Guest Jeff Plaman from United World Colleges of South East Asia in Singapore gave the keynote speech and raised issues such as what do you do with a student who has an extreme talent in one area e.g. computer programming?, ideas for which from the audience and Jeff included: techxpert (resource to teach teachers and students); developing other academic areas through his interest; sourcing and encouraging opportunities outside the classroom through tolls such as Open Source Initiative; Stanford Online; Harvard Online; Coursera; EdX etc. He stressed the importance of developing agency by letting students find the problem in their learning and then the solution to that problem. He saw his role as providing an uncomfortable but safe environment that challenges them; providing frameworks and suggesting resources; and coaching them through their learning by asking the right questions. He challenged us to create opportunities for student agency; leverage local resources and be learners.
The day took a great learning format. The format of the morning was a SlamDunk session. We choose three topics we wanted to know more about (out of a choice of about 12) and then joined tables at which a presented introduced us to that topic in 20 minutes, after which we moved on to our new topic. Throughout we were encouraged to share our learning through the Tekhin Google Plus Community, twitter and anywhere else we felt relevant. One of the organisers described this as a form of bubble blowing, depicting snippets of learning as bubbles which if not captured through media would float away and disappear. Alternatively, the captured form of bubbles are blown through cyberspace creating visual bubbles of learning for us and others.
My first slamdunk, looking at how to supercharge formative assessment with technology, was my favourite, building on theories of two of my favourite educators, Dylan Wiliam and John Hattie. The presenter (Jeff Plaman) introduced some strategies (questioning, screencasting and feedback) and sites that could be used for this. For example:
- Mentimeter allows you to create and distribute polls easily. Useful way of questioning and assessing students understanding. Good for identifying potential conceptual misunderstandings through the use of hinge questions.
- Socrative has a built in exit ticket option. Allows you to check students' understanding about your lesson and adapt your future planning.
- Screencasting allows you to capture metacognition. Allows you to capture the process not just the product. You can record, through visuals and audio, students thinking about what they are doing or have done. Tip: be explicit about the thinking you want them to display. A tool for this is snagit. This also links directly to Drive.
- Feedback. Using the suggest function on google docs. Using movenote which videos feedback so you or peers can make feedback more alive.
Sadly, I was not able to stay for the afternoon, in which there were two sessions with a variety of workshops to choose from. But I am keeping up to date with it through the community. It's great to see this kind of community being created between international schools.