Program Day One

“No plan survives contact with the enemy.”
-Field Marshall Helmuth Carl Bernard Graf von Moltke, paraphrased n The Swordbearers : Studies in Supreme Command in the First World War (1963) by Correlli Barnett, p. 35

After all of the disruptions from the storms over the last two weeks, today was the first day that I have had an opportunity to deliver, or to begin to deliver, my program that focuses on the teaching of technology. I will use the word interesting to describe the day.

Initially, there were issues that meant we were unable to log in to the computers, however that was quickly resolved. Based on experience showing some classes a video, I also made the decision that this week would be about introducing the class to the videos, and getting them used to engaging with them, a decision which I was glad for about five minutes into the session.

My first three class of the day were all stage one classes, and I took all classes through the same process, slightly modified based on what had occurred in the previous lesson. The first issue I noticed was that I had failed to re-edit the stage one video to provide more time for students to answer questions.

My next realisation was that the phrasing of some of my questioning made the question more complex than what was intended, an issue which needs to be fixed in the next round of videos. There were a few occasions within the video where I would ask a question, pause, which indicated to students that they were to start answering the question, and then re-phrase the question, which some students thought was a new question.

I also discovered that I had overestimated what year one students were capable of. I had not allowed remotely enough time for some questions, and as a result, I had to pause the video to allow more time for students to complete the question. Some students struggled with understanding some basic questions as well, which I will need to get feedback about from my colleagues.

I will continue with watching the video with the class next week I think, at a minimum, for the year one classes as they need, from what I have observed so far, more support in getting used to this style of education.

After the morning break, I had a kindergarten class for half an hour, and given that the class has three desktop computers, and the school has a bank of seventeen laptops, I attempted to do computer skills with them, with moderate success. At the end of the thirty minutes, I had four students logged in, all of whom had some support doing so. Other students were stuck trying to log in, misspelling their names. As a result, the kindergarten class whom I begin tomorrow with, will be structured differently. I will spend time with them on the floor having chosen students practice logging in on the interactive whiteboard to get all students familiar with the process of using control+alt+delete, and then entering their username and password. The additional support that they need is significant. Merely pointing to where the on button on the laptops was not enough. Showing the class where on the keyboard the control+alt+delete keys were also was not enough. I will need to reconsider how I structure the kindergarten classes, as I think that it will be difficult to get them to a point, at this stage in the year, where they will be ok to simply engage with a video with minimal supervision whilst I provide focused instruction to two or three students.

The middle session as a kerfuffle. I lost about two-thirds of the time with my first class, a year two class, as the computer was working, but the projector wasn’t seeming to project anything, other than menu images. I ended up having the students gather around the desktop computer, and we managed to engage with about five minutes of the video. I think that I need to use my morning preparation time to ensure that all of the technology I wish to use is ready to go.

The next class was similar. I arrived at the room only to be told that the time slot had been switched with another class, but I had not been notified. So I regathered my things and went to the ‘new’ class and discovered that the class teacher had forgotten about the switch and was not expecting me. There were significant technical issues in that room, and I ended up reading through the book, watching the video on my mobile phone, watching it from my YouTube channel. It worked, in a fashion, but it was not ideal.

Tomorrow will be interesting, and we’ll see how it goes.

Today’s take away points:

  • Check all technology in the morning.
  • Have a firm plan b, and a plan c, just in case.
  • Be aware of time constraints and allow enough time to get packed up at the end of a class, and off to the next class on time.

I hope everyone else’s Monday went well, and I look forward to hearing peoples feedback over this journey.

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