Thursday, October 15, 2009

GDHE session

Yesterday I did a session on 'LMS and beyond' for the GDHE programme. I was under the impression that I'll have 3 hours as all the other sessions did. I found out late Tuesday afternoon that I only had 2 hours. It was a bit too late by then. I had already planned for a 3 hour session. I knew going into the session that I'll be struggling against time hence I dropped the first (online pedagogy) and the last part (online course design) and just focused on the middle section which was looking at the tools in Moodle and it's use in class.

I was initially asked to do a 'show and tell' session but that's something I have struggled with for sometime now. It only takes 30 minutes and you have a problem in your hand. The attendees are not always (well never are) at the same level, by the first 30 minutes people are all the place, some struggling and some would have already given up. Another problem with the show and tell approach is people only retain probably the first 10-20 minutes of the learning ...... the rest is @#$%^^****())(&^%, yes you are right garbage ....... you loose their attention and engagement (well there is never any engagement to begin with in show and tell approach).

So for the GDHE session I planned my lesson with a twist. I was going to 'teach' to bunch of teachers, so it had to be something tasteful and engaging!!!! Here's what a started with: What I wanted these teachers to do with their students having attended my session? I just didn't want them to use the LMS but also wanted them to harvest the power of the internet. I did not want to stand in front of the class and deliver. I guess my goal was, if I can get these teachers to realise that going online wasn't simply just about uploading pdf's, doc files etc and using forum and blog rather it is an opportunity to revisit the pedagogy. And that if you want to harvest the true power there is a bigger change that needs to occur, that is moving away from stand, package and deliver to getting students to co-construct, and making the process a student centred approach. In a nutshell I was planning for a session that would model student centred approach and moving from being a 'teacher' to becoming a 'facilitator'. A socio-constructivist approach.

I was actually delighted to see the feedback after the session. Reading the feedback off people's blog was the first thing I did. I got the attendees to reflect on the whole session:

  • What did you think of the session?

  • What did you learn?

  • What did you think was the role of the 'teacher' in this session?

  • What improvements would you recommend to this session?

Here are some of the feedback I got:

Participant 1:

"Getting directly into moodle use with Vickel. An interesting session that was crammed full of great ideas for social engagement of students. In this session I find myself continually refining my knowledge of what moodle can achieve, and how to go about many of the tasks I need.

I found other people's ideas and 'take' on quizzes, wikis and lessons of considerable interest as these are newer areas for me. I would particularly like to see a lot more ideas on quizzes, and I am confident that we will get many more resources than we can cope with from Vickel, and the moodle community.

Thanks Vickel, I will have a lot more questions for you, that was a good session despite the crimp on time."

Participant 2:

What I thought of today's session
Very interesting and interactive session by Vickel in the afternoon.

What I have learned
This was my first interaction with much of this material and much of what I heard and saw was very useful and informative.

The role of the "teacher" in today's session
The role of the coach was well demonstrated - particularly in the afternoon where the session time was shortened.

Participant 3:

  • The session was good and very creative. The course materials were well prepared.

  • I learned things I never learnt before in this IT era.

  • The teacher's role in this session should be a facilitator as well as tutor simultaneously.

Participant 4:

The session was very good....... but would like to have much more time.... Double the time!
Have learned many uses in Moodle, improvements have experienced so much.
A facilitator who has been able to sped up the hic-cups where at reached barriers, sped easily to find the useful tips.
Improvements.... constantly yearly updates.... more such workshops.

Talking to a colleague before the session, I stated that if I walked out of the session with 1 person identifying my role as a facilitator I would say the session was a success. The word facilitator poured through the feedbacks I had received.

It was an awesome experience for me. I enjoyed the interaction and discussions we had. I am especially proud of the fact that attendees really enjoyed the learner centred approach :-) and also identified some positives, like "This afternoon I had trouble with dead mouse and missed logon. However as we worked in group it didn't matter. While we were working in groups teacher had opportunity to show me how to log in or catch up.".