Thursday, August 20, 2009
Making a difference! That’s what it is all about for me. Whether is be in a mainstream classroom, an indigenous community, a class of special needs children, the disadvantaged, English as a second language or the gifted and talented students. It is my goal to engage students to take initiative for their learning through the use of ICT’s. I am thankful to this course for bringing to my attention the vast variety of delivery techniques I can use in my class room.
Education must take us into the future (Robinson, 2000). If students are disengaged they disconnect and disappear (Sjoquist, 2009). Pesce is a constructivist who believes children learn through continuous interaction with the world. Today’s youth are living in accelerated change. Change is the only constant in their lives. They have an abundance of tools to communicate with each other. Mobile phones, My Space, MSN and Face Book, why not use similar tools in the class room to engage students. They are born into a digital world where they expect to be able to create, consume, remix and share material with each other (Pay Attention, 2007)
George Lucas is a prime example of not engaging in school, he claims he didn’t fit inside the curriculum box. But when he did have access to different technologies it provided him with new opportunities for learning. He believes the teacher is the facilitator and the students do the learning. The digital age facilitates age old techniques of learning. That being; project based, interactive working and co-operative learning. Children learn out of curiosity and given the chance to view their learning as a creative endeavour make for authentic learning. This is in correlation with Kearsley and Shneiderman (1999) Engagement theory and Oliver’s (1999) Learning Design framework. They both promote pedagogy for technology-based learning and teaching. The productive pedagogy framework could also apply to increase a student’s intellectual quality by manipulating information and ideas in ways which transform their meaning and implications, understand that knowledge is not a fixed body of information, and can coherently communicate ideas, concepts, arguments and explanations with rich detail (Queensland Government, 2004).
Aurukun, a remote indigenous community in Cape York has the lowest attendance rate in all of the state. The current education system has failed these children. There needs to be a way to engage indigenous children into the classroom and into learning. A media initiative has done just that. David Vadiveloo talks about the necessity of raising the expectations in the young for themselves. The digital era is a new time for them to succeed. The croc festival media initiative motivated the students to tell their own story through film, music and dance. It was something they could relate too, it came from them, it was about them and they were proud to present the five points of a star story and see themselves on the big screen. These children through ICT’s not only attended school but became motivated to succeed in school and for their future. A teacher teaching in an indigenous community must understand the holistic view the people have on their world which incorporates the vital link between land, language and culture. These three elements can be contextualised in terms of time, place and relationships and together the six components provide a flexible framework; My land My Tracks for organising and presenting information on a range of topics. (Grant, n.d)
Utilising a web quest in a classroom provides the integration of many delivery technologies throughout an investigation. Is Global warming affecting the sustainability of the Arctic region? Using their scientific investigative powers the students go on a quest to find answers to:
• What is Global Warming
• Where is the Arctic region
• Why is Global Warming such a hot issue at present
• How is Global Warming affecting the Arctic region
• Is Global Warming a result of human activity or a natural climate cycle
• What other changes are occurring in Australia as a result of Global Warming
• What can you do personally to help control Global Warming
• What legacy will your generation leave for the future generation.
While investigating and answering these questions students will complete a range of tasks:
• Create your own greenhouse effect diagram
• Written information report
• Create a poster
• Oral information report
• Create an eco friendly house design
• Create a PowerPoint or photo story using 5-10 images that reflect your learning about Global warming and the legacy you would like your generation to leave. The presentation must include a vision statement for the future and can be put to music, text or voice over.
This style of learning allows the students to develop higher order and creative thinking skills. According to Blooms Taxonomy (Pohl, 2001) the three higher levels of thinking include:
Analysing – Breaking information into parts to explore understandings and relationships.
Creating- generating new ideas, products or ways of viewing things.
Evaluating- Justifying a decision
Like Blooms Taxonomy, Shneiderman and Kearsly’s Engagement theory (1999) facilitates the development of higher order and creative thinking through a cognitive process of creating, problem solving, reasoning, decision making and evaluation.
A web quest allows the integration of many delivery technologies. You could expand this particular quest to include a blog. Students can write and comment on each other’s reflection of the topic. The investigation process could include you tube clips, power point slides, animations and simulations, Google Earth and music. Tasks could incorporate a quiz designed through class marker. There is no reason a web quest should not involve many delivery technologies to engage and motivate students to acquire a meaningful understanding of the knowledge being taught.
The beauty of ICT’s is that they can be used to support and enhance learning regardless of location or age. Through experimentation of the delivery technologies I can confidently say I have expanded my knowledge and capabilities in this field. I am inspired to continue keeping up to date with the latest technologies, to develop a deeper understanding so in turn I can be the facilitator of providing the opportunities for my students to develop and engage in higher order and creative thinking skills. The workplace is also changing; students must be prepared to work in a global environment where team collaborations through the use of technology will be common place and it’s our responsibility to prepare students for this changing workplace (Waterhouse, 2005). Student’s have high expectations about the use of computer technology in their education , I hope to aspire to a teacher who not only utilises technology but engages in elearning pedagogy (Kearsley and Shneiderman’s Engagement Theory, 1999 and Oliver’s 1999 Learning Design) to provide student centred learning activities relevant to the real world.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Mahara is an open source e.portfolio, blog, resume and social networking system. Mahara is a learner centred tool with an innovative and flexible structure of artefacts, views and groups. From what I understand we as prospective employees need to control our own destiny and be futures orientated to be perceived as a serious contender for a position. An e.porfolio documents personal, academic and career goals and skills. It is an online resume that people are now submitting for a job application. It is a tool I can continually update information to keep it current.
