A year on from teacher workshops

It has been almost a year since I last visited Sembalun Village on Lombok, Indonesia to run teacher workshops on professional development and research for my thesis on ICT and teacher professional development in rural Indonesia. I received first class honours for my thesis (wohoo!).

Since the workshops, both myself and the teachers have continued to attempt to stay in touch to allow for the lines of communication and support to stay open in regards to their blogs, Twitter accounts and any other social media they want to use to supplement their teaching in class or connect with online learning communities. Based on my research, I know how critical this ongoing support is to ensuring any lasting benefits of workshops.

Unfortunately, this has been difficult, largely due to things like:

– Time constraints on my end and their end

– Inability to call each other due to internet connectivity difficulties

– Teachers losing their passwords and login details

– When the teachers would contact me, I would be at work and unable to take the call – by the time I called back, there were internet issues and I couldn’t get through

I also just simply haven’t had the money to fly back over at regular intervals. Although I would love to, I don’t have time on a weekly basis either to return to this every day as I am very busy with my own work and volunteer commitments here.

But the teachers and I are not prepared to give up and we are going to keep helping each other along this huge learning journey. I probably needed some time away to refresh and reflect, and am ready to get stuck back into it.

The teachers have been repeatedly asking me to come over again to give a refresher on what I taught them in last year’s workshops, understandably! I’m finally able to fly back over in 3 weeks, and then it will be back to the drawing board. I’ll be meeting with the teachers to run a couple of follow-up workshops to remind them how to make blogs and Twitter accounts etc. and talk to them about what worked and what didn’t in the past year in terms of applying ICT to enrich their professional development.

The types of things I want to find out is:

– What worked for the teachers in terms of using ICT in the classroom, and what didn’t?

– What worked for the teachers in terms of using ICT to connect with other teachers online, and what didn’t?

– What made using ICT easy on a daily basis, what made it difficult?

– Most importantly: How do we create a sustainable supportive relationship that suits mine and the teachers’ ever changing and very busy schedules? E.g. do we have one day a week that is a ” Facebook check in day” with each other? Or do I make myself available for an hour each weekend for them to contact me?

I am very lucky to be part of a community of very inspiring educational professionals who are being so supportive in helping me with this – however, I am always learning and appreciate as many tips and pieces of advice as I can get in relation to the above.

Some lessons

I have now finally finished my Master of Development Studies and have completed a thesis on how ICT (information and communication technology) may support teacher professional development (TPD) in a rural Indonesian context.

I designed and conducted two ICT workshops for teachers at a junior high school in a remote village on Lombok Island, Indonesia for my thesis research.

I’ve taken away some key messages from my experience overall. Many of them are very basic and well-known pillars of ICT in education, but it has taken me a thesis and months of experience to truly understand them!

Here they are:

Learning needs to come before ICT. The entire focus of any ICT program should be the learning objective first, followed by how ICT may support it: not the other way around. This is relevant for teachers and students.

Introducing ICT to teachers who are unfamiliar with it is a very long and complicated process, and initial positive adoption of ICT does not automatically guarantee future (or effective) use of it. Teachers need ongoing support.

Understanding the nature and level of professional self-reflection appears to be critical to introducing any ICT tool to enhance teacher professional learning. Reflecting on one’s own profession is key to identifying areas which require support or further development which ICT may be matched with to scaffold.

Without this, teachers can easily become swamped in a new online world of knowledge. This becomes confusing and time-consuming and ultimately discourages ongoing use!

Self-reflection is not only an individual process ! Collaboration and interaction with others is just as significant for conjuring personal reflection as inward thinking is. Reflection is both social and individual in nature, and being mindful of this is helpful when undertaking reflective tasks with teachers in contexts where self-reflection is not emphasised as a large component of professional development.

Using group / community based learning is a helpful and effective way of introducing ICT to support teacher professional development. Ideas, resolutions to problems and innovation spreads faster when teachers work in groups as teachers feed off and motivate each other.

Being a ‘volunteer’ who is familiar with technology doesn’t automatically position me as the best person to transfer ICT skills to a community. Speaking Indonesian helps that process, but I am not a teacher and don’t know enough about the teaching world to be able to fully assist teachers in using ICT to support their professional development. I was fine to kick-start the process and can absolutely provide ongoing support, but I need to collaborate with other teachers both here in Melbourne and overseas to help me support this process.

