State School Center for Education and Rehabilitation “Partenija Zografski” from Skopje is the only Macedonian secondary school for hearing impaired students. As part of their curricula, students also learn about Informatics and their lessons plan is the same as for the kids in regular secondary schools. Hearing impaired students use visual perception as the first way to gain information, so it’s quite a challenge to find ways how to teach them terms, rules and procedures for working with a programming language. Students had very little chance of becoming familiar with algorithmic thinking before, especially because coding requires some degree of English proficiency as well.
However, with the introduction of 21st Century Schools programme, micro:bit coding device has found its way to Macedonian elementary schools, including the schools for kids with hearing impairments. The introduction of micro:bit in classes has produced very positive results. Namely, micro:bit enabled students to easily learn the rules and procedures of programming, which gave them knowledge and confidence to adopt principles of programming in C ++ programming language. Some of the previous frustration and dissatisfaction among students has disappeared because micro:bit allowed them to understand that coding is not difficult and that there is no obstacle to mastering other programming languages when basic concepts are adopted.
The use of microbit has contributed to the improvement of students' achievements in the field of Informatics, but also to their increased self-esteem and motivation to work. The application of micro:bit in teaching, with appropriately and methodically designed techniques, procedures and content, raised the teaching of hearing impaired students to a higher and better level. It opened new opportunities for education and communication for hearing impaired students. As a teacher, I no longer ask myself how to use micro:bes in teaching, but how much.
- Irina Ivanova, teacher at “Partenija Zografski” secondary school
MEET DZELAL ELMAZI FROM TEARCE
At the north of the country, we find another lovely example of how micro:bit helped students with hearing impairments to adopt IT knowledge. Dzelal Elmazi is a 7th grade student at Primary School "Kiril Pejcinovik", Tearce. He is very intelligent and he expresses interest in all teaching subjects, but computing technology is in his heart. His desire and willingness to learn about technology is unprecedented and he constantly follows all innovations coming from the world of computing. When his IT teacher presented the micro:bit device and Make Code platform, Dzelal immediately started doing his own research, and before the next class he was fully informed on different types of projects and codes that can be created. He was also the first one in the classroom to create codes and he had helped all of his friends understand how the technology works. His teachers say that he is a very positive person, he smiles a lot and always spreads his positivity to others.
IT teacher Lejla Useini says: "Me, as a teacher, and the school, as an educational institution, do as much as we can to help and support Dzelal. He needs more support for his dream to come true, Dzelal deserves much more support from everyone. Thanks to British Council that enabled CTPS and coding with micro:bit training for teachers, we have acquired skills to discover and develop talents in our students. It helped us to enable students with special needs to express interest in coding, as in this case with Dzelal. This is a challenge for teachers to have support, experience and incentives to motivate students to learn. This also increased collaboration between parents, teachers and students, so that students can be prepared for their challenges in the future."
Lejla Useini, IT teacher at Primary School "Kiril Pejcinovik", says that overall improvements can be seen with teachers as they compare their pre and post training teaching experience. Training has helped them to improve their teaching, to make lessons more interactive for students and students to get more motivated and actively included in learning and also to discover abilities of coding in students with different needs.