Since the launch of the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program in 2003, iEARN-Pakistan has used online technologies to enhance English Language proficiency support to prepare students for a successful exchange year in United States.
This year, iEARN-Pakistan is introducing “TabLab,” a pre-departure English language learning program for 108 YES students that leverages handheld devices with connectivity and accessibility from anywhere in Pakistan, including the remotest regions. The YES students in Pakistan, representing all four provinces and 38 different regions nationally, commonly do not have access to the quality resources and materials (books, dictionaries and other published materials). TabLab will serve as a one-stop solution, which will keep them connected with the group, teachers and facilitators 24/7. Students will spend an average of 40 hours per month using this facility to improve their English.
TabLab benefits from a special discounted package negotiated with Pakistan Telecommunication Corporation Limited (PTCL) to provide wireless Internet services across Pakistan. Through this package, every student will get wireless Internet connection and an Android device in February 2014 until their departure to the United States in August 2014. Different open source and paid applications and software will be used for the activities. For webinars and online interactive sessions, Adobe Connect, Skype, Google, and Facebook will be the main platforms. Survey Monkey will be used for collecting different information about the students’ progress, challenges and opinions.
Activities facilitated by approximately four English Language Teaching professionals and experts in the field will include:
- Learning through online English language teaching resources including those developed by U.S. Department of State i.e. www.americanenglish.state.gov;
- Accessing self-paced English language teaching/learning materials and resources available online;
- Participating in scheduled webinars and online interactive sessions for English language improvement and enhancement in understanding of cultural diversity and adjustment to a new culture; and
- Participation in online collaborative projects and posting on selected project forums, such as Get to Know Others, Civics, Marriage Customs around the World, Cultural Recipes, Me and My Country, and Photojournalism.
Whether through Digital Storytelling workshops, the SMS partnership with SoukTel, or Youth TechCamps, iEARN is pleased to work our partners across the world and the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to build upon the success of the YES Program through the creative use of new technologies.