Steve Martin, Expert Educator Columnist, New Zealand- In my first blog entitled ‘There are no rainbows without rain’ I outlined the intention of sharing the story of a group of teachers within the Science Department who are building success through technology. What follows is an inspiring article written by Ruby Huang, a second year teacher who is also a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert at Howick College.
The Conjugation of Sway: I Sway, You Sway, He Sways, She Sways, They Sway, We Sway
By Ruby KL Huang
Expert Educator Columnist, New Zealand
“Hey, have you seen the latest Microsoft programme called Sway?”
“Sway? No, but it does sound fancy though, what is it?”
This simple conversation would be the start to my obsession with Microsoft Sway. Through a bit of clicking and trial and error, I managed to discover the effortlessness of creatively designing a webpage presentation. When asked a few days later to present on the topic of “Collaboration” to my colleagues at work, I decided that I must show them the amazing capabilities of Sway.
One of the biggest and most difficult barriers a teacher must face is keeping their learners engaged; the same can be said when presenting to colleagues- especially at the end of a school year to caffeine-immune teachers with only a mere few days before they embark on a blissful long summer break. If they see another PowerPoint presentation, I’m sure they will start to snore- thank goodness no one has seen Sway before! (No rhyming was intended).
The dictionary definition of Collaboration is: “the action of working with someone to produce something”. I would describe it as “Collective Intelligence”. Through the Food Parcel project, I was able to teach my students what true collaboration means; everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses, why not best utilise those strengths and improve those weaknesses by working together to produce something that a single person could not accomplish alone. Assign each and every person with a task, be it big or small and affirm the interdependence of the goal. If one person were to not carry their role to a satisfactory level, the others will in turn fall and nothing will be achieved
If we want to teach the students to collaborate, shouldn’t we teachers act illustrative and do it first? How do we teach students a skill or quality if fail to exemplify it within ourselves? Thus the use of Sway to present was not intended to a show-off my technological prowess, but rather to encourage others- that they now also have the power to create and use the same kind of flawless webpage to present information. “Give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day; teach him how to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime” is a simple quote which one can relate to this situation, but I would like to go further. By now, many of you would have seen one version or another about the Revolution of Education (www.youtube.com/watch?v=GEmuEWjHr5c); we know that technology is just a mere fancy tool- in terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important. And if teachers are not working amongst themselves, how do we expect students to do the same? In conclusion, teamwork is the answer: collaborate – not reinvent, innovate- not stagnate and Together Everyone Achieves More.