Last March when teachers and students transitioned to remote instruction, Mohammad Hameed and the other teachers at the Arbat Refugee Camp in the Iraqi Kurdistan region weren’t worried about how students would cope: They were confident their students were prepared to take their learning fully online. Hameed’s students are participants in various programs through Hello Future, a nonprofit organization that works with teen refugees to bridge the education gap by teaching digital and financial literacy, critical thinking and entrepreneurship.

The program operates in what she calls a “mobile-first environment,” meaning 90 percent of the program is taught on a phone, even though classes are in-person. At the start of the program, students are given an inexpensive smartphone with The students at the Arbat camp are Syrian refugees who fled that country’s civil war.

The program teaches students how to use the internet as a tool for more than just communication. The basic course teaches students productivity applications and critical-thinking skills that are needed in today’s work environment. With help from Hameed, the lead instructor, and several teaching assistants, students learn how to use search engines like Google, how to research and verify information, create presentations online, answer emails in a professional manner and use Google products like Google Docs, Google Sheets and Google Drive. Students learn to use and practice these skills by working collaboratively on group projects.

Hameed, who is also the Iraq program director for Hello Future, said that without these classes, his students wouldn’t “have been able to adopt and learn remotely” when they had to transition to remote instruction back in March, after schools shut down in February.

Read the full article about remote learning by Javeria Salman at The Hechinger Report.