Thursday, April 12, 2007

Reflection: Workshop - HOD Workshop (1st run)

Session 1

  • Preparation : It was a nightmare ... the last minute rush... Oops, that's not something foresaw would happen! Sigh... miscalculation (or being over-optimistic) of the many different factors that are related to the materials and workshop, in one way or another.
  • Expectation of the Trainer : Well, the workshop is demanding as it differs totally from what we have in the past or any workshop that we run. It demands deep understanding of the model to deliver confidently, quite definitely, it has nothing to do with technical skills. It's really a matter of 'chewing' and 'digesting' - internalisation is necessary to buy-in totally, and be clear before can go and tell people what it is!
  • Profile of Participants : It matters! Today, we have a full lab of HODs! They know what they want - they are prepared with years of experience! Even if they do not know what they want, they will ask! It's like, "I have to go back to communicate or deliver! So, you, as the trainer, joyly well ensure what's to be communicated to me is clear!" So, it's not just support... Indeeed, if the lab is full of "PHs", then we'll be in trouble, 'cos PH knows better than anyone of us! Count ourselves lucky, the group has been kind to us.
  • Knowing the Content : Have not internalised the 6 stages... ok, some of them is pretty easy, thanks to the year sitting in the SCC... I must say, have never taken any closer look into planning than this time... planning back in the school seemed 'made easy' for us... we learn on the job, of course, we don't seem to know what we don't know... so, there's a problem! Perhaps I also took for granted that LL did the planning and AC submitted me so well in that one year it passed swiftly... though we did review, it was smoothly sailing. Whereas for IT dept, thanks to BK, HP & HT... it has never been too hard for me (hm... looking back....), and before the "ICT Plan" document was released to the school, I've already left! So, just wonder... I've been very well-shelthered... of course, to be "unappreciative", because of the support and timing, I missed out quite a fair bit of opportunities to sharpen myskills.
  • After some thoughts and from the feedback, going to try a way to help 'internalising' (ok, more like familiarising) the 6 stages... going to put up the 'masterpieces' of the participants - probably in the wikispace, where we'll (or at least I'll) try to put up suggestions to improve on each of the stages... hopefully, by going through this, it will help in training the mind and deepening the understanding on this.
  • Thinking through the flow : Yes, I must confess, for workshops, though I script the slides, I don't really follow the script... have tried once, but too stressful and unnatural! On the other hand, the value of scripting comes this year, that guides the thinking, hence taking a more conscious effort to ensure the various segments flows and connects well.
  • Pre-requisite : Am glad that I checked their familiarity to the ICT Plan though it was not in our workshop proper. To our surprise, not many have seen it... (or perhaps to my relief that I'm not the few who have not seen one... there're many out there!). That also require us to adjust our strategy - bear in mind that since many of them are seeing it for the first time, it requires us to go through the structure of the ICT plan with them so that they can make sense out of the documents (unless we assume that they are all from 'gifted'!).
  • Group Activities : It's the first time being 'bold' - to incorporate group activity in the workshop. For group discussions, yes. All workshops require participants to work in pairs or threes to come up with an end-product. In the IBL workshop we conducted last year, they were to move around to take pictures, etc... However, what's new is discussions without the use of technology to facilitate! Using flipchart papers and markers! Consciously put down words like "Think-Pair-Share", "Round Robin"... Have gone through these strategies - as a participant, but not implemented that before! Am glad being 'pushed' to make the first attempt, and thanks to PH for the on-going reassuring that the participants were indeed engaged in the activity.
  • Area for Improvement (Group activities) : (a) Pacing - we lost time! We'll have to assign a 'time-keeper'. (b) Manage and value-add to the group discussion - as facilitators, we have to move around to talk to the groups, to find out the progress and clarify their doubts. Only then we'll value-add to their discussion. As one of the participant asked - less discussion, as post-its... Probably because he/she found there's little value-add to the discussion - when most of the time, they contribute. (c) Wrapping up the 1st activity - realised did not do well for this part - Did not ask the participants to share what they have discussed, probably because I was 'swayed' by the fact that some have already looked at the example and checklist, and therefore quickly went into the checklist instead... For the next time, will be patient... will elicit response from the participants, and think that will help to clarify the "Design Instructional Strategies' part. This should help when they do the illustration. (d) Summarising the 2nd activity - It's really a new challenge to be able to pick up points from the various "masterpieces" to in order to bring out some salient learning points.
  • Learning to be Flexible : (a) It came very quickly when participants need more time to complete the 6-stage activity. It spilled over time. Hence, it called for adjustment to the subsequent segments (eg. the case study as well as the principles of planning). (b) When facilitating case study - be clear when giving instructions and alert to the participants' needs - when necessary, modify the strategy, eg. build in explanation to use the instrument (here, the ICT Plan document), dropping one component (getting participants to improve the plan) and complement it with something else to better the learning (going through the 'answers'). (c) Do not stick to the document and repeat the same thing over and over again... it's also a tell-tale sign to the participants' on one's knowing how to connect the participants to the known and not-known. (d) As far as possible, do not display our internal documents.
  • Objectives of Activity : Bring upfront to participants the objectives of the activity - otherwise they will not know what's the expectation of the discussion; also to get them se the value of going through the motion.
  • "Attention" calling : Realised forget to bring along the "ice-cream" man bell... pretty difficult to get their attention, especially when the voice turns coarse after a while.
  • The grouping : It's the first time we put up our identity... haha... quite fun... also it's the first time in our workshop that our participants were 'made' to display their names, too... although in the past, we gave out the stickers, however, many saved the stickers for us. The grouping warmed up the participants a bit... of course, I won't forget calling participants "the 2 oranges"... hahaha... my apologies... that was unintentional.

