Sunday, 1 March 2015

ICT4RED Teacher Professional Development: Gallery Walk and Field Trip (Module 8&9)


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Submitted by Hlengiwe Mfeka
The ICT4RED project is a ground-breaking project which contributes to the improvement of rural education through technology-led innovation.  Teachers in this project need to ‘earn’ their tablets by attending all trainings (10 Modules) and to submit set homework in the Teacher Professional Development (TPD). Gallery Walk teaching strategy involved creating a Gallery Walk session in a classroom, using social media platforms to participate in online discussions as an example.  Another activity that was important in this module is how a professional learning community works and how it can be a teaching strategy applicable in a classroom.  Teachers highlighted that some of the exhibits like phishing and digital identities were things not to be overlooked as a lot of people have been victims of such things.

The eighth and ninth module were conducted in Queenstown at Get Ahead College on 21 February 2015. The training was also attended by visitors from Rhodes University (lectures and students) CSIR Ethnographic Researcher, student from London researching about the project, Cofimvaba district officials and not forgetting a news reporter for Queenstown local newspaper Daily Rep.
Some of the teachers were there long before the start of the training, which was an indication of their level of eagerness and enthusiasm for their training. They are getting more and more at ease using their devices. Initially, they used to ask a lot when they were asked to use certain applications that has decreased a lot meaning that they are now familiar with using their devices. Due to the weather which was threatening to rain, it was decided that facilitators start with the Field trip which was originally planned to be done in the afternoon.

Teachers enjoyed themselves a lot, they said they felt young at heart as they ran around, climbed trees and even rode young children's plastic scooters, rushing from one point to the other guided by the activity sheets they got from facilitators which had a stipulated time. In the process they realised that they were learning something as they gave feedback during debriefing with their facilitators. They also mentioned that they learned a lot about the school surroundings. They were mostly fascinated by the QR codes which was something really new to them. They also learnt that the strategy encouraged a good team work as they had to work together to accomplish the tasks given to them. Arguments were another interesting factor when coming to group competitions, they do that in a very controversial but constructive way which promotes their critical thinking skills.

Gallery Walk teaching strategy involved creating a Gallery Walk session in a classroom, using social media platforms to participate in online discussions as an example. Another activity that was important in this module is how a professional learning community works and how it can be a teaching strategy applicable in a classroom. Teachers highlighted that some of the exhibits like phishing and digital identities were things not to be overlooked as a lot of people have been victims of such things.

As the visitors were moving around, they were so impressed about the efforts made by facilitators in trying to deliver the content and transferring skills to trainees, they outdone themselves during the training, they all pitched to a high note.
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All facilitators commended the pre-training sessions they always have before each module facilitation, they go to the training sessions well-prepared knowing exactly what to do.
Teachers’ progress with the badges indicates that they are so determined to try their outmost best to make the project a success and to acquire all the challenge badges in record time.
25/02/2015

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