Diary from Slovakia day 9

Tuesday, April 24nd

Grammar School Ladislava Saru

We were met by two final year students and escorted throughout the morning by them . They were very self assured, poised intelligent young women with an amazing fluency in English.

Children aged 11-19 at Grammar School. First lesson at 7.30 sometimes start with the second lesson at 8.20.

No assemblies in Slovak schools, breaks are just those 10 minutes between lessons.

Geography lesson
20 children, 15 yo. Using smart board clickers for voting on smart board . Teacher registers all handsets at the beginning. Voting software shows students still left to vote so teacher can ask them by name to submit their answer. Teacher starts with general quiz on Scandinavian countries, flags, places, features. Answers are not shown as the quiz professes but at the end a bar chart shows how many each student got right. Looks like this was a test on previous knowledge, as handsets are put away once test is complete and move onto a new topic.

Students present PowerPoint presentations on different countries. Starting with Italy. Teacher adds additional questions, asking students in audience about the facts presented. Then students complete a work book on geography which has partially completed map of Italy, children add in new details, labelling seas, cities, islands. Children are also making their own notes in another book.

Chemistry lesson
23 students 18-19 years old, revision and preparation for matriculation exam
to enter university. Biochemistry, amino acid structure, primary secondary and tertiary structure. This teacher was involved in writing the lesson plans that went with the digital content we saw yesterday. Using it in this lesson to illustrate points, show diagrams, 3D models. Uses whiteboard functions to highlight and draw on structural diagrams for further explanation. All students taking handwritten notes. A student wifi network is available.

Teacher uses a combination of demonstration, questioning and quizzes on the whiteboard to teach. All students have notes from other lessons or studying they have completed. Teachers uses one of the students scarves to demonstrate primary, secondary and tertiary structure in the thread, fringe and weave of the scarf. And shows Paganini the violinist who had a collagen mutation (fibromyalgia ?) that meant his fingers were deformed and bent but that it made it easier for him to play the violin. Shows video on how keratin structure changes application of heat and how it makes curly hair and how perming works.

meeting with head teacher
We had the opportunity to discuss education with he head teacher of he school. I asked what his biggest problem in education was and he said it was access to technology and suitable Slovak content. They also had problems with their wifi network which could not support more than a class online to connect at once. He realised that wired connections would be more effective but they needed an IT technician to run it and they were difficult to find and to fund.

He said a good teachers was one that he a good relationship with their students and did not forget what it was like to be a student themselves. They kept learning throughout their career and should not be afraid that students knew more these them. His answer really showed that respect for students was of paramount importance.

Edulab lesson
We followed a class to edulab where they had a lesson on biology using he net books and the teacher lead using the interactive whiteboard.

Comenius university
Visit to main building of the university in town to see he Rector office, graduation hall. Built in 1919, in art deco style. First university in Slovakia after first world war.

Telepresence demonstration. Cisco Video conferencing suite €30k. Three large screens, three cameras, set up so that mirroring is complete, we how up in same relative space to people in the other suite. met with colleague in Technicka University v kosiciach. He works on network communication systems, teach some Cisco employees by telepresence. Very natural system, even the tables in our two rooms match so that it feels like we are sitting around the same table. Can have up to four locations in one place at one time. Video of the demo.

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