In July 2007 a team of teachers and professional designers started work on designing an e-learning course for 2nd grade Geography curriculum for High Schools. The project was completed in September.
The content of this course was put together by the teachers and it included 77 photos & 96 animations. The themes were designed by a team of designer, under the teachers' supervision.
All the work for this course was done on the RayaSchool template. RayaSchool is Schoolnet's e-learning project and it contains lots of courses and enables teachers and students to participate in any of them.
This course has 5 sections:
Mr. Salamat is the Geography teacher at Mofid and Shahid Aghayi High Schools and his students use the e-learning course for their Geography lessons. Here Mr. Salamat describes how the e-learning lessons are run and shares with us his experience of using the course:
The computer site has enough computers, so in our class each student has his own computer and works individually. At the beginning of each lesson, for few minutes, students surf for free, the relevant pages relating to the lesson on RayaSchool, to see what to anticipate. Afterwards, the teacher describes the new lesson for about 5 minutes. The students then go on to read about the lesson and see the related photos and animations for themselves. With the help of some amazing programs on the site, students are a lot more motivated and can concentrate much more on the lesson.
There are some activities that the students need to complete in the class. After reading about the lesson, they go to the activity section and complete these activities. Activities are in the form of filling the blanks, multiple-choice and drag & drop questions. Some part of each lesson is reserved for students to explore the topic being taught on their own by looking at the questions in "Talking Room." This will encourage them to think about each question and by searching the site to come up with the answers.
As the computers are far apart in the classroom, students are less playful, with fewer opportunities to distract each other!
The one problem with this method of learning is the speed of typing. Some students are slow in typing and this means that they spend more time on their Geography homework. This problem is resolved by letting students to start their homework in the classroom when they've finished reading the new lesson and doing all the related activities.
On one occasion, the network was not working in our site and I had to teach using the blackboard and chalk! It was a challenge to go back to the traditional teaching techniques, without the aid of photos and animations on the site. It was reminder to us of all the benefits that e-learning has brought to our classrooms.
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