Saturday, June 30, 2007

Reflection: Workshop - Use of ICT in IBL for Maths Learning

This is the 2nd time I conduct this workshop. The 1st run was last year, when I took over the immature baby from another colleague. That time, had the first taste of 'dingdong' of materials for workshop. Inquiry-based learning in Maths? Something that was alien to me... To-date, I still have not really grasp the essence of it... nevertheless, after the 1st session, I realise I'm able to articulate it clearer, understand it better... in the process...

Some observations:

  1. Although blog has been pretty common - in the virtual world, among youngsters, etc... It seems that blog is still a novelty among Maths teachers! Surprise? Well, it's the fact.
  2. The participants were indeed drawn to the use of blogs. I was presently surprised... on the other hand, it's what I hope to see... isnt' it?
  3. In managing the time for the activity, it's the first time to 'merge' activity and break... thought it was quite a good idea :D

By the end fo the 1st session, I think the most rewarding part is... {click HERE to see Day 1 reflections from participants}

updated... 4 July 2007... after 2nd session

  • Today, I ran the show solo... well, WK was on child care leave while BY was bogged down by the revision of workshop materials... well, no point getting others as they are not aware of what's in "IBL" and the "tools" going to be used (ie. BUBBL.US)... 'better still'... Wee Hong (the ICT executive of the school) was on half-day leave... and Harris (the 2nd TA) was engaged in work elsewhere in the school... and well, well... the user account could not be logged in... Ahh!!! It's crazy, isn't it? I thought... well, no problem, this year, have conducted 2 sessions solo before - 2nd session of GSP (Pri) & 1st session of HOD/Maths workshop... nevermind... 孰能生巧。
  • Hm... glad that things still went on as a breeze, I think... Hm... a pad on my shoulder :D
  • In fact, I just wonder... be it the 1st trainer or the supporting trainer, it's really necessary to know the work inside out... 'cos workshop still have to proceed as usual!

Observations... & Findings...

  • When the participants arrived, many of them were busily 'submitting' their homework in the blog. In a way, I'm enthused by their enthusiasm. They actually remember the 'homework' assigned. In fact, it's the first time I see my participants took the homework so seriously... I guess, must be because every group has been tasked to do so... if they don't... everybody know lah!!! Oops! It also gave me an excuse not being able to consolidate their inputs before hand, since many did it last minute. On the other hand, they seem to enjoy exploring or playing the blog.
  • Back in HQ, I guess we have, to a certain extent, 'stereotype' a tool - where blog lands itself better in language related studies... or we made an assumption that it's common among teachers. Surprising, only 2 in the group have blogged before! and the depth seems to be minimial! So, have we overlooked this? Or it's...
  • I 'overspent' the time on the discussion on the use of the various ICT tools in for the various stages of the IBL circle. Observation: Some colleagues in fact tried very hard to fit the ICT tool to each stage, when the value is not really obvious or there!!! But I think I did well in 2 areas here - (i) Being able to do the necessary 'connection' such that even when the not-so-relevant response is given, I'm able to connect it to somewhere appropriate such that no one get embarrassed for giving an irrelevant response. (ii) Indirectly, have used this process to reinforce what happens in each stage; also to provide participants with a broader perspective of what's available there :D
  • Actually did not really carry out the IBL activity - hm... think about it, it's more like showing them an example, rather than asking them to attempt...OK, this point I now agree with Sai Choo that it's not necessary to ask participants to attempt the pupils' activities in all cases unless there's some objective we want to achieve through their experience. Another thing I thought it went on well was through participants' questions, I am able to turn it into a learning point that they should take note of when designing an IBL task, especially one that's very open-ended (like the hire purchase case). There are parameters that we have to define, but, to what extent, depends on the profile/calibre of the class! This has somehow created the link to the next example - about the cube! Hm... this is unintentional, but connected the tasks... Hm... well done :D
  • I'm also proud being able to re-design the cube question to something pretty open.. From the participants' reaction and responses to the question, hey, they seem to be pleasantly surprise with the "new ideas" injected into the old question !!! Another pad on the shoulder :D

The final verdict...

  • Things went on well in the last session - most of the items were covered but not the last one, which is the implementation issues. But I included something that was never mentioned to participants of workshops in the past... that I think, as I reflect, am closer to buying in the participants - in agreeing that we are not hardselling technology use, but trying to help them 'bring out' what they can potentially do - and also to present to them the reality - all that we talked about... during the workshop were plans! Yes, they're just plans that we hope to apply back in the classroom... We also have to acknowledge that execution is another challenge... and I think, more importantly to let them know that the end of the workshop is not really the 'end' of the support that we can give to the participants. I think it's this long term relationship brings people together...
  • I have this impression (er... assumption?? belief??), and to a certain extent, my action (ie. why I wanted most, if not all, groups to share the idea during a workshop) was driven by this. That is, after a workshop, how many of us will "do" homework -browsing through and finding out more of what others have done if we are left on our own to look at it? Of course, this time, I face another challenge because it's a mixed group! I still remember very clearly one of the feedback received last year - the duration should be shrunk - as the primary school teachers did not see the relevance of what the secondary school teachers shared (and vice versa). That's also why, from the start, I tried very hard to 'marry' the 2 - to get them see the interconnectedness - one builds on the other or one is the extension of the other... Hm... based on the feedback and interaction, I think I have succeeded :D
  • Glad that they like the new tools, too... of course, must also credit the participants' active participation
  • Now, what's left is really the follow-up that I've promised the participants...


About the support from the school... the smoothness and success of the workshop cannot be complete with mentioning the support by the ICT executive, Wee Hong. I'm impressed by his willingness to help and not expressing any impatience and reluctance to bring service an extra mile - to provide assistance to us as well as the participants. Thanks to Wee Hong for his excellent support!

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