Finally, when introducing ICT into an environment where ICT resources, knowledge and experience are very low, it is critical to assume the role of ‘learner’ as much as ‘teacher’ when transferring knowledge and skills to teachers. ICT capacity building is a collaborative process where new problems, solutions and innovations need to be explored and tackled on equal ground with teachers.

And the list goes on !

Some reflections

One of my university assignments recently was to write a reflexive essay on how my ‘cultural lens’ has impacted my view of development and my volunteer work overseas.

I’ve pasted the essay below. It was so therapeutic to be able to really reflect on what the past four years of travelling have taught me about poverty, development and my role as a volunteer. Many of these thoughts have been bubbling away all of this time so it was great to be able to release them onto paper.

I took a very self-critical angle, but I really think I needed to.

Here it is:

Renegotiating cultural arrogance: a critical self reflection

The cultural lens through which development practitioners view communities influences how they interact with them. After all, our culturally determined values and conceptions of ‘what is right’ are the only apparatus with which we can approach and make sense of unfamiliar people and places. However, these outlooks are never permanent, and are not easily transferable from one community to the next. Culture and its various psycho-social components are in a constant state of flux. The implication of this for international volunteers is that enmeshing oneself into a foreign community becomes analogous to navigating a maze of changing perspectives informed by unfolding experiences and relationships. This essay attempts to draw light on personal experience of this while volunteering in the rural Indonesian village of Sembalun since 2010. In particular, I reflect on how my own cultural outlook on gender, poverty and my personal role as a volunteer has been transformed, and how this has required a re-negotiation of my own cultural arrogance.

At 19 years old, my arrival in Sembalun carried with it huge culturally paternalistic judgments relating to gender. I observed the daily activities of women as ‘consumed’ with household duties. Pursuing university or a career were not even a blip on their future radars – an outrage! Obviously women were subjected to becoming passive puppets of patriarchy in this village. Certain areas of the Islamic faith similarly pricked my attention.

It was almost unfathomable that polygamy was practiced and women ‘settled’ for such treatment. How insulting, that women were required to take their place at the left, ‘dirty’ side of the mosque and mindlessly cover up their individualities with the hijab. Clearly, these were all hallmarks of an underdeveloped, isolated society which had not yet been enlightened by modern pillars of gender equality. An excerpt from my personal journal from this trip encapsulates the exact emotions I felt at the time:

“Something that I’ve really been thinking a lot about lately is how women are positioned within the community. Every Inak (mother) in Sembalun is a house wife – never branched out to new horizons or tried new things. It’s so hard to comprehend this. Is it inequality, or do the women like being housewives? …Their life is to cook, clean and sometimes hand weave. I always wonder how they don’t go absolutely crazy with boredom doing exactly the same thing every single day. Even the traditional music is male-dominated, apart from the rare female traditional dancer. How I wish I could change this! The most frustrating thing though, is that this will never change…”

Feb 2010 (Age 19)

I similarly categorized the community as in need of a ‘western saviour’ to remedy a plethora of problems I assumed existed. Community members were the subjects of change as opposed to the agents of it. Their lacks in education and overall life experience, being limited to the village of course, recommended me as more capable for effecting poverty reduction in a social and cultural environment they lived and breathed. I even homogenized the personalities of community members themselves; the complex webs of relationships and personalities which coloured my Melbourne community did not apply to this third world context. Surely all were identically friendly, welcoming and humble human beings.

When personal tensions arose between myself and village members, I was surprised, given that each person was assumedly as friendly and warm as the next. In a similar light, moments of laughter were met with secret shock that myself and other community members owned similar senses of humour. Despite my desperate eagerness to help this community, I had in fact not ‘humanized’ these individuals, or afforded them the dignity to be viewed as just as capable of change and diversity as those in my own community.

In effect, well-meaning intentions for reducing poverty evoked cultural arrogance. The presumption that I was actually capable of helping this community elucidates this. I was driven by how I would help reduce poverty, not whether I could. A high school education and an unfolding university degree qualified me to become the information giver, the problem solver and the agent of change. I established English classes with no teaching experience. I contributed to community meetings, though my only experience was drawn from involvement in Melbourne-based community organisations. I responded to questions from teachers regarding how to ignite better motivation in students – with only my high school experience as a student as a reference point. Positive reinforcement from within myself and my Melbourne community that I was doing such ‘good work’ for others overseas essentially left no room for critical introspection to allow myself to wake up to my own western paternalism.