Electronic portfolios can be valuable activity when teaching online. They give the trainer evidence of a wide range of skills and achievements and can show development of a learner's knowledge and or skills over a period of time and engagement in collaborative learning activities.
Electronic portfolios support a range of learning processes:
recording and storing textual, audio and visual evidence and resources for learning
active learning with learners setting their own goals
collaboration with others
motivating learners to produce work to a standard so that it can be displayed to others
encouraging a regular system of feedback so learner
reflection on particular items or on a bank of evidence created over time
communicating learning outcomes and personal identities to a range of audiences
Electronic Portfolios act as “a personal learning environment” that provides a framework to organise a learners training and work experiences, achievements as well as a range of life-based learning events (Designing and implementing e-learning, 2008).
Flickr can be designed to promote and build visual literacy skills in students either as a single photo used as writing prompts or multiple sets in a digital story telling project (Jake, 2006).The posting titled student centred wiki focuses on a unit of work about colonisation. Flick could be incorporated into lessons. Students can present a PowerPoint slide show of images representing aboriginal culture before and after colonisation/invasion. Aboriginal dream time story lines can be told through photos, students can create their own modern day story. A particular photo can be the instigator of a discussions in reference to What do you see, why, when, where and how questions. Flickr can improve student's presentation, they have access to a pool of photos on various topics. Students can set up a RSS feeds to receive notification when photos are added. Teachers no longer need a collection of magazines for students to cut out and paste into a report.
Monday, August 17, 2009
This is a SOSE unit of work but it also integrates Maths, Science, English and The Arts key learning area.
SOSE Essential Learnings by the end of Year 5
Knowledge and Understanding
Time Continuity and Change. Change and continuities are represented by events and people's contribution and are viewed differently by different people.
Ways of Working
Students are able to:
collect and organise information and evidence
plan investigations based on questions and inquiry models
draw and justify conclusions based on information and evidence
communicate descriptions, decisions and conclusions using text types selected to match audience and purpose.
apply strategies to influence decisions or behaviours and to contribute to groups.
Students are to populate a wiki with information which improves and expands the knowledge regarding Aboriginal culture before and after colonisation.
Learning Design Ideas
1. What do we know about Australia before the British came? What does colonisation mean and why do aboriginal people call it invasion? TWL chart/retrieval chart.
2. Who Lived in Australia? Construct time line to represent 100 000 years. 1 cm = 200 years. Provide 2 maps of Australia, as we currently know it and an Aboriginal one with the different regions, children to discuss the similarities and differences and utilise Google Earth to represent this on the Wiki.
3. Who lived in your area, what were the names of places, English or Aboriginal? Research in groups.Post to Wiki.
4. What evidence do we have to show that Aboriginal people have lived on this land for past 50 000 years and what did Australia look like. Provide evidence, students to illustrate a particular period of time. Take photo of it, upload it to flick to post to wiki. Explain Australia use to be joined wo a larger land mass. Demonstrate what happens as the earth warms up after an ice age, (global warming) Experiment- glass of water, mark level with rubber band, add ice and once it melts mark new level, discuss what happened and why. link to ice age.
5. What did British see when they arrived? Show etching representing the British arrival discuss what, who, when, where, why questions. Research post findings to wiki.
6. What plants/trees are native? Explore school gardens, sketch, make own etching.
7. Why did the British Government transport convicts to Australia? Research first fleet, a child convict and role play in a hot seat activity.
The unit can also include Captain's Cook journey, the first fleet journey, tools and weapons, penal settlement and resistance.
The students work together to conduct research, and collect images to populate a wiki page. Hands on engaging field trips to rock paintings, a museum and botanical gardens engage students actively in learning. The unit is designed for students to collaboratively work together to understand, document and justify how history can be presented from different points of view.They are not just recalling, recognising or reiterating information. They are involved in decision making, problem solving, experimental inquiry, investigations and system analysis(Marzano & Pickering, 1997, p 191). A wide range of multi literacies resources can be utilised to achieve this; TWL , retrieval chart, jigsaw activity, you tube clips, audio english readings, dream time stories, artists impressions,flickr, digital camera, video camera, guest speaker etc. This unit could span over two years, so I find it difficult to give a "draft copy" of a unit with all my intentions known. There is scope over the two years to assess the student's in the SOSE, english, science, mathematics and Art key learning areas. Oral presentations, written information report, video presentation, PowerPoint slide shows, posting refection's on a blog, commenting on other blogs,and debate to present opposing views.
Providing opportunities to utilise ICT's in the class room proves power in reaching student's who do not fit inside the "curriculum box" as stated by George Lucas. This unit integrates Blooms' Taxonomy thinking skills. According to Pohl (2000) the first three levels of creating, analysing and evaluating provide students the opportunity to generate new ideas, products or ways of viewing things. They break down information