Thursday, April 27, 2006


Today, I started teaching an FIT class. FIT stands for 'Functional IT' and is basically a computer literacy class. So kids learn how to use a mouse, a keyboard, how to create folders and a little bit of MS Word. Just all the basic stuff that you have to do if you get started with IT.
My class has 37 students and I have access to a lab with 11 computers for an hour once a week. I guess that's the point where you have to become creative and find new ways; I'll probably try to build a cardboard version of Word. But the first task is to build a large cardboard keyboard. Today, I started out with a comparison of humans and computers; what are computers good at and what are humans good at. Yeah Raimond, it's material I copied from your introductory lesson @ Kanti Baden ;-). I'm not quite sure whether I was able to bring my point across - I'll discover it on Saturday - the day when the next meeting will take place. Yeah, folks are working on Saturday - at least from 8am to 12pm.
To get a better understanding about the knowledge of the students, I asked a few questions. I'd like to share the results with you:

  • 2 (out of 37) have a computer at home
  • both of them have as well an internet connection
  • 10 had access to computers in the school that they attended before they came to NIE
  • 10 can create a folder
  • 11 can create a MS Word document
  • Nobody knows what a 'tab stop' is.
  • Nobody can create an enumerated list (I assume that the question wasn't asked clearly enough...)
  • 13 know how to create a table in MS Word
  • 11 know how to create a paragraph
  • 2 know how to get double line spacing in MS Word
I was planning to talk to the kids on Saturday about the three elements of an electronic document: content, structure, and layout. Additionally, I wanted to talk to them about spell checker and why they cannot find all the bugs. After having seen the answers to my questions, I might have to adjust that a little bit. Maybe I try to explain what a mouse is, what you can use the three buttons for, and what you can do with the help of Caps Lock. For most of the students, this will probably be a lot of information to grasp. But I'm not sure - it might as well be just a bad joke and they will laugh at me explaining simple stuff like that.
It's so difficult to explore how stuff really is. In the Bhutanese culture, it is extremely important not to loose countenance. So you might get three different answer to the same question - depending on how good your relation with the person you are asking is and how he or she is affected by the answer. For some things, you probably have to do it yourself to really discover how things actually are. That's the reason why it is really good to teach this class. You might argue that it is not sustainable to teach that class myself - once I'm gone, I'm gone. I agree. But without actually teaching the class, I would never have found out about the fact that the class has access to the computer lab only once a week. Or that only two of them have a computer at home.
How would you teach this class? Build a cardboard version of Word? What fundamental concepts would you teach to students that haven't touched a computer so far? What should I keep in mind? Please feel free to add comments to this post ;-).
Everybody was waiting for the pic; so here is a first one - together with Cheku - he helped out last Sunday to get vegetables. Luckily, the pic shows only part of my body... but I promise to post one where you can see the whole body (with knee socks...).


Anonymous said...

Cool dress, it looks comfortable. Sort of like a rope (the ones you wear in the morning) but I guess you wear it all day long.

It's interesting to hear about your teaching experiences --- I did an exercise class myself today, but with an audience much more used to computers :-)

Anonymous said...

Hi Sam!

You're very busy with writing reports ;)

I read all of them and it's really exciting! Thanks!

What a nice picture. Sam in a Gho...GOSH!

I think, it's a good idea to create a cardboard-version of word...

I don't know, how much functions you like to insert, but it might takes a lot of time...

An other possibility would be, to show some pics of computer parts and ask them for the name...

or working in groups...give some easy work to do in different programms...a kind of quiz.....

I don't know,'s difficult, but I know you are creative....1,2 billion new ideas...pleaaase

Tomorrow we have volleynight with the SVT and the beergarden opens...

So far the NEWS from T├Ągerig Downtown!

Regards and have a great time!


Unknown said...

Martin: The dress is really difficult to put on in the morning - but otherwise, it's ok. And yes, you wearing it all day long...
It's probably not difficult to get an audience that is more used to computers than the audience that I'm having...

Jolle: Thanks Jolle, great to hear from you. I have at least 1.2 billion ideas - at least! Good to hear that you'll have fun tonight; I'm sure you will win - or maybe not - but you'll have fun for sure! My best wishes to all the guys in downtown Taegerig!