I am now 23, and have spent 7 month-long trips to the village since 2010 wrestling with these realizations. I have been humbled through a turbulent experience of attempting to project my inherently western beliefs onto people and places entirely unfamiliar to me, even if it was not outwardly so. Firstly, I no longer homogenize community members as a monochrome collective of need. Sembalun is a community pulsing with the same diversity of relationships, personalities and needs as my own in Melbourne.

Secondly, I now conceptualize outlooks on religion and gender as not existing at polar ends of acceptability, but on a spectrum of belief where each individual determines where they place themselves. Thirdly, my relationships with community members are no longer grounded in pity, but coloured by the same connections, humour and even frustrations as those in Melbourne. It is in this sense that community members have now been ‘humanized’.

Lastly, the most significant outcome of these reflections has been an overwhelming sense of what I do not know about development and Sembalun life. Though partly attributed to time and experience, it is only through ongoing critical self-reflection that I have enabled myself to descend from my cultural perch of superiority as a western volunteer.

A teary moment!

I regularly visit primary and secondary schools here in Melbourne (AUS) to speak to students about my experiences living and teaching in Sembalun Village, Lombok, Indonesia.

It’s so great to be able to share with students first-hand experience about how much the culture and daily life in rural Indonesia differs from Australia, and to watch their reactions each time I tell them of a traditional food, custom or story which is part of the fabric of Sembalun life.

Don’t worry – I make sure I don’t leave out my most embarrassing moments, like the time I accidentally said I wanted to marry someone I’d just met in front of a room of people, or when I enthusiastically announced to the team at the Community Development Centre “Bye everyone, I’m gonna go die now” (the Indonesian words for ‘leave’ and ‘die’ are strikingly similar).

My school talk is centered around three simple but critical ‘lessons’ which got me to Sembalun in the first place and have been the reason I’ve been able to keep going over and having such brilliant experiences:

1. Have a Go

2. Keep Going (after you’ve had a go and things turn pear shaped)

3. Connect with Others.

The messages are so simple, but I emphasize to the students that without following even one of them I would not be standing in front of them sharing with them my photos and stories of the amazing adventures I’ve had so far in the village.

I’ve edited the talk well over 10 times, tailoring it to each year level or classroom I speak to to try to make sure it resonates with the students as much as possible.

Today I received some very powerful feedback from the students I spoke to recently in Melbourne – the students completed a 3-2-1 Thinking Routine activity to reflect on what they had taken away from my talk and the questions they have.

I had quite a teary moment reading over their beautiful comments and questions, and most importantly realizing that my talk is connecting with the students in many different ways (so thrilled!!!).

http://idesilva.global2.vic.edu.au/2014/07/30/stephanie-livingstone-reflection/#comment-1146

http://adrianab.global2.vic.edu.au/2014/07/31/stephanie-livingstone-reflection/#comment-263

http://gaudley.global2.vic.edu.au/2014/08/03/guest-speaker-stephanie-livingston/#comment-1084

(I love the student’s responses, but please note student reflections are subjective and are a reflection of their own interpretations)

In this talk I also really tried to emphasize the fact that learning is EXCITING and it can take you to such brilliant places both inside and outside of your imagination.

Somebody get the tissues! It seems the message was taken on board :

“I liked Stephanie Livingstones story a lot and found it very inspirational like Shae
and one thing I found interesting was the way some people in this world live and one more thing I found interesting was that learning can make you do grate things.”  – Brayden

Day 5 – Mixing it all together for a great end to the workshop !

Day 5 – Mixing everything together

Finally had a chance to sit down and finish my post on the last day of ICT workshops!

Saturday was sadly the last day. Would have loved to run this workshop for three months, not one week, but unfortunately that’s all the time I had to work with because of my University timetable.

Saturday’s workshop was originally intended to start with a reflective activity on what we had learned about ICT and teacher professional development, however a number of teachers had finally been able to buy Telkomsel internet sim cards (the fastest internet provider in the village) and were eager to set up their own Twitter and Blogging accounts after days of being unable to. Once again, Suhartati Damsi took it upon herself to ensure all teachers understood how to use Twitter, Blogger, Email and Facebook. Suhartati helped everyone with everything from logging in, making new accounts from scratch, retrieving lost passwords and even simple internet connectivity problems. She hadn’t even properly made her own Twitter or Blogging accounts yet, and was running around helping everyone else! So humbling.

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There was other good news as well – two of the teachers who previously hadn’t been able to access the internet were finally able to and were very excited to set up Twitter, Blogging and Email accounts!  Here are some photos of them doing this:

Len had been trying for two days to log into Twitter, and was finally able to make a Blogger and Twitter account! Very exciting!

