BOT Reflection 4 (Module 1)

E-tivity 3.1: Guides, Sages and the Online Teacher (Originally posted Thursday, January 23, 2014) (see opening post)

3 videos watched

Peter Norvig: The 100,000-student classroom

Khan Academy founder on the future of teaching

Teaching in the Digital Age (Naomu Moir)

Three interesting videos.

Peter Norvig video: I like the idea of very short videos – 2-6 minutes. We try to do the same in the ELC now.Getting students to do something actively – easier said than done.  He said something like, “if you can do something anytime, then you can do it tomorrow, and if you can do it tomorrow, you may not get around to doing it”. How true! So, they set deadlines – gets everyone focused and people do things at the same time. The trouble we have found at the ELC with settings deadlines is that our servers can get overloaded when all students try to log in at the same time.

Khan academy: the same ideas of flipping the classroom and leaving more time for interaction in class are mentioned. I seen this (or a similar video) before, and I am always wondering whether what they do in maths can be transferred to other subjects. Can the same ideas about teaching maths be used to teach grammar, or referencing?

Naomi Moir – I agreed with everything she said – technology should be to support, not a gimmick; there should be a balance of different activities; the role of the teacher is not really changing, but the tools are changing; there are great visual benefits through using technology; it can give you more time in class to identify problems (the idea of flipping again); and by using technologies in the classroom,  we are preparing studnets for the future when technologies are being used more and more.

This last point is something I remember from 15-20 years ago when I was first starting out teaching. I had an observed lesson, where students went to a CALL classroom (lots of desktop computers) and students did a ‘internet treasure hunt’ on space. I had made a word document with links to NASA and and students had to find answers to questions – for example “How big is the moon?”. I had doubts about what students were learning in the lesson (it was supposed to be an English lesson on the topic of space, but was technology taking over?) but the observer pointed out all the new vocabulary that was being used – ‘click here’ ‘go to the top of the screen’ ‘type in the url’ for example. What I ended up thinking was a balance is needed.

Feedback received

Could English work in the same way as Maths and the Khan academy?

Formatting problems – finally solved in Module 2.