Adhyayan’s CoP – The 2 Part Webinar Series of Artificial Intelligence – 25th Sept 2021

Second part 25th Sept 2021  – The Teaching & Learning of Artificial Intelligence – Through the lens of students and educators.

In continuation to the First part 11th Sep 2021What is Artificial Intelligence? Why is it so important? 

Time: 4:30pm-6:00pm
Panelists 
Kavya Majumdar, Student learning coding at  ’Coding and More’
Manika Jhaveri, Student learning coding at  ’Coding and More’
Ishita, Educator at ’Coding and More’
Tanvi, Educator at ’Coding and More’
Supriya Bhuwalka, CEO of ’Coding and More’

Host Ms. Jayshree Iyer 

Jayshree briefly summarized the previous session with Dr Sarabjot Singh on what is artificial intelligence, what does it do and what is it not capable of doing. Today’s session was about how is it impacting our daily life and how to develop the essential skills required by students from middle school onward in coding and AI as per the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Education.

She introduced us to a bright-eyed and vivacious Tanvi who tested the awareness level of the audience as to what all around us is controlled by AI and how they are making things work better than before. She also introduced some of the projects made by students like ‘Nudge’ by Kavya, ‘Book of Books’ by Manika at ‘Coding and More’ where she is mentoring them. These young students showcased their passion projects with such confidence and clarity that the chatbox reflected delightful appreciation for them and their educators all through. Truly amazed to see so much talent in one frame!

Ishita talked about the need to raise awareness about AI and educate children from the junior level through the senior K-12 level to be future-ready. 

Talking about ethics, she stressed the role of educators to inculcate them in the students while making them realise the power of AI. She further added to make them mindful of personal biases, data privacy, cyber -safety and so on.

Even for educators and elders, suitable courses at various institutes are available. Tools of educators depend upon the specific challenges faced by them but caution against the missing human element. Some of the tools introduced were Google translate, Turnitin, Duolingo, Grammarly, omoguru, iNaturalist, photomath and their classroom application.

Both these young educators found their previous knowledge on the subject supplemented by the constant certification courses, keeping themselves updated to stay afloat in the constantly evolving field of knowledge. This is some food for thought for all educators who need to update on their skills to prepare global citizens in their classrooms.

From the discussion among the audience, it came out that the exposure received by the child from family, school and society, in general, inspires the children to forge ahead in new fields like AI. 

Finally, Supriya Bhuwalka shared her philosophy behind starting the institute to develop a holistic personality of children. She feels that children should be made to think logically right from a young age. Her research on how to use AI to realize the goals mentioned in NEP2020 made her take up this endeavour.  It is very important for educators to be passionate about a subject to be able to transfer the same among their students. It is the experiences given to students by the elders that make them enjoy the subjects, develop social skills like empathy apart from cognitive skills. It was an insightful as well as a  delightful session…..truly inspiring for us all!

Click here to watch the full session

Adhyayan #COP – What is Artificial Intelligence? What can it do? What can it not do? 11th September 2021

Panelists
Dr. Sarabjot Singh Anand

HOST
Ms. Jayshree Iyer

Artificial intelligence[AI] at the school level is quite important as per NEP2020 and it is widely used in daily life like the Aarogya Setu app, Alexa, face recognition as phone passwords etc. As Adhyayan addresses relevant education-related issues that may interest educators, today’s topic was also chosen to bring information and some food for thought for the intellectual minds who chose to attend such meaningful discourses on Saturday afternoons.

Introducing the guest, Jayshree informed all present that Dr Sarabjot Singh Anand has been involved in the field of machine learning since early 1990, developing algorithms, applying them to the real-world problem while working on a host of data types, has published over 90 academic papers on machine learning in the capacity of being an academic and entrepreneur. He was an Associate Professor at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom and built algorithms to develop solutions in diverse areas. He came back to India in 2012 to train engineering students in machine learning and to work on social problems in education, farming-governance and Healthcare. He also designed and crafted the software used by Adhyayan for school reviews.