Len had been trying for two days to log into Twitter, and was finally able to make a Blogger and Twitter account! Very exciting!

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Huriani, still trying to access Twitter after three hours of internet not working properly on her computer!

Huriani, still trying to access Twitter after three hours of internet not working properly on her computer!

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Again, all teachers naturally worked in teams and collectively worked through problems.

I also ran through with the teachers the importance of using Google to search for help on how to use any of the ICT tools we’d covered during workshops. I explained to them that I would be available to contact at any time for further help while in Melbourne, but that it is also important they develop a habit of searching for solutions themselves. This is because most of the teachers are now accessing Twitter and Facebook from their homes to practice what they’ve learned in workshops,which means they don’t necessarily always have other teachers there to help collectively problem-solve as was the case in our workshops.

We then launched into the reflective activity, where we completed the ‘L’ section (‘what we have learned’) of the Mind Meister Map which we began filling in on the first day of our workshop (see post for day 1 of our workshop)). It was great to re-cap and reflect, and also really important for me to understand which ICT tools resonated the most with teachers. Some of the reflections were:

– We now know the difference between Twitter, Blogging and Emailing.

– Twitter is fantastic because we can seek help or assistance

– We need more resources to facilitate ongoing use of ICT

– I’m very interested in the use of email! I’m going to teach my students how to use email too and show them how they can send their classroom tasks to me through their emails accounts. I’m also going to use my email to send information to my friends in Jakarta and Australia! And I can also use Twitter and Facebook for business reasons too, for example, my coffee and hand weaving material business.

– I want to learn how to use Skype now I can speak to people through video

– We can use videos in classes now to motivate our students and make them more interested in our subject content. For example, we can use videos to help simplify subjects that students find difficult

– We can use our Twitter accounts to communicate to other teachers that now we have blogs and Facebook accounts

– Through the use of ICT we can become a better source of knowledge within the classroom

– The most important thing is how to make connections with other teachers through the internet

Our Mind Meister Map used for our KWL activity (K = what teachers know, W = what teachers want to know, L = what teachers have learned). We completed the 'L' section

Our Mind Meister Map used for our KWL activity (K = what teachers know, W = what teachers want to know, L = what teachers have learned). We completed the ‘L’ section

After this reflective activity, I invited Suhartati Damsi and Nurul Fatmah to facilitate a group workshop where teachers revised over Facebook, Twitter, Blogging, Email etc., while I completed teacher interviews at the back of the classroom for my thesis. It was fantastic – I was able to sit at the back of the classroom while the teachers acted as each other’s coaches.

My interviews were semi-structured and very open-ended, avoiding the use of any questions or statements which may infer a desired answer, e.g. ‘We know ICT tools will be effective for ….. how will you use it?”. All questions were presented in a neutral manner, some of which were:

– What is your broad perspective on the use of ICT for your own professional development?

– What are some of the strengths and weaknesses of teacher professional development at your school?

– What are any positive or negative impacts for your students or teachers which you think may arise as a result of increased ICT use?

– Are there any tools we’ve covered in our workshops that you could imagine yourself using in the future?

Myself conducting one of the interview

Myself conducting one of the interview

I found the interviews really insightful, particularly in regards to the concerns teachers spoke of in regards to long-term ICT use for their own professional development and in general at their school. Some of the most common perspectives were:

– Teachers were concerned the internet might begin to waste too much time as there is so much new information to explore (a very common problem I think!)

– Teachers were concerned students may get access to inappropriate material through the internet

– Social networking sites might become counter-productive and end up being too distracting for professional use

– Many students are obsessed with Facebook and their school work suffers as a result at home (very universal problem!)

– The teachers need more training – one week wasn’t enough to learn everything and practice everything as well (multiple teachers pointed this out)

There were other very other interesting responses which I’ll detail properly in another post later (I have gained teachers’ permission to refer anonymously to their perspectives that they expressed during workshops). We were able to complete most of the interviews, and I felt really strongly that all teachers had enough knowledge to continue discovering various ICT tools for themselves and continue building on what was covered in workshops.

Teachers are now contacting me on Twitter which I am thrilled about, and I am in the process of coaching them remotely online.

At the end of the last workshop!

At the end of the last workshop!

 

Saying bye to the teachers was very difficult, and I was so disappointed I wasn’t able to continue workshops longer.

