Unit 1 - Introduction to interactive teaching and the use of ICT

Session 1.2 - Introduction to interactive teaching with ICT

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Learning intentions and objectives.
In this session you will learn about:

  • the cycle of ongoing reflective practice (plan - teach - reflect) and how this can be used to improve planned interactive teaching activities, and
  • an activity on how to use a netbook to open a web browser.

Success criteria.
To meet the learning intentions you will:

  • use a netbook to open a web browser and induct students in the process before the next session, and
  • reflect on this activity (and revise, if necessary) to ensure maximum interaction from students.

ICT components.
The ICT components you will focus on are:

  • Netbook familiarisation: Switching on, logging in, opening a web browser.

Classroom based activities (with your students, after this session):

  • You will try the same activity in the classroom, introducing your students to the netbooks.


1 Review of follow-up activities from last session

Educator note

If you are running a professional learning programme which follows these sessions in sequence, then you should do the review of follow-up activities relating to the previous session (What is interactive teaching). The 'review of follow-up activities' for that session is available here, and also shown below in the session text. However, if you are following selected sessions in a different order, then you should use the reflection appropriate to the previous session you did.

The review of the follow-up activities for this session (to be done at the start of the next session) is available here.

Sharing your reflections through:

Activity icon.png Whole group reflection (10 min) on brainstorm in the classroom. As a group discuss the following:

  • What was the objective of the new activity?
  • How was the activity interactive?
  • How do you think the activity went? In particular, how did learners respond?
  • How did you integrate the activity with the rest of the lesson?
  • What would you change if you taught this again?

2 The cycle of Plan-Teach-Reflect

Educator note

In this section, we introduce a key tool for this programme which we call “The cycle of plan - teach - reflect” (Plan-Teach-Reflect(a)). What this means is that in our professional learning, we progress by planning (e.g.) an activity. We then do this activity in the classroom, and then reflect on the activity (either on our own, with a colleague, or in a group). You can read more about the idea of "Plan-Teach-Reflect(a)".

Sometimes we capture these reflections. The simplest way to capture reflections is on paper. These can easily be shared. Because this involves extra work (e.g. done after a lesson), teachers can be reluctant to do so, and if you ask them to make notes, you may not actually get anything back. It can be helpful to give teachers some prompts that will remind them to reflect.

It is important to make very concrete plans with the teachers as to when they will be using their activities. We would strongly recommend that teachers decide on a particular day / lesson / class when they will trial an activity.

Also, arrange with the teachers when they will reflect. For instance, agree that the teachers will reflect immediately after the lesson. It is a common pattern for teachers to set the class quiet work. While we do not necessarily encourage this as a good use of lesson time, it is an opportunity for a teacher to quickly write down some reflections. So, if a series of interactive activities is followed by some individual work, the teacher could use that time to make some notes using the reflective questions provided.

The participants will plan an activity (such as brainstorming) in pairs. Explore whether it is possible for these two teachers to observe each other doing the brainstorm with their class. That is to say, is it possible for one teacher to set their class some work to enable the other teacher to observe? In principle, this should only take about 15 minutes, so do explore whether this can be done. We will come back to this in the next session.

As a facilitator, discuss these ideas with the participants, and make concrete plans for when the activities take place (together with peer observation), and when the associated reflection takes place.

We suggest that rather than reading the text below to, or with, the participants, you just draw attention to the diagram and explain the contents to the participants. Make sure that they understand the reflective questions provided. How do you know whether they have understood these questions? For instance, you could check whether participants can give concrete examples.

Plan-teach-reflect.png

Activity icon.png Introduction (10 min) to the cycle of ongoing reflective practice. Here we introduce the cycle of ongoing reflective practice in the context of doing a brainstorm activity. By following this cycle, you will gradually refine your classroom activities so that over time they become more interactive activities, providing better opportunities for students to learn more deeply.

  • Part 1: Plan an interactive activity, such as brainstorming;
  • Part 2: Teach using the activity, bearing in mind the learning objective;
  • Part 3: Reflect on how the activity went, first on your own and then with a colleague and perhaps a wider group;
  • Revise plan and repeat cycle.

For reflecting on an activity, it is useful to have questions to guide the reflection. For example, the following questions could be used to guide reflection:

  • What did the children get out of the activity? How can you tell?
  • How did you (as the teacher) find out what the children learned / thought about the activities / got out of them?
  • What did you (as the teacher) get out of it?
  • Did you find it difficult?
  • What would you do differently next time?
  • Did the activity allow students to meet the learning objective that it was designed to address?

We will use this cycle in the following section to refine a brainstorm activity.

3 Classroom assistants

Educator note

The notion of classroom assistants needs to be discussed at school level, and you may encounter resistance. However, it will be very beneficial to the smooth running of activities if some arrangement with classroom assistants can be made, especially if the programme has already been running in a previous year (in some grades, but not the whole school, and some students are thus familiar with netbooks).

