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Dialogic Teaching: Developing Effective Online Pedagogy for Productive Dialogue

This blog is based on the sharing of a group of colleagues working on a project on Dialogic Teaching. With online teaching, we take the opportunity to explore how to promote effective online pedagogy and productive dialogue for student learning. We hope to address the needs of colleagues with different levels of e-learning experience. We share our experience using classroom examples with a focus on promoting student involvement, interaction and dialogue.

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Use of Zoom for Faculty meetings and events

Recently there are quite a number of news reports on security concerns with Zoom. Our own e-learning team has sent an email to all staff on March 25 about “keeping the Zoom meeting private”. Subsequently the Technology and Infrastructure Development Office and the University’s Information Technology Services have also written on April 3 about the matter. It is important to follow the advice in the above messages and keep the version of our Zoom app/client up-to-date.

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Nearpod and Preparing Students with Knowledge and Skills for Future Teaching

In this Zoom class example, PGDE pre-service teachers were asked to apply their understanding of Special Education Needs (SEN) using designed activities in Nearpod, a common e-learning tool in schools, to share and to teach their peers. In this Collaborative Lesson Inquiry (CLI) class, students had to design activities that elicited peer ideas, identify and discuss SEN problems, propose solutions to deal with the dilemmas, and design activities to collect peer feedback. The sharing provided students with an authentic experience of applying education theories in practice and required them to demonstrate the use of teacher questioning and dialogic prompts in their Nearpod Zoom session.

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Google Slides for Collaborative Writing and Video Watching

Videos are useful resources in online teaching. However, students might be easily distracted when viewing videos posted on Moodle at home or even during teacher presentations in Zoom sessions. As such, students could be assigned collaborative tasks in Zoom classes to help their sense-making of the video clips’ key elements. Students could be arranged into different Breakout Rooms for their sense-making dialogue, supported by different tools.

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Google Drawings for Collaborative Inquiry

While Zoom Breakout Rooms can serve as a good setting to promote student interactions, student group discussions can be more focused and productive when they are invited to present their inquiry findings. Using Zoom’s Shared screens and other tools, students could work together creating visual artefacts online using Google tools like Google Drawings and share their inquiry.

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Google Jamboard for Visualization of Ideas and Collaborative Discussion

Students are encouraged to express different ideas and discuss with others, supported by visualization tools. Jamboard is a Google tool that can be used to promote interactive and collaborative learning – students can write their ideas onto virtual post-it notes and build on classmates’ notes with different ideas and questions. In this example, the teacher shared the screen of her Zoom desktop, on which Jamboard was open in one of the windows. Then the teacher wrote a question prompt and students were asked to write their responses to the prompt using a virtual post-it note.

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Google Form Quiz and Breakout Room Discussion

When a Zoom class starts, students may not be ready to talk actively about the topic and there may be silence. One strategy is to engage students in different tasks to encourage participation so as to prepare them for discussion. In the example below, students were sent a Google Form via WhatsApp and Zoom Chat when the class started. The Google Form ‘‘quiz’ asked students to answer some general questions providing basic information on Special Education Needs (SEN). The quiz served the purposes of making learning more interactive and assessing students’ basic understanding after they had read the PowerPoint posted on Moodle.

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Top Tips for DSE

2020 is an unusual year for the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education Examination (DSE) candidates. The coronavirus outbreak caused school closures, however, the key DSE written exams would remain on schedule (based on HKEAA announcement on 25 February 2020). School closures have meant DSE candidates have missed out on critical face-to-face learning opportunities. Students have had to continue exam preparations via online lessons during the school suspension period.

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Assessing Online

Shifting well-established offline assessments to online assessments is not an easy task. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for online assessment since every task is context-dependent. This is not surprising given that certain forms of assessment are more appropriate or acceptable when assessing the extent of student achievement across a range of course learning outcomes. We introduce some of the most commonly used online assessment tools in HKU Moodle and some tips for implementation.

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