The family of Pioneers Gate has grown during the last few months to have 11 members at the moment. We held our first-quarter team gathering for 2021 where the founder and CEO, Eng. Imad Jabboury, has welcomed everyone on board and narrated the inception of the company. Then afterward, we have some interesting questions where all team members shared their answers, insights, and recommendations over several topics and current issues.
‘Towards The Digital Future’ is our slogan at Pioneers Gate and we are all heading to provide the next level of educational technologies. All of our team members are working tirelessly to achieve the vision for the near future. We are here to better the education scene and empower schools for optimized management and student learning in academics and robotics.
We live in times of super speedy scientific advances where every research and company seeks to have control over information, ideas, or design through patents and registered trademarks and the publication of scientific papers to register the ownership of the idea or discovery. Some enterprises even set very large budgets to form entire units of attorneys, encryption devices, protection software, etc. to entrench and protect the intellectual property and go further for more information and achievements. On a less strategic level, if you want to go for an internship in any company, you will find that you cannot know all the nitty-gritty of work in the company and a lot of things will remain unknown and undiscovered for you under the name of “company secrets”, although the main goal of any internship or training is to know all work mechanisms. This is what we call the “monopoly of information” by some entities at the expense of everyone else.
However, these entities and people have forgotten those who brought them to their current status and achievements and are following the exact opposite of this method, and they were and still are working for the interest of everyone. So, instead of seeking to add to and control their information, they have devoted their entire lives to spreading all information and knowledge they got and pass it on to generations with great passion.
The educational body, the noblest and glorified army in the world, includes amongst its rows fighters and warriors with the rank of a “teacher”. Their message has been the same since the invention of the alphabet until now, “passing on knowledge”. A message that holds stories of their hard work and struggle to effectively communicate knowledge. In keeping up with the scientific and technological developments in the last decade, many changes have occurred in the different educational processes, including the introduction of new tools such as computer software, smart boards/ tablets/ phones, modern laboratory equipment, and so on. The educational body did not stand still but has prepared well and adapted to these fast-happening changes.
Today, this army is facing its toughest battle, the battle of transition from their regular classroom and black/whiteboard to the void of the Internet and computer screens. They are waging their battle in silence, in the midst of the political disputes raging in Lebanon that overwhelm our daily news. They don’t care about whatever is happening, because their message is more dignified than anything else.
Nevertheless, on Teacher’s Day (March 9th) we can only stand in reverence for the ones who taught us and are still teaching the alphabet to different generations, and whose lives are spent in this.
To every teacher who gives their utmost to simulate the atmosphere of regular school classes behind the computer screens through the small camera, you got all our endless appreciation and tremendous love.
We, at Pioneers Gate, are uber-excited to announce the launch of our newly designed website. You’re welcome to visit us at www.pionnersgate.tech. After two months of dedication and hard work, we are delighted to officially announce the launch of the new website on February 13, 2021. We wanted to enhance the website design and make it richer with content, faster, easier to navigate, and more user-friendly for everyone.
Our goal with this new website is to provide our visitors an easier way to learn about solutions provided by Pioneers Gate and to browse information based on their own choice. The new website gives better access to About Us, Our Solutions, Our Team, Careers, Blog,and forthcoming Media Center and Resources.
Our current and prospective clients will find useful information about our solutions on the homepage of our website and on other dedicated pages for all our EdTech solutions.
Amongst the new features, the website contains integrated social media buttons for Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, and YouTube to foster improved communication with our clients. We will be constantly updating our content with helpful information, announcements, and client successes. We also want you to stay connected with us and among the first people who know about any announcements from our side. You can sign up for our newsletter and receive all announcements, new solutions, and offers, events, blog posts, etc.
That’s what we had to say to you about the launch of our new website. However, we find it very important to hear back from you. We’d love to actively listen to any feedback and suggestions and even answer any question or inquiry you might have. Please drop us a line and hit the ‘send’ button straight to [email protected].
Let’s step into the Future. Together “Towards the Digital Future”.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of educational institutions from schools and universities rushed to get an online solution in order to keep their classes going and their students safe at home, but Lebanon’s problem with e-learning goes way back, before the COVID-19 era.
As a contributor to the education sector, I’ve been in close encounters with different trials to make e-learning successful in Lebanon. In this article, I will be tackling some of the concerning issues in this field.
In the past years, there have been many trials by educational institutions in Lebanon to make e-learning more accessible, yet the obstacles to this endeavor can be categorized under 3 main titles: curricula structure, teaching staff, and local circumstances.