If this is the first year that you are running the programme, you may want to consider running a computer club, which helps some students to learn about netbooks quickly, with a view to them helping out in lessons.


How do you think an older child (e.g. grade 8 or 9) could help in a grade 5 class? In some innovative European schools, cross- or multi-grade teaching takes place, not out of necessity, but because it makes pedagogical sense. Older students can benefit from having to explain things to younger students, while younger students may surprise older students with how they think about things.

Sometimes a student can even explain something better to peers than the teacher can! In Unit 3, Session 1 (video: new Abel clip 4), we saw how Abel solicited the help of two older boys in his mixed age (11-16) class when he himself had had difficulty in helping a group of students to understand how to find 'area' and 'perimeter' of a rectangle using GeoGebra software.

In an African context, many schools operate in two (or more) shifts. This might mean that (e.g.) Grade 5 is taught in the morning, while Grade 7 is taught in the afternoon. This situation, born out of necessity, could be turned around to really benefit teaching and learning at your school. This week, we are asking you to conduct an experiment to see whether this can work at your school. In your homework today, we suggest that you each try to recruit two or three “classroom assistants” from a higher grade to help you with teaching in your grade.

Activity icon.png Whole class dialogue (10 min): Discussion about classroom assistants. Here are some points that you need to discuss:

  • What is the benefit of this to your class?
  • What do you need to discuss with the head teacher before you can recruit some students from a higher grade to help? How often is it reasonable for the older students to come?
  • What is the benefit for the higher grade students? What incentive is needed for those students to want to come and help in your class? How can you make sure that those students stay engaged in the programme? For instance, you might want to set up a “computer club” for those Grade 8 and 9 students who help out in the lower grades.
  • How will the parents of those students react to this? What do you (or the headteacher) need to say to those parents? Do you need to write a letter, that can be given to the parents?

4 ICT practice: Netbook familiarisation

Educator note

The following activity, as with other activities in later sessions, assumes that you have some computers, netbooks, or tablets[-]netbooks[Z]...[K]XO laptops[R]...[S]...[U]...[G] available. If you have other forms of ICT available, you could use those instead. In future sessions, we will use internet browsing, spreadsheets and GeoGebra (among other applications), so if you doing the OER4Schools programme with ICT, then it's important that you have access to these.

If you are doing the programme without ICT, you can skip this part, and instead spend longer on the other activities in this session.

Activity icon.png Same-task group work (20 min): Practical activity exploring computers, netbooks, or tablets. Here is a technology[-]a netbook[Z]...[K]an XO laptop[R]...[S]...[U]...[G] familiarisation activity that you can use with your students. Spend some time working through the activity yourself now and think about how your students will respond to it. Make sure that you can answer all of the questions.


Netbook familiarisation activity

small group of pupils working with a netbook computer

Take the school netbooks to your class - making sure that they are carried and used according to the rules set by the school.

The pupils work in mixed ability groups (with computers distributed evenly). Groups do not need to progress at the same speed: There will be faster groups and slower groups. However, the faster groups should be helping the slower groups. If a fast group has managed to do something, their task is to split up and help others to reach the same stage!

Activity:

  1. Exploration of turning on a computer. Allow pupils to figure out how to turn them on (find the power button). The pupils should be discussing this in the groups. Encourage them, e.g. by making analogies with other electrical devices. If they are stuck, first show one group and then ask that group to show others. When they have managed to turn on the computers, they should observe what happens; the login screen comes up. Remember that faster groups should help slower groups.
  2. Exploration of the login screen. Ask groups: What do you need to do next? What do the parts of the netbook do? Can you give names to the parts? Give them plenty of time to discover and press things on the netbook (with the password screen up), without telling them. They can’t really break anything if they are careful. Let them help each other and discuss with each other what they are finding out.
  3. Logging in. When groups have figured out how to type text, tell one group about the username and password, and see whether they can enter them. When they have managed to do so, they should immediately help other groups to reach the same stage.
    1. username: classroom
    2. password: student
  4. Exploration of the desktop. They now need to apply their new knowledge: “click” on “username” classroom, and “enter” the “password” student. They now see the desktop. When a group is ready to move to the next stage, the teacher demonstrates how to open a web browser (to that group). Ask the students to do the same. Again, the students find out what happens. Don’t worry if they can’t open the web browser - let them try to open whatever applications they like. After a while, repeat the instructions about opening a web browser to the same group. Again, get the groups to help each other how to open the browser. They should immediately share anything they find out with the whole class.

This activity is an example of enquiry-based learning, which we will cover in much greater detail later in the OER4Schools programme.

You can print this content on a separate sheet here: OER4Schools/Netbook familiarisation.

[-]...[Z]...[K]


XO familiarisation activity

Take the school XO's to your class - making sure that they are carried and used according to the rules set by the school.

