Tracy Kirsten is a Grade 8 Physical Science Educator in South Africa. With the ongoing pandemic situation, many “new normals” have surfaced - like managing asynchronous teaching while ensuring personal follow ups with each student’s progress. Tracy turned to technology for assistance, and she shares on how NODMA eventually became her best teaching assistant!
What are some technical challenges you have faced since having to adapt to the new normal?
As a school, we try to standardise the main platform used for our online teaching. Platforms that provide multiple features to put our lessons together helps us prepare our asynchronous materials.
In our Science department we use different platforms for our Senior and Junior students. NODMA eBooks and the eBooks I’ve created using NODMA Writer are used mainly for our Junior students.
There have been challenges in using all of these platforms, but mainly as a result of teachers not having the tech know-how. We have learnt exponentially in the past 6 months!
How has NODMA and the Virtual Classroom feature helped you and/or your students?
We use NODMA (ScienceWerkz)eBooks with our Grade 8s, and have done so for a number of years. I find they are perfect for virtual experiential learning; an all-in-one package which engages and stimulates the senses in an exciting way that is appropriate for this generation.
I have learnt how to use NODMA Writer over the last few months. The programme has so many unique and innovative features, making it appealing to a student. It’s dynamic, engaging, vibrant and interactive, and a brilliant multimedia digital resource that motivates and empowers students to take ownership of their learning. And what I love about creating my own book is the little personal touches I can add and how it stimulates my creativity.
Share with us how NODMA and the Virtual Classroom would integrate with your blended learning plans?
I tried the NODMA Virtual classroom video conferencing tool in my Grade 8 class in which I have 19 in-class students and 6 online. The first attempt was a bit of a nightmare- quite a few technical problems - I found I couldn’t hear the online students, and some could not hear me. To be honest, I didn’t really know the finer details of the tool, and how a teacher would use it in a classroom, but after a training session I felt more confident.
I set up a call from my home just for my 6 online students.
4 of them joined in the end… wow! It was amazing. They saw and heard me perfectly, and we had such a productive session. They loved it, because they felt more comfortable to ask questions in a smaller group; they loved that I was right there with them in the book, and felt incredibly connected to me, and that they had my full attention (they sometimes find it is difficult to get my attention when there is a classroom full of students and they are only a part of it through the Google Meet on my iPad.) I loved that I was able to point things out to them, and that they could engage with the material, without me having to share my screen - so much more interactive. We agreed we are going to continue with these short sessions once or twice a week, rather than try to use it in a hybrid classroom setting. It is a fantastic tool for a virtual classroom!
If you would like to receive a customised training session like Tracy did, register your interest and we would walk you (and your colleagues!) through how NODMA and its functions can be of assistance in your school or organisation!