Master Class 8 March 2010

Today four young masters came to learn about Excel. Last Friday I set up the class and told them that it was to start 10:00 am American time. Two, Morris and Raymond,  arrived on time so the received an on time reward of American bubble gum. (Thanks Mom!) Raymond got busy on the phone calling Noah and Jerry. Then we began.

 I had two files for them, instructions and a spreadsheet with student grades. I was going to teach them to use Excel to keep track of their students’ grades but I had two other motives as well. I want  to find someone who can be an ICT master when I go. At least for my Form 3s. So I watched them. I will also use this as a pilot for teaching masters next year.  These masters were quick oh. They each have their own computers at home and it shows. They took my instructions and explored beyond them.

  When they were learning to merge cells I walked over to Raymond and Jerry, they were right clicking.  I asked what they wanted to do and they said they wondered if the merge was on the right click menu. I gave them a toffee and praised them for trying right click because – I told them – “usually EVERYTHING is on the right click menu. So just because it wasn’t this time don’t stop trying.’ Jerry waved his toffee to the whole class.

  Morris was working on formatting a column so the numbers would be percentages. He said “Madam, nothing has happened!”  “Put a number in Cell D5.” I suggested. He did as I suggested and the number came as a percentage.  “You are from Missouri” I told him. Then I explained how in America people who have to see to believe are said to be from Missouri because it is called the “Show Me” state. We all laughed.

Noah worked slowly and deliberately. I had to remind myself that everyone learns at a different pace. He did each section carefully and studied the process and results. I think that using the touch pad on the laptop also was a bit of a problem for him. Maybe next time I will set him up with a desktop computer.

Since jerry came very late Raymond help him to catch up. Raymond  did well teaching except for the desire to take the mouse from the student and do it for him. Maybe I will share with him my strategy of having the student hold the mouse and putting my hand over the students’ hand.

 Raymond was entering the formula to calculate the students’ grades cell by cell. When he had entered about 6 formulas, he asked me, “Madam, isn’t there a way to copy this formula to all the other cells?” Toffee for Raymond! “You remembered from our classes before didn’t you?” I rhetorically asked. “Yes” he replied sitting a bit straighter and smiling.

 By this time Morris had reached the half way point. As instructed he told me that he was finished with section 6. I gave him a Ghanaian toffee, my favorite, a caramel chocolate chew. He raised his toffees and said “I passed!”

 Raymond came upon an error message  ### in one cell. I had just told Morris what the message meant, so I asked Morris to explain.  When finished he received a piece of American  bubble gum.  As each person reached the critical step 6 they received a toffee and “fin nu ku keria’ (you have done well in Buili) Just like in America, when I was teaching adults, these adults also liked to have a reward to recognize their efforts.

 Believe it or not at the half time stretch I chickened out. When they all reached step 6 I had them stand and stretch. We had worked about an hour and I also wanted to model good computer use behavior. I had thought that I would do the Peal Banana energizer but gave in to the fear of looking like a fool with my fellow masters. I know! What’s wrong with me? Instead we stood and talked about creating formulas, cell references and what we would do the rest of the class.

 For the next hour they worked on creating formulas to calculate grades and to figure the final grade for their students. We set a another day to meet, Thursday at 8:00 am. Maybe this time we will do the Peel Banana energizer….


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