The pupils work in mixed ability groups (with computers distributed evenly). Groups do not need to progress at the same speed: There will be faster groups and slower groups. However, the faster groups should be helping the slower groups. If a fast group has managed to do something, their task is to split up and help others to reach the same stage!

Activity:

  1. Exploration of turning on a computer. Allow pupils to figure out how to turn them on (find the power button). The pupils should be discussing in the groups. Encourage them e.g. by making analogies with other electrical devices. If they are stuck, show one group, and ask that group to show others. When they have managed to turn on the computers, they should observe what happens: when XO is being opened for the first time, you have to login by writing your name. Remember that faster groups should help slower groups.
  2. Exploration of the login screen. Ask groups: What do you need to do next? What do the parts of the XO do? Can you give names to the parts? Give them plenty of time to discover and press things on the XO, without telling them. They can’t really break anything if they are careful. Let them help each other and discuss with each other what they are finding out.
  3. Exploration of XO Activities. They now need to apply their new knowledge: They now see different activities in sugar user interface. When a group is ready to open a chosen activity, the teacher demonstrates how to open an acticity (to that group). Ask the students to do the same. In XO activities, it is easier to any one opening an activity, no one can fail to open it. They should immediately share anything they find out with the whole class.

This activity is an example of enquiry-based learning, which we will cover in much greater detail later in the OER4Schools programme.

You can print this content on a separate sheet here: OER4Schools/XO familiarisation.

[R]...[S]...[U]...[G]

Here is a Zambian teacher's experience of introducing netbooks to her class:

The netbook familiarisation was impressive. Each and every pupil participated fully. What was more impressive was the fact that some of the pupils were very much acquainted with the computers. They can open, they can play games, they are also able to type, they are able to close. So they were able to help others. Of course this no go without challenges. Some pupils had never seen computers before. Nor touch them. So it was difficult for them. However, after being helped, they found it so interesting that they did not want to stop. Just look forward to working with them once again.


While participants learn about their own use of ICT, it is really important that participants are aware of their own learning process. While they are learning about ICT, participants should think about how they could engage their students in the same learning process.

This of course could apply to learning anything new, but in the context of the OER4Schools programme, ICT is likely to be a completely new skill, so it's particularly important to bring awareness to the process.

Educator note

Each participant should log in and out several times. If they just do it once (or even just watch once), they will not remember. How difficult do they find typing at this stage? How difficult will your students find it? Encourage discussion about this during this part of the session.

5 Netbook use at Chalimbana

Activity icon.png Whole class dialogue (10 min): On netbook use at Chalimbana. Discuss issues of using the netbooks in class. You should also discuss a procedure for using the netbooks, given below. Discuss: Why do we get students to collect the netbooks? What is the role of the hand-washing station?

Please remember to get about 8 students to collect:

  • the netbooks (18)
  • the box of mice
  • the hand-washing station
  • the watering cans

Note:

  • The chargers are to remain in the lab, and the netbooks should be used on battery.
  • The students who return the equipment at the end of the day should put the netbooks on charge. It should always be the same students who return the equipment, so that it is handled properly.
  • Strictly no use of the student netbooks outside these times.

6 ICT-use agreement

Activity icon.png Whole class dialogue (30 min): On ICT-use agreement. Discuss and develop a fair use policy.

Educator note

An example for teacher lab notices is available here. You do not have to arrive at exactly the same agreement, but your own agreement might contain some of the same items.

7 Follow-up activities

Activity icon.png Agreeing follow up activities. (5 min).

Part A: Netbook familiarisation. Introduce the class to the netbooks during one of your lessons. Netbooks should be run on battery. The activity is described in a separate classroom worksheet at the end of the unit. You should have this in front of you when you run the activity.

Part B: Classroom assistants. In another lesson this week, we would like you to try to recruit two or more “classroom assistants” to help the younger children with a specific activity, either ICT-based or not. Reflect (using your dictaphone) on whether/how that was useful from your perspective, and what the students’ own reactions were?

Educator note

In the next session, these follow-up activities will be reviewed. If you are using this session on its own, you can have a look at the review of follow-up activities here.


Educator note

At the end of each session, we provide an overview of the activities in this session, together with their suggested timings. Although this appears at the end of the session (for technical reasons), you should keep an eye on this throughout the session, to make sure that you are pacing the workshop session appropriately!

Total time: 95 (min)

Activities in this session:

  • Whole group reflection (10 min) on brainstorm in the classroom.
  • Introduction (10 min) to the cycle of ongoing reflective practice.
  • Whole class dialogue (10 min): Discussion about classroom assistants.
  • Same-task group work (20 min): Practical activity exploring computers, netbooks, or tablets.
  • Whole class dialogue (10 min): On netbook use at Chalimbana.
  • Whole class dialogue (30 min): On ICT-use agreement.
  • Agreeing follow up activities.(5 min).

If you have printed this session for offline use, you may also need to download the following assets: