Great feedback from Gabriela Grossek on her workshop with teachers. Fascinating – and sad – when you read her descriptions of living and teaching in rural areas. Especially the contrast with the state-of-the-art stuff being done by teachers in towns.
WORKSHOP ‘TACCLE 2 – A PROJECT FOR YOUR CLASS’
Improving the quality of your teaching with technology (web 2.0 tools)
28 September on a location in West University of Timisoara (first floor, 028 lab, Parvan building)
For whom. The aim of the workshop was to promote to teachers the TACCLE project, who want to improve their knowledge about web 2.0 tools in their activities and learn e-learning skills.
About the workshop. The practical workshop will present you the two TACCLE projects, and the use of the tools presented on the project website in order to better understanding the use of such tools in class. You will learn about how to use the activities in your class. And of course you will discover that technology, especially web 2.0 tools is an effective and borderless communication / collaboration / creative and sharing tool.
Further information and applying (deadline). If you want to know more about this workshop please send us an email. It is free! If there are any further questions after having read the extended call, feel free to contact us by phone.
Gabriela Grosseck, Email:ggrosseck [at] socio [dot] uvt [dot] ro, Tel: 0256-592266
We would like to add something else, which we think is very important, in order to to have a broader view of the current state of the art of using ICT in education in Romania.
– The results of the workshop don’t reflect the reality for the urban areas (as I mentioned was only an exercise with a small group of teachers nearby Timisoara). There is a real gap between rural and urban education system infrastructure and motivation. In town and cities almost every school have labs (equipped with computers of last generations, videoprojectors, smartboards, printers, scanners, video and photo cameras and licensed software and also e-learning software) and Internet connections with a higher speed than most of the European countries (let’s not forget that Romania is on the second place in the world and now it’s among the three countries in Europe who will adopt 4G). Wi-fi spots, routers – too.
– Regarding the use of Smartboard – there is a national trend to use this device in classes mainly because of safety and privacy reasons. The parents were asking of using them in order to overcome the barrier of Internet safety and security, especially for the primary education.
– Generally – the ICT teachers are very well prepared for using e-learning in their curriculum (not only how to teach ICT but using ICT for others disciplines) – which is reflected in the fact that Romania won every year International competitions on computer science.
– We also can provide raw materials (links to schools / discipline sites / teachers’ blogs; ebooks etc.) on using Web 2.0 in education at all levels and ranging from music to math – even sports (the teachers use wikis, blogs, presentation tools like photopeach, prezi, glogster, voicethread, animation, video-sharing tools and sites, mindmapping, comics tools etc.).
– Also there is a national policy of introduction e-books in education (started with kindergarten), to substitute the printed manuals. The Ministry of Education in partnership with the Ministry of Communication want to provide each pupil with a tablet.
– In the last 3 years in Romania there are several projects under Structural Found by EU, training teachers from preuniversitary education in different areas, including using ICT in education (in each county).
– The language, unfortunately is a barrier not only to preuniversitary education but for academics too. Romania is a latin country and most of the teachers know French (or Russian, for the age above 40). There are some solutions to this problem: for e.g. send teachers to learn English .
However, the general trend of using ICT in education is an optimistic one. With good results, too.
The ws took place on 28 September, at University, lab 028, first floor.
At the workshop there were only 28 participants. Even we put flyers and send emails to heads of the schools to announce the ws we couldn’t gather more teachers, mainly due to the following reasons:
– There was a summer holiday (school ends on 15 June and begins on 15 Sept)
– Being the beginning of the new year the teachers were very busy preparing the entrance of their kids in the school.
There were 2 male and 26 female teachers. From 28 persons 4 were kindergarden teachers, the rest were teaching at the gymnasium (stop at the age of 14 years). 4 were from the rural areas. The average age was 42.
Participants had different specialization: from math to religion, sport or geography, foreign languages or music, covering almost all areas of study.
After presenting a short overview of Taccle1 (with a hard copy of the book circulating among participants) and the Taccle2, we discussed about the use of the technology in their classes / schools: what online tools they use, educational software, materials, guides, ebooks etc. The main issue raised by the participants was the lack of the equipment or the fact that what exist is very old. Also there is no Internet in the villages.
With some exceptions there was no major interest in applying ICT in their classes. Even we have at national level an e-learning programme called AEL – Advanced Elearning (in their opinion) confused them more than helped. The was no knowledge about the notion of Web 2.0 or social media. Only a fifth of the participants have Facebook accounts. Not a single person have heard of Twitter. They intensively rely on Yahoo email (with a single exception who use Gmail).
They have computers at home, but not all of them connected at the Internet. They rely on the school connection to send and receive emails. As a general rule – the participants didn’t have any particular experience in using web tools. Some of them took some extra ICT courses – but long time ago. And they were not satisfied about the quality of such courses, focusing more on technical problems rather than pedagogical.
