Sunday, June 01, 2008

Reflection: Workshop on e-Learning for Maths (Primary)

It's been a while... after the last workshop reflection... Guess, it's because certain workshop has been routine-iced already, when it's not just the 2nd run, but the 3rd, 4th, ... run.

The e-Learning workshop is a brand new one! Yes, to the Maths team, and I thought there are several break-throughs... we attempted a few things we had never done before...

It's during the 1st week of the school vacation - and it crashed with a few other major events in education happenings here - Sharing at Teachers' Network, Teachers' Conference, Maths Teachers' Conference and the Library Conference (there could be more!!!). Amazing, isn't it? While there's lots of talk about children having to go back to schools for enrichment and remedial programmes, there're also lots of programmes lined up for teacher educators!!!

The e-Learning module is challenging - it's new to us! Yes, 'new' because the original content has so much meat that not many of us are equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to deliver. It's too broad... so is its definition... What's e-Learning? To us, to the participants, to the schools... it can be very different. Apart from opening ourselves to a whole new world... we also acquire a set of new skills and immerse (engaged?) in the act of going through it.

Some highlights...

  • Background Bingo - it's a common ice-breaking activity that many of us go through when we attend workshops or training... Some of the subject teams have been faithfully carrying out this activity, I believe. But, the Maths team has not (since I joined the team in Day 1). Just wondering... is it because of the nature of our workshop, we don't see the necessity of doing it. There is little interaction needed apart from the partner beside them (Think-Pair-Share is more often carried out). And of course, most of our workshops are 2 session workshops (ie. 6 hours, including tea breaks!). Time is precious! However, think that it's worth doing if the participants are going to work together for a longer period of time, and having to harness on each other's capability (eg. in this activity, we discover who are the ones who are more familiar with the Web 2.0 tools, people of the different learning style...) Hey, this is pretty obvious in the end product of the first activity :D
  • Name Stickers - did not expect that it can be put to such good use! (so versatile). The basic use is to display their name... then we asked them to indicate their learning style "V", "A", "R", "K" ... that helps them to look for people during the background bingo activity. It also helps them to find the members to form the teams! Oh yes, one thing right... we asked them to write their GMail address on the sticker... then, they simply need to circulate their name sticker when they need to include each other in the contact list. So convenient! Thought it's also a brillant idea, isn't it?
  • Point system & Prizes - yes, it's also the first time we go for such activities! We have never integrated the competition element into our workshops... hahaha... no need, right? Anyway, most of the time, participants will have to deliver certain outputs. However, I agree that the nature of activities in this workshop is pretty different from the past. Lots of collaboration among the members in the team... But I guess the most important thing is, we managed to model one of the strategies to participants that they could employ with the class - how to start off with extrinsic motivators to get pupils to participate in (for instance) discussion forum. It really works!

What could be better...

  • Leveraging on what participants have put on the background bingo. In fact, if we have more time, would be good to customise the 'descriptors' more... that will get them to know each other better.
  • Modeling the facilitation, especially in assessing the inputs, and anticipating 'competition' among participants - which, in fact, will happen among pupils.
  • The last component when participants suppose to come up with a unit plan... we're still quite new to...

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