Teachers’ Day – A wonderful season (day) of giving. Cards, gifts, chocholates, etc.
This year I received something special from a primary 6 girl whom I never taught before. She gave a stack of CD envelopes. Quite a unique gift. However it was the note attached that gave me a pleasant surprise.
It’s in Chinese. It says,
Dear Mr Kwan,
Although you are not my Chinese language teacher, you improved my oral skills in MSN. Even though my Chinese is still poor, I still wish you a Happy Teachers’ Day!
The fact is when I chatted with Elisa on MSN, I directed her to my Voicethread, in particular the ones on Picture Description and Conversation. I knew Elisa is weaker in Chinese, hence I thought my Voicethreads would be useful for her to listen and practise.
I unknowingly taught a pupil beyond classroom. Perhaps one of the most meaningful gifts I received for Teachers’ Day
Happy Teachers’ Day to educators all over the world!
“But it’s homework!” That’s what your children might insist the next time you catch them blogging on the Internet instead of slogging at their worksheets. And they’d probably be right. There’s no escaping technology in today’s connected world, and Singapore schools are gearing up to give students a head start on the skills and tools they’ll need in a society that values creativity and connectivity.
A nice summary of iCTLT.
Poll Everywhere, a Y Combinator company that launched last Fall, is a service that allows presenters to sidestep these obstacles by taking polls with mobile phones. Instead of using a proprietary device, users simply send a SMS message to a specified number. This data can then be displayed on a dynamic PowerPoint slide, allowing users to watch the results change on the fly.
I just tried and it works in Singapore! Wicked stuff!
From Drape’s Takes,
Of the 21,015 words used in the above post, 21,000 of them have been provided by the following Flickr users…
Amazing stuff. A great visual explanation of what 21st Century Teaching and Learning is.
The first Chinese title I used in this blog. This title is adapted from a Chinese column report in Lianhe Zaobao. I felt this report is an insightful yet controversial one. The columist Mr Gao commented,
- Traditional pen and paper teaching is still the best way to build up strong foundations in subjects like languages, mathematics, sciences and humanities.
- The essence of face-to-face teaching cannot be replicated with teaching in a virtual environment.
- Educators shouldn’t get carried away with excessive use of technology.
Yes, when a great teacher conducts face-to-face teaching, the learning experience is indeed priceless, which is somewhat impossible to achieve using technology.
However, while I agree with some of Mr Gao’s advice, I wonder if Mr Gao has seen how our pupils today learn, especially beyond classrooms and informally. I wonder if Mr Gao noticed the amount of new media children have been exposed to. I wonder if Mr Gao, being a technology columist, has seen how technology can add value, instead of adding gimmicks, to teaching and learning in schools.
Judging from some strong words Mr Gao used in this article, I believed that he has seen some negative examples of how technology has been used in teaching.
Is Mr Gao disllusioned after seeing more education institutions splashing millions on ‘technological white elephants’?
From the Straits Times
Wired Teens = ‘Ant’ writing
Students don’t see need to improve handwriting because of tech tools but teachers hate it
BLAME technology for ‘ants’ – or what teachers call bad teen handwriting.
The Straits Times collected samples from 186 teens aged 13 to 17, which threw up 52 scripts covered with ‘ants’.
They needed a lot of deciphering, typical of handwriting of the wired generation, said handwriting expert William Pang, 60.
Mr Pang, a handwriting consultant who began studying the science of handwriting analysis in the 1970s, blames this ‘degeneration’ on the lack of focus on penmanship in classrooms.
Students are not taught to grasp the pen properly, he said. ‘Some of them even slump on the table as they write.’
They do not see the need to improve, either. After all, ‘technology helps to make homework neater for students’, Mr Pang pointed out.
Modern practices like downloading notes from the school’s website and submitting typewritten assignments lessen the need for legible handwriting.
Teachers, who have to wade through an average of 100 to 200 scripts each week, say they especially hate the type of handwriting they call ‘ants’.
‘The tiny, ant-size writing makes it difficult for teachers to read what is written,’ lamented Mrs Kang Yeok Lung, 59, a senior teacher at St Andrew’s Junior College.
She has been a teacher for 27 years, and points out: ‘When students write like that, they don’t realise that the teacher’s eyesight is affected and it makes marking a chore.’
‘I think assignments should be handwritten and not sent to the teacher as an e-mail attachment,’ Mrs Kang said.
After all, when teachers have to guess what students write, she added, ‘the student loses out‘.
Especially during examinations, when essays are still handwritten, it can cost them grades. When markers cannot understand the scripts, ‘there is a higher risk of misinterpretation’.
Augustus Set, 17, a second-year student at St Andrew’s Junior College, said his parents feared his bad writing so much, they bought him handwriting practice books, ‘so that I can write more legibly for my A level examinations’.
Still, other students are recalcitrant – they say they are expressing themselves.
Said Sayyed Amir Zaini, 16, a Secondary 4 student at Pasir Ris Secondary School: ‘I tried to change my handwriting but I just can’t. Anyway, I don’t think I should change it just because others say so. I will change my handwriting only because I want to.’
Handwriting in the 1970s was of a better quality, said Mr Pang, who was then studying close to 300 handwriting samples as an amateur analyst. Tidier scripts showed that Singaporeans were more patient and considerate then.
‘People were in less of a rush,’ he said. ‘They took more pains with their handwriting and the letters were more well-formed… to ensure others could read what they had written.’
The Straits Times’ survey, on the other hand, revealed that many of the wired generation are disconnected, individualistic, more rebellious and non-conformist than their predecessors.
Mr Pang believes that teens will change their handwriting as they grow older ‘to create their own identity’.
But that might not be for the better, he warned: ‘A person’s handwriting is likely to get worse with age if at work, he types more than he writes.’
I thought it is quite a controversial report, especially the three bold statements.
- Must we go back to the good old days when handwritten work prevailed to improve pupils’ handwriting?
- Who will lose out more if all works are handwritten?
- Handwriting or digital literacy, which is more important?
- Should technology take the FULL blame for bad handwriting?
- What evidence in the survey has shown many of the wired generation are disconnected, individualistic, more rebellious and non-conformist than their predecessors???
One of the few decent recordings I took during iCTLT.
Photo credit: xmac2005
Updates: Recording of Sir Ken Robinson’s keynote is rather soft and noisy. Will upload soon