Bridging the Gap Between Culture and Technology

It’s the year 2000, and Marina Vasileva is an ordinary teacher in Skopje, Macedonia. Enter Partners in Learning.

“In my life, Partners in Learning has changed everything,” says Vasileva. “I now participate in the revolution that is happening in our country. After 100 years of using blackboard and chalk, I now train people to use a computer. I am reviewer of textbooks for students, an author of several winning projects in my country, and an author of several papers published in pedagogic journals and collections.”

Actually, Vasileva is being humble. In reality, she is bringing a new educational future to students in Macedonia and Central and Eastern Europe. How? It’s called Grandma’s Games.

Grandma’s Games bridges the gap between culture and technology,” says Vasileva. “I will never forget when we invited grandparents in the classroom to help their grandchildren explore the old forgotten children’s games through Grandma’s Games. I have never seen such a twinkle in the eyes of a 83-year-old man as when he looked at his grandson’s computer with such joy and pride. That bridge of the present and the past with a touch to the future (the computer) was the day for me as a teacher.”

Marina Vasileva, Partners in Learning Global Forum 2011

Vasileva’s game is popular in Macedonia, but it is also garnering international recognition. Grandma’s Games won the first runner up prize in the coveted “Educators Choice” category at the 2011 Partners in Learning Global Forum, among other awards. And the games have gone global:  students in Switzerland, Croatia and Montenegro now partner with Vasileva’s school in Skopje.

What’s next for Grandma’s Games? Kinect.

“The possibility of Kinect in education inspires me,” says Vasileva. “Zavor is an old children’s game that has been played in our region. It would have been forgotten if we did not connect it with new IT trends like Kinect. Creating games that allow children to learn and develop critical thinking and logic while being physically active. That is the future.”
About Marina Vasileva
Website I check every day: I have more than one:
* A group of teachers from my country on FB,
who inspires me most: My Partners in Learning manager, Vlora Ademi. When talking to her, she is always 10 steps ahead in thoughts and ideas. She has wisdom about
future needs of our teachers and is generously dedicated to her work in education, she is simply unique.
Favorite childhood memory: Kids games in our neighborhood.
Next travel destination (work or pleasure): I have many friends, but my best friend since we were kids is Zaklina.  When we were young girls we used to say that THERE IS NO MAN ON THIS PLANET WHO CAN SEPARATE US, even if we have two or three kids, we will take them with us and spend time together. Her father would just smile and say, “Don’t say that, you don’t know what can life brings to you.” She is married to an Italian and now they live in Miami, Florida. We are together on Skype, but my dream (travel destination) is to visit her.
Favorite book: “POWER OF NOW” by Eckhart Tolle. This book for me is one kind of guide for spiritual teaching … timeless.  I also like the “Girl” triology by Stieg Larsson, and of course “TWILIGHT” by Stephenie Meyer.

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