Arrival… May the 29th , Tuesday
After arriving to Budapest, most of the participants travelled together by bus to Holloko. The weather in Budapest was really hot, with lime trees fragrance permeating the hazy, stuffy air. It began to rain while the bus was close to Holloko with big, fat drops pouring in rivulets and washing away the heat and dust, uncovering the bright green on the grass and trees, the white of houses and the earthy smell of rich soil. The house we were housed in overlooked the entire valley: we were running from room to room like children, checking the view, exclaiming and laughing every step. We quickly introduced one-another, then, after the first dinner, we introduced ourselves, we met the hosts from Egyesek, and we received information about the house layout, the rules of the place, and the program the following days. Off to sleep, tomorrow we wake up at 8 to start the training.
Training day 1, May the 30th , Wednesday.
Today it was the formal introduction of the training programme with Alla explaining the we were here to learn about online web tools to be used in education. Then the members of Egyesek told us a little bit about themselves and their experience and how they conceived the program for the next days. And because it was going to be a hands-on training, we started with Boomerang, an application that makes a few seconds moving picture. We downloaded it on our mobile phones. The first task of the day: in pairs, we needed to record a Boomerang containing the first letter of our names, a fun and different kind of introduction that could be used to break the ice in any group of participants, especially one as mixed as ours, with people from six different countries. It was fun and easy, and everyone enjoyed it.
Next, there was an energizer where Kostas from Greece made us a play a game to remember the names of the people in the group. We already had name tags, but remembering names faster would increase the connection between us. Then we played a different game, a Bingo like sheet that had different boxes with information that we were supposed to match with the names of the participants. An organized kind of chaos ensued, where each of us would hunt another and pester him or her with questions, matching description, hobbies and activities with names. I found out Maria could cook traditional food, and Vili had been in several trainings with the Erasmus + program. There was one question nobody could answer: there was not in our group a single person with blue eyes. The game ended and, although sketchy and punctual, we each had a more information about each other.
To end the morning, divided into three groups, we used ActionBound, an application that allowed the construction of a game with different tasks in three different locations. It was downloaded again on the mobiles phones, while Vera talked us through it, and gave us a slip of paper with a QR to scan to begin the activity. In a set time, we were supposed to find a location and, first, record a song, afterwards move to a different place and create a love story with no words, and, lastly, film two short videos about safety rules in a children’s playground. All teams shared the same tasks, but the order as different. The projects were diverse and they required creativity, quick-thinking, and team play, while the application looked fairly straightforward to use. It turned out a lot of the participants had a competitive streak and were aiming to be first; however, our team had some technical issues with recording the song , another team could not find the locations, the third team could not agree on how to present their love story. Each group had a different dynamic, but, with some delays, the exercise was over. During the debriefing stage, Vera showed us the admin part of the program, how to check what had been uploaded. Back with the big group, we watched several of the funny short videos created. There was laughter, and a sense of accomplishment, and of wonder to see the different ways each group displayed in approaching the same tasks. This concluded the morning and we went to lunch.
While reconvening after lunch, we were redirected to read papers with quotes glued to the wall. The quotes were from experts about elearning and they set the tone for the next activity which was a reflective one. Using visual means – with the materials available in the room: paper, glue, colours, scissors, etc – we had to show to the other participants our experience of elearning, diving the story into three frameworks: what I know, how I feel, what is my experience so far. The materials created emphasized the different backgrounds and thoughts of the participants, marking us as an eclectic group with varying degrees of experience in elearning. After showing the creations and talking about the symbols embedded into them through use of form and colour, Micki talked about his experience as film maker and trainer, his collaboration with Egyesek and the way the current course was designed. Alla followed, presenting the TURN Online program with its three pillars: content, trainer, group, with the additional comments that would touch all during the course, moving back and forth between them.
The following step was called circle of creativity, where from a reality scan – the where, the who, the what of the issue – trainers would create a vision, both in terms of atmosphere and values, based on the reality and the resources available. In order achieve the vision, we must create goals: personal, useful, SMART. To make this circle personal, each participant was invited to write his/ her own goals concerning then week-long training course in Holloko on yet another application called Pineup, accessible either by phone or PC.
The final activity of the day, apart from the reflective stance before free time, introduced us to the 2048 “Interactive Museum of Online Education”. Divided into four groups of three people, we attended four workstations where we received different trainings, related to creating visual objects, using different types of online methods: Skype, YouTube, webinar and MOOC. Each station lasted fifteen minutes and it gave us a taste of different training material delivery methods. All the participants enjoyed the rotation and felt the time allocated for this was a bit short. The host observers pointed the different attitudes of the participants-as-students during the activity, requesting reflective feedback on the methods each preferred, what was useful, what feelings were experienced, and pointing out these were examples of frequently used online trainings available.
We ended the day buzzing with excitement and information, feeling we did and experienced quite a lot in only a few hours.
Andrea Pausan, Tatiana Bogaci (GEYC, Romania)