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In tutorial training of #Mahara - "Involve me and Learn" ― Benjamin Franklin

It's ideal to have a lab for IT training/portfolio practice/digital literacies so students can have hands-on experience - allowing the tools, processes and concepts to sink in deeper.

However sometimes the space your given to work in is a standard tutorial room with the only facilities being a lectern PC and projector, and whatever devices students bring with them (asked or otherwise).

In these situations I still like to get the students involved anyway I can with using and applying the systems (e.g. Mahara). I've written the strategies I use down here in case they're useful for someone else:

  • Rather than run a whole session using my own account to demo functions, I ask students to volunteer to come up front and use theirs in front of the class, while I guide them through the process. 
    • A couple of advantages are: this helps other students see that it doesn't take an expert to use the system, and gives the student doing it the hands-on experience they need, also gives students some experience in co-demonstrating.
    • Some disadvantages are: that you need a student who is willing to come up front, students even if they come up may feel a bit uncomfortable.
  • Nowadays there will be students with open laptops/phones/tablets etc in class (BYOD). Mahara is a great system for getting these students involved on their device (rather than updating facebook):
    • Firstly I ask students to login to Mahara and follow along with what we are doing at the front of the room (non-direct involvement).
    • In todays session the teacher said students would need to form self selecting groups, so to promote direct involvement I asked the teacher to describe the group options and we then asked students to begin creating and joining groups using their devices. This worked very well and students were both engaged and actively learning.
In the future we will need to think about how to blend these sessions, allowing off campus students to "beam" in and work through the processes with the rest of the cohort.


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