One of the main issues affecting the good deployment of e-learning in Lebanon is the structure of the Lebanese curricula. The problem may be more present in schools than in universities, as our school system hasn’t been truly refreshed and updated since tens of years ago. I am not talking about updating the information in books and references, I am talking about updating the teaching methods, revising the structures of the curricula, and implementing new approaches to deliver information to students.
The Lebanese educational system is based on “stuffing” students’ brains with information regardless if it’s important to the learning process or not. In simple terms, they throw 100 basketballs towards the ring and hope that one of the balls makes it in. When in fact, they need to learn how to shoot the ball effectively through the ring and decrease the number of balls dramatically, thus decreasing the amount of energy spent on making the shot!
Many schools that tried deploying an online teaching platform threw in all the bucks on the platform itself and paid little to no attention to the teaching staff qualifications to use such platforms. This was a dangerous gamble for many schools as many of the teachers couldn’t use the platforms properly which is the most critical point in delivering the information to the students. It’s like putting a non-driver in the driver’s seat of a Ferrari and asking him to win a race! we all know that’s not going to happen!
If you’ve never been to Lebanon, be warned, what comes next might be shocking. Although it is 2020, yet Lebanon is still living in the dark ages, literally. People of Lebanon to this day suffer from a shortage of electricity on all of the Lebanese land, where the government provides electricity in separate periods of the day with an average of 8 to 10 hours per day and people rely on private generators to cover a portion of the rest of the day. of course, internet access is directly related to electricity supply, so with the shortage of electricity internet access becomes limited as well. Now imagine trying to run an online teaching platform with a shortage of electricity and internet access! as a matter of fact, this might be the direct and the most influential reason for the failure of such systems in Lebanon.
It is not ethical in our business to list the problems without suggesting or highlighting the paths to the solutions. So I will shed some light on some practical steps by which schools can overcome the above obstacles.
First, concerning the curriculum structure, I know an individual school cannot change the curriculum by itself (this needs to be done on the ministry level) yet, there some ways to make the material more compatible with the online platforms. Note that all online teaching platforms are modular and are built on an activity basis. By that I mean you can’t just throw information as a text to the student and consider it done. Such platforms lack the personal touch of a human teacher, and to overcome that, they use interactive activities like animations, photos, presentations, short videos, etc, to deliver the information more easily to the student. This is called “Project-based Education”.
Second, and the most crucial step, training the teachers on using the platform properly. The easiest way for the teachers in some schools was to record the lessons as videos and send them to the students to watch it, and this was the biggest mistake the caused the system to fail. A video will not reflect the ambiance of the class, or human touch the teacher. In class, the student is forced to concentrate and focus on the teacher because the teacher’s presence and the atmosphere of the class is suitable for nothing but to study. Whereas, watching a video of the teacher on a tablet, laying down on the couch, and pausing whenever there is distraction around the student is not a teaching environment. So, teachers must master the platform and all of its features in order to create an immersive experience for the student and not just use the platform as a YouTube channel! a 2-minute video followed by a question, followed by a piece of writing to read and so on will keep the student more immersed in the process.
Third, and last, we can’t as schools or individuals solve the problem of electricity or internet access for the whole country, yet, we can find a workaround for the students to have offline access to the material. There are few platforms out there that provide this feature to their clients but it’s somehow costly. Here’s our part at Pioneers Gate where we provide an excellent modular education platform for schools, SchoolBoard, which solves all of the abovementioned problems and provides more professional tools and features to deliver the information efficiently and effectively to students. SchoolBoard solution is designed to assist administrators in running the different administrative procedures of their school and enhances interactive student learning for students of all ages. For more info about this new platform, visit the SchoolBoard page or contact us by dropping an email to [email protected].
Whether, you tried online teaching platforms before, or this will be your first year using one, take the above points into consideration for a better and smoother transition from in-class to online education.
2020 was no ‘normal’ year at all. The globe faced a novel pandemic and economies on every continent faced some declines. We were far from our extended family members and our offices. However, the connections never faded away. We were still successful to nourish our connections through uninterrupted communication. We still worked remotely and delivered results, even if not the quality we were used to. School and university students still went to classes and sat for their exams but in a new form. All that was possible to all of us around the globe by the meaningful use of technology. What happened during the last year drive us to invest in advancing our technologies in communication, education, management, and other disciplines in order to move to the next level of running our institutions, businesses, and even the governments of our world.
In the next years, the world will be more digitally transformed and we are going to enter a new era of technological advancement and use. So, here’s a new year -2021 -where we become better at digitization and technology in meaningful ways that make our lives easier and help us drive high-quality results in our work.