Wednesday, November 22, 2006

TecXperience 2006 (22 Nov)

Some learning reflection...

(a) ePortfolio
I first came across the term ePortfolio when we embarked on a collaborative project with NIE back in 2004, using the Knowledge Community... whereby pupils' discussion were captured in the online discussion forum and teachers serve as moderators to the discussions. It was a new way to be involved in pupils' learning, to participate in their learning, though it could be tedious and massive as we were to monitor our pupils' as well as the partnering school's pupils' posting (as it's a collaborative project).

The entire process provides another dimension to learning, ie. borderless - physical environment and time... anytime, anywhere... pupils were excited as they got the chance to interact to counterparts in the other part of the country... moreover, because they work with 'strangers'... that they had never meet before, it added some form of mystery (note at that time mms and 3G phones had not come into the picture yet).

In the presentation, Shuqun primary shared the use of moodle as a platform that 'holds' the pupils' artefacts and journey of learning... it seems quite different from my initial idea of ePortfolio. How they did it... pupils' task and work were uploaded, the various versions of draft. Pupils' reflection and teachers' feedback were captured in a spreadsheet... nevertheless, the impression was 'project'-based... it's like tracking the journey to the completion of a project. It did not use a very sophisticated ICT system. Well, I think, if the pupils were to track their journey over the years (with a compilation of projects in various stages of their primary education jourvey), yes... the ePortfolio 'project' is a successful one... so, with the beautiful processes shared... now it leaves very much to for us to see the technology that the school has adopted is able to manage the documentation of the journey.

(b) Podcasting

Henderson Secondary shared the use of podcasting in Humanities... It was impressive, especially when we heard from the horses' mouth - the 2 pupils who shared their experience. To many of us, I think it sounded more like a project than something that was integrated so seamlessly into the lesson proper. On the other hand, I applaud the teacher's creative means to engage pupils in a subject that is 'chim' to many... and congratulate his success! It would be very interesting to see how Maths taps on the use of podcasting to bring about a different learning experience... that the school is going to do next year...

On the other hand, Blangah Rise Primary experimented with one class on the use of mp3 player in the learning of language - where pupils learn the proper pronunciation of words, the intonation, etc... The 'experiment' dispelled the 'myth' that only pupils of an older age are able to handle equipment well. I think, nothing is impossible until one has tried... if the teacher has not chosen a P2 class to work on this 'experiment', many of us will still living with the belief that "P2 is too young to play with these equipment". While the pupils enjoyed the activity, some very real challenges or 'problems' were also highlighted (eg. the need of technical support like TA to download the files from the mp3 players, having to spend 2 double period to familiarise the P2 pupils on the operation of the equipment)... which I thought it was very good, rather than presenting a too-good-to-be-true kind of impression.

Indeed, this got me recall a similar kind of 'gungho' spirit of Serene Lee from Si Ling Pri, when P3 classes used 3G phones in the Maths Trail... ok, 世上无难事, 只怕有心人。


(c) The Use of Open Source Software (OSS)

Chua Chu Kang Primary shared the use of edubuntu... first heard about this from Alvin, while we were preparing for the ICET this July. The teachers shared the use of some of the features that came with the learning environment - ultimately, it's just another "OS" in the sense that it provides an "one-stop" environment. As pointed out by the presenters, the biggest draw to use edubuntu is that it's free... and it's easy to access... can just boot up from the CD. That reminds me of the days of using MS DOS disk to boot up my 286 PC that did not come with any hard disk. The presenters also pointed out that this would have catered to instances when pupils do not have the office applications at home... ok, there's probably a growing number, but my personal guess is most home PCs are still equipped with the office applications.

The presentation has not really highlighted how the environment that is created with OSS has impacted on the learning experience of the pupils (apart from making it accessible to pupils). Some 'benefits' include pupils become more forthcoming in learning, being more motivated... on a second thought, these seem motherhood... it has yet brought out the value of using this OSS environment.

(d) Use of Games SEEDinIT - virtual learning environment supplementing experiential learning for P1 & P2 Pupils

While viewing the activity that was created to bring about the authentic learning environment, one thought... why schools are willing to spend some much time, effort and resources (including $) to create the resources while there isn't a lack of such professionals in the market who can do something similar...

it's just like asking... back at the beginning of mp1 or even earlier... will a school create a CD ROM kind of product while the market actually can produce it?

We know that being in the involvement comes with flexibility and customisation... on the other hand, I just wonder... where's the balance? It seems like there are lots of 'IT enterprises' that are growing in schools...

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