Senzo Ngcobo and Gerald Roos went off to Kampala again this month to conduct workshops for the second phase in support the Commonwealth Certificate for Teacher ICT Integration (CCTI). The Ministry of Education and Sports in Uganda had invited 68 participants to take part at the Uganda Technology and Management University (UTAMU) in Kampala, Uganda, from February 16-19, 2015.
The First Follow-up workshop was for the purpose of following up on the first course that participants had experienced and to clarify any difficulties teachers might have found. Senzo and Gerald focused on promoting effective collaboration between student teachers.
Joan Talibawo of Shimoni PTC was unable to attend because she was attending workshops in Japan. As a very strong participant she will nevertheless continue with Course 2. SchoolNet members may have already viewed her final assignment video on the SchoolNet YouTube channel here – http://youtu.be/Jz2EaiwrLG8 It is uploaded there because it provides an excellent summary of this first course of the CCTI.
Participants discussed the following issues relating to the successes and challenges if the first course experience:
- Collaboration and communication took place within the school and globally
- Relevance and interest of new skills and content
- Support from their school and MoES
- Professional Learning Networks established – improved opportunities to network globalliy
- Prompt and encouraging feedback from tutor
- Integrating into classroom – active teaching and learning
- Support from their school and MoES (both a challenge and a success)
- Internet access and cost
- Access to reliable technology, video recording
- Time : course volume
- Time management vs workload
- Multi-level student
- Limited familiarity with technical skills: Google Drive, YouTube
- Lack of commitment in collaboration contexts
The Ugandan Ministry had organised a school visit before Senzo and Gerald moved on with the first group who then proceeded to explore the next module there were to study over the next few months. The workshop was largely successful with the exception of extremely slow access rates to the online course materials at cctionline.org. Accessing cctionline.org was not an issue when just a few participants were accessing the site, but when 22 participants and a facilitator were trying to access pages they were taking up to 2-5 minutes to load.
The workshop focus was to look at ways to improve the group cohesion during the lesson activities, especially the group discussions and other collaborative activities. The milestone start dates for each Course 2 lesson were established – from mid – February until April. It was valuable to agree on milestones and participants also gained a better understanding of the course processes during this workshop which will ensure that everyone is able to successfully embark on the second course.
Participants who attended the next course, jointly facilitated by Senzo Ngcobo and Gerald Roos, were embarking on Course 1 of the CCTI (Professional Development with Technology) for the first time and thereafter will proceed to Course 3: Technology-rich Teaching after this course and complete eight courses within two years.
Despite the continuing challenge of very slow access to the cctionline.org site and a number of power supply interruptions this workshop progressed successfully and it was possible to give the participants a good start to the programme. The facilitators stressed the nature of good communication and collaboration and the ways in which participants in the same school groups could support each other; also the way in which the group depended on the input from all other members of the group.
Finally the facilitators would like to express thanks for the technical support services of Abubakir (UTAMU) was highly efficient and valued. The computer room operated on thin client and the servers were not always stable given the regular interruptions in power. Without him the workshop would not have been a success.