To set the ball rolling, Jayshree asked questions such as, “What is  artificial intelligence and why has it become so important today?” Sarabhjot Singh took us back in history how AI came into being as  Alan Turing and other mathematicians tried modelling the universe using probability theory, developed machines that used neural networks based on the functioning of the human brain and so on. He elaborated on how the same machines are being used by Netflix choosing the programs to be seen by one individual subscriber based upon their viewing history, computer listening to and talking in the human voice,  looking at the X-ray images and finding the medical issues. But this powerful technology which is working successfully now because of the availability of a large amount of data sources from channels like Facebook and Instagram must follow ethics about ownership of data and also how to use it. 

Answering another question on the use of AI in education, he said that it has enabled us to create a different learning path for every child which may not have happened in a physical classroom. He explained it at length taking examples from his own students in Mohali where they could not just get answers to the question asked by them but also were directed to questions and clips of the lecture videos that dealt with the topic of the question asked. Another use that he stressed was the advantage to get good quality translations of languages more so in the last few years. 

In the same vein, he talked about the importance of data collection giving the analogy of human sense organs to the sensors and the camera of the computer recording the observations from its surroundings. This collection of data later helps them to build complex associations [alogrithms]. More the data,  better would be the algorithms and the more useful will it be to analyse and infer the data that would flow in later to provide effective solutions to problems. Therefore he stressed investing in developing data sets to enable their usages in Indian contexts of education, language and other sectors just the way developed countries have done.  

Jayshree drew attention to the questions asked by the audience like how it can be used for teaching subjects like Maths. He talked about domain models as they were developed by big universities like Carnegie Mellon; the adaptive learning systems that make the experience individualised for each student based on his individual way and pace of learning. This will be especially helpful in the Indian scenario to personalize the experience of each child in spite of their numbers. He cautioned against using an AI system based on databases of other countries as they are not meant for Indians and hence may be biased. Even for educational uses, the solutions would be meaningful only when it is based on data collected from India. The assessment, evaluation and other routine jobs are very well made convenient by using AI. 

While talking about the limitations of AI, he informed that it can’t use common sense, causations of an event and unsupervised learning from data. It is the human beings that need to teach a machine how to learn and feed unbiased relevant data. Machines are just a bank of answers for all possible questions. 

To look at  AI as a career and the need to have coding classes, he agreed that being central to every career, the sooner the students get training, the better it would be for them; but only when they receive quality teaching for these courses. It can only be done by instilling a passion for AI and allowing them to choose their own project. Using technology to identify a problem and finding a solution by collecting the data is what he wants to do in India. He exemplified how sustainable development goals can be met by encouraging the younger generation in this field. At the same time, it will also encourage the students to develop critical thinking and analytical skills as mentioned in NEP 2020. 

Jayshree held a small discussion among the audience at the end and summed up the session by stating the potential uses of  AI  though it would take a lot of curation of data going ahead. In subject-specific software, a lot of work is still required. Artificial intelligence definitely can change the education world where every child may blossom if we can use it effectively to personalize learning! 

Click here to watch the session recording!

How to lead Professional Development as a continuous improvement journey in your school?

Entitlement of Teachers to Professional Development- Part 3 

Moderator:  
Nita Luthria Row – Resource person for workshop for Adhyayan,  panelist for many sessions, PYP and Junior school head in Bombay International school.

Panelists:
Reena Singh – Alumnus of Loreto College, Ex-Principal GD Goenka Rajnagar, Kolkata, Master trainer CBSE schools in Rajasthan, Principal Khaitan School, NOIDA
Thomas Remigius School leader with 22 years experience at senior management in schools in Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Karnataka

Host:
Jayshree Iyer

The session took off with Jayshree briefly summarizing the takeaway from the last two sessions that were on the professional development journey of the teachers and that of a school. For the present session, she introduced the versatile moderator Nita who while using her vast experience in the field of education, engaged everyone present in a discussion on continuous professional development at their own level.

Introducing Reena Singh as a dynamic and motivated educator par excellence, she talked about her contributions in the field of education getting her a well-deserved, ‘The Most Admired Principal’ award. Reena Singh has also been empowering teachers through her transformational leadership and fostering supportive relationships. The clear and transparent objectives are followed by traceable key result areas very much in the Adhyayan way.  She promotes the collaborative environment and with continuous professional development, has built a team that is always ready for equipping and empowering young minds.

Reena taking over as a principal of a large school in NOIDA, Delhi NCR, that was already doing well in terms of results, rather than sitting back complacently, tried to measure whether the three most components of the school that is Curriculum System, Instructional System and Data System are aligned to each other; the teaching-learning is taking place for every single child; do students and teachers care for each other and find answers to similar questions.  As she could see the misalignment between national goals of developing skills like critical thinking and problem-solving and the instructional design followed in the school she sought the support of the management of the school and asked for help from Adhyayan. Coaching and evaluation have to happen from different sources. Placing her trust and seeking help from Kavita Anand from Adhyayan she realizes the need to develop skills in teachers as a continuous and thorough process.

As a next and essential step, she shared her vision of reaching the last child with her faculty. She talked about the ”Agreement Matrix”  whereby she found out whether the teachers knew what they didn’t know and whether they agreed to do what needs to be done. Here again, the trust factor was very important.   She communicated to the teachers the action plan for which 30% agreed and others followed suit by and by.

 She went back to Adhyayan and got her leadership mapping done notwithstanding her management training or international level achievements. She followed a ‘Flat Structure’ meaning everyone can deal at an equal level which helped her to collaborate and connect with her teachers in a more cordial way. Transparency in the system made her more approachable to her staff and helped in building a caring relationship among them. Through ‘Buy-ins’, she could prioritize the achievement of the annual goals of the school. The mid-level leadership emulated her path and brought back an impact story like hers.

The teachers were empowered through 3 months of rigorous professional development. Reena redefined the term ‘Observation’ in her school – it was done by the teacher for herself, reflecting upon her class activities, lesson plan, tools used, linking learning with real-life events, and so on. It also helped them to understand weaknesses and strengths. The teacher not only understood what is to be achieved as a personal goal but also what she needs to achieve for the annual school goal.

The data as an assessment tool for parameters of learning and student outcomes were analyzed to measure the gap between goal and current achievement. Once the problem areas were identified where exactly further professional development was needed, the training of teachers continued to reduce the gap. The cycle of Plan, Do, Check and Act and taking help from an external coach helped in sustaining the continuous improvement.

She concluded by citing ‘John Kotter’s 8 Step Model’ that endorses three basic principles of ‘Creating Climate for Change by Creating Urgency’.

Nita resonated with Kavita’s tweet that ‘learning of a student should never end’ connecting to ‘learning of a teacher should also never end’.

It was indeed an engaging discussion on how a leader carries out her vision of professional development of teachers in a school to make it achieve National Goals in Education.

Hat’s off to Reena and to Kavita her coach! Just wow!!

Introducing the second panelist, Thomas Remigius, who believes in being a leader who empowers schools to achieve International standards by cultivating best practices. Spending two decades at senior management in school in Rajasthan Maharashtra and now Karnataka, he supported the teaching-learning process through collaborative leadership and professional development opportunities. His motto is to ‘Make Every Day the Best Day for Every Child’ and that ‘There is Something to Celebrate in Every Student’.

He considers the PD as not a short sprint but a marathon, an ongoing and sustainable continuous process. According to him, PD should be personalized as per the teacher’s needs. The seriousness of a leader in PD is reflected if there is enough provision for it in the school budget and the time allotted for it to take place.

Tracing his own journey of PD as a school leader, very humbly he admitted the senior teachers in his first school made him learn a lot and later he learned from peers and from his interactions with students, literature read by him, his professional training from IIM Ahmedabad, enrichment programs for principals and finally from social media. He developed the culture of older teachers to mentor the newcomers while the latter brought new ideas. His staff meetings were used as PD sessions by himself along with other experienced staff members. The senior teacher on being trained in turn trained the rest. Saturday afternoon was devoted to subject-based discussion. Apart from that,  in-service training by Adhyayan and their support in arranging exchange programs for his teachers with schools in other states brought the success of the PD program in his school. Being a school assessor helps him grow as a leader. Several webinars, MOOC programs, and CBSE programs were also useful. 

Nita created a sketch note to put together on one page synthesizing a lot of ideas from all three sessions. A culture of continuous growth, the importance of reflection as well as being a role model as a reflective leader helps in bringing success in PD programs of schools. Conferences, workshops, webinars are a very important part of professional development but there are so many other ways that an educator can grow continuously as professionals- online courses, books, podcasts, educational magazines, social media – as long as one is one’s own learner. Life as a teacher begins the day one realizes that one is always a learner. Wise use of social media can make it an invaluable source of learning that should be tapped by professional learning communities. Nita suggested that after listening to a TED talk or attending a conference or a webinar,  if it is pursued with a book on similar ideas, it helps to get in-depth knowledge. Additionally having a coach or a mentor is the ultimate, and if there are several people it’s even better to get different perspectives as well but there is nothing like having that one person who’s your cheerleader who is always there for you. She made suggestions of some good books for those who have further interest in learning on their own.

