Thursday, August 20, 2009
Learning involves the ability to "maintain an open mind". (Marzano & Pickering, 1997). Marzano and Pickering (1997) argue that open-mindedness extends our knowledge base as well as enhancing our communication skills. To really understand the social diversity and technological abilities of our learners, we too must maintain an open mind and use materials which are relevant to the children in our classrooms.
Hargreaves (2001) suggests that teachers in today’s society must find a way to move forward with technology to better equip themselves and produce better teaching practices. This is done by creatively exploring and testing out what will work better for the children in their classrooms. Hargreaves (2001) also argues that effective teachers will seek professional opinions and guidance from others around them. I have found this to be extremely important during my blogging experiences. Collaboration with like-minded people can help to untangle complicated issues.
During my journey, I explored many technologies that would be of great benefit to me in my teaching career. All of these technologies I can imagine would be highly engaging for most students, though the tools that stood out the most to me were:
• Interactive whiteboards;
• Google Earth;
• WebQuests; and
Interactive whiteboards have proven to me to be a wonderfully interactive learning tool. I have witnessed them being used in many subject areas, with the children continually wanting to try it out for themselves. During my allocated prac lessons, I have come across many websites which suggest possible teaching methods when using an interactive whiteboard. One such website suggests that “interactive whiteboards are becoming increasingly useful with a wide range of software to help you teach subjects in new and stimulating ways.” (Interactive Whiteboard Lessons, 2006).
Google Earth offers an alternative to mediocre globe which should be found in all classrooms. This tool provides students with a hands-on learning experience, which many constructivist theorists will argue is a vital aspect to effective learning. One such theorist is Kegan (1982), who believes that “learning is highly tuned to the situation in which it takes place”. With this in mind, would students be more likely to learn from viewing 3D images of the world from Space, or from a dusty globe?
The use of WebQuests in the classroom is one that I am definitely looking forward to implementing in future practice. The Queensland Department of Education and Training (2004), suggest that students must feel a sense of “connectedness to the world”. WebQuests are an excellent way to do this, as students can be confronted with real-life problems within their community and work together to come up with practical solutions.
Avatars provide an exciting ‘new teacher’ in the classroom, rather than listening to the Learning Manger constantly. Marzano and Pickering (1997) argue that for students to develop positive attitudes and perceptions towards classroom task, means to provide them with a multiplicity of ways to engage them. “Few would argue that when students are highly engaged in tasks, they learn more”. (Marzano and Pickering, 1997). This may pose as challenging for many teachers, however Avatars offer a simple initial solution to this problem.
After perusing many of my fellow BLM students’ blog postings, I have developed a barrage of ideas and resources to incorporate into my teaching strategies. Keeping this in mind, I realise that it is essential that I continue to search for new and interesting ways to connect to my students and enable me to enhance my comprehension of the ‘digital native’ language.
As all other teaching strategies, the use of technology should never stand alone in the delivery of information. To achieve outcomes in all learners means to cater for all learning styles. Not all students will be confident using a computer, let alone the Internet. We must not be naive to the fact that although our students were born as ‘digital natives’ they may still require responsible guidance when undertaking technology based tasks.
Department of Education and Training. (2004). New Basics Project: Connectedness to the World. [Electronic resource]. (http://education.qld.gov.au/corporate/newbasics/html/pedagogies/connect/con3a.html). Retrieved 20 August 2009.
Hargreaves, D. (2001). Creative professionalism: The role of teachers in the knowledge society. London, UK: Demos.
Interactive Whiteboard Lessons. (2006). Smart Board Lessons In The Classroom & Smart Board Info. Interactive Whiteboards. [Electronic resource] (http://www.interactivewhiteboardlessons.org/). Retrieved 20 August 2009.
Kegan, R. (1982). The evolving self: Problem and process in human development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Marzano, R.J.; Pickering, D.J.; Arredondo, D.E.; Blackburn, G.J.; Brandt, R.S.; Moffett, C.A.; Paynter, D.E.; Pollock, J.E. & Whisler, J.S. (1997). Dimensions of Learning: Teacher’s Manual. Colorado, USA: McREL.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Slide Share allows "individuals and organisations (to) upload presentations to share their ideas, connect with other, and generate leads for their businesses." (SlideShare, 2009).
As I connected to SlideShare, I found the process very easy, although time consuming when creating my own slide show. I therefore searched in the Education section of this site and found some really interesting videos that could be used in the classroom. Above is one that I thought would be engaging for an English lesson.
Students could use this tool to create their own presentations for assessment, they could show the relevant visual materials as well as embed their own voices relating to the information they have researched.
