By Lekbir Tansaoui
By Lekbir Tansaoui
Khouribga – Last Friday, May 29 2015, hundreds of English teachers, scholars, supervisors, and university professors from around the country headed to the Regional Academy of Beni Mellal-Khenifra.
The occasion was the 9th ICT conference organized by MATE, the Moroccan Association of Teachers of English. The conference lasted 3 days, starting on May 29th and ending on the 31st. During the conference, the participants shared ideas, discussed teaching experiences, and imparted successful stories related to the use of Information and Communication Technologies in the Moroccan English classroom.
The opening ceremony was chaired by Mr. Lahcen Tighoula, an ELT supervisor at Guelmim-Smara Academy, and officially opened by the director of the academy of Beni Mellal-Khenifra, who delivered his speech in English in honor of the participants. In his speech, Mr. Abdelmoumen Talib highlighted the importance of using ICT in the classroom to boost students’ learning outcomes. He also mentioned that Beni Mellal ranked first and that the academy occupied a high position nationwide during the latest ICT competitions. According to Mr. Talib, this was mainly due to the trainings that have been carried out recently through Genie 3 programs.
The conference began with a keynote speech delivered by Professor Abdelmajid Bouziane, a university teacher at the College of Arts and Humanities at Ben M’sik in Casablanca. In his presentation entitled “What Research Tells About ICT in Education in Morocco,” Mr. Bouziane talked about the history of ICT as introduced in the Moroccan education system in level 10 of the National Charter of Education and Training through Genie, Nafidfa and Marwan. It has also been praised in the Emergency Program, “Digital Morocco,” “E-Governments,” and “International Trends in Education,” added Mr. Bouziane. The lecturer closed his presentation by stating that teachers need to be both pedagogically and technologically well-equipped to put ICT to good use and better service learning in real classroom contexts.
During the three days that I spent at the conference, I noticed that the audience benefited a great deal socially and educationally from the presentations. At the educational level, the large amount of lectures, presentations and workshops gave the participants an opportunity to improve and brush up on their knowledge and skills in ICT as to how to use Web tools in education, how to integrate technology in teaching, and how to incorporate e-content in English-language teaching and testing. This was thanks to the rich and diverse contents of the presentations and to the fruitful and challenging post- lecture discussions.
At the social level, the welcoming environment and friendly atmosphere created by the MATE national board made it very easy for all conference attendee to integrate with each other regardless of their background. The outing organized to the ‘Bain el Widane’ tourist site on Saturday afternoon and the evening performances from local singers ‘RMA’ at the hotel provided many chances for socializing.
The closing ceremony was chaired by Mr. Noureddine Bendouqi, MATE president, who thanked all those in charge of work behind the scenes and who contributed to the success of this 9th edition of the conference. Mr. Bendoqui then invited the participants to evaluate the conference. The interlocutors expressed their great satisfaction about the success of the 9th ICT conference. Some provided recommendations to be submitted to the policy makers at the central level and to MATE officials in order to foster the growth of ICT in Morocco and create interest in the field among ministry officials, students, and educators.
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