19 situation has taken all of us by surprise. Many of us did not expect it to have the wide-reaching impact we are seeing across all dimensions of our lives.
This is evident when one just takes a look at the 1st round of stimulus package which focused primarily on supporting the tourism and related industries. In just slightly over 1 month since that 1st announcement, the contagion has served as a huge reset button for all sectors, including education.
My team and our stakeholders have also been impacted by the current situation. Credit to our CEO Surina Shukri, MDEC who wasted no time in mobilizing our #DigitalVsCovid19 efforts. She reiterated our position as Heart of Digital ASEAN and that we must continue to contribute to the digital economy, under three pillars – digitally skilling Malaysians, digitally powering businesses and attracting digital investments. Surina encouraged the entire leadership team to re-look and take our immediate plans online, and also to extend our support in any way possible to our respective communities. She led by example by hosting MDEC’s 1st webinar session.
Training Teachers to Deliver Online Education
Taking Surina’s lead, the Digital Talent Development division at MDEC has also kicked our online plan into 5th gear. For a start, our K-12 team which leads the #mydigitalmaker movement, quickly reached out to Google-certified expert teachers and the Teacher Training College (Institut Perguruan Malaysia – IPGM) to mobilize online training sessions on how to deliver online learning via Google Classroom for 30 IPGM lecturers. These classes are presently taking place thrice a week. Upon completion of this training on April 14th, the trained lecturers will start offering online training for teachers nationwide.
Google Classroom online training for IPGM lecturers
Getting Kids to Learn Coding
At the same time, we also worked with our partners from the Future Skills for All initiative to run webinars on coding Micro:bit micro-controllers. Parents can access video tutorials here.
We were pleasantly surprised that 500 teachers joined the inaugural online session on March 25 conducted by Alina Amir from Arus Academy. This encouraged the team to organize more sessions, this time for district-level Master Teachers who will in turn train teachers in their respective districts. By the end of this month, 300 Master Teachers will be trained in various regions across the country.
Youtube Webinar on coding Micro:bit micro controllers
This week, the team has activated the Hour of Code #dudukdirumah (Stay at home edition) campaign which runs from April 1-14, 2020. This campaign is jointly organized with the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation. It will be a great opportunity to get children (and families) at home to start learning how to code, through drag-and-drop coding lessons provided by Code.org. More information about this campaign can be obtained here.
Not only that, many of the #mydigitalmaker movement members have mobilized quickly to support Malaysian teachers and students with online educational content on a wide range of school subjects. Our team has compiled these and other online learning content which can be accessed via MDEC’s website.
Beyond the education space, we are extremely proud of #mydigitalmaker movement partners, Me.Reka, Penang Science Cluster, Conceptual Robotics and Kaki.diy who are supporting the fight against COVID-19 by 3D printing and producing PPE for the healthcare front-liners.
Suffice to say, since the Movement Control Order started, the MDEC team and partners of the #mydigitalmaker movement have been hard at work to support our communities in whatever way possible.
A big shout-out to MDEC’s K-12 team, passionate teachers and volunteers who have stepped up their game during this #DigitalvsCovid period.
Stay home and stay safe everyone.
About #mydigitalmaker movement
#mydigitalmaker movement is a joint public-private-academic initiative launched in 2016 to cultivate digital innovation and creativity amongst Malaysian school children. To-date, close to 1.3 million Malaysian children have learnt some form of “digital making”, such as coding, robotics and 3-D printing via this movement and its member organisations.
Dr.Sumitra is Vice President – Digital Talent Development at Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation