First 5-day IWB course in Comenius Project Tabula Alba
On behalf on TELLConsult, having been invited by the project coordinators of the Comenius Regio Project Tabula Alba
to develop and run the professional development programme on the integration of IWB into classroom teaching, most of my time in November was spent on preparing a first 5-day 'IWB in Education-workshop' planned to be run in Opole in Poland.
As we (the coordinators and myself) did somehow not come round to properly define the specifications for the contents of the programme I suggested to adapt the questionnaire I used for the needs analysis in the EU SmartVET project to collect data from the registered participants (n=16) that would help to at least plan this first session.
As this intake brought a high level of heterogenity to light in various respects (access to & teaching experience with IWB, brands and number of IWBs available in the workplace, IWB board + software skills , school subjects expertise) we could in time adapt the course design to accomodate this wide variety in needs.
I decided to use a VLE to facilitate the digest of task instructions and exploration of resources in small and -where relevant- subject-oriented groups. Tasks were redesigned so as to better allow execution at various levels of IWB know-how and interest. Also IWB-board specific information and resources were made available.
Then in the course of the first day it became clear that more adaptations were needed as also participants' roles in education and their EFL levels appeared to vary greatly from grass roots practitioner to school principal and including other roles such as ICT/IWB expert and project coordinator.
To try and meet this challenge we further reduced the number and length of plenary presentations and instructions in English.
Also two participants were kind enough to provide instant oral translations at plenary moments and produce written language versions of relevant documents, (e.g the online evaluation questionnaire) so they could be digested in pairs or small, language groups, referred to earlier.
Although the evaluation results showed that for most participants the course met their expectations:
we plan to discuss the implications of our observations below with the coordinators to contribute to the further development of this EU regional project.
Rretrospectively, we conclude that the main challenges, from an instructional point of view, include:
- the differences in culture, attitude and skills related to (independent) learning in teacher professional development activities and active participation in live course activities
- the language issue that reduced, if not prevented, the effectiveness of relevant moments for in-service teacher learning based on presenting task results, discussing resource analysis and sharing peer observations of video registrations of class room teaching and live micro-teaching.
- And, more in general, the 'lost in translation issue' affecting many other course activities