Kavita Anand and Spokey Wheeler interacted with all three of them exchanging ideas on how a school leader makes their teacher come out of their comfort zone and try something different that benefits them in their professional development as well as the child for whom we all are meant to be there. A must watch again and again!

 

Click here to watch the full session recording!

Adhyayan #COP – Building the culture for successful Professional Development

 

 

Panelists
Parveen Shaikh- Principal Somaiya school, Mumbai
Ranjana Gupta-CPD in charge of Don Bosco School, Mumbai, Trainer on different aspects of CPD associated with Adhyayan.

Host 
Jayshree Iyer

Before COVID 19 only 3% of schools had a teacher in charge for continuous professional development of teachers while in 19% of schools this job has to be taken up by the principal only. The rest of them have no one responsible for them. Jayshree began the session unraveling these facts about Indian schools unknown to most of us. 

Does it raise questions like whether  CPD was taken seriously by the schools and teachers? Were the school authorities really concerned about whether the teachers were skilled enough to deal with their jobs?

Such concerns definitely explain the need for 50 hours of CPD mandated by the government for the teachers.

CPD is essential for the school teachers but is not a magic wand that makes the school the best in one day. This requires building a culture of learning in schools where the stakeholders like leaders, teachers, and the rest of the staff are ready for it, there is the flexibility of choice and encouragement by school authorities.

“Who dares to teach must never cease to learn”, is what drives Ranjana in setting up such a  culture for professional development of educators in the institutes with which she is associated. Elaborating on her scheme of operation, she emphasized the first step of setting goals for the same by the school which may be synonymous with the School’s vision and mission ultimately permeating to the level of subject-teaching. It is necessary to review the school and professional growth of the teachers before setting up an action plan.  

Generally, the school calendar keeps professional development activities as the end of the session, before/after a break, or just before it is about to begin. The resources for PD are identified from outside or within the school. After conducting such seminars or workshops, some teachers may require mentoring while some others may be in a position to help them. 

The next session of PD is based on the review of the previous one with the setting of goals once again.

Enlisting the essential components of PD in a school as common vocabulary, appreciation, transparency,  easy flow of communication among the stakeholders, and consistency of operation to name a few, Parveen revealed the secret known to everyone that schools enhance the quality of their teachers constantly to stay as good schools. It is the teachers who can influence the students’ achievement and learn to the positive or negative side.

A very important point put forth by her is that CPD has to be intentional and need-based. The schools need to set a budget for that and consider all staff-teaching, non-teaching, admin, and others for it and not just teachers of core subjects. At times involving parents is also a good idea. Needs may be specified by the staff themselves or through observation by others. Follow-up of the training may be evaluated in the form of its degree of implementation. Classroom observation may also help in the form of constructive feedback to improve further. Peer observation can help in their own growth especially with the format of recording observation shared by Adhyayan.

“Reflection is the beginning of reform”, marking this quote she explained that reflection in action and inaction, both are useful. She suggested her teachers record any one of their best lectures and self-analyze their performance before asking their colleagues to do the same for it. Over a period of time, they would know the reason for performing an activity in the class and its expected outcome. Reflecting-capacity of teachers can take them from mediocrity to excellence.

She pointed out the importance of induction and mentoring of a new teacher. Mentoring them in the first year helps them to get used to school culture. The mentor teachers also get leadership training in this process. Sharing innovative practices, teacher exchange programs with schools in other cities, states, and countries also play a big role in professional development.

She depicted the continuum of self-reflection in a teacher from an inexperienced to a highly experienced and confident teacher. She gave a lot of credit to Adhyayan for not just auditing their school and reviewing the performance of teachers but also guiding them through this journey of improvement to be one of the best schools. Another useful insight was to base one’s action on data. Data is helpful to point towards areas that require attention as well as gives them moments of celebration and helps them to create a meaningful action plan. 

