‘I have active learners, thanks to new interactive tools’By Leora Ferry
Philippine Daily Inquirer
I am not a computer expert or a Teacher of the Year awardee. My drawing is bad and I have lost my singing voice (I used to be a choir member). So it has been really difficult to arouse my students’ interest to learn with just me as point of reference.
But I am an educator who finds ways to keep students interested so they will appreciate coming to class. Of course, learning the lesson is the primary goal, but their participation means they enjoy the learning process as well.
My gauge? Their positive reactions!
My first encounter with multimedia tools for teaching was with an overhead projector and an acetate film containing the lesson for the day. I discovered I could make the process more appealing by printing colored pictures and texts on acetate.
Many teachers might find this crude now but it is still effective in class when I use it instead of the usual board and chalk. I sometimes let the kids do their report on acetate sheets so they can also get to use the machine.
Believe me, it works. Seeing their classmates’ presentation fill up the whiteboard elicits a lot of different reactions. I guess that’s what I always want in my class—for the students to say something about what they see or hear.
When my own kids were growing up, I did not know what to do with the books they enjoyed. I asked my husband (who had an American accent) to do a voice recording as he read a book.
I then scanned the pages of the book and presented the story as pupils listened to the recording and, through an LCD projector, looked at the words and pictures.
I always got feedback like “Nice voice” or “Where’s the book?” from my students afterwards.
These days, I download stories posted online as videos with English subtitles for text reading so students can go back and check them out later at home. I also have a collection of stories recorded in compact disc format. I just give my students copies of the text and let them listen to an American read the story.
I enjoy very much hearing them imitate how the reader says the words—correct accent and all!
Reinforcing grammar skills is easier by introducing rap versions of lessons we have discussed and letting them discover the website for themselves. When stories are not available for download, I use PowerPoint to give the children a clearer view of the story.
Lessons, even my tests, are presented on flipcharts using the ActivInspire program. My pupils are used to hearing applause or cheers every time they give the right answers because sounds are embedded in the flipchart pages.
I try to hide the satisfaction when I see their eyes light up and their smiles widen as “reaction sounds” are triggered but, of course, I fail.
Children so enjoy using the touchpen of the interactive whiteboard that they raise their hands just for the chance to write their answer (even if they are not quite sure it is right).
My goal this year is to train them to use the computer on a network-based system so they will be able to participate in discussions by entering their ideas and answers on the computer itself.
On-the-spot correction will be easier since the mistake will automatically be shown on a big screen.
Holding a book or any printed material, for that matter, and reading it is still, for me, better than sitting in front of a computer or sliding a tablet to read a story.
In school, the goal of exposing children to grammar and literature is very imperative. With the little contact time we have with the children, capturing their attention so they will listen to what we have prepared and learn from it is a challenge we face every minute.
Interactive tools help me a lot to capture that moment of attentiveness and concentration. This is even easier now since there are many resources we can go to using the web. Just enter the word “teacher resources” on your favorite search engine and you get more ideas than you have ever dreamed of.
Your students will appreciate your efforts, giving you affirmative responses when you let them manipulate the computer mouse or drag the answer using the touch pen of the flipchart you have downloaded or prepared!
I always say, “Pakialamera lang po (I’m just a busybody),” when asked how I know a lot about interactive teaching. I am lucky to have family and friends who share knowledge and expertise that I can use in my classes.
I am also grateful to the people who give me the opportunities to grow and acquire skills as a professional teacher and as a knowledgeable individual.
Now, whenever my students see me, they always ask their favorite question, “When are we going to the ICT room again?”
Interactive tools to use with the touchscreen board:
For PowerPoint presentation:
The author is the coordinator for ICT and Philippine Informal Reading Inventory at J. Zamora Elementary School in Pandacan, Manila, where she teaches fifth grade English, as well as fifth and sixth grade Journalism. She is also the adviser of the school paper The Scroll. Prior to this, she taught Speech at Adamson University.