Learning to teach — meet a 19-year-old technology teacher from Partskhanakanev

“Sometimes the teachers think I’m still a student, and the students call me Akaki, and sometimes they just call me Akaki”, – tells us 19-year-old Akaki Fertsuliani, a teacher of the second public school in the village of Fartskhanakanevi, Tskaltubo municipality, a technology club trainer, programmer, technology guide and just an unfazed assistant at the school. for any person.

Becoming a teacher of an 18-year-old student in your own school was difficult to imagine a few years ago, but the age of technology has a habit of re-evaluating our ideas, and today we are here – at a school that cares about the technological future of children and the country.

Everything started a few years ago, when the director of the school – Varden Nikabadze decided to use Google Classroom as a test in the teaching and administration process. This was followed by the creation of a web-based e-library at the school, and then there was the 3D club, which was Akaki’s first steps in terms of technology.

Akaki, who is known for disassembling and assembling toys, reading encyclopedias and having a special interest in technology, soon picked up a new fruit – a 3D printer and printed his own assembled 3D image – a mockup of the second school in Parskhanakanevi.

Soon, the school and its principal, as semi-finalists of the national school leadership competition, received 10 educational drones — DJI Tello Edu — from Ilia State University. This was another important factor for Akaki, who was already interested in programming, to become more interested in technology. Soon, together with the director, he created a drone control program using Python. In class XI-XII, he was already an assistant to the director and actively involved in the process of learning how to control drones for children.

“We studied these drones, which were given to the director, so well that we finally wrote an application to control them. This application provides the possibility to control the drone: take off, give direction, take photos or videos or perform various maneuvers”, – says Akaki Fertsouliani.

Akaki was in the 12th grade and had already created several games, when Ilia State University, together with partner organizations, within the framework of the European Union’s “Education for Employment” (Skills4Jobs) program, started the project: “Network of Young Technology Clubs”. The project invited schools from eight regions of Georgia to provide students with knowledge in the direction of coding or technical entrepreneurship. The second public school of Partskhanakanevi, as part of the project, decided to teach Python to students.

“Python is a relevant programming language, it is used in many things – both for programming a robot and for programming the web. In the first stage, I was the host, which meant motivating the students to take the course, taking care of the technical functioning of the laboratory and ensuring the attendance of the students. After a while, based on determination and learning, I was offered a coaching position. When I was a host, it seemed that I wanted more, because I knew more and I was developing. Then they retrained me in the direction of programming, they checked my knowledge. Now I myself teach Python and web development to children”, Akaki Fertsuliani tells us.

Akaki explains the basics of programming and electricity to children, teaching block programming from the lower grades, saying that it is more convenient and easier for fourth graders. With the sixth, seventh and eighth grades, robotics and electronics are introduced, programming is also involved here, in terms of programming robots. In higher grades, Akaki moves on to teaching web development and Python.

As with the technology club, participation in other clubs announced at school is voluntary. At first, when technology clubs were still new to the school, relatively few students attended them, but now their number has increased significantly.

Currently, approximately 200 children are studying in the school. Akaki Fertsuliani is a technological guide and an example of how even at the age of 19 you can accumulate knowledge and have the courage to share it with others.

Being a trainer of the technological club is not the only activity of Akaki Fertsuliani. Within the framework of the club, students of grades 9-12 are given much-needed knowledge in the modern world, although students of relatively lower grades are not left out of attention. There is freedom and kindness in Akaki’s technology classes. We are attending one of the classes, which is held in the sports hall. Here, fourth graders are able to control drones with the help of block programming. In response to their mischievous behavior, Akaki smiles and says that sometimes he feels like a child himself (especially in these walls), so it’s hard for any of them to get angry.

When dealing with children, he is calm and friendly, the students are comfortable in his lessons, and as he says, he simply cannot prevent the students from playing, moreover, sometimes he himself encourages them to have more fun.

