Finnish Professor conducts series of lectures on flexible learning

Finnish Professor conducts series of lectures on flexible learning

The Department of Technology Teacher Education (DTTE) of MSU-IIT College of Education (CED) welcomed their visiting professor, Dr. Hanna Teras, a faculty from School of Professional Teacher Education at Tampere University of Applied Sciences, Finland on January 11, 2021. Dr. Teras is the first visiting professor hosted by DTTE.

As visiting professor, Dr. Teras conducted online lectures on flexible learning modality to faculty members of CED via Google Meet on January 15, 22, February 5, 12 and 19, 2021. 

Three Levels of Thinking and Teaching of Biggs 

In her first lecture, Dr. Teras talked about Keeping the Student Engaged and Motivated in Flexible Learning. She emphasized in her discussion the Three Levels of Thinking and Teaching of Biggs.  According to the Finnish professor, Level 1 thinkers refer to What Students Are. She said that there are two types of students – the good students who are the engaged ones and the poor students who are considered as the less engaged. 

Level 2 thinkers refer to What Teachers Do. She explained that a good teacher is one who is entertaining and uses all kinds of tips and tricks, utilizing various pedagogical teaching tools and methods. However, if students do not learn, the teacher is blamed for his teaching skill deficits.  

The third level of thinking is What Students Do level which she describes as a good learning level. She said that this level is not the result of what the students and teachers are like, but primarily as a result of what the students are doing. 

“Learning takes place through the actions of the students with the help of the teacher taking into consideration the use of appropropriate pedagogical design,” she added. 

Dr. Teras also linked the topic to the results of her study which indicates that to improve student engagement in online learning, there must be a clear learning management system (LMS) design and instructions, accessible materials and activities, as well as having checkpoints such as self-assessment, milestone and feedback. 

Authentic Tasks in Online Learning 

Her second lecture was about Designing Appropriate Authentic Task in Online Learning. Dr. Teras defined authentic learning as a meaningful learning experience that is active, constructive, intentional, and cooperative. 

She said that “authentic tasks involve authentic problems leading students to better understanding and transfer of learning through solving complex problems, creative thinking and collaborative work.” 

Dr. Teras explained that, based on the Authentic Learning Model of Herrington, Reeves, & Oliver (2010), technology enables the creation and sharing of authentic contents and facilitates collaboration in doing authentic tasks. Hence, it is viewed as an effective tool for learning. 

Research-based Teaching

During the fourth session, the Finnish professor presented the topic Research-based Teaching by Conducting Effectiveness Evaluations Through Action Research. She conveyed to the participants that action research is a reflective practice whose results bring a beneficial change to those who are affected by it such as the students, colleagues, department and university in a particular social setting. 

In addition, Dr. Teras said that “it is a form of an experiential cycle of professional development to systematically improve teacher’s practice to benefit our students.”

The last session was devoted to the Consultation and Reflection on Teaching in the InFLex Implementation. The facilitators shared the general reflections of the participants on the training based on the synchronous and asynchronous activities. Dr. Teras provided insights and suggestions on how the training design could be improved. 

Dr. Amelia T. Buan, CED Dean, shared her plans to form a group of peer facilitators in the college to assist and provide stronger support to the faculty in creating a more engaging and flexible learning environment for the students.

Dr. Buan is currently engaged in one of the BUKA Projects which promote equity and access to higher education in Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines through the use of inclusive instructional design (ID) and learning analytics (LA) in online and blended learning, especially in the context of Open and Distance Learning (ODL).

To know more about this activity, you can read the BUKA REACH Project that supports teachers on innovative flexible learning.

PE and health teachers given insights on InFLeX modalities

PE and health teachers given insights on InFLeX modalities

by Darlton-Ace Tero, CED

Featuring professors from various universities in the ASEAN as resource persons, the webinar on Innovative-Flexible Teaching (InFLeX) Modalities for Physical Education and Health, organized by the Institute’s Department of Physical Education of the College of Education, focused on how teachers in South East Asia can overcome challenges in teaching Physical Education (PE) and Health subjects during the pandemic. 

