I read a joke somewhere that said this pandemic has made something possible in many organizations that the CTOs or the CEOs were not able to bring in effectively - The digitization of operations.
This, beyond being delightful tongue-in-cheek humour has been true on some levels and we can see it happening already. As a Design Teacher for Middle School students, I had been witnessing the brilliance, technology can implant in Teaching and Learning. Learners use technology to unleash their creativity and create innovative presentations to showcase their work every day across disciplines. IB has always emphasized the role of technology in 6 major ways - Investigating, Creating, Communicating, Collaborating, Organizing and Becoming responsible digital citizens.
Now that we have moved on to Virtual Classes, as educators, we too reflect on these aspects, our tech usage practices and policies, as we encounter new challenges.
As an ardent lover of technology, understanding that we live in a VUCA world, this Virtual Learning experience has been a pleasure for me in planning my day-to-day lessons. Any form of learning becomes easy when we understand and prioritize the process. I did the same with my teaching methodology which involved the following steps,
- All the class tasks were posted in the form of Assignments on a learning platform called Edmodo with step-by-step instructions
- Every lesson had a video tutorial explaining how the learners can go about completing their work (here’s the link to my YT Channel)
- A feedback link was shared with the learners for recording their reflections on the task at the end of the class.
This structure helped learners quickly start their tasks during the class and use the time mostly to interact with the teacher to get their doubts clarified and to share their ideas. The most beautiful aspect of virtual learning was the active participation of learners and their regularity in turning in their assignments, thanks to the multitude of tech tools and of course, the enthusiasm of my learners.
As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Here are some snapshots that show you the excellent work done by students in their online assignments. You can view more such amazing work on my Design blog.
How an online Design Assignment looks on Edmodo (A digital classroom management tool connecting Students, Teachers and Parents)
Learning through Games
Thanks to the rich learning environment provided by digital platforms, resource sharing, extended and collaborative learning have become easier than we imagined. Educators and Learners are now able to overcome time constraints and inaccessibility. My learners have resorted to experimentation with new multimedia tools in order to exhibit their works. They have created Podcasts, Video Tutorials, Coding challenges, Robotic/Automation projects, reports etc. and have shared their work with their peers to communicate and collaborate while learning. The beauty of such Tech-integrated learning is the ease of organization and resource management tools that it provides. We use classroom management platforms like Edmodo, Google Meet and Class Dojo to be in touch with our students to clarify their doubts and to give them feedback after evaluating their assignments.
Fabric Logo Design
There was a lot of apprehension about this unit as I teach stitching to students through a digital platform. As our Unit focused on Fabric painting and stitching, our end product was a blend of digital and product design. Careful planning and communication helped me facilitate the class easily and efficiently. The learners were informed a week ahead of the class to get ready with possible materials they can use for this project. Creativity is boosted by flexibility. I followed a flexible approach to support the students in deciding the theme of the logo they wanted to choose, the medium of colours and the type of stitching they wanted to practice. Resources for all these options were also readily available. Hence learners enjoyed the voice and choice they had in this project and were able to submit such brilliant ideas as given below.
It's interesting to see many publishing houses around the world doing their Book launches and Author talks virtually. Tech has made virtual Event Management possible too! Teachers and learners all over the world have been successful in hosting virtual PYP exhibitions, Parent-Teachers conferences, Open Day, Class Assembly, Unit culmination, Graduations and so many celebrations of learning showcased through technology. Our PD practices too were not affected by this andragogical shift in learning as we have access to the tutored and self-tutored courses on many Professional Development platforms. The Zoom meetings hosted by Educators around the world to share best practices, discuss challenges and provide solutions to problems faced by teachers collectively have been of great help too.
While all this happens, there is always that one factor about which we all have to be mindful of- the responsible use of technology. Teachers and learners should also take time to reflect upon their digital habits, information literacy and academic honesty very seriously and strive to be principled IB learners in the global learning community.
Tamizh Ponni, worked as an IB educator in Oakridge International School (Nord Anglia Education), Bengaluru for 7 years. She had played the roles of an ICT facilitator, Tech Coordinator and a Professional Development SPOC for her school. Tamizh also has experience in designing the ICT & Design curriculum for PYP (Primary Years Programme) and the MYP Design Curriculum. Tamizh has a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science Engineering, an MBA in Human Resources and a Masters in English Literature. She has completed her Google Educator Level 1 and Level 2 Certifications and have acquired the Microsoft Innovative Educator badge for conducting School Connect Programmes through Skype on the Microsoft Online Educators Community. Tamizh has also worked closely with teachers and assisted them in creating Action plans and submission of portfolios for the British Council – International School Awards. Tamizh has mentored students for MYP personal Projects and for PYP exhibitions. Tamizh sees Learning as a never-ending process and she believes that with technology integration, it gives an interesting dimension to knowledge acquisition and skill-building. Tamizh has published educational articles on the IBO blog and continuously publishes a variety of stories,paintings and poems on many web magazines. She currently resides in Chennai pursuing her integrated M.Tech PhD course on Data Science.