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October 17 2021 6:26 AM ˚

Digitization will ‘support’ classroom not replace it — center

Digitizing Curriculum
An undated photo of traditional Jordanian school books. (Photo: Al-Mamlaka TV)
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AMMAN — The National Center for Curriculum Development plans to digitize all school curricula in Jordan in the coming years.اضافة اعلان

Speaking to Jordan News, the director of the center, Mahmoud Al-Massad, said the plan covers five years, starting in the current academic year and is expected to be completed in the academic year 2025/2026.

“By next year, we will have completed all science and mathematics subjects for all classes. We have completed the kindergarten curriculum completely. The Islamic educational subject will be completed for eight classes next year, computer science for four classes, and other subjects are proceeding in accordance to the set plan,” Massad said. “In fact, our implementation of the plan we set is going better and faster than we expected.”

He said that the development of curricula in general is a continuous process undertaken by the center to keep pace with developments and modernity. “We should exploit all available resources, the most important of which is technology,” Massad said.

He said that the curriculum is based on several pillars, the first is accepted standards desirable in learners, the second is how to include and integrate the contents of these standards into the learners, the third is the outcomes, what the learner mastered intellectually and behaviorally, and fourth is the indicators that show that the learner mastered these standards.

“This series starts with the standards and ends with their mastery by the learner, this is the curriculum in general,” Massad said.

“We are therefore moving towards implementing this with the support of a digitized curricula so that students can benefit from what the schools curricula offer and master it.”

Massad said that any curriculum is originally distilled into books, a teacher’s guide, and different learning resources. The books in the students’ possession, the teaching guide in teachers’ possession, and other means that help in the teaching and learning process.

These books contain some material that is difficult for learners to learn on their own, they may contain academic content that is easy to assimilate and others that need a teacher’s involvement in order to explain them to students in an appropriate manner.

“Based on this, we have to prepare teachers to participate in this plan by training them on the curricula that we are constantly developing, so that they can present it to the students fully,” Massad said.

“With the completion of work on each topic for each class, we train teachers on it directly. Last year, the training was done remotely, but this year we are doing the training face-to-face,” Massad said.

Massad said there is no possibility of any “negative impact” of the digitization process, as they never do away with paper textbooks entirely nor with direct interaction between the student and teacher.

“Any added technology applications are just support for the learning process and not a complete replacement plan,” he said.

As an example, Massad said that instead of reading a poem by the student or teacher, there is the option to listen to the poem, or to find it in the poet’s own voice.

“This has an important impact on the student, and is a positive and enhancing effect on the educational process,” Massad said.

“The same applies to other subjects, such as science experiments, and literary materials,” he said, adding that digitization of books supports paper content.

Asked for his opinion of the center’s plan, Fouad Abu Mousa, a public sector chemistry teacher, said: “If the aim of this matter is to fully adopt the electronic material, I do not agree at all with this plan, and the reason for that is what I witnessed during the remote education stage, the effects of which are still visible until now.”

“Perhaps the reason for this is that we are not ready for this step, and the experience we have gone through is not enough, but rather we need more years so that the student acquires all the necessary skills to deal with this type of learning,” Abu Mousa said. 

Abu Mousa added, “If what the National Center for Curriculum Development aspires to is to find a way to support and assist the teacher and the learner to enrich the curricula and educational content, not replace it; this is a really good thing, and it may be helpful in developing several aspects, not only the educational aspect, but also moral education.”

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