Zar Ni Tyn faced an issue all too common for teachers at this moment: how does one teach without a classroom?
In addition to this challenge, though, Zar faced a problem very unique to him: how does one teach Buddhist monks virtually, especially when they have no experience with remote education?
Perhaps surprisingly, the answer to both questions is Microsoft Teams.
Zar is currently based in Myanmar and volunteering to teach computing at the Sitagu Buddhist Academy. The academy is one of the Southeast Asian country’s most regarded educational institutions in providing undergraduate and graduate-level Buddhist studies.
So, The Office Apps & Services MVP has been educating monks and nuns in Office 365 and Microsoft 365 as part of their Diploma in Computing.
But then came the coronavirus. After one year of teaching as per usual in Thanlyin, a major port city located across Bago River from the city of Yangon, Zar was forced to rethink his educational method.
Students could no longer freely travel between their home and the academy, nor could those who live with their family in other regions stay in the city. Thus, Zar needed to bring his 250 students online with Microsoft Teams. The catch? None of them had previously used Microsoft Teams.
Zar - a Microsoft Certified Trainer - put his teaching skills to the test as he connected his students from across the country and introduced them to the platform. Thankfully, it didn’t take long for Zar’s classes to successfully move from the real world to the virtual world.
“Now we are teaching from Microsoft Teams and the students are very happy,” Zar says.
“It’s interesting because some of the monks did not attend normal high school and yet they can use Microsoft Teams. This is a unique feature to point out: Microsoft Teams is so simple that anyone can use it!”
The transition has been relatively seamless, Zar says, and he reiterates how happy his students are to connect with the world once more. “I am very proud, actually, because I have been able to modify my teaching method using Microsoft Teams. It is different but so far we are managing it easily!”
Zar, who also teaches at Thanlyin Technological University, adds that many people in Myanmar during this pandemic are using and engaging with Microsoft 365 Education.
For more information on Zar, check out his Twitter @zar_tyn