These approaches and teaching methods of Akaki have tangible results. In the technology club, his graduates write games using Python, and two of his students even built a small robot out of scraps. All this with the help of Arduino (electronic constructor and platform), with which the young teacher explains electricity to the students.

While there, VI and VII graders Aleko and Nugo showed us their robot prototype and also told us how they wrote their first computer game using Python.

“The case of Aleko and Nugo is a great achievement for me, because they mastered the technologies very well. Another achievement is that we introduced technological thinking in higher classes and brought children closer to this field. Maybe not every one of them will go into technology, but at least they have basic knowledge in this field. Maybe they won’t be able to learn programming, but they will still have this knowledge of what and how happens in the device”, Akaki says.

Not everyone can afford to be a programmer for technology, even more so in higher classes. The reason for this is Akaki’s lack of prerequisites, and he places higher hopes on students of relatively lower grades. Despite this, due to curiosity and the desire to test themselves, many people visit his classes, and the technological world full of challenges attracts many. Akaki knows this well from his own example.

“Programming and error are in the same line, almost the same thing. Every time you start something new, there’s no way you won’t make at least one mistake. The best moment is when you solve the problems you have created, fix them and see a huge result. For example, the game is turned on and running. After that, you become even more interested, you want to see what else you can do. “Programming is one of the most effective ways to solve problems in the modern world, and I want to make it known to as many children as possible,” says Akaki.

In Georgia, as in many countries of the world, there is a great demand for programmers. This is due to the scarcity of human resources in the background of rapid technological progress.

Akaki thinks that today it is impossible for the country to develop without increasing the number of representatives of this profession:

“If children learn about technologies and programming right from school, they will be able to get a job soon and get a lot of experience. This field is very profitable and important for the country’s economy.”

Teacher by profession

“If I look at my childhood interests, I always liked to teach and explain something to someone, especially in terms of technology,” Akaki tells us, noting that his favorite subjects at school were biology, chemistry and physics. In encyclopedias, he was probably looking for this too – new information that was worth telling to others.

Over time, technology became a challenge for Akaki, and after accumulating knowledge in this regard, the new task was to convey this necessary information to the people around him.

“Getting more knowledge is an opportunity for me to share more knowledge with others,” says Akaki.

For Akaki, technology is a helper of man and nature. On the one hand, it simplifies human activities and leaves more space for creativity, on the other hand, the more developed the technology, the more optimized it is with the environment. An example of this for a young teacher is electric cars, with the help of which in the future transport will harm the environment less.

The activity of a young teacher is not limited to caring for the technological education of the next generation. He often talks to the older generation and tries to counter technological fears with reliable information. This happens almost every time, when it is necessary to repair the equipment of school teachers or just older villagers. This is part of Akaki’s daily life, and perhaps fate too — when you understand technology, you can repair devices, and people around you with technical problems will turn to you. Akaki wants, as a programmer, to take part in solving big and important problems, and as a teacher, to be able to transfer more knowledge to children.

“My aspiration is to be a programmer. I want to study this direction more deeply. Regardless of how well I know the issue, I’m still not satisfied and I’m always interested in what’s going on inside,” he says, adding that he wants to create a program that will be understandable for both the new generation and the elderly:

“Because Georgia has few programmers, I want to be in Georgia and help the Georgian people to develop.”

The 19-year-old technology teacher of Partskhanakanevi second school is one of those rare people who understands the technological pulse of the modern world and realizes the need to adapt to new realities in the wake of progress. Therefore, the entity cannot say exactly what will happen next, however, it knows one thing for sure – learning and teaching, in some form, will always be in its work.

Today, Public School N2 in the village of Partskhanakanevi, Tskaltubo Municipality, named after Mamia Fansulaia, is a place that gives hope for technological changes in Georgian public schools. Here you will meet children who often look up to the sky and look for their own programmed drone with their eyes.

Public schools operating in Shida Kartli, Kakheti, Imereti, Adjara and Samegrelo can still join the European Union project “Network of Youth Technology Clubs” and open a youth technology club in their school. Registration for this can be done at this link.

Author: Khatia Tordua