I attended the most interesting seminar about creating a school culture of ICT use last Tuesday. Why was it so interesting? Well, I attended the seminar from the comfort of the staff room. Yes, I did not travel all the way to Tampines Pri Sch to hear from them. I attended a webinar! The first, and definitely not the last, webinar organized by ETD and kindly hosted by TPS.
What’s a webinar? Simply put, it’s a web seminar. Essentially it’s attending a seminar on the web. Why are webinars so powerful? Well, for one, it cuts down travelling time! Save earth, save time! Convenience at its best! If you think about it, you can attend a webinar even if it was hosted in another country! However, the true power of webinars come from being able to converse with other participants while the seminar was going on! I personally felt that my learning from the webinar was made more meaningful because we could share our feelings and thoughts with the other participants. This would never happen in an actual seminar because it is rude to talk during a seminar and also, most of us are too shy to strike a conversation with someone we do not know. What’s more, as the speaker was speaking about a certain ICT tool, I was able to immediately switch over to Google to search for more information about that tool. Everything was happening almost simultaneously! If you want to talk about self-directed and collaborative learning, this was it! I was a self-directed and collaborative learning at the same time! That’s the power of webinar!
During the talk I was able to take notes using XMind as a mindmapping tool. This helped me join the dots together and it also served as a note taking tool. Again, this is possible because I was attending a webinar.
I was humbled by what Tampines Pri is doing in terms of ICT. Indeed, ICT has to be a whole school approach and it was clear to see that the leadership came from the Principal herself. I truly believe that for a school to move in a certain direction, the Principal has to set that direction very clearly. Like a ship, the captain of the ship decides the course the ship will go, the rest of the crew can work all they want, but if the direction is not set, they will never reach their destination. During the webinar, a poll was conducted and the question asked was “Which is most important to drive pervasive integration of ICT – Culture, Structures, Developing People or Leadership?” Interestingly enough, Leadership and Culture came up tops. This really reflects a collective sentiment that the leadership and culture is crucial in order for change to happen.
One thing I am hoping to start next year is to get teachers from each department to implement ICT use in their classroom and then share it in as many platforms as possible. Hopefully, time and space can be given to these teachers to try out and share how to use ICT in the class.I believe teachers need to see that ICT is a tool that we cannot avoid. Our children already have the tools with them, if we don’t teach them to use it for education, they will use it in other less desirable ways. Who will shoulder that responsibility then?