ORLANDO, Fla., Nov. 22, 2013 – Qatar Foundation International (QFI) announces the launch of Al-Masdar, a comprehensive web-based portal that provides up-to-date, accessible, and useful information about instruction, resources, and opportunities relevant to Arabic language teachers, students of Arabic, designers and administrators of Arabic language programs, and the general public. The site was created in partnership with the Center for the Languages, Arts, & Societies of the Silk Road and the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (ISKME) and is available at www.almasdar.oercommons.org.
The new site was announced at the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Annual Convention and World Languages Expo. QFI hosted a booth at the convention, an international event bringing together over 6,000 language educators from all languages, levels and assignments within the profession. There, QFI hosted a workshop for educators to demo the Al-Masdar site, ask questions, and provide feedback.
“Al-Masdar means ‘The Source’ in Arabic. The site is intended to serve as a virtual meeting place and material source for teachers and students of Arabic language throughout the world,” said Carine Allaf, director of programs at QFI. “Teachers spend hours on end finding and creating materials. We want to give them a platform to share their materials with others and get to know what other teachers are using all in one space. We encourage people to contribute to it and post their thoughts and opinions as well.”
Al-Masdar is being developed as a one-stop shop for materials related to Arabic language education. The site will act as a clearinghouse for vetted and high-quality Arabic language education materials as well as a meeting point for teachers to share materials, comment and rate materials, and collaborate on the development of materials. The intended audiences include teachers and students of Arabic language.
Al-Masdar is a part of QFI’s commitment to Open Education Resources (OER) which address demographic, economic, and geographic educational divides. OER promotes unencumbered access to free online collaboration tools and digital resources to be used as a means of promoting education and life-long learning. Learners expect to participate in an environment that mirrors their lives today and into the future – one that seamlessly integrates today’s digital tools, accommodates a mobile lifestyle, and encourages collaboration. Similarly, the Open Education movement provides opportunities to create social learning communities for educators dedicated to resource discovery, standards aligned content and authorship.
About Qatar Foundation International:
Qatar Foundation International (QFI), LLC, is a U.S.-based member of Qatar Foundation (QF). Its mission is dedicated to connecting cultures and advancing global citizenship through education. QFI is a not-for-profit organization in Washington, D.C., focused on grant-giving and programmatic activities that promote education as a force that facilitates collaboration across geographical, social and cultural boundaries.
About The Center for Languages, Arts and Societies of the Silk Road (CLASSRoad)
The Center for Languages, Arts and Societies of the Silk Road (CLASSRoad) is a HADI-initiated project that began in 2007. Its vision is to be one of the leading academic, research and learning centers for languages spoken along the Silk Road. It is dedicated to enhancing and promoting the teaching and learning of Silk Road languages, such as Arabic, and to fostering greater cultural understanding within and across communities in the United States.
The Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (ISKME), an independent non-profit research institute established in 2002, is a pioneer in knowledge sharing and educational innovation. Dedicated to the study, spread, and strategic use of knowledge management in education, ISKME helps schools, colleges, universities, and the organizations that support them expand their capacity to collect and share information, apply it to well-defined problems, and create open knowledge-driven environments focused on learning and success. In assisting the K-20 education sector, ISKME also helps philanthropic organizations and government agencies examine and improve their own and their grantees’ processes for continuous improvement, evaluation, and learning.
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QATAR Foundation International (QFI), a US-based member of Qatar Foundation, is set to launch Al Masdar, an Arabic resource site next month, QFI Executive-Director Maggie Mitchell Salem has said. Speaking to Qatar Tribune, Salem said that the website will feature Arabic language materials, programmes, open education resources and scholarships.
According to her, the one-stop site for information on Arabic language and culture is developed by two California-based organisations CLASSRoad (Center for the Languages, Arts and Societies of the Silk Road) and Iskme (Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education. …more
HADI’s CEO Mohammed Abdul Aleem was interviewed on June 7, 2011 by the Voice of America News for an article titled “Has the Internet Made Finding Faith Easier, or More Difficult?” under the feature heading “Finding God Online”. The article highlights the evolution of online technologies that have facilitated virtual religious experiences. It also points out that more and more people are looking for spiritual answers in the digital world, which has advantages as well as drawbacks. Aleem described the birth of HADI’s IslamiCity.com portal website, which provides a variety of information and viewpoints about Islam to visitors of all backgrounds. One of the key observations of the article is that no matter how valuable online tools can be for enriching one’s spiritual journey, they cannot replace the innate desire for direct person-to-person contact and sense of real-world community. As the operator of one of the web’s earliest and most visited sites related to Islam, we at HADI were gratified to be part of this thought-provoking feature article.
Click here to read the full article.
On Friday May 20, 2011, the California State University Strategic Language Initiative (CSU SLI) consortium held a special dinner program to celebrate five years of excellence and innovation in language instruction. Dr. KimOanh Nguyen-Lam, the Executive Director of the consortium, highlighted its successes in getting Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Pashto and Persian courses established at various campuses throughout the Cal State system based on federal funding for strategic languages.
HADI was recognized at the event with an award, accepted on behalf of the organization by CEO Mohammed Abdul Aleem. HADI has collaborated with the CSU SLI during the past 4 years by organizing on-site teacher training at Cal State San Bernardino as part of HADI’s Startalk-funded Arabic training programs. Startalk participants are able to witness best practices in Arabic teaching being used in CSUSB’s Arabic courses for university students.
Through such partnerships, HADI has been able to contribute to the improvement of the language training infrastructure and pool of highly-skilled educators in the United States.
Culver City, CA – January 24, 2011 – For the fifth consecutive year, the Center for the Languages, Arts and Societies of the Silk Road (CLASSRoad), a core program of Human Assistance & Development International (HADI), has been awarded the highly competitive STARTALK grant from The National Foreign Language Center (NFLC) at the University of Maryland. Through this grant CLASSRoad has pioneered online professional development workshops focusing on Arabic teacher training.
This year’s grant will focus on developing a workshop for “Integration of Assessment in Lesson Planning for Arabic Teaching”. The underlying premise is that lesson planning is only truly complete and effective when appropriate assessment methods are considered and implemented for each teaching component.
The Center for the Languages, Arts & Societies of the Silk Road (CLASSRoad) is a bridge-building initiative designed to foster understanding and cultural awareness between Silk Road cultures and Western cultures. www.classroad.com/startalk
Human Assistance & Development International Inc. (HADI), founded in 1991, is a southern California-based nonprofit organization committed to building bridges globally through humanitarian and educational projects. www.hadi.org
About the National Foreign Language Center
The National Foreign Language Center (NFLC) is dedicated to promoting a language-competent society by developing and disseminating information that informs policy makers. The mission of the NFLC is to improve the capacity of the U.S. to communicate in languages other than English. www.nflc.org