Tag Archives: netbooks

Marking those “Notebooks”!

My young colleague diligently checking her students' "notebooks"

 I was struck by this scene and I had to document it. Here is a young colleague of mine diligently checking her students’ netbooks, or should I say “notebooks”. It is indeed a lovely sight to behold!

Since the distribution of these netbooks to first formers across the country, the manner in which they have been put to use varies from school to school and from teacher  to teacher. There are some who have not made any meaningful effort to incorporate the device into their lessons; there are those who have used there own resourcefulness, ingenuity, and instinct to put the netbooks to use and thereby enhance the teaching and learning process. In the mean time several colleagues have undergone some taining inthe use of ICTs in the classroom. 

At the Barrouallie Secondary School, ICT Integration in teaching and learning  is the top priority for the administration and staff. Quite a number of of activities have taken place to assist teachers in making use not just of the the netbooks, but every other available tool for ICT integration. For the most part, our teachers are enthusiastic about the possibilities presented by the various ICT tools for eenhancing teaching and learning.

Several of my young colleagues do not have any formal training in pedagogy, but it is quite impressive to see how thay have used natural curiosity and creativity, through collaboration  to develop and present lessons aided by technology.

You may wonder what my young colleague could be doing with all those “notebooks” before her. I counted 18. It could be more. Perhaps she is marking them; perhaps she is checking them; who knows! One thing is for certain, both my colleague and her students are enthusiastic about the endless possibilities for enjoyable teaching and learning that these and similar devices present!

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From Note Books to Net Books: Isn’t it time to abandon the black board?

Writing notes

 I have a six-year old friend who entered grade one last September.  This was the beginning of his second year in primary school.  I was going through my friend’s book bag (which I thought was quite big and heavy for a six-year old) when I came across a 100 page hard cover note book.  I asked my friend what was he doing with this big “note book” in his bag. He responded, “Miss say we have to bring it to write notes”. Write notes? At six?

Here is another situation that plays itself out over and over on a daily basis.  Almost every time I enter a classroom, I meet the black board filled with “notes”.  Invariably, I have to give the students a few minutes of my period to “write down” the notes that Miss or Sir left for them. And, as you may well appreciate, all 80 square feet of the black board is emblazoned with “notes” from left to right and top to bottom.

It is therefore no wonder that the typical teen-ager finds school to be excruciatingly boring.  After all, they are made to sit for hours and copy badly written “notes” from a black board.  Alternatively, they must listen and write as Miss or Sir “call notes”.  Unfortunately for the children of the 21st century; the children of the education revolution; “notes calling” and “notes writing” still remain as significant instructional strategies for too many teachers.

As a student, I found “notes calling” and “notes writing” to be painfully monotonous. I simply could not keep up.  I often waited eagerly for my teacher to pause and offer some “explanation” of his or her  “notes”.  In fact, I even developed the technique of deliberately asking a slew of questions to delay the resumption of “notes calling” or “notes writing”. It did not always work though! With the urgency of covering the material foremost in their minds, my teachers would stop the questioning and stick to their notes!

As a teacher of history and social studies, two subjects notorious for “notes”, I choose not to “dictate notes”.  I never did and I never will.  Furthermore, I use the black board sparingly. In fact despite Charles Best’s excellent tutoring at the SVG Teachers College, I never learnt to apply the effective uses of the black board in my classroom!

 

We are now in the digital age and all that it implies.  I prefer to refer to these times as the post black board era.  Today, there are countless effective alternatives to “calling” and “copying” notes.  Yet, the practice is still so ubiquitous in our school system.  That is why I am calling on the SVG Teachers Union to conduct a series PD workshops on the theme: Making the Black Board Obsolete-  Interesting Alternatives for Engaging Students with Educational Material.

In the meantime, I feel it for those six-year olds like my young friend who have to lug a bag of hard cover note books to and from school and who must sit and copy copious notes from the black board or as Miss dictates. Perhaps, all of this would be eliminated when every child and every teacher are in posession of the digital tools to make teaching and learning engaging, exciting and enlightening in this the digital age.

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