2nd reflection on course 12470-00001 facilitation

一个星期又过去了,这一周的线上交流活动在开始前主要做了两项更动,一是将廿四小时的规则从行动转为常态;二是将当周话题从一周延长至两周,即取消帖子D的活动。

这一周我观察到只有三位老师有“动静”,所以便给其余的老师发了电邮问候一下情况。一位老师病了,一位老师家中出了点状况,其余的老师都正好碰上学校里一周特忙,绝对可以理解和体会。想到这里,应该探讨是否24小时较不适合在职教师的作息,或许48小时会精神压力没那么大? something to think about and tweak during the next round in october.

此时脑海里早已开始筹备下星期三我们见面时要聊的内容了。重点是回顾与总结这一个月来的经验。当然还是得谈谈 SDL、CoL、ICT的问题,毕竟是这门课的主要课题。希望老师们能接受没有“定案”的分享。最后一块就是延续这门课的交流部分,即第二门课Studio和CoP的事了。

希望接下来一周交流空间与反思园地的活动能持续直到我们再度见面为止 (:

cultural forum

the next cultural forum (aka 精品文化论坛), co-organised by sccl and ci (both belonging to NTU), is coming up on 6th Sep. am preparing for a sharing for the event. will be touching on “Knowledge creation ∙ Education ∙ Information & Communication Technology” and am still in the process of figuring out how to fit everything together for the audience. wish me luck (:

140821-Sep 6 Cultural Forum

reflection on course 12470-00001 facilitation

2 weeks have been put behind for my new Clinic course at SCCL, and today marks the end of the 2nd discussion forum posting (帖子B). my observations for the past 2 weeks are as follows:

1. the 10 teacher participants are highly motivated & on-task, and all of them have shared a lesson example as 帖子B and most of them had reviewed 2 peers’ shared lesson and posted questions and comments. **WELL DONE TEACHERS**

2. content of 帖子B is however missing in focus. while some teachers have highlighted 不满意的地方。But none of these are related to self-directed learning (SDL). it appears that teachers have no issue with carrying out SDL. is this true? why is this so?

3. the discussions were superficial. teachers only agree with each other, and there were no alternative views? why?

4a. i have sent out 2 brief emails (and cross-posted to the DF). for most teachers, i do not know if they have read my email and acted on it.

4b. in a related note, i also do not know how often the teachers were (re)visiting the online discussions. OPAL does not provide details of last login/visit timestamp of participants (which blackboard does).

5. there were multiple technical-related issues. in all, 9 feedback to OPAL helpdesk were sent.

in response to the above observations, i would carry out the following refinements:

for (2), i hypothesise that the instructions in the handout weren’t clear enough. to rewrite instructions in the handout to spell the 2 parts that are expected; hopefully this makes instructions clearer.

for (3), i hypothesise multiple causes. [1], the 1-week interaction cycle may not be long enough for teachers to have multiple answer-reply iterations to dwell deeper into the SDL topic. to overcome this, i will modify the existing plan and try out a 2-week cycle instead. [2], the 24-hours rule is not enforced throughout the entire interaction period; thus teachers may not have caught up with the momentum to have more extensive discussions. to overcome this, i will remove the 廿四小时行动, and extend the ‘game rule’ to be constantly abided throughout the 2-week. [3], teachers only agree with each other, and there were no alternative views. to overcome this, i could perhaps provide some scaffolds on the question types.

for (4a), i would add a line towards the end of the email requesting for read acknowledgement.
for (4b), this is an OPAL design issue, which is beyond my control. i could file another suggestion to OPAL team via OPAL helpdesk.

i hope the above refinements will help to bring discussions to a greater depth so that participants may reach a deeper understanding of the upcoming 协作学习 (collaborative learning, CoL) theme.

reflection photo

flipped classrooms, some thoughts

the idea of “flipping” the classroom is not new (has been hearing it floating around for at least 1-2 yrs now). while different pple may use the “flip” term, different conceptions may exist behind those uses. my understanding of it is this:

1. it removes the didactic teaching of a lesson away from the face-to-face (f2f) lesson
2. the didactic part is replaced by the use of ICT-media online. usually videos as it captures images, animations, and sound nicely all-in-one.
3. students are expected to “learn” from the media posted online
4. with the f2f time freed-up, teachers are able to let students do homework and provide closer (or even 1:1 guidance) for students

the above presented some basic assumptions about teaching and learning:

a. teaching is a didactic activity. this is most often found in schools that implement a lecture (with or without tutorials) system. it’s no wonder flipped classrooms have seen many ‘success’ in higher ed (an example) settings as most of us may recall how useful lectures are, perhaps even from (my) JC days. a replacement of the talking head/person in front of the lecture hall with a video definitely presents multiple opportunities, esp. when you have lecturers who speak too softly, speak too fast, speak too slow, talk about things you can read off texts, or talk about things that have nothing to do with the topic at hand and you are expected to read on your own anyway. video, with the ability to play, replay, fast-forward, is simply a saviour!

a related qn would be: is our current CL classrooms (you may replace CL with any subject u teach) as didactic as a lecture? current teachers, especially the teachers who have walked their practicum journey with me during 2012-2013 would know they would never graduate from NIE if that’s the case. since our classroom practices have already shifted towards more interaction, albeit IRE interactions still exist largely, how much would our students benefit from a flip?

b. teachers post a video of him/herself talking, students watch, and students learn! **WOW** if learning takes place so simply, why do we need teachers stepping into the classrooms at all? just employ a group of “expert teachers” to produce videos, ask students to buy a portable internet-enabled video player, watch the videos, and they will have learnt everything and anything. **WOW** from this perspective, part of the flipped classroom idea takes on an extreme naive assumption of learning. and why does it remind me of educational videos produced by CDIS and played back on Channel 8 some 20-30 yrs ago? or, Sesame Street, anyone?

i would like to also ask: if teachers claim that students are unmotivated during f2f lessons, how motivated would they be to watch/hear you talking to them for an hour or two AFTER SCHOOL? to learn? so, the flip idea appears to require students who are already motivated to learn (for whatever reason(s)) to begin with, isn’t it?

while posting videos appear to be the hype to some when they learnt about the flip idea, it is the f2f time that is the key consideration. WHAT are we going to do now with time supposedly freed up? say, i. let students do more drill-and-practice related to the topic in the video?, ii. engage students in discussion about the topic in the video?, iii. organise students into groups to discuss their ideas about the videos followed by some presentations?, iv. give students enrichment materials related but beyond the scope of the video and do (i) to (iii)?

now, does one realise that (i) to (iv) still presents a largely teacher-centered way of managing learning activities? while there may be group work, the task, the goal, the topic, and the timeline are all determined by teachers. it is still very far away, if not going against our vision to develop 21 century learners, or self-directed (SDL) & collaborative (CoL) learners.

therefore up to this point, any implementation of “flipped classroom” without the use of ICT (an example), or any implementation that does not advance students’ 21cc, especially SDL and CoL with ICT, isn’t good enough for me. these are just age-old practices relabelled to bring some hype. full-stop.

flipped classroom has to service the rethinking about education (e.g. Bereiter, 2002) if we were to ready our students for the knowledge society. blindly jumping onto this bandwagon, or any other to come in future, isn’t going to help.

the power of introverts

Susan Cain’s TED talk in 2012 – The power of introverts

although we may argue that introvert-extrovert is a spectrum, many at times, introverts are expected to perform based on extroverts’ measures. it’s no surprise that fewer introverts are in leadership positions, cos a key mechanism for assessing someone’s suitability for a position is most often, interview. i’m not sure about other introverts, but i am definitely a fish who feels that it is a (monkey) climbing the tree test an interview is to me. Cain (2012) called it the Extrovert Ideal which all of us are expected to perform towards or under (:

2014-08-08-Susan Cain 2012 look inside
[acknowledgement: Amazon Look Inside of Susan Cain's Quiet]