And we’re off…not with a whimper and not really much of a bang either…but at least there is some movement.
The majority of full-time staff at my school have Samsung net-books, with a Wi-Fi connection,(which can be hard wired into media projectors in most classrooms), to ensure seamless teaching and internet access from room to room.
Sounds simple right ?
Cable issues and the frustratingly small and overly sensitive mouse pad aside,(can a netbook suffer from “small computer syndrome” ?), my year 11 introduction to IB Film didn’t go too badly at all.
Obviously i struggled with locating the correct cables to connect everything and obviously i was very tempted to ditch the whole idea and write out my lesson aims and objectives on the board. But i didn’t. I was lucky enough to involve an IT teacher and a Maths teacher as well as a passing PSE teacher in a spot of cross-curricular ad-hoc planning…or, as the layman might call it, “working out where to plug the correct cable in.”
Having demonstrated my digital immigrant status to a room full of natives, i was pleased to discover that my hard work preparing my first ever prezi paid off in that this format was actually new to some of them ! However, my momentary elation was slapped away when one of my charges showed me a short cut on the dropbox shared folder i had proudly set up for the course…
I am most definitely on a learning curve. Hopefully, by this time next year, i will be moving towards the notion of teacher/coach/facilitator and the class more towards the student centered model that seems to be the ideal !
The content of the lesson was very much reliant on my subject knowledge and prepared clips through youtube and free images selected through prezi. It wasn’t a million gigabytes away from how i would have prepared if i wasn’t under the constraints of not using pen or paper. However, the experience really illustrated to me the need to work with the technology, alongside traditional pedagogical skills and not rely on it as the magic box that would push me towards redundancy. It was also enlightening to see the majority of the students (OK, it was a graveyard shift after lunch) engage with the idea of not using pens and wanting to bring into school any kind of computer/phone on which to type/record notes.
The experience also showed me that, unless you can operate the technology, without drawing attention to the technology in itself (and this depends on the classroom, capacity of the member of staff, server strength, amongst other things…), the device you are trying to teach with, will be nothing more than a substantial paperweight, or a massive sidetrack away from the focus of the lesson.
Looking back on the class, i am pleased with how i managed to take the leap of faith, (which goes against the grain of everything i have hitherto accepted/expected as a teacher) and risk an entire lesson, course introduction and first assessment piece, on technology and a paperless infrastructure that i am discovering a step or three behind my students .
I am interested to see how many will access the shared folder on dropbox, where i have put the course outline and the resources and links to a personal presentation due later in the week.
I am also intrigued to see if any of these natives resort to using a pen and paper…