Written by: Nithyashree Murthy
EduTECH Asia 2020 was held online this year due to the pandemic. The conference lasted for 4 days and 2 days prior to that we had the Masterclasses. We had a wide variety of topics and I chose G Suite for Education as one of my Masterclasses. This class was conducted by Georgina Dean who is a Google for Education Certified Trainer.
We focused on how to work with Jamboard and Slides. Jamboard is an interactive whiteboard that gives students a creative space. Jamboards are made for collaboration and students can work in small groups to brainstorm ideas or work on individual jams too. Here is a website link on tips and ideas to use jamboard in the classroom – https://ditchthattextbook.com/jamboard/ Another link with free jam templates is https://ditchthattextbook.com/jamboard-templates/
We also learned the different ways to insert pictures, tables, links, and bitmojis into slides. It was a very interesting and interactive session as we got a chance to try our hand at doing all these activities too.
The second Masterclass I attended was Remote Learning for Early Years by Chris Timms who is an Asst. The headmaster of DUCKS, Dulwich College, Singapore. This was a reflective workshop that focused on how teachers have been handling online lessons, especially for the Early Years students.
We broke into different breakout rooms and filled up our experiences/reflections on online teaching. These were some of the learnings/reflections that we came up with. A sense of belonging and maintaining relationships is important for preschool children. It is important for the children to know that they and their friends are part of the process. Another key learning was the importance of communication and feedback as this is a learning process for teachers, parents, and students.
Parental engagement needs to be high in Early Childhood education as parents need to guide the children now. Many of the apps and technology available target higher levels. Hence one model will not work as a whole but we might have to pick and choose parts that work and make our own model. Virtual assessments are not very effective in the early childhood setting as parents struggle with the parameters and it might not be accurate.
We did not have time to work on all 4 reflection templates. It was an interesting session and we finished off with this very relevant quote by Dr. Sean Coffron as shared by Chris – “Teachers need to remember that they are the most important resource in the classroom, and no computer or piece of technology could ever replace the value of a living and breathing talented educator. This doesn’t change if you are in a virtual classroom without walls.”