Hungary Cycle 3 – PD 1

26. January 2012. Szeged, Hungary


Tamás, Balázs, Bence, Kriszti, Zsófi, Blanka, Fanni (grades 11. and 12.)

Katalin, Maths, English and ICT teacher teaches grades 5-8. (takes part via Skype),
Kriszta, English and ICT teacher, teaches grades 5-8.
Zoltán, History and Philosophy teacher, teaches grades 9-12.

Gabi, (via Skype), Ildikó, Attila

We conducted two different sessions, one for the pupils and one for the teachers. It was not intended to separate them but we couldn’t find a time that was suitable for all.

Designing Maths Games

Kriszti: for programming and Maths you need similar thinking skills, programming will be also hard for those who are struggling with Maths.

Zsófi: It is an additional burden, an extra task.

Tamás: it is interesting when it is new.

Balázs: likes the idea that you learn by teaching others. But learning in the conservative way is more effective.

Bence, Kriszti: it is suitable for small kids. (They are in 11th, 12th grade.)

Zsófi: it is hard for the teachers. You need to teach the teachers how to use this software. It is good for pupils to see teachers learning something.

Bence: would it mean that certain pupils do programming all the time during the class? It would be better if it is done only once a week.

Blanka: It would be a suitable task for the best, who volunteer for the task, not for the ones struggling.

Zoltán: too far from his subject to be able to judge, but he feels that the teacher have to go through all concepts with the pupils before they are able to actually begin programming. It is like you get a nice dress after the ball.

Kriszta: knows Scratch and thinks it is really good software with sufficient support on the web. (Even in Hungarian language) But it is an additional load on the pupils: you first need to make them familiar with the concept of programming in general, and show the use of Scratch.

Katalin: considers developing games or tasks with pupils anyhow, so she likes the general idea. But she plans to work with an advanced ICT class. She can’t imagine that pupils can develop serious games. It extends their limits even to introduce a variable in a program.

Gabi: the pupil needs to be a developer, a Maths expert and a teacher at the same time. These are too complex tasks for a pupil.

Attila: It is like when you want to learn to swim, you first need to build an ocean liner.

Kriszta: I can imagine the idea that pupils make programs for each other.


Bence: this scenario tackles too serious issues, you shouldn’t play with them.

Tamás: we should have economics class. We don’t have that.

Tamás: this scenario is fun and it teaches things you need in life.

Kriszti: Pupils might draw false consequences from the game.

Blanka: Kids won’t want to learn in a ‘normal’ way anymore.

Balázs: you profit more if a teacher simply tells you about this. Perhaps for little kids it’s ok.

Fanni: it is good as a simulation video game that you buy and play at home for fun.

Fanni: this simulation can’t be real enough.

Balázs: the whole school wouldn’t take part in our school. It wouldn’t extend beyond the history department.

Tamás: there’s similar praxis in other schools, in Kőrösi. (Kőrösi is another school in the town which is active in Young Enterprise) This might be an extracurricular activity, and you can decide whether to take part.

Zoltán: this is not about the adults’ world, but about the kid’ world. It is worth thinking it over.

Kriszta: it is a strange idea. I try to convince kids and parents all the time that computers are not only about Facebook and gaming. This can ruin my efforts.

Katalin: parents are against gaming. It might work better in a secondary school. In Hungarian schools you have an institution called learners’ council, which is an elected board with some responsibilities and topics to discuss. But in our school it is not functioning really well.

Zoltán: I agree, pupils would need more guidance in the learners’ council. For this scenario as well, you would need a lot of preliminary work with pupils about constructive ways of communication etc. Compared to this the actual “action” would be like nothing, the balance would be bad.

Zoltán: you can’t always reward every little completed task. This distracts the inner motivation.

Kriszta: pupils have a problematic virtual self, an online personality. They behave extremely light-mindedly on the web. This scenario recommends serious behavior in an online environment, I doubt they can do this, because they associate the web with freedom. They won’t take the responsibility.

Attila: you need to really carefully plan this, otherwise it won’t be authentic. Even Young Enterprise projects are not authentic enough.

Gabi: It will develop no skills. We shouldn’t make a simulation if there’s a possibility to try things in the real world.

Attila: it is not worth doing it, too much work and too little benefits. From the developers and from the teachers side as well.

Home-school communications

Tamás: I would be terrified. (All agree)

Tamás: with little kids, to help parents inform about deadlines, organizational things…

Balázs: parents have electronic access to assessment. And they should have no voice in teaching anyhow. The teacher is the expert.

Bence: parents should instead call the teacher on telephone or go into consulting hours. They should discuss personally.

Blanka: some parents would behave in an inappropriate way on these forums. They might want to assign us extra work or get across with other parents or teachers.

Ildikó: are you sure parents would get across?

Bence: Not necessarily. Perhaps sometimes. It can happen.

Bence: it might be useful for sharing information that the kids usually don’t consider to be important. Like paying for the lunch, date of consulting hours etc…

Kriszta: they wouldn’t write anything. But if yes, who cares about the opinion of someone else’s parent? Parents should tell their opinion to their own kids.

Blanka: parents don’t need this. And anyhow one’s motivation for learning is not that you want to show it to your parents.

Fanni: parents don’t have time for that. Neither do teachers.

Fanni: we have the eLearning (Moodle) which have far more potential than what is used. If parents would have access to that, they could see a lot of useful things.

Blanka: yes, if parents would have access to that, they could have a look at the learning material as well. If they are interested in that.

Balázs: even before Facebook you thought that you have all the communication channels needed and now everybody is on Facebook.

Kriszti: it is not compulsory. If a parent doesn’t want to be involved, it’s ok.

Zoltán: we have mixed results in moving kids and parents towards the VLE. It is much harder to influence parents than pupils. Parents have virtual access to assessment but they often ask their kids to open the surface for them. Most reliable is if we call each other, they react on e-mails in 2-3 days time.

Kriszta: parents in our school used to have virtual access to assessment but not anymore. The school was turned to a church school from a public school and the new leadership doesn’t consider it important. Until we had that we provided free access to the computer lab on the evenings.

Kriszta: I use Sulivilág with my pupils and it is a compulsory task that they invite someone to the community. (Sulivilág is a web-based interface where groups can store material and collaborate.)

Katalin: me too, and parents asked me to invite them to the community. It is new for us, I have shared the planned music and choreography of the carnival dance. Parents use computers. The ones who don’t want to use them wouldn’t also come in to the school.

Gabi, Attila: this scenario would intend to support parents in helping their kids in learning. They are involved in it anyhow, so why not recognize this and help this.

Zoltán: yes, in this scenario the aim would be not only to follow improvement, but sometimes even this is hard to realize. About half of the parents would be ready to do somewhat more. Parents work a lot.

Zoltán: there is a “nothing” period of about two years in almost all kid’s life. During that time they talk more to their form teacher than to their parents. If you ask them as a parent what happened in school, they say “nothing”. To bridge this a more active communication between teachers and parents would be desirable.

Kriszta: parents wouldn’t be interested in pedagogical, methodological explanations.

Katalin: on the school level it would be impossible to implement this in my institution. I made the school website and I had to create a static site with no possibility to interact. But my headmaster would let me do this if I wanted.

Zoltán: I have planned to introduce such things, like giving access to parents on different platforms, but until now I had little success on the school level. This scenario would “legalize” my ambitions. But it can’t be compulsory, only a possible alternative or a good example for other teachers.

Kriszta: it would form parents’ and learners’ attitude about the internet and learning.

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