Last Thursday I got up at stupid o’clock to get into uni early and setup for the schools event. Following the (to put it lightly) rough dress rehearsal I made sure myself and my team were going to be in extra early so we could get everything setup well in advance of the kids arrival. Fortunately this time everything worked out and all the apps worked on all of the iPads, the PowerPoint was working with sound, all we needed was the kids! After a long time spent twiddling our thumbs (maybe we arrived too early? Nah) the schools arrived and we got to run our class. The kids in the first class arrived late so unfortunately we had to cut down our session, this was a shame because the group was really bright, responsive and well behaved. The second group came in early so that session ran 10 minutes longer than we had planned, however with a bit of improvising we managed to play the session off well. By the final session we had added a video to watch both to spark the kid’s interest and to add some extra time so we didn’t have to stall in the final session. The kids in the last session seemed less interested and their teachers were quite disruptive and didn’t help with group behaviour. But once the kids got stuck into the apps they seemed quite engaged. Afterwards we had a little reflective session which was interesting because we got to hear how the other groups running classes had got on. We seemed to notice similar things about the different groups alertness, behaviour and group dynamic.
If I had to run the event again I think I would break up the speaking with shorter gaps to play with the apps instead of a mini lecture and a lot of time spent on the app. I would also probably add some tasks for them to perform using the app, I did have to walk around a lot and direct the kids so they knew what to listen for and do. I delivered the class and think I performed well as the leader however I think my colleagues were underutilized on the day (although they spent plenty of time behind the scenes coding). Part of the reason why our session ran the way it did was because Juan and Ben weren’t confident enough in their English to deliver a class. Looking back I think I should have pushed them to have a more active role in the lecturing sections to push them out of their comfort zone and hopefully develop their speaking skills. Instead Juan, Ben and Isaac went around bench to bench whilst the kids were playing with the apps, this was really effective at getting them to engage with the kids and help explain in further detail what was going on.
Overall I am very pleased with the outcome of the day, our team all worked hard to develop the app and deliver and fun and engaging class for the kids. I feel I have improved my presenting skills through this process and would love to do something similar. The classes made me think that I would be good as a teacher, and I think teaching is something I may eventually consider in one form or another! This was a great end to the term and I hope the kids enjoyed it as much as I did.