They don’t have computers in their classes. If they want to use they have to go in the school ICT labs. Only 3 participants had a class with computers (2 English teachers and physics) – explaining some nature phenomenon. In the kindergarten and primary schools they prefer to use Smartboard, There were actually a lot of questions about this device, ranging from price to games.
The use of web tools can be seen in 90% of the cases in the urban areas (especially big cities). The teachers who want and actually do use e-learning in their activities are ICT teachers, sciences (math, physics or chemistry) and English teachers.
We presented the activities posted on the site and discussed some of them (e.g. the literacy). A difficulty task because we had to translate into Romanian every single activity. The general feedback was that even there is a motivation to try its there also is a fear due to the lack of knowledge and weak technological skills. The general idea was: “I’m afraid to use it! How can I? I don’t know how to record a file! Or increase the volume of a mic!”
However, they express the will to try at least one exercise – but they said clearly: the language is a barrier! So, the general remark was; “if there will be a Romanian book with step-by-step guide on how to use educational activities then I’ll think again”. Also they express the opinion of a Romanian page of the project to attract people on the website.
That’s why I collect their comments in Romanian and tried to translate them in English. Also I posted on the taccle2 web-site on their behalf only with the first name. They don’t want to post anything on the project site. Didn’t motivate, only raised their shoulders.
However, the workshop last 3 hours, was a very good exercise to get in touch with teachers.
We want to try in the near future with the Dascali (teachers in Ro) community from Facebook, a larger one formed by teachers from all over the country.
The workshop ends with in a promising mood of understanding that digital technologies are an everyday part of life of our students that cannot be avoided, and the Taccle2 project will help to explore the ways in which they can be used in schools. We tried to stress the relevance of web 2.0 tools for schools, and suggest ways to develop new, more relevant pedagogies, particularly for social learning, literacy, and literate practices. With a practical focus, the examples and issues explored in the 5 books developed under the Taccle2 umbrella will help teachers to analyze their own practices and to carry out their own small-scale teaching projects.
SOME participants comments
Didn’t try with Google Earth but with Google Maps. The main difficulty was the fact that pupils don’t have Gmail addresses. But the line of the exercise is good especially for geography lessons and civics. I think it can works with literature and history too.
GROWN UPS COULDN’T SPELL EITHER!
None of the teachers’ participant at the Ws had a Twitter account. Few have Facebook. But with some exceptions they have yahoo emails!
Even it’s very attractive it can be done only by English teachers. Also the age of the kids has to be greater than 8.
Great activity! Since we don’t use comics book I changed to the favourite magazine (there are a lot of kids magazines at newspapers kiosks to sell and the kids really love them).
Creaza isn’t so easy to use as it says (maybe I’m lacking at the technological level – because I need help from the school technician).
I coudn’t use the engine Wolfram Alpha because the results were in English. First: I don’t know English; second: even if I knew it took too much time to translate the results in Romanian.
READING RECITALS – (we tried a short test, in a lab with all the participants). The install of the Audacity software and use it is actually a problem for the majority of teachers; they do not know how to increase the volume of a microphone!
Love it! Simple, easy to use! tried to explain animals in a farm.
We have only an old camera, a Cannon one at the kindergarten (wish to have some special photo camera for children, but we don’t have any money to buy it). We gave the camera to each child for about an hour “to be a reporter of the hour”. After a week every child could complete the task. They were very pride and happy. Next week we download all the pictures into a computer and made a Picassa album. In front of the computer, looking at the pictures on the screen, they have to choose the first place, and the second and the third. What was interesting was the fact they actually were very good critics, telling and in some case showing why they like a picture. On a separate paper sheet (very big – like a flipchart) they gave stars to each pictures for 3 pictures they liked. Was fun but have to find another time slot to do this activity – took too much time (a week, since my class is actually big, with more than 30 kids).
KINDLES FOR KIDS
Sounds interesting and …valuable for a class. Unfortunately couldn’t dream of it – not to try it! A Kindle is very expensive. I am rural teacher and the price for this device it’s a month salary of a parent. The school can’t afford to buy it, either.
I don’t have a mic on the school so I use the mobile. But it took me ages to download it from the mobile to computer. And centuries to make a narration. No kidding. So I drop it and use the old photopeach app which is more comfortable to use it.
Glogster and Photopeach are my favorite apps. After I came to university, at a master I learnt about the educational part of the Glogster and what are the benefit for pupils.
I want to try all of them, but really Nintendo Wii? Android? iPAd? Tablet? Kindle? This is SF for my kids and their parents! I have a kid who came from 6 km to school every single day / with no electrical current at home – and this is happen in Romania of third millennium! Unbelievable, but that’s reality! And suppose the God of technology come from Digital Heaven and give me every tool I want – what about my language? I know only French! (my Russian is a little bit rusty).
TWITTER ROLE PLAY
I learnt today what Twitter is. Sounds exotic. Do you think I have chances to do this in my class when I am not confident enough in using this microblogging site on my own?
I can imagine myself using Prezi after a proper training (I am not a visual person). But I can’t imagine using it with kids. Does anyone have a real experience who wants to share step-by-step?