There were so many challenges with these workshops, and it has surely been the most difficult thing I have ever done. I am so thrilled to have had the opportunity though to have learned so much, and to create some fantastic networks that I hope I’ll be able to utilize later.

The (brilliant and motivating) Principal mentioned to me that when he posted a Facebook photo status about our workshops, over one hundred teachers commenting either with interest or asking if we can all collaborate and learn together in the future! So the Principal wants to run the workshop again next year with teachers from the surrounding schools to share the exciting world of ICT with more teachers to help enhance teaching and learning. We’ll see what happens, but for now, I’m really excited (albeit very intimidated) to articulate some of the huge lessons I’ve learned in my thesis, and to use my writing time as a process of some much-needed proper reflection.

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Saying goodbye to the teachers!

 

Day 4 – Twitter !

Day 4

(Please ignore any sloppy sentences in this post, bit strained for time!)

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I arrived at our workshop this morning feeling a tad disheartened – only 5 out of the 12 teachers turned up because others were counting votes for the recent Presidential election. The internet was also very slow, and a lot of teachers weren’t on the same level as a lot had missed previous workshops. Was feeling a bit anxious about how I was possibly going to make it effective with all of these factors working against me.

As per usual though, the completely unexpected happened! Today’s workshop turned out to be fantastic, and the best one yet!!

The topic today was Twitter, which a number of teachers I have previously spoken to before coming to the village recommend I show teachers in order to take them out of their comfort zones.

The first advantage was that to complete Twitter account registrations teachers had to access their Twitter confirmation emails – so we were able to re-cap on how to access emails (through blogger) at the same time as setting up our Twitter accounts.

Teachers followed my projected laptop screen when computers / internet not working

Teachers followed my projected laptop screen when computers / internet not working

I was blown away by teachers’ persistence today. Often, five or four of us would just be sitting in front of the laptop screen staring blankly for around 5 minutes at a time waiting for a page to load.

This happened the entire way through the workshop – but it didn’t deter the teachers. The teachers tried everything to get around all obstacles which arose! They used their phones instead of laptops, transferred their phone sim cards into their modems, changed modems around, bought new sim cards for their modems, and just didn’t give up! If it was me in Australia, I’m not sure I would have lasted 2 minutes with the obstacles they faced.

Lots of other teachers ended up trickling in after their meeting as well – we ended up with 9 participants! Couldn’t believe it.

Five teachers were able to make Twitter accounts, and had a number of questions throughout the process:

– How to make our profile photos? “ I want a photo, but there is only an egg? “ – (This was often said throughout the session, causing all to burst into laughter each time. Absolutely hilarious!)

– Can we ‘follow’ anyone we want?

– What does it mean when the writing goes red?

– What is a Tweet?

Nurul using her tablet to access Twitter

Nurul using her tablet to access Twitter

All very understandable questions. I was blown away by one teacher, Suhartati, who took it upon herself to ensure that all understood what was going on. She asked me to show her Blogging, Twitter and Email over and over again from the very beginning so she can help other teachers later who were unable to make it to some of the workshops. Half an hour into the session, I realised Suhartati was visiting everyone’s laptops to make sure all were up to speed and was coaching others who were having trouble!

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Suhartati helping other teachers log in to Twitter!

Again, the internet was a constant problem and two teachers were unable to make Twitter accounts because of this. What was incredible, however, is that they kept trying over the four hours of our workshop to try and make their Twitter and Blogging accounts work properly. Blown away. When things got really tough – teachers never got frustrated, but often just ended up laughing with each other and making jokes about the internet (and each other, which was also hilarious)

This teacher spent two hours trying to access Twitter when his internet wasn't working properly

This teacher spent two hours trying to access Twitter when his internet wasn’t working properly

Huriani, still trying to access Twitter after three hours of internet not working properly on her computer!

Huriani, still trying to access Twitter after three hours of internet not working properly on her computer!

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Teachers who had also fallen behind got into groups and helped each other along with their blogs, email accounts and Twitter – I’m growing increasingly confident that after I leave teachers now have enough knowledge to be able support each other. Now that most teachers have blogs, Twitter accounts and Facebook, I can also keep in contact from abroad to make sure all are on track.

Another surprising aspect of today was that the workshop was actually only meant to go for 1.5 hours as Friday is the day when all go to the Mosque for a longer prayer session. Teachers ended up staying an extra two and a half hours later!