As schools and universities are forced to close due to the outbreak, the traditional contact exercises in PE and Health classes have been replaced with virtual learning. 

Supported by the ASEAN Council of Physical Education and Sports (ACPES), the webinar held on September 23, 25, and 28, 2020 aimed to build the capacity of teachers in innovative-flexible teaching and learning modalities and to learn the best practices of partner universities in South East Asia.

One thousand two hundred participants from the country’s private and public schools, as well as from ASEAN countries and the Middle East, were given lectures that were delivered via Google Meet and live-streamed on the Facebook page of the College of Education.

According to Prof. Dr. Tandiyo Rahayu of Universitas Negeri Semarang, Indonesia, schools were forced to close to ensure safety among students, teachers, and school staff. “The show should go on,” she said.

In her talk, she said teachers can use the blended learning approach, which is to blend the use of devices and information technology that students are familiar with and are favored a lot, and the need to stay physically active in “at home PE classes.” 

She added that in this new normal, the idealism and standards of education should be slightly lowered and emphasize on the sympathy of the current situations of the students.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Supranee Kwanboonchan of Srinakharinwirot University in Thailand talked about the need for teachers to have a growth mindset to adapt to the changes brought by the pandemic.

The Thai professor said the pandemic enables teachers to think critically and systematize teaching strategies. Despite this new normal, opportunities and transformation are coming in. Teachers can always find innovative and flexible ways to go on in accomplishing the goal in the education sector and that is to facilitate the learning of the students no matter what the situations the teachers are in.

Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University Assoc. Prof. Koh Koon Teck discussed the topic Practices in Delivering Quality Teaching and Learning in Physical Education During COVID-19 Crisis.

Dr. Koh Koon Teck emphasized the use of ICT in teaching Physical Education. According to the professor, most teachers are well-versed and knowledgeable in using technology and internet applications. The professor added that if there is one lesson that this crisis teaches the education sector, it is the need to plan for sustainable, quality and flexible learning options.

While schools and universities move along with blended learning which combines online educational materials and opportunities for interaction online with traditional place-based classroom methods, Dr. Suporntip Pupanead of Thailand’s Kasetsart University, reminded teachers to consider the mental health of both learners and teachers.

Dr. Pupanead also highlighted the positive and negative effects of technology on students’ social health and well-being as a whole, citing that students are now digitally-focused rather than relationship-focused. 

Dr. Ani Mazlina Dewi Mohamed of Universiti Teknologi Mara of Malaysia shared Physical Education teaching practices for remote education in the webinar.

Dr. Mohamed said categorizing students through a survey can help teachers when they design lessons. Identifying these categories help teachers decide whether to have synchronous or asynchronous activities. 

She also mentioned the struggles of the students and the challenges the UTM teachers encountered, such as the students’ financial status, internet stability, the glitches of the gadgets used in the online class, household disturbances, and technical difficulties.

Because of the varied needs of students, Dr. Mohamed said teachers used different technology applications such as Google classroom, Google Meet, Padlet, WhatsApp, and telegram as their communication tools for personal coaching, for sharing slides with voice recording, and for sharing of pre-recorded videos for self-learning. 

Dr. Mohamed also shared that she integrated the giving of rewards to students who perform well to motivate them to get engaged in class because she believes that students’ engagement is important. 

In addition, she pointed out in her talk that teachers should be flexible for the submission of assignments and tasks as students are having difficulties.

CED Dean, Dr. Amelia T. Buan echoed the key points discussed in the webinar when she was called to give a reflection of the webinar. “Stay engaged, keep in touch, and support each other,” she said. 

More than grades and learning outcomes, it is forming networks such as meeting new friends, to be passionate, and to be able to empathize with students, said Dean Buan.

The three-day webinar was co-organized by the CED-Audio-Visual Media Center, MSU-IIT Center for eLearning, and graduate students of the MS Physical Education program.