I look back at 2016 with mixed feelings. I would love to report that we are now 100% into the eLearning thing, but that will not be the truth.
If 2015 was the year we officially started eLearning, 2016 was the year we practically started with it. We now had 3 grades (grade 8-10) using devices in the classroom and almost every teacher was involved in someway. In comparison with the big changes of 2015, it almost feel like we lost a bit of momentum in 2016. And maybe it was expected. Any big change goes hand-in-hand with lots of excitement and enthusiasm (and maybe a little fear). But such a steep growing curve is not sustainable in the long run and at some point you need to consolidate. You also need to give your teachers time to become confident with the changes in order for it to be sustainable.
Even though the changes was not spectacular, there was some areas that I thought we did really well:-
- The integration of online research into regular lessons. Instead of depending on the teacher for all answers, learners now has the opportunity to google for information. Not only has this made learners more active in the lessons, but it has made projects and assignments more fair. Every teacher knows that feeling when you mark an assignment and you just know this is mom or dad’s work. Having access to the internet in class means that learners can do a bigger part of their assignment in class under controlled conditions.
- Communication. If I knew the difference email would make, all our learners would have had email accounts long ago. Sending out information, getting feedback, all of this now happen with just the send of a single email. Emails have mostly been used for bulk communication, but slowly teachers are starting to realize that it can also be very useful to get hold of a single learner. One of the big concerns was that learners would abuse the emails and contact teachers at all hours of the day. This really was unfounded, we might have had one or two cases were learners send inappropriate emails, but in the end it was more often teachers using the emails to send out information at all hours of the day that was the problem.
- Going paper-less. We are still a far way from being completely paperless, but we have made huge strides to cut the amount of photocopies we made.
- Kahoot. For most teachers Kahoot was their first experience of the impact immediate feedback and gamification can have on learning and it took of like wildfire.
You will notice that ebooks does not really feature anymore. We are still making use of them, but we quickly realised that even though they are very convenient, they have no effect on the actual teaching in the class and one of the goals for 2017 is to move away from ebooks that are no more than a pdf of a hardcopy book.
If we spend 2016 consolidating, we have to pick up the pace in 2017 in order to really see the Butterflyclasses that we envisioned realized.