Teachers absolutely flew through the whole Twitter process – some of them have already uploaded profile pictures, and are also comfortable with contacting each other and myself! Some of the new accounts created are:

– @suhartatidamsi

– @nurulfatmahinsa

– @supianaana85

Watching this all take place absolutely blew me away. I had assumed Twitter would be too complicated for the teachers at the early stage, however went ahead with the workshop anyway on the advice of a number of teachers – what a pleasant surprise!

Lastly, I’ve been worrying about how I was going to complete teacher interviews tomorrow (for the conclusion of my thesis research) as there is still so much material we need to go over. Two teachers suggested we have an evaluation/reflective session in the morning (which I am so happy about as I had planned this already), and then have offered to be the coaches of the workshop while I move into another room to do the interviews.

Our solution to not having enough power points in the wall!

Our solution to not having enough power points in the wall!

Day 3 – Blogging and some unexpected events!

Today’s focus was entirely on how to make a blog, link it with email and how to write posts.

Quite a challenging task for a number of reasons. Firstly, four teachers weren’t at the workshop as they had gone to a teacher meeting in a town an hour from the school and had forgotten to let me know, which made things a bit difficult.

The internet was a constant issue, as were modem problems and computer virus problems. The persistence of the teachers throughout this though was incredible – the internet often took at least 5 minutes to load between clicks, and out of the 2.5 hour workshop, I would estimate that teachers could only go online for about 40 minutes.

Their persistence through constant internet problems was reassuring to me that they are passionate about learning ICT for their own professional development despite the multitude of obstacles that continue to appear and re-appear.

Again, team learning was the key to pushing through internet problems. Teachers shared computers and internet modems and coached each other through making their blogs and posts when I was busy helping others. A number of teachers made their first blogs and created their first posts. Some of these are:

http://www.hurianig.blogspot.com
http://www.suhartatidamsi.blogspot.com
http://www.sembalunpost.blogspot.com
http://www.nyunmany.blogspot.com

We used Blogger as it is fairly straightforward and can be used with a very weak internet connection. Teachers can also access their Gmail from the Blogger website, so we were able to learn both email and blogging together, which saved time and made everything much easier.
Teachers used the same instructional booklets I made for them last year to guide them through making their blogs which proved to be very useful and everyone constantly referred back to them.

Tomorrow I plan to speak about the role of social media as a form of professional development as we didn’t get time to go over this properly yesterday. I’ll be briefly explaining the use of Twitter and Facebook, and will be making a Facebook group that teachers can use to communicate with me and each other regarding any problems they have with their blogs/emailing/internet use after I’ve gone.

There also however need to be a couple of teachers who are able to motivate and coach others with their blogs and other ICT tools after I’ve left. There are currently three out of the ten teachers who are quite motivated about Blogs and information searching on Google in particular, who I hope can take on this role after I leave.

I have only utilized very simple internet tools in the workshops – Blogging, Ted.com, Youtube, Google and a few other sites as a number of teachers have mentioned to me that when they start learning too many things it quickly becomes information overload and can become quite overwhelming.

I also discovered yesterday that some of the teachers in fact feel they are too busy to participate in my research. I had really strongly emphasized in our initial meeting the need to communicate this to me if it occurred, and handed out detailed documents in Indonesian outlining that participation was purely voluntary and they are not obligated to participate. However, all teachers enthusiastically told me it was very important to them that they follow the workshops and that they would definitely have time.

This is understandable that none of the teachers told me that they didn’t actually have time to participate. Teachers obviously didn’t want to offend me and also didn’t want to come across as uninterested. After all – how do you tell a researcher who’s just given a huge presentation on a planned thesis on ICT and teacher prof development, which has taken four trips to the village to be able to do, that you are too busy to participate in her research?

So after finding this out at about 9.30 am yesterday, all teachers were gathered in our workshop classroom and I was about to offer ending the workshops as I was concerned it would interfere with their professional lives. I asked the principal to come and support me in communicating this, however – he came with some unexpected information! He told the teachers that Ministry of Education had moved the study timetable back one week, which meant teachers now actually do have time to participate properly in my research. He also very passionately emphasized to the teachers how important it was that they all learn how to use technology in order to become better teachers and develop themselves as well.

There are still various meetings that teachers need to attend however which continue to disrupt workshops and means that not all teachers are on the same page too. I had confirmed with the principal before I came to the village that this week was a suitable time to run workshops for the teachers, however a number of teacher meetings have come up due to ever-changing timetables.

Learning a LOT, which was the whole point of doing this thesis in the first place. Also making some fantastic connections on Twitter, where I am meeting so many knowledgeable teachers who are so willing to support me, which is brilliant.