Slovakia Cycle 1 – PD 1

Date and Time: 1.3.2011

Participants: Three secondary school teachers: (1) Maria, teacher (Informatics, Physics and French), Secondary Grammar School. (2) Monika, teacher (Mathematics, Informatics), Secondary Grammar School, (3) Peter, Headmaster, Secondary Grammar School

Scenarios discussed: Recognizing informal learning, Reacting to student feedback, Outdoor study projects

1. Recognizing informal learning

Teachers really like the presented idea. It could be very interesting for students to presents their out of schools activities but several issues were mentioned:

  • selection of the presented activity should be consulted with teacher first,
  • some definitions of what is expected are needed, sure creativity is required from student mostly
  • motivation (grades) to do the task should be interesting for them,
  • portfolio for such sharing is missing at the school, but any internet available platform should be accepted.

Older teachers (in general) probably will not accept such way of presentation due to their lack of modern technology skills.

Although this scenario is targeting students who do not like formal learning, teachers expect that the most active ones will be medium and better students.

Teacher will need to find the key how to encourage shame students to present their out of school activities.

Motivation is that students are encouraged to use technology they like – teacher will see how they are able to present it using “their generation” language/technology.

Both teachers see the problem also in sharing students outputs with other teachers at the school – how to motivate other teachers to find time for seeing the portfolio if many students attend such a presentation.

Subjective grading – if teacher do not like the presented activity (like graphitti) grading could be worse (presented subject could hide the work of the student).

For some teachers it could be motivating to participate in such way of teaching – not only because some of the student activities are interesting, but also they will see many new technologies at work.

Presentation of activities which are close to presenter (students) should help to evolve presentations skills – not so focused on what to present, but how to present it in an attractive way.

2. Reacting to student feedback

Learning Management Systems as tools are very welcome by teachers and they see them as great tools not only for students but also for themself.

Problem that was presented by teachers immediately after reading the scenario could be summarized as “missing LMS installation in school” and “missing administrator” for such tool – rest of the discussion is presenting scenario that we have such tool and unlimited sources for usage of that tool. There are free LMS available (comment of TC at meeting).

LMS will be probably attractive only for good/active students. We were not able to find motivation factor for “lazy” students to “wake up” and use offered source of content for study (even from app store ;-).

(fast) Feedback from students – great! For teacher who is interested in quality of offered curricula this will definitively help. But it will require a lot of time to spend with feedbacks and with finding of attractive and user-adapted learning sources.

Time is the weakest point in this scenario. Teachers like when provided “tools” save their time. Here it will ask a lot of their time resources and the adaptation phase, but of course later it will be great storage of learning objects.

Software solution for voting should be the only possible way for feedbacks. Insufficient funds for some hardware solution at most of the schools.

Due to school reform (in progress) in Slovakia some subjects do miss officially approved books – LMS should be great for students in meantime.

We need such teachers like Mr. Kowalski in Slovakia 😉

App store – great idea! We miss such a repository in Slovakia. No matter if content will be for free or not – learning objects are hard to even find for many teachers. What about of trading of student created learning materials by students? Motivation?

Generally, this scenario was welcomed by teachers. Maybe it is more attractive for teachers than for students.

3. Outdoor study projects

great idea, great possibilities for teachers, great potential to be attractive for students – many superlatives mentioned for scenario BUT

  • How big the groups should be? If small – good for the results, good for the involvement of every member. But more teachers have to go out with the group during activity (given by law) – missing teachers.
  • Typical school hour has only 45 minutes – too short time period to go out and do something.

Teachers are sceptical that this can be done during normal subject hours – a lot of formal learning has to be done during normal classes – it is defined by national curriculum plan. This activity should be only as part of after school activities.

Students for sure will like such learning – it is new for them, they’re out of class, they can work with technology.

Case “Where are ladybirds?” should be replaced by some other attractive topic 😉

Outdoor activities will be limited only to school surrounding – again – more teachers at the same time needs to be involved.

School needs to buy some technology (video cameras, cameras, microphones, GPS, sensors …) in order to implement this scenario. Multiple same type devices are needed – problem for many primary schools.

If multiple groups are outside for outdoor activity – every group should have a different task. Same topic is demotivating for the groups.

Overall feeling from scenario is very good, but implementation is possible only as part of after school activities.

4. Teacher’s assumptions on what we are doing in iTEC

Helping them in their work – to teach better by provided supporting materials and to motive students to like what they learn.

To find some really good teaching/learning scenario and provide all the supporting material required.

To learn something new … what tools are available to use in their subject.

To have access to some learning platforms based on Web 2.0.

To find a way how to motivate every student to somehow actively participate in learning process.

To meet other active teachers from different schools.

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