Wednesday, March 4, 2015

How My Classroom Has Evolved

My classroom has undergone quite a few changes in the last 24 months. Come July, it will be exactly 2 years since I last used a chalkboard to teach.

It has been an exciting journey for me as a teacher. Not having to use the chalkboard... I find it most liberating. From Doceri, I ventured into so many other apps which gave me a versatility which made teaching (and learning too) so much fun. The icing on the cake... I did not need to turn my back on my students. I have not done that in class for a long time. All my classes are now face to face all the time.

I now write so much less in class. Typing has replaced much of the writing. Am thankful for my typing skills which I owe to Dad. He used to pay me 50 sen to do his typing sometimes, and I did it happily for the extra pocket money. I move from one form to another quite easily in class. This year I added another projector in the lab. I now operate with 2 projectors.

With 2 projectors, I can put up passages on one to annotate and questions on another for easy reference. I can use one for mind map and the other for other media in the lesson. One can come up with any combo of preferences.

Chromebooks are used for Google Drive and Socrative. There other assessment apps which I am itching to try but with the workload piling up, it'll have to take a while. Using Google Docs for essay writing is more effective than the traditional 'write-in-exercise-book' method. With a few add-ons like Doctopus and Goobric, I can view more students work. And monitoring... Today I asked a student if she was working on her writing. She said yes. I told her she wasn't. There was some denying but finally she admitted. It's amazing how I can click the tabs containing my students work and know whether they are working on their piece. There is also a more personal touch and students learn other skills too as they work on their writing online. And Goobric.... with the writing rubric attached, students get a clearer picture of where they stand. Google Drive ... almost like a 'one-stop' centre.

Students seem to enjoy this way of learning. I have had students coming back to ask whether they could take their online assessments again. I get more interests shown by the kids too.

Apps ... it's amazing what one can achieve when there is media as your teaching aid. A picture, or video, or even a caption... in the traditional class, it would have been a gargantuan task just to bring them into the class. These days, with just a computer or a tablet and a projector, you are good to go. And oh yes... a speaker system would definitely add the oomph.

And emails... I email my students reminders to pay their fees. Their parents can emailed me when their children are sick. I scan timetables, textbooks and ebooks I prepared to my students too. I am fostering a new culture of learning too, I realised. Many students usually are not aware that their smartphones can be used to enhance their learning because they were not taught so. My classes are slowly learning. Our students have not been allowed to bring their technology to class because we deem those gadgets as a distraction. Well, I disagree... It's mainly because they have not been shown the way.

But despite all the breakthroughs in technology... I learned one thing too. It is the teacher that makes a greater difference. The personal touch, the story teller, the listening ears, etc.... these are still unmatched by the gadgets. A good teacher is still more about those than just technology.

I have also been privileged to set up a digital signage for the school with the help of Other Half. Using Raspberry Pi(s) we now run two 60-inch TVs as our digital signage. Announcements are now in poster or video forms. The time saved due to announcement over the PA system is quite substantial.

Changes ... they are inevitable. We can choose to remain in our old but comfortable ways or force our learning curve upwards and change with the inevitable...Oh ya.. SPM results are out. One sees the usual rounds of jubilations and dejections. A parent said this when she was congratulated for her daughter's excellent set of results. Her answer..."God's blessings.' Sigh... means those whose children did not do well did not get God's blessings???


Magictree said...

You wrote ' Sigh... means those whose children did not do well did not get God's blessings???

That was so spot on.

AJ7 said...

These days many sharings about God's blessings seem to be giving thanks for their children's results, or how God has blessed them with this trip or that thing... It's mostly about what w have been given.

When I think about what I know about Elizabeth Elliot, John Sung... I think we have kinda strayed from the heart of Christianity... Blessing is about blessing others, getting down to giving of ourselves...

A parent saying that it's God's blessings that her son (or daughter) had scored straight A(s)... I guess maybe this might sound not so uppity... 'Am thankful that my son had the sense to work hard ... I don't know. These days religion feels like a forn of control to me...

Magictree said...

I agreed with what you have written just that I cannot express it as well as you did or perhaps I am afraid I might sound judgemental. Still I am glad to know there are others who feel the same way as I do.

Ting Siamooi said...

21st century teaching and learning! HM will love you. We are still snailing on...


Time flies... that's when days are filled with things to do. 24 hours feel rather short now but some day, I guess 24 hours in a day will...