Imagine a full day of workshops and discussions that flies by so fast that you don’t even notice. On March 16th, almost 200 education and technology experts, teachers of Programming, Computer Science, and Design and Technology subjects for grades 7-12, gathered for Idea Day. They exchanged their experience, stories, were inspired, and learned about specific tools and methods for meaningful teaching of technology subjects.
Today’s technology is growing at an exponential rate and so it is a challenge for technology teachers to create relevant learning content. For this reason, the Ministry of Education and Science, and its agencies, are mining the best minds in the world for ideas for content related to technology subjects. This top-level content is developed in the best universities in the world and in Latvia. Riga Business School (part of Riga Technical University), has taken on the role of finding the best in and for Programming, and Design and Technology subjects. After conducting teacher training, we see that teachers seize the opportunity to network and exchange experience. Therefore, we decided to organize the event “Idea Day for Teachers: Solutions for Meaningful Teaching of Technology”.
Human capital is the most important thing we have in Latvia, so the quality of school education must grow. Everyone says that changes can be made in 15-20 years. We wanted to try and see if it could be done faster, and it turns out that it can! Huge thanks to the project supporters and teachers, with whom we can do things that everyone says are impossible.
Deputy State Secretary for Ministry of Economics
The teacher’s job is not just about teaching technology. Teachers create tomorrow’s architects. We see how technology has changed to help people with special needs. What technology teachers teach helps create a truly inclusive society. However, I want to emphasize that every school needs a technology plan so that technology does not accumulate dust but is also clear how to train staff to work with it.
Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Education and Science
I believe that in Latvia, we cannot use anything that is not the best in the world. That is why Riga Business School always looks for opportunities to provide the best education in Latvia. Last summer, we started a collaboration with Harvard University and universities in the UK to bring excellent content to Latvia and help teachers inspire students to look at new heights.
Half a year ago, we could not imagine that students would be able to write their homework with ChatGPT, but it is today’s reality. The role of teachers is to provide direction, framework, and skills that help young people prepare for our changing future. We need to show young people how to continue learning on their own by keeping up with the development of the world.
the director of Riga Business School
The most awaited guest of the event was Douglas Kiang from the US, who has more than 28 years of experience teaching STEM topics to people of all ages and levels, including at Harvard University. In his presentation “ChatGPT wrote this keynote” with engaging examples, he encouraged all of us to view artificial intelligence as a tool in learning, not a threat. D.Kiang also led three sessions for teachers on how to effectively teach the computer science introductory course CS50x created at Harvard University, strategies to involve more girls in the technology field, and how to create a curriculum that is interesting for all students.
Märt Aro, education activist, co-founder of the DreamApply.com student application management platform, and chairman of the board of EdTech Estonia, presented interesting data on the development of the world and education industry in the presentation, “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Truth About Innovations in Education.”
Edgars Bajaruns, director of Sigulda Technology Education Center, robotics enthusiast, and teacher, spoke on the topic “Yesterday’s Future Technologies.” He emphasized how unpredictable the future of technology is and shared tools that his students use to solve problems that are relevant to themselves and the school.
During the event, teachers chose from 10 different workshops on topics related to technology education and participated in the discussion on, “The Role, Challenges, and Opportunities of Technology Education Teachers”. At the end of the event, Riga Business School’s 2nd-year student at the Business and IT Leadership program, Elīza Gulbe, inspired teachers with her experience in technology education, encouraging them to break stereotypes about girls in programming and allowing students to work on projects that interest them.
Throughout the day, event attendees were encouraged to network, continue conversations about the presented information, and visit the conference’s technology partner booths, where LMT offered the opportunity to try a virtual drone, and Tet introduced the audience to the Smart City project.
It went by quickly! With colleagues, we concluded that it was a clear indicator that it was interesting. I would say it was a breath of fresh air in our daily routine. The closing discussion was very informative. Overall, it was a well-thought-out and successful event. Thank you!
programming teacher at Valmiera Pārgauja State Gymnasium
The event recording is available on the Riga Business School Facebook page.
The Idea Day is coordinated by Riga Business School as a structural unit of the Riga Technical University with the support of the Ministry of Education and Science, the Ministry of Economics, LMT, and Tet. All partners are committed to strengthening technology education not only in higher education but also in schools.