Reflections on a Micro teach

I’m currently participating in a small course on learning and teaching in Higher Education. As part of the course we were required to prepare and deliver a small micro teach session. The micro teach could be on any subject we liked and last about 15-20 mins.

I decided to do my micro teach on Online Objective tests looking at how online objective tests could demonstrate the principles that underpin assessment. I also decided to try and use some assessment technology, namely EVS clickers to a) demonstrate how learning technologies can support teaching, b) to try and make the session more engaging for the ‘students’ (who were observing and giving feedback on the micro teach) and c) demonstrate how the EVS clickers could be used in a diagnostic way.

Before delivering the micro teach I reflected what I found most challenging about designing and planning of the session. For me it was ensuring there was the right balance between content and activity. I wanted to ensure that it was engaging but not too overwhelming.

In terms of delivering the session I was most concerned about the technology working (which turned out to be a well-founded concern) and ensuring that I kept to time.

Unfortunately, the technology didn’t work and, for once, I felt it did throw me though this didn’t apparently come across. Reflecting on this now I’m glad it did and I reacted the way I did. It was a pertinent reminder that for staff who are not necessarily that experienced at negotiating the ‘quirks’ of technology that it can be a) daunting to introduce it to students b) undermining if it doesn’t work.

I personally felt that the micro teach didn’t go that well because I let the failure of the technology throw me but looking back threw the feedback I did get some positive comments even about the technology.  I do need to focus on the language I use, however, as I apparently used too much jargon and had maybe a little too much content.  Plenty to look at for the next session.

So in summary three things that did work well for me were:

– exposing students to some different technology. Even though it didn’t work well it was appreciated and could be seen how it could make a session more interactive

– The slides were clear and there was plenty of supporting information given verbally.

– And I spoke clearly and kept good eye contact which surprised because I was convinced I was babbling and incoherent.

And three things that didn’t work so well

– The technology for some reason the EVS system only registered one vote before polling closed. I’m looking into that at the moment.

– The language I used at times needed more explaining. I made some assumptions about the knowledge of the group that perhaps I should have.

– Coupled with the above was the amount of content presented.  Perhaps a little less would have allowed for more interaction.

Certainly if I were to repeat this again, I would still like to use the EVS technology again but would perhaps try and reduce the content down and be more focussed in what I presented and also included some handouts, – perhaps a glossary of terms that would be useful for students in aiding them with some of the particular language that this topic area talks about.

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