Summing up, Jayshree brought out the highlights of CPD done by Parveen like the personalization of PD as per the requirement of each teacher, the humane outlook of a leader to support every teacher to draw out the best in them. 

The session wound up with a comment by Jayshree that like other professionals, teachers also have entitlement to their Professional Development as their job is no less important than others as it is them who are grooming these professionals for the future! 

Click here to watch the full session.

What does a professional development journey look like for a leader and a teacher?

Part 1  – Entitlement to professional development

Date July 31st, 2021

Panelists
Sai Sudha Narayanan –Headmistress of the secondary section in Little Angel’s High School, Mumbai
Sneha Singh Shetty – Maths and Science educator in Little Angel’s High School, Mumbai
Kavita Dhumale – English educator in Little Angel’s High School, Mumbai

Host

Jayshree Iyer

 The session started with Jayshree welcoming some members- who have been associated with Adhyayan COP and have been active participants voluntarily- by appreciating their contribution towards this platform. As the topic chosen was relevant to the needs of educators today, a large number of them attended through Youtube medium besides through the Zoom link.

This time, a new side of community practice was revealed as they helped the teachers of Little Angel’s High School, Mumbai to self-review and change their pedagogy. Understandably, it sounds like extra work to most of the educators as honestly admitted by Sneha Singh and Kavita Dhumale, the champion teachers chosen for a summer workshop by her school to be trained by Adhyayan. They drew everyone’s attention to the significance of framing the learning outcomes as per the verbs mentioned in Bloom’s taxonomy in doable and measurable activities. Initially, the lesson planning along with identifying synchronous and asynchronous tasks seemed like a challenge but it helped them to clarify the thoughts as described by Kavita. The lesson plan is all about organizing one’s ideas and actions within the stipulated time and curricular requirements, prioritizing fewer learning outcomes at a time.

Sneha pointed out a very important part that the students must be made to understand the way the teaching would happen. While implementing the pre-decided plan, flexibility to change, use of interactive tools, feedback from students, and trying various methods and seeing what works best for them need to be focused upon. In response to Kavita’s search for a tech tool that can be handled by each child in her class, educators- in-attendance suggested a large number of tools in the chatbox that they found useful in their respective classrooms.  Narrating their initial hiccups in engaging students as per plan, Sneha suggested asking explicit and then implicit questions to help build confidence to interact freely without the fear of being judged. Initially, assessment can start in the presence of the teacher, and later it can be done without her while maintaining records to measure the progress of the class as well as that of individual students. Both teachers admitted that such practices as developed under the gentle guidance of Ms. Neha Chedda and Ms. Jayshree Iyer of Adhyayan did bring change in their thought process as well as in the transaction of their classroom activities. Internalizing the process of reflective teaching and using it in all subjects without spoon-feeding became part of their teaching practice. Kavita summarized it beautifully, “ Learning during the process is very powerful”.

  Sai Sudha discussed at length with the timeline, the role of Adhyayan in helping them to self-review and carrying out CPD for pre-primary and primary sections. As Corona started and classes went in online mode, the new needs to provide training to the in-service teachers for their professional growth were addressed accordingly. The story of their journey with Adhyayan Is quite impressive as to see how the finer detailing had been taken care of in terms of keeping the parents informed, checking the lesson plans, observation of classes, measuring the progress of students, and so on. Planning for all teachers who may not be able to take prolonged CPD was done with the help of Adhyayan by identifying one subject where they made lesson plans as per a template. It was ensured that the new program is working by implementing changes in timetable for teachers and students along with a tracking system in place to aid the school leaders. Such experiences train the school leaders to foresee the next requirement of professional development of the teachers and the ways to address it.

Throughout the session a few thoughts that never left my mind were that changes are part of life; adapting as per the change is the tendency of survivors and those who make an extra effort become the champions as was the case of these two teachers. The support of school leaders like Sai Sudha is exemplary. Adhyayan, like a caring mentor, observes, plans as per their requirements, provides a robust scaffolding to change towards a meaningful school experience!

Jayshree repeating Kavita’s final comment, “students have come out of the textbook and it’s time for the teachers to do the same”, stated two major takeaways from the story of professional development of teachers of this school -Taking one step at a time and systemic changes in the school only can make professional development of teachers a success story.

Eagerly waiting to attend the next part-How do you build a culture of trust and confidence in the Teacher Professional Development program of your school!