Session 2

Clarifying our Stand

  • After reading the "Reflection" / "Take-away" of session 1, there are a few things to address to...
  • Think the rule of thumb is, if there is no action/follow-up, don't ask for the seek of asking... so far, have consciously practise that: (1) In the first session, ask participants' familiarity of the ICT Plan document - that lets us know how much depth we can go into... true enough, most are not familiar, and have not even seen it! (Oops! what happens in the Technology Planning session?) (2) We asked for feedback and inputs in the 1st session, so we have to pick up items and respond to it - at least, I think we should let them know, we are sincere in hearing their feedback and hoping to bring the best to them... of course, it also gives us the opportunity to clarify, especially any misalignment, or for us to do any damage control.
  • Participants' Perception of ICT Planning: There are questions like "Are we going to use the ICT Plan to plan our dept programme from now onwards?" It's a concern from the HODs/IP - true... "What? You mean now I have to do double work? Hey, ICT is not my core business!!!"... I think I heard these inaudible voices... In fact, it tells one thing, to-date, ICT is still seen as a very discrete component, in the eyes of many... and the onus, most of the time, is HOD/IT, unfortunately.
  • Helping others to help us: In fact, I thought I did it quite 'brillantly'... hahaha... by positioning it as a tool that enables the HOD/IT to help the HOD/IP to achieve the objectives/goals... it helps our counterparts (HOD/IT) to understand our needs so that the latter can provide the necessary help to help us achieving our objectives/goals. It's really a win-win move... right? Of course, to do this, it requires the HOD/IP to understand what are helpful to the HODs/IT in planning - that's why we are going through the document to know exactly what kind of information should be forwarded to our counterpart. Hey, it sounds so logical, isn't it? But, why people can't see the point? Too busy to think about it? Can't be bothered? or Simply never cross our mind?

ICT tools in Education

  • Preparation: The various types of tools really come in quite late! Yes, we were still inserting appropriate types of examples 15 minutes before the workshop! The Cat-in-a-line and the WebQuests! Cold sweat!
  • In fact, I think this was the segment that the participants felt relevant and practical as they are exposed to a range of tools. Not finding an excuse, but in reality, how many of them have really looked through the resources in the web and take a deeper look on its value and how to go about using it in class? Looking back, I must admit, I am one of those culprits who'll "look" without deeper thinking... Just identify and use...

Baseline ICT Standards

  • We went through the rationale, the areas it covers. Thought this is useful... in fact, should we elicit their response to the standards? It can probably be a good platform to clarify the our stand, in terms of rolling out the standards... On the other hand, I'm worried having over sell it, so much so that the audience interpret that we are trying to be defensive... then it'll 弄巧反拙.
  • In fact, I thought it was a good move to let them examine the baseline resources, with the lesson plan, so as to 'taste' it personally... it's more like creating time for them to taste the essence of it... rather than just take and use because "it is there" and "we have to use it, anyway..."
  • However, think there was no wrapping up of the activity at all... one AFI to take note of...

Doing the ICT Plan

  • Too rush... no time to think and do... objective is not clear... to be strict, I think this segment is really a flop... the 2nd 遗憾 of the workshop... sign...

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