CISCO Netacad, The Platform Preferred By ICT Students
S4J is formally registered as an academy on CISCO’s NetAcad platform. It has 620 users, of which 300 are certified students and 267 are currently taking courses. The Academy has 17 ICT teachers from the partner schools who are certified to offer these industry standard courses.
Elida Mesi, ICT teacher at the ‘Gjergj Canco’ school in Tirana, tells us more.
Q: How has CISCO’s NetAcad platform impacted teaching?
A: In 2018, a group of IT teachers from our school attended the CISCO trainings in order to be certified as IT Essentials Instructors. As of now, thanks to the support of the ‘Skills for Jobs’ project, 13 teachers are certified. The IT Essentials materials are quite well-matched with the ‘ICT User Support’ and ‘Data Networks’ profile subjects and cover the main part of the curriculum in each of these profiles.
Considering that vocational schools are experiencing shortcomings in textbooks due to lack of publications and also due to the rapid advancement of technology, NetAcad has come to our aid a lot. Students have access to the cutting-edge technology contents and constantly updated by CISCO, using videos and interactive exercises from which they learn a lot. Also, CISCO NetAcad offers the virtual platform CISCO Packet Tracer and CISCO Aspire, which stimulate work as in a real computer network management business. Therefore, many vocational practice modules are also covered, giving students the opportunity to face the challenges they may come across in the future in different companies.
Q: Has the platform helped during the period of social distancing?
A: During the distance learning period when the schools were shut down, the utilization of the platform increased. I have worked with the students of the ‘ICT User Support’ and ‘Data Networks’ profiles, with the help of NetAcad, which also provides testing for 11th and 12th graders. The platform offers the virtual communication space, WebEx, which can be used by all registrants and accepts up to 100 people at a time. We constantly communicate with the students about preparing for exams, clarifications, translation of specific terms, as well as assessing their academic knowledge. I can say that about 90-92% of the ICT students have access to internet and the majority of them do not face any problems.
As for the Matura students, the platform has come to their aid through the Matura orientation program. In addition, this year the Matura exams will have multiple-choice answers and will be electronically evaluated, similar to the NetAcad exam, so students have the opportunity to prepare better.