Sunday, October 18, 2009

My Reflection... on APD (14-16 October 2009)

{This reflection is also available at the workshop learning blog}

... the constant reminder of the alignment & inclusion of "Innovation" in an effective ICT-enabled lesson - which drive the quality of our lessons another level up.
What makes the ICT-enabled learning experience different from others? How do we incorporate our distinctive flavours in the learning experience - the SST experience that we want to create.
... remain focused while we attempt the integration.
Keep in mind the "onion diagram": #1 What's Worth being Familiar with? #2 What's Important to Know and Do? #3 What's the Big Ideas & Core Tasks - Enduring Understanding? How does ICT play its part in #3?
... another constant reminder of empowering students - provide learners the opportunities to uncover the knowledge (importantly) with appropriate scaffolds.
Time was cited as the concern in several discussions. Good to ask ourselves: How did we choose the topic when designing the ICT-enabled activity?
Did we pick the area that's worth the amount of time and effort to help students master the understanding before we start thinking how ICT come into the picture? or we just pick an activity that ICT could be integrated easily? Often, such learning activity turns out to be good-to-have (i.e. where's the focus: #1 or #3 when designing the activity?)
... emotional hook vs real world applications to the learner.
Our examples sometimes pitch at the "adult" experience. Examples like famous overseas landmarks, stock exchange are relevant real world application; however, learners might not be able to associate to them. They would remember better how to compute the measurements to enlarge their toy to its maximum yet could pass through the classroom door as compared to calculating the size of a model of the Merlion if it were to shrink by a factor a given factor.

2 out of a few observations that set us think further...
  1. On the use of animation/video... How different is the way we use animation/video, compared to the existing practices in schools? It's a standard (model) answer and an undeniable fact (since days in 1st Masterplan) - Animation/Video helps students to visualise what they could not see with the naked eyes, hence students are able to understand what's abstract and could be presented in 2-dimensional drawing in the past. After more than 10 years, it's time for us to find a breakthrough in the way we use the tool. What more could SST offer?
  2. It is obvious that online mindmap facilitates collaboration and construction of collective knowledge/ideas. The question is, how different it is when using an online or hardcopy mindmap? Both modes enable collaboration and collective knowledge construction. We could put the hardcopy mindmaps up on the wall and do a gallery walk, use post-its to provide feedback. One colleague said, "The online mindmap allows students to organise the information easily during the discussion whereas the hardcopy mindmap does not provide that degree of flexibility." This is an example how an online mindmap serves as a productivity tool (reduces the hassle and time when completing a given task). The key benefit we can rip from this "live" tool: It records students' thinking and learning at various stages (snapshots). It allows students to re-organise & expand the ideas as they increasing/ on-going gain deeper understanding of the concept, the inter-connectedness/ relationships of ideas. Coupled with the rest of the assessment modes/ tools, it forms part of the "scrapbook". The online collaborative mindmap provides "live" evidence of learning.
Though zooming into the learning activity seems myopic, it's where the action takes place and what the learners exactly go through. I wonder, without these fundamental blocks, how would learners appreciate the bigger scheme of things?

A few essential questions surfaced (at this level)
1. How effective is the use of ICT in the learning activity?
This re-examines our understanding of the tools and its role in the learning experience.
2. How different would the learning experience be in the absence of ICT?
This checks if we are merely substituting the conventional "tools" with ICT, or leveraging on the strengths of the tools.
3. How different is this way of using ICT different from existing/known practices?
What's the SST experience that we want to create with Technology?