When you look in the mirror, what do you see? A reflection, of course, but do you like what you see? Does it please you? Is there anything you would like to change or improve on?
I’m sure you are going to answer ‘Yes’ to these questions, because as humans we are never really satisfied with our own reflections. This made me think. As the year comes to an end, I should look in the mirror of 2010 and judge the reflection/s I see. It is a good time to reflect on what has happened during the year and ask oneself the very same questions as listed above. So with that in mind, I sit here now, looking back at what has taken place in our IT Centre during 2010:
Do I like what I see?
Yes, actually I do! We have had a productive year with many interesting applications of programmes to enhance learning in the different learning areas (subjects). The students were engaged in active learning opportunities and made great strides into IT literacy. It is always so wonderful to see the progress from Grade 4 to Grade 6 – from being dependent, teacher-reliant learners to independent, self-reliant adventurers!
Does it please me?
Of course it does! It pleases me that the pupils have learnt something over the past year; it pleases me that the teachers have been able to come up with interesting and innovative lesson ideas; it pleases me that I am privileged to work with a wonderful team of teachers and, it pleases me to be able to write this reflection with a happy heart!
Is there anything I would like to change or improve on?
Definitely! There is always room for improvement and change is good. It stretches one and pushes you out of your comfort zone. Not always pleasant, but it often results in great innovation! So what would I like to change?
- I would like to move away from so much emphasis on the MS Office suite and move towards more internet-based applications; I would like to see a move from single lesson-based activities to more project-based learning and lastly, I would like to see more use of technology in the broadest sense of the word, in our school – especially by our teachers. I am confident that this will happen with the arrival of data projectors in all our classes early in the first term of next year.
- I would like to raise the bar a little next year in that I would like to introduce more Web 2.0 tools and technologies to our children and teachers. I feel strongly that our children need to be exposed to what other schools around the world are doing and would like to work towards some kind of global collaboration project for each grade. I have an idea for a Grade 4 project, which I will run by the Grade 4 teachers in the New Year. One of the Grade 6 classes (Kites) had a taste of such a project when I used them to participate in a small project called ‘Events in Our Region’ (see here: http://eventsinourregion.wikispaces.com / http://bit.ly/eDysAm ). It was a simple start, but it was a start and is a sign of things to come!
- I am planning on starting a blog for each grade and would like to use our Grade 6 monitors to collect and collate the information from each grade. I look forward to showing the children how to access the blogs and make comments on the posts. Watch this space!
- The visits to our lab by teachers from other schools in South Africa have inspired me to visit other schools in our area and further afield, to learn and see what is happening out there. It is so easy to develop a sense of complacency, especially if one feels you are doing something well. There is always room for improvement and change and I would like to make sure that we are keeping up with what is happening in the world around us. In the New Year, my Junior School IT colleague and I will make arrangements to visit other schools (both government and independent), to do just that!
So, where does all this leave me? With a TON of work to do – research, making connections, sourcing websites and planning, planning, planning – but I’m up for the challenge and am so looking forward to it all. On a personal level, starting with my trip to BETT 2010, this year has been a memorable one and I feel that I have achieved much in increasing my knowledge of technology in the world around me. I have met interesting and amazing people and believe I am creating a network that will stand us in good stead with our ventures into technology.
So often we shy away from looking into a mirror, afraid of what we will see. Today I had a good look into the mirror and, happily, there was a lot I that I did like. It made me acknowledge a lot of things and it made me aware of areas that need change or simply just an adjustment. It also made me aware of all the possibilities that there are for us to explore in the year ahead. All in all it was a good reflection and I look forward to tweaking it and making the necessary improvements. So, I dare you – take a good look in the mirror – you’ll be amazed by what you see.
May you all have a very Happy and Prosperous New Year!