Teacher tools for delighting students
In recent years, online visual collaboration tools like Mural (https://www.mural.co/) have revolutionized the way we conduct educational, training, planning, consultative processes, and various other activities. These tools enable participants to engage in a participatory and systematic manner, enhancing creativity, collaboration, and efficiency. Despite their significant benefits, many government and educational organizations have been slow in integrating these tools and processes into their systems.
This column highlights the transformative impact of online visual collaboration tools in the various strategic planning and stakeholder consultation processes as well as the core educational, training, coaching, and other instructional and capacity-building methods undertaken across the archipelago.
Mural is an internet-based app available on PC, Mac, and Android platforms that enables all participants to provide information, comments, suggestions, diagrams, pictures, documents, and links, using notecards, drawings, tables, graphics images, as well as vote on any of these to determine priorities, preferences, or evaluations as part of the process. The process and the results are visible to everyone in real-time, enabling a snappy but comprehensive and engaging collective process of information and sentiment sharing and decision-making. The results of the whole process—inputs, comments, voting, and decisions—are all entirely downloadable in PDF and various formats and immediately shareable with everyone.
But apart from the facility with which participatory engagement in information, idea, insight, innovation, initiative, or sentiment sharing is facilitated by Mural, it also allows the facilitator or teacher and his participants and learners to range far and wide in analyzing an issue or problem. It is this freedom and creativity that Mural allow that makes it a potential boost.
If I am to choose to whom this innovative tool will be deployed, I will choose the over one million teachers in this country, who will then be able to delight our pupils and students who have for decades suffered our educational system that is broken, corroded, and corruption infested.
All these ideas came to mind with urgent force last week. Over three days, I facilitated the prestrategic planning workshop of the DOST Science Education Institute in Tagaytay for the period 2024-2034. The Science Education Institute (SEI) is one agency of the government that is intimately engaged in equipping teachers with innovations and training in science, technology, engineering, and math. It funds thousands of scholars at undergraduate and graduate levels, sending them to quality schools here and abroad, hoping many of them will be excellent scientists and many others will transform into patriot scholars who will help transform their geographically isolated and disadvantaged communities.
The sense I got from the experience of the SEI staff that work with teachers across the archipelago was that our teachers are hungry for tools that can dramatically improve them as teachers and improve their teaching performance. This craving becomes more pronounced in the context of the continuing controversies about laptops and tablets being procured under pandemic conditions that have been callously waylaid by unscrupulous contractors, abetted by neglect, and connivance by education authorities.
I had previously used Mural in facilitating the early workshops of the National Academy of Science and Technology for the Pagtanaw 2050 some two years ago. Last year, I used Mural in facilitating the multi-agency strategic planning for the Teacher Education Council. A month ago, I also used Mural to facilitate the “research and community engagement into policy” workshop for MSU-IIT faculty, researchers, outreach personnel, and city officials of Iligan City.
Mural is only one of the visual collaboration tools available. There are others, such as Mentimeter and Poll Everywhere, that when used in conjunction with Mural, make them even more potent as educational and information-sharing tools.
Personally, I found these tools for unlocking the innate talent and creativity of teachers, presenters, and facilitators, by simply being there. For example, in this SEI workshop, I introduced a “prismatic approach” to organizational performance design that would have been difficult to conduct without Mural. The concept of a prismatic approach involves the purposive visual diffraction of the situation, issue, problem, sector, space, or timeline using analytical “prisms” that reveal the structure of the focal phenomenon under consideration.
If there were going to be a champion of these new technologies and bringing them within reach of our teachers, I had in mind the Teacher Education Council to do this. And there’s the rub—most Filipinos have not heard of this council. Shouldn’t we know why?
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