By Monica Joshi
Use of technology has revolutionized the teaching learning process. From a teacher centered approach, it has become more child centric now. Teachers are now able to speak the language of technology that the children understand easily. As a new age teacher, it is my duty to make my students equipped for the future and inculcate the skill of enquiry and knowledge building in my students. It is also my duty to create an environment of blended learning where the students are using tools to create and learn about various situations.
Using virtual classroom concept, I am able to connect my students globally. It has changed my classroom like no other tool. My students know that in a click of a button we can learn more about a topic or more about people from around the world. So, let me tell you first that a virtual classroom is an online classroom that allows participants to communicate with one another, view presentations or videos, interact with other participants, and engage with resources in work groups. Let’s take a step back, and I’ll explain.
Being a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert, I had an opportunity to attend the Microsoft Education Exchange held in Singapore, where I got connected with educators around the globe. I got a clear picture that when using technology and a virtual classroom, I can:-
· Know more about the world outside my classroom
· Communicate, collaborate, and connect
· Learn, practice, and enhance our skills multifold using real life relevance.
Being inspired from this visit, I decided to provide global experiences to my students and teachers. Being an IT head, I have virtually connected through Skype, Zoom, Flipgrid, and Padlet on almost all the topics and participated in almost 100 sessions with around 30 countries in just the last two months on the following subjects:
o Science – On topic food and health and climate change
o Art – Creating posters on Earth Day
o Climate Action –To create awareness on advocating complete Ban on the usage of plastic
o STEAM –Worked on a lesson on Topics Data Handling, Gears, Concept of Torque. The Lesson plans can be viewed HERE and HERE.
o Emotional and Spiritual Well Being – I have conducted a guest lecture online to apprise the audience about the importance of Yoga and Meditation. HERE is the link of my Lesson.
o Minecraft – Being a Minecraft Global Mentor, my students and I are equipped to teach Minecraft to peers and locally and globally. Here are the links of some of my Minecraft lessons that are uploaded on Minecraft community and can be used by anyone:
o Mathematics – On the topic quadratic equation and Number system.
o Social Science – On the topic for #DIY4Earth, where my children have made sustainable products from the old rags and discarded products
o Augmented and Virtual Reality – Collaboration with Finland.
o Sustainable Development Goals
o English – Teaching prepositions, nouns, and articles to children of support staff of SRDAV Public School New Delhi.
o ICT– I am conducting webinars and training sessions conducted for my teachers and educators across India and in other countries on every second and fourth Saturday of the month. I am training them about the latest technology tools to be used in the pedagogy. I have my YouTube Channel where I am posting all these recorded talks after conducting the live sessions. The name of my Channel is TECHTALKWITHMJ. Here are the links of few of my talks.
I believe that hard work is contagious. I spread more when you share it with others. Let me apprise you with the procedure:
The first step is, I find an educator and send him/her a request for collaboration on the same topic. Sometimes schools in the same country often share a similar curriculum, teachers can easily find joint projects, like reading the same book and hosting student conversations over Skype, that can help them construct lessons that map to academic standards. Sharing projects with others around the world really motivates students. Once they have a real audience to whom they are responsible, they tend to feel more accountable. My children have collaborated with different countries on the following topics:
· Holidays –With Dondi Gyöngyi Tóthné Bán, Primary School teacher in Balatonboglár, Hungary Using Scratch, Minecraft and Skype.
· Traditions –With Roshan Kumar, Srilanka Using Sway and Skype
· Food –With Maria Josè Giavedoni from Argentina using SWAY, Paint 3D, Minecraft and Skype
· Art works –With Dieu Duong from Vietnam using Minecraft, Scratch
· Good Health –With Meenakshi Uberoi Gurgaon Using Sway, YouTube and Skype
· School life –With Soheir Zaki from Egypt Using Skype and Zoom
· Our town/city –With Ashoka Global Academy Nasik Using Skype
· Empathy and Value Education –With Nam Ngo Thanh from Vietnam using Buncee, YouTube, and Padlet (https://namngovas.wixsite.com/everydaykindness https://namngovas.wixsite.com/everydaykindness/the-wonder-called-kindness)
· Innovation –With Miriam Lucrecia Higueros Aldana from Guatemala using YouTube, Minecraft, Renderforest, Sway and Minecraft. (http://www.teachsdgs.org/blog/creating-innovative-minds-inline-with-sustainable-developmental-goals)
· Women –With Pedersen Terje from Norway using Flipgrid.
Secondly, now is the time to take it a step forward. I registered for an ambitious project of service through global collaboration, the Project Kakuma founded by Koen Timmers, a top-ten finalist of the Global Teach Prize. Project Kakuma involves collaboration by teachers across six continents to offer free education to African refugees in Kenya via Skype. I deem it as an honour to be a part of this noble venture, wherein I am teaching refugees virtually. I have also got an opportunity to teach the girl child of support staff of SRDAV Public School New Delhi using Skype.
Third, virtualization was connected for empathy education. Encouraging a sense of empathy in children at a young age helps them develop lifelong skills that will serve to help them understand other cultures and respond positively to them. I joined hands with 17 Global Goals wherein I took a pledge to sensitize the youth about the UN Sustainable Goals. Charity begins at home. So, I involved my students in global projects. Today’s children understand things better if they are involved at the grass root level. To do so, in the summer break children were given time to prepare a project using MS Paint, MS PowerPoint, MS Word, Movie Maker, Scratch, HTML, and Google Slides on Sustainable Development Goals. Children were to use the application grade respective and they have to weave a story using any three Sustainable Development Goals. Before giving this homework, I was quite apprehensive. But, to my surprise children came with great and thought provoking ideas. Using these projects my children connected with other educators and students in Africa, Vietnam, Canada, Argentina, Seattle, Nepal, India, Denmark, Poland, Finland, Hungry, Thailand, Srilanka, Egypt, England, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Malaysia via Skype. This allowed them to be sensitive of the Sustainable Development Goals and their importance.
Fourth, I have used various tools for virtual classroom as: Skype, Minecraft, Sway, Flipgrid, Onenote, Forms, Quizlet, and Padlet. I have used these tools for taking the assessment of the children virtually. A link of assessment was shared with the student on their login and Email ID. It was the choice of children to do the assessment at home or in school. In fact in many projects, I had students of other countries also participated and they presented their views on many sensitive topics.
The tools used for Assessment are as follows:
Real Life relevance: Skype
Problem Solving: Kodu and Minecraft
Collaboration: OneNote, Padlet, Flipgrid, Tondoo
Reflection: Sway, Prezi
Assessment: Google Forms, Microsoft Forms, Kahoot, Quizlet
Use of Minecraft has made the Quadratic equation concepts easier and understandable that even the quietest child starts responding in the class.
Digital inclusiveness and technology has become the need of the hour for the schools to create individuals adept with 21st Century skills. The roles of teachers and schools have become very challenging, complex, and multifaceted, which requires preparation on the part of the schools and teachers. There is a need for a paradigm shift from traditional practices to practices which are knowledge driven and ICT empowered in this present era of globalization.
The virtual classroom concept has broken the barriers and has made the world accessible at the click of the button. Soon, it will not be surprising if a virtual learning dominates every other aspect in the years to come. So, I feel it is very important to stay abreast with the changing environment by evolving every minute as an educator in order to facilitate the youth of the 21st century who have inherited technology right from the birth.
I am Monica Joshi, IT Head, Sat Paul Mittal School, Ludhiana, Punjab, India. I am an SDG enthusiast and so do are my students, and it inspire me to take this as a challenge and currently I work to promote SDG’s through projects for my students, teachers and support staff.I am anMIEE [Microsoft Innovative Expert], MIE Master Trainer, Minecraft Global Mentor, MEC Guest Speaker. Recently, I was selected for E2 – Microsoft Education Exchange, held at Singapore. I had presented a #Teachtalk at Edutech Asia-2017. My case studies has been published in Teaching and Technology case studies from India by British council in collaboration with Central Square Foundation. As a new age teacher it is my duty to make my students equipped for the future and inculcate the skill of enquiry and knowledge building in my students. Besides this I am an avid traveler and love to convince others to travel. Connect with Monica Joshi on Twitter at @klnamya