On the weekend of October 10 and 11th the Professional Development programme for the Western Cape Grade 1 and Grade R teachers reached Module 4 (Learning Stations) and Module 7 (Xbox Kinect and Games in the Classroom). The workshops were held at The Metro East District offices in Kuils River, Cape Town.
Day 1 – Module 4 – Learning Stations
At the start of the workshop Rodney Nissen, the facilitator asked teachers to reflect on how they have been using their own teacher tablets since the last workshop. A synopsis of positive, negative and interesting was compiled. The positives were that learners were very excited about the tablet. One of the teachers noted that the most positive aspect was that they had been given their own tablet and this had been a surprise bonus. Another real positive was the rapid growth they had felt in their own technology skills. Teachers also voiced the feeling that they felt extremely positive and encouraging vibes during the training sessions.
The negatives that were of concern, related to management issues at one school where the school leadership was not supporting the teachers by allowing them to become familiar with their own tablets or in fact to take full ownership. Two teachers were very sad to be moving schools and leaving the project. There was also a feeling that the collection of evidence for badges had been very time consuming. Teachers were grateful for the chance to voice their concerns.
The interesting aspects were that teachers had noticed how hungry for knowledge the learners had become with the use of the tablet. Delegates were informed that the photo of Temperance Town learners from Bianca Bayer’s class had been used on the home page of the project website. The photo showed them recording their voices on a Monday morning, reporting on their weekend feedback to Mr Tablet.
Module 4 is all about using Learning Stations. This is a classroom management concept that is already widely used in primary schools. The teacher plans different activities to happen around the classroom and allow for learners to have a variety of experiences. The teachers could think of plenty of examples that they are already using and listed them in a brainstorm. These included corners for: art, reading, Maths, fantasy, building blocks, acting, clay or play dough. Teachers even included some examples from previous modules of the Learning Gains programme such as storytelling and problem-solving. However, teachers soon started to consider new activities that included digital options. This is what the rest of the module was about. Teachers accesssed many other apps and games to try out as potential digital learning stations in their classrooms. These included: Aldiko ebook reader, CupCake Maker, Native Audio, video player and an origami tutoring. One group also made a water pump out of straws. Each group then demonstrated and shared what they had learnt at their station and reflected on their experiences by using the Learning Stations Evaluation in Kingsoft office on their tablets.