Marzano and Pickering (1997) suggest that when tasks are constructed with a variety of interesting materials, students are more likely to be engaged, hence more effective learning will take place.
SlideShare is yet another interactive ICT tool which could be incorporated successfully in the classroom.
Marzano, R.J. & Pickering, D.J. (et al). (1997). Dimensions of Learning: Teachers Manual. Colorado, USA: McREL.
SlideShare. (2009). What is SlideShare?. [Electronic resource]. (http://www.slideshare.net/about). Retrieved 20 August 2009.
Marsh (2008) suggests that the use of computer technology during SOSE lessons is highly beneficial to students, some reasons for this are:
- flexibly meets the needs and abilities of each individual student.
- provides access to rich materials beyond the school and even the Nation.
- relevant ways for presenting new information.
- enables students to feel comfortable with the tools of the information age.
Marsh, C. (2008). Studies of Society and Environment: Exploring the Teaching Possibilities. Frenches Forest, NSW: Pearson Education Australia.
Podcasts would be a great way to involve the students in ICT experiences. They could choose the music they wanted to add to the class list (with the Learning Managers supervision, to ensure appropriate choices are made) and be able to listen to the music during creative art or writing lessons.
Apple Online Store. (2009). [Electronic resource] (http://store.apple.com/au). Retrieved 18 August 2009.
YouTube is an interactive website where participants can upload their own videos for public viewing or download others' videos for a variety of reasons. YouTube has grown dramatically over the years, and can deliver clips relating to almost every possible known topic.
Not only is YouTube a source of entertainment for children and adults alike, it also provides a foundation to learning and a gateway to all subject area units.
Since the creation of YouTube, many sister sites have evolved, including TeacherTube. Here, educators will find a massive range of instructional videos, that both engage and teach their students.
The above video I located on YouTube, under the section of Education. This video would assist prep and grade 1 students with the recognition of the alphabet, using catchy tunes and bright, bubbly cartoon characters. It is something that the Learning Manager could play regularly in the classroom.
It is well understood that rote learning is an age old teaching technique, and not one that is looked upon favourably in today's practice. However, there are many tasks that require the process of practice and repetition to gain mastery. It is almost impossible for mere human beings to learn something once and become and expert at it. "The use of various forms of repetition, forms the bedrock of virtually all memory." (Verfaellie; Rajaram; Fossum & Williams, 2008).
Verfaellie, M.; Rajaram, S.; Fossum, K. & Williams, L. (2008). Not all repetition is alike: Different benefits of repetition in amnesia and normal memory. J Int Neuropsychol Soc. [Electronic resource] (http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=2396955). Retrieved 18 August 2009.
- answers are electronically marked, saving valuable teaching time.
- students can complete the test over and over, allowing them to fully digest the information and obtain the correct answer.
- environmentally friendly as there is no need for paper sources.
- provide students with feedback as to the areas of need.
- impersonal, students need to feel that their work is valuable enough to discuss on a personal level.
- does not allow students to work together to formulate ideas.
- students can take the test again and again, perhaps just guessing the answer rather than reflecting on where they went wrong.
Cronklin, W. (2001). The Illusion of Diversity: when ethics, technology and diversity clash. Diversity Factor Journal, 9 (2), 5-10. (Cited in http://wiki.media-culture.org.au/).
M/Cyclopedia of New Media. (2004). Digital Image Manipulation. [Electronic resource] (http://wiki.media-culture.org.au/index.php/Digital_Image_Manipulation). Retrieved 16 August 2009.
Treffinger, D.J.; Isaksen, S.G. & Firestien, R.L. (n.d.). Theoretical Perspectives on Creative Learning and its Facilitation: An Overview. [Electronic resource] (http://www.cpsb.com/research/articles/creative-problem-solving/). Retrieved 16 August 2009.
- help people make their content available to the people who matter to them.
- enable new ways of organising photos and video.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
It is well understood that effective teaching videos should be limited in time, and contain images that relate to the children. It would be worthless showing a video of a mundane middle-aged man, explaining the process of adding two-digit numbers to a year 3 class. They are likely to 'switch off' and probably be more confused than before.
I have used video in the classroom once, during my previous prac. This process was designed to provide the students with an understanding of how to calculate the mean when graphing. The video was retrieved from YouTube and demonstrated the process as well as incorporating a catchy tune, which stimulated memory of the process.
Not only can provided videos be shown to students for learning, but the students can also create their own videos. This is particularly helpful for submission of assessment pieces for students who may be uncomfortable presenting in front of a live audience. It is essential for students to have options during assessment times, providing them with a sense of ownership of the task.
All subject areas can be taught using video as a teaching method. Take my home video below, let's imagine we are teaching a human movement lesson to a grade 7 class. The topic question may be "Which muscles allow humans to laugh and talk?". A range of other information could be collected from this initial, simple video.
"Students can either be passive receivers of media messages or they can be digital content creators and critical thinkers." (Needleman, 2008). Something to ponder...
Needleman, M. (2008). Video in the classroom.com: digital storytelling in the elementary grades-and beyond!. [electronic resource]. http://www.needleworkpictures.com/vic/
- enhanced presentations by integrating a variety of materials such as pictures, graphs and links to websites.
- create customised learning objects to suit the class needs.
- student collaboration.
- broaden the use of ICTs and alternative modes of delivery.
An educator in the 21st Century must be able to use a variety of teaching strategies to continually keep students engaged and interested. Long gone are the days where students 'learn' by listening to teachers regurgitate knowledge, fill in a couple of worksheets and copy writing tasks from the blackboard.
Powerpoint presentations are something we see both inside and outside the classroom. They are often used to back up one's argument, and are a great tool for those visual learners. They can however, be used incorrectly, with massive amounts of information written on each slide, and not easy to read. With the correct know-how, powerpoints are an advantageous teaching method.
So, what is the best way to do this? suggests that
- slides should be appealing and easy on the eye, that is, colours should match and not outdo each other, the automated colour scheme can help with this.
- keep the function in mind. What is it that you want the powerpoint to do?
- keep writing to a minimum. Powerpoints should be used as a backup to what you are teaching and allow the students to gain a better understanding through a visual representation.
Powerpoint presentations can be used in any subject area and for any purpose, the students can also create them individually for assessment purposes.
Microsoft Corporation. (2009). Powerpoint in the Classroom. ACT360 Media Ltd. [electronic resource]. (http://www.actden.com/pp/unit2/2_main.htm). Retrieved 14 August 2009.
I used Wetpaint to set up my own Wiki account. The makers of Wetpaint describe this tool as a website that is "built on the power of collaborative thinking". (wetpaint.com,inc, 2009). There are many options for a user of a Wetpaint account, as they allow you to sit anywhere on the spectrum of broadcasting your website to the entire world, or only to an invited group.
I set up my account with the idea of using it for my science unit during my practicum experience. I anticipate that the students can add, change and edit information as we complete the unit and they gain explicit knowledge of the topic. The WA Department of Education and Training (2009)argue that "Wikis encourage group social interaction and collaboration and support asynchronous communications allowing users to contribute at a time, and from a place that suits them." It is well known that students learn successfully when they contribute to their own learning.
An aspect of this process which concerned me was the monitoring process for this site. It contains many ads which change often and would be difficult to keep up with, however, for a price these can be deleted forever.
Visit Wetpaint to create your own Wiki, or have a look at mine
Wetpaint.com, inc. (2009). [electronic resource] http://www.wetpaint.com/ (retrieved 13 August 2009).
Department of Education and Training WA. (2009). Resourcing the Curriculum: ICT in the classroom. [electronic resource] http://www.det.wa.edu.au/education/ (retrieved 13 August 2009).
It is however, exhausting, searching for blogs inside the WWH (World Wide Haystack). This is where RSS Aggregators come in handy. These devices are used to attach the user to others’ blogs that are the most relevant to them, and provide updates of blogging action without the user having to go a search for it. Before the commencement of this course, I had, like many others, no idea that this contraption even existed. What a simple way to keep up to date with the information you need. Hence the name Really Simple Syndication!
Blogs and Aggregators would be a great way to connect your students to professional information in the classroom. It could also be used to connect to each other, to share experiences and ideas, even record the students’ journal writing rather than using the age old pencil and paper. Of course, it would be the Learning Manager’s responsibility to monitor the postings on each student’s blog, ensuring that harassment and bullying were not occurring.
Bring students together and allow them the opportunity to communicate in their own way.
Try Google Reader to follow other peoples blogs!
An avatar can be a computerised image of one's self or a selected character. It is designed to be a user-generated technology that can be inserted into your blog, email or profile.
I chose to create a Voki avatar for my blog. It was surprisingly easy to use, and took me through a step-by-step process. There was an enormous range of options for my character's clothing, appearance and voice. Voki was created by an American based company called Oddcast, who aim to make the sharing of information more engaging.
I am planning on using this program in the coming weeks of my school prac, during my science lessons. I believe it to be a great tool for transmitting knowledge. I did however, find that the text-to-voice audio can become very monotonous, especially for young children to listen to. I would suggest that a user should either record their own or a colleagues' voice. Alternatively, if the standard audio is required, the user needs to make their character's appearance more interesting.
Overall, a useful, interactive and innovated tool to use in the classroom.