The second workshop took place from 22-25 March at St John’s College once again. Most of the teachers returned, plus we had 6 new teachers and curriculum specialists arrive. The new volunteers quickly got up to scratch with the content and tools we were using and slotted into the group really well.
The first objective was to look at what authors had managed to do in the interim between the first and second workshop. There was a “Checklist” to go through and assess the quality of one’s work and then report back to the group about where each author was at and highlight any troubles they may have been having.
The writing then commenced very swiftly as the volunteers were now familiar with the tools we were using and the process.
We introduced the teachers to the “Thunderbolt Kids”. We are planning to use these characters as the guides throughout the workbooks, as well as incorporate some comics where the Thunderbolt Kids discuss, explain and learn about different Analytical Thinking Skills, which are necessary in Science and should be developed from an early age. These characters had already been developed for a previous Shuttleworth Foundation project called Kusasa. Kusasa aims to develop analytical and creative thinking in learners, and more effective teaching practices in educators.
The second day of the workshop focused on Assessment. Megan did a brief presentation on how to set assessment items throughout the workbooks and how to ensure that there are questions at aimed varying cognitive levels according to Bloom’s Taxonomy. The teachers really enjoyed a short video on Bloom’s Taxonomy which used scenes from “The Pirates of the Caribbean” to explain the concepts.
The teachers then broke up into groups to actively engage with setting assessment items and completed two different activities. Once again, there was much discussion and sharing of ideas which was very useful for when everyone started to author again and go back and start implementing the assessment items throughout the content.
The start of the third day was dedicated to Technology, the subject, and its integration into the new curriculum. Megan, along with two Technology specialists, Dawn Crawford and Busisiwe Mosiuoa facilitated a discussion about how to teach Technology, the design Process, the skills a pupil can gain from the subject, and how we wanted to integrate the subject into the Natural Sciences curriculum. The teachers found this extremely useful as most had never taught the subject before.
Throughout Gr 4-6, there are 5 specified Technology Design Processes and these are outlined below.
By the end of the morning, the volunteers had contributed a lot more content as well as refined their activities, started to add assessment items and identified all the Technology sections for the specialists to review.
In the interim between Workshop 2 and 3
During this period, the volunteers are still busy authoring the content. The sections are variable in terms of completion, ranging from 60%-90% finished. The teachers have been working from home since the last workshop and have until Friday, 20 April to finish their contribution to the content.
Thereafter, Megan, along with 2 editors will be reviewing the content and editing to ensure a consistency in style, CAPS alignment and possibly adding to sections to ensure a high standard of work.
Concurrently, we are busy with the graphic design of the books and identifying the layout and formatting style. Over and above this, there is consultation with an illustrator to draw images and scientific diagrams for the workbooks. These have been identified by the teachers and will be inserted into the content in May once they have been illustrated.