(simul-posted on learningconversations.blogspot.com)

Ian and I gave a workshop on SMARTBoards for the Khanya facilitators today. It was interesting on many levels.

At some point during our first week, we were told that the Khanya facilitators were responsible for training the teachers to use the IWBs. The teachers clamoured for training, with most having little to no previous experience with a board. On Monday, we were told that selected Khanya facilitators are highly trained in the boards and passing their knowledge on to the others. As a result, we expected very little interest in this morning’s session.

Today’s session was made optional to help out the facilitators who had travelled large distances. We only expected about 15-20 people to be there. In fact, there were closer to 35 people. That kind of changed the way we had hoped to get everyone interacting with the board. On the other hand, I was really pleased to see that kind of enthusiasm.

I think, based on a straw poll, that the turnout was motivated by the fact that most Khanya facilitators seem not to have much experience with the boards. It is difficult to train someone in something that you are not completely comfortable with. If the educators are asking these facilitators for training, I can see why they would want a little more information.

Ian showed a Wiimote board as a less expensive way of having an IWB. There was lots of interest. We than discussed how to best use the tools to create sound, pedagogical lessons. I hope that the participants got what they came for. I am left with the feeling, however, that they remain unprepared to support the type of lessons that can really make the most of the power of an IWB. Maybe they are better prepared than they were, though, and maybe they will follow-up with some of the internet links we gave them. Maybe they will also increase the access by building a few Wiimote boards too. I will be crossing my fingers.

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