Teaching in Hong Kong, Day 2Posted: July 8, 2014
Well, all of the students appeared again today so everyone made it through the night and managed to make it back to class. Hooray! More seriously, I’m now tracking the student attendance (which we usually don’t do) in order to make sure that I know immediately if something goes awry. The students are also happy to move as small groups, which gives me a little more peace of mind. I’m not here to chaperone them and they are adults AND Hong Kong is a safe city but you always have that niggling concern when you are, even vaguely, in loco parentis.
I now have all of the photo releases back so I can show you some pictures of the class in action. The students are in two table groups of 5: Team Elephant and Team Mongoose, because I refuse to number or alphabetise them. (The students are going along with this, before anyone wonders.) I like to get the students up and working on the boards, as well as doing group discussion at their tables, and we are getting the groups to cross-present, share ideas and be a lot more discursive than we would in a traditional class. You can see the groups are also checking out each other’s work in the photos (which is both allowed and encouraged – the group formations are as arbitrary as their names).
Tomorrow, we’re off to Central (the island) to take a ferry ride across the Harbour and eat dim sum at Maxim’s City Hall. This will bring most of the students on to Central for the first time (they headed off to Mong Kok on Monday for some quick adventure but they haven’t been further south than that yet on the peninsula). Then, on Thursday, they’ll be presenting some small programs that I asked them to write based on some lecture notes on network programming. Thursday will be a flipped activity – content first, including code production, presentations to the group and then a design lab to go through the points raised and to help them produce a good specification for their first “real” assignment, which is due on Monday. The course is very fast-paced so I’m trying to put in some good staging and scaffolding, but also taking advantage of the good things of the group (distributed problem solving) while still allowing individual demonstration of skill (code production).
Tomorrow is a “rest” day so I may not blog but I’ll definitely tell you how things go on Thursday!