Online Teaching in China

Sun, 31 May 2020

Online Teaching in China

I've just finished my latest teaching in China. Of course, with the pandemic in place, I didn't get to travel over there this time. Instead, the course was delivered "virtually" using VooV, the Chinese equivalent of Zoom.

I have to say, in the run-up to the course, I wasn't sure how it would go. I had planned to begin by teaching Scratch and then move over to BBC Micro:bit, where the students would learn both hardware and software development. However, it was not just me working remotely, the students themselves were still working from home, so it was not possible to get the hardware needed to them for the course.

So instead the students were given three Scratch-based projects. The first to help them get to grips with Scratch programming, then a computer drawing project, and finally a project to help them explore the history of Guangchai - Cantonese Porcelain.

The students worked really hard an delivered some very interesting work. The use of VooV was surprisingly good. While I missed the immediate feedback you get in face-to-face teaching, I was able to teach in a workshop style - mixing short lectures with plenty of hands-on time for the students. The students themselves worked in 5-person groups, using WeChat to communicate and share materials.

It will be interesting to see how these experiences affect the future of teaching. If the teaching works, and the students achieve their goals, might there be a lot more of this sort of teaching the future? Perhaps I don't need to spend so much time in China in the future?

Maybe online reaching will become the norm? If so, I won't miss the long flights, but I will miss the food!

See more information and outputs from the course can be found here.

Author: Sean Clark