Saturday, 1 February 2014

Every child is born a scientist - Daniel Florein

On 10th Oct.2013, Grade 5, celebrated the spirit of Science during the 'Science day' by conducting a wide-ranging science activities and experiments. This was part of their unit of inquiry on materials, during which the learners set-up science stations in the Grade-5 gallery to present their learning, experiments and discoveries to their schoolmates and also 60 odd visitors from Jhusmbish (students & teachers from an SMC school in Surat), who visited in rotation, participated and shared the learning of our learners.

It was a rich learning experience of showcasing the newly acquired knowledge of physical and chemical changes in materials which the learners enthusiastically displayed on this day.

The learners, during this unit on materials, had a variety of experiences through field trips, lab activities and hands on activities, which imparted knowledge, confidence and skills and were completely in-charge of their experiments and sharing their learning with the school community. They identifies experiments( in some cases), gathered the materials required and took upon themselves to pass on their learning through the newly learnt science vocabulary to their audience. They left no stone unturned in sharing their knowledge about the various changes and the processes that a material undergoes to meet human needs. The curiosity and enthusiasm was visible amongst all students; and adding fervor to this show, was the appearance of these young 'scientist' learners dressed in lab coats - aprons, safety glasses, gloves etc. for the demonstration of their experiments.:)

This learning engagement sparked various 'Aha moments', and also an event to cherish for the learners, which they will remember and build upon long after this unit is over. It was a new endeavor taken up within this unit, giving students the opportunity to display thier acquired knowledge and concretize their learning. They were risk-takers in attempting this new assignment which increased their confidence level and gave them new insights on their learning.

"Every kid starts out as a natural-born scientist, and then we beat it out of them. A few trickle through the system with their wonder and enthusiasm for science intact." - Carl Sagan.

We at fountainhead, want to preserve the scientist in every learner, and events like the 'Science Day' provide the perfect platform.

(- Ritu Chopra, Hasina Saifee & Sumaiya Saiyed)

Transformation in Teaching Methodology using Digital Media

Which tool am I going to explore today to enhance my knowledge for innovative teaching? What are the different methods I can investigate to exchange my ideas and opinions? These are some of the questions that boggle my mind as a teacher, when I am trying to integrate the ICT world with the 21st century pedagogy of education.

Learners are keen observers; they evaluate the world with the consistent change happening around them. Digital Media - one of the most revolutionary changes of this century - has become an integral part of today's educational system. Newspapers, TV channels, internet, social networks, and people around - all creating a hype and talking about some or the other new device with new technology. The emphasis of this digital media has seeped into our classrooms today.

This year our Grade 5 students explored and experienced some beneficial web 2.0 tools focusing on collaboration, creation, presentation, research, organizing ideas, and planning for their given tasks and assignments. Using Ted and Youtube videos, Wallwisher, Scribblar, Classdojo and Khan Academy etc. are some of the many ways we explore and integrate our learning.

Apart from exploring these creative tools, we had a virtual skype session with Australian author, Ken Spillman, in order to understand the use of digital media - integrating with language. In addition to that, a Google hangout session with Mr. John Graves (from New Zealand) and our HoS, Mr. Vardan Kabra gave our students a variety of perspectives concerning a topic. Students have accustomed themselves to sites like 'Edmodo' to collaborate with each other in a safer social networking environment.

Is is amazing to see how technology has evolved over time - giving rise to new forms of education that we never imagined. Our students are more digitally focused than ever before. There is no doubt about the fact that the type of students we teach today are drastically different from the past century. We as teachers are more inclined to upgrade our skills in order to put forth new challenges for these digitally advanced learners.

As an educator, my journey began when I looked at the teaching profession in terms of the needs of those who are its beneficiaries. I created my Personal Learning Network and enhanced my knowledge while gathering some interesting ideas to execute in class.  I understood what it meant to be a 'Teacher' in today's world. In fact, I am able to deliver 21st century skills that help me connect to my students in a much powerful and meaningful manner. Emphasizing on the fact that this pedagogy not only highlights the age of collaboration, but also focuses on the information age as well. Its truly said,"We have to stop thinking of an education as something that is delivered to us and instead see it as something we create for oursleves" - Stephen Downes.

(Academic Year: 2012-13)