- Two rooms:- computer room/multimedia room at SMJK Poi Lam (one above the other)
- 80 students altogether – 40 in each room
- a video camera to project each room to the other
- laptops for one room, desktops in the other
- Two hours for teaching time
- Two different classes – form 4 (15/16 year olds) and form 1 (13 year olds)
This tested my thinking and teaching skills. What could I teach them that was engaging, useful across all their subject areas, user friendly, required little setup time and could be completed in this time.
I settled on the following:
- cybersafety – wallwisher and online avatar creation
- brainstorming or mindmapping with bubbl.us and wallwisher (See my post for further details and approaches)
It was apparent with the first class that the 80 odd students were all going to have to fit into the lab ( which was a good sized room, but ended up being crowded). For me, this was preferable, but meant that two or three students had to share a desktop but at least they were all within ‘face to face’ sight so that I could measure body language, behaviour, engagement etc. Evon and Veronica (two teachers) helped with the form 4 class and Anne from Poi Lam and two or three older student monitors helped with the younger form 1 class in the afternoon.
What worked well:
- wallwisher – easy, quick to get to, allowed the 80 students all to work on it at once, simple task, all had something to say etc. I had asked for them to give me tips on cybersafety, but some started to ask questions on it, add other comments and to my surprise whilst waiting, used it like a chat room. This is an aspect of wallwisher that I had not considered, but will use in future as it could be used as a back channel or chat type area. The younger students were asked to add a sticky note to their wall on their favourite food, sport and subject. See form 4 wall. See form 1 wall.
- The students, once used to my accent, seemed to follow instructions and most completed the tasks or were near to completion.
- bubblus was popular to work with and most completed a number of tiers in the 15 mins given to them. Using the topic of Ipoh was easy, something they could all talk about eg cultures, foods, tourist attractions etc They all seemed to have registered for the use bubblus.
- Some were able to email me screen dumps of their bubbl and avatar so that I could see the outcomes.
- As many students had to work in small groups, this created noise and discussion, it did seem to work okay, as they could learn from each other and work their way through tasks as a team.
- Students seemed to understand my accent, and those who did not worked out what I had asked from their team members.
- From my point of view, students were well behaved and focused – especially with the number involved. They love to use technology!
- Cyber safety is always a key issue and topic. Am still uncertain as to how sound their knowledge is of how to use the internet safely, but when asked most put up good responses on the wallwisher.
- Cultural issues came into play. In Australia, I teach my students not to use their last names. My problem was that I was not very aware of the format of last names in Chinese, Indian and Malay cultures. The Chinese state their last names first, the Malays inherit their father’s names so they change with generations and the Indians use a system like ours (I hope someone can verify this for me via a comment)
- Several teachable moments arose. As in any class, some students failed to fully appreciate digital citizenship. Some usernames I would have deemed inappropriate, but is that my cultural perception? I discussed my opinion with the students. One sticky note had a ‘put down’ of another student and I deleted it after discussing it with the students.
- Number of students and inability to individually go around them all to double check on their attention to the tasks given.
- Some students had to work in pairs or groups of three. Would have been great to have individual access to computers.
The unpredicted outcomes
- Students’ use of wallwisher – their use has given me another use for it.
- At the end of the lesson, I had requests from some to befriend them on facebook – where they love to continue to share conversations!
Thank you students, for your co-operation, wonderful card, the gifts and for working patiently with me! Loved working with you and hope I can do so again, some time.