User:Teachers Network/FLOSS4EduIndia Teachers Network/Planing

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The Participants
Discussions and Actions taken
1.Open societies
2. WikiEducator run-through
3. Hands-on Orientation to WikiEducator
4. A puzzle game:
Open Systems and the context of teacher educators+ Carry home

Report: Follow up Workshop on WikiEducator- The Indian Chapter- CIE, University of Delhi

The idea of Open and Free Systems triggered an effort towards strengthing teaching communities to develop shared knowledge repositories by developing familiarity in usage of enablers like the WIKIEDUCATOR. The actual workshop materialized due to active inspiration from Prof. Shyam B. Menon, formerly the Head and Dean, Faculty of Education, University of Delhi.

The Participants:
The workshop conducted on Sunday, 11 March 2007 at CIE Computer Centre had Seventeen participants represented by four faculty members, four research scholars, four B.Ed. teacher-trainees and five support participants.

The objective of the workshop was to work in the following areas:

  1. Orientation about Free sharing and Open systems
  2. Run-through the “WikiEducator” environment
  3. Hands- on orientation to WikiEducator
  4. Building an Indian educators’ open community
  5. Networking with other open communities

Sharing of this report with the Teacher Educator participants from India and the rest of the world is a step towards meeting the above objectives.

Discussions and Actions taken
1.Open societies:
A warm, laughing and serendipitous round of introductions moved in to a discussion about open societies. This discussion meandered through quizzical questions about:

  • the characteristic features of “open-ness” in a society;
  • what keeps communities away from being open;
  • Is it fear, misplaced sense of control , power or the lack of it that makes a community closed;
  • Does sharing pose a threat;
  • What are the levels of tangible and non-tangible sharing;
  • Can sharing be free from market constraints;
  • Is open-ness the same as freedom;
  • Are there structures to be followed with open-ness and freedom;
  • Do open societies exist only in an island existence;
  • What does it cost to be free from social conditioning;

Each participant, from unique perspectives, contributed to data about open-societies during discussions about the above points. The participants are requested to fill in their views along the above points at the “Teachers Network” page.

2. WikiEducator run-through:
The perspectives on open communities/ open-societies searched the possibilities offered by social softwares like WikiEducator. The brochure was distributed to read followed by a thought about how the concept of social software compared with the concepts of e-groups, blogsites, list serves etc.
There was a quick recap of the initial workshop done by Prof. Wayne Mackintosh. His presence was referred to in the form of his handwriting preserved on the white-board about the project ideas and project design then presented. His e-mail instructions to all workshop participants were very useful. His ideas and commitment for non-proprietary social software usage were shared.
To familiarize participants, we used screen prints of the main page, Indian Chapter- projects page, creating an accounts page and the user’s edit page. LCD projection must have been a better option but the projector lamp went to rest at the nth hour, so screen prints were used as a back up to save the learning situation.

3. Hands-on Orientation to WikiEducator:
The participants were immediately on board to browse through the WikiEducator environment followed by actions such as:

  • Accounts creation/ log in
  • Content addition to the User Page
  • WikiSyntax Usage
  • Creating internal links etc.
  • Editing fellow users’ pages
  • WikiChat
  • Browsing through the rest of the WikiEducator Environment

Some concerns posed by initial and current users need attention:
a. What is the purpose of creating my sandbox link?
b. How to address design issues related to Content upload and subsequent editing?
c. Is WikiSyntax still being updated?
d. How to look for other users’ page names not visible on “recent changes” page?
e. Why does the user page result in a message saying “page does not exist” even after actual log in etc.?
f. Why do users visiting own pages after some days, cannot access matter posted earlier by them?
g. How does the content upload relate to “Wiki-template” and eXe design?

h. Where and at what stage do we include local communication medium/scripts like Hindi, Gujarati, Malayalam, Gurmukhi, Bangla and so on

Please share your answers here, as it will help in a crucial way to retain user networks’ interest before we set for a journey.

  • Please click on the e-mail confirmation link in your personal email box to actively edit and upload content.
  • Do try out making a page for yourself under the category FLOSS4EDU – Indian Chapter- it allows for structures within template to manage content in an uniform format/design

4. A puzzle game:

Post lunch, a team game was offered to four teams with four members each to work on puzzle pieces (seven in number) to arrive at one complete shape using only non-verbal communication skills within the team by sharing resources. Hints were provided as and when necessary.
The aim of the game was to offer an experiential situation for

  1. sharing
  2. communicating while not speaking
  3. understanding the needs for sharing/not sharing
  4. finding reasons for opting out of team work etc.

Learning and observations from the game:

  1. Within the given work plan and time constraint, the permutations and combination of number of tries were too many owing to the number of incomplete mixed packets distributed amongst four different members within each team.
  2. Within the teams,
    1. it was noticed that the members shared and unshared at different occasions during the game.
      ## They also immediately mixed all the pieces of their packets of the puzzle.
      ## Except for one team which kept trying individually with their own packets of puzzle pieces.
  3. The natural grouping initiated team formation of the following types:
    1. Two beginners teams (all teacher trainees)
    2. One experienced team ( three faculty members and one scholar)
    3. One mixed team (one faculty three scholars)
  4. Across the team, there were following observations:
    1. The beginner’s team
      1. Worked individually for a long time;
      2. One of the younger teams just did not take a decision to work in teams, while the other team was enjoying it as a game with two members leading the game;
      3. Ignored several hints;
      4. Tried to arrive at simpler, near about shapes but did not include all pieces of the puzzle packet.
    2. Experienced teams
      1. arrived at the decision of sharing much sooner;
      2. arrived at collective shapes near about the actual one many times;
      3. tried to communicate with the observer for clarifications;
      4. went out of the team situation or became neutral once success appeared far from possible.
    3. Mixed team
      1. This team displayed both beginners and experienced teams’ strategy during various occasion of the try out;
      2. It is interesting to note that this pattern was almost like the common area in a Venn diagram.

Observations are invited from the participant teams to validate and complete this data.

Open Systems and the context of teacher educators+ Carry home
The participants planned that a wikiPage be created to share the experience and to practice editing skills periodically in an elearning mode. This page should include inputs and access in the context of a theme regarding a new B.Ed. curriculum.

With comprehensive inputs, a small core group supported by a technical team will evolve areas to focus in the context of a new teacher education curriculum. To start with, all participants will only add to the content uploaded and refrain from deleting. After a stable series of inputs, drafts may be shared with everyone.

Post workshop reflections involved rethinking the plan theme in a way that we start with informal, non-institutional new curriculum issues with an outsiders’ perspective which may be shared in formal, institutional structures later only if and when necessary.

A brief demonstration of OpenCD , Openoffice and Ubuntu softwares was conducted. OpenCD copies were the carry home to browse through, familiarize and to further share with new users.

The workshop was closed with a completion exercise with participants chain- hand- holding inwards the human circle and outwards the human circle to get a feel of connecting with the communities existing out there (and in here)!

We express gratitude to

  • Prof. Baveja , Head and Dean, for workshop venue the CIE computer centre.
  • elearning secretariat, Dean’s office and computer education students’ kitty for providing file folders.
  • Vikram and Manoj for identifying, procuring, and producing the carry home material.
  • Pankaj and Amlesh for supporting and coordinating breaks.
  • and Prof. Shyam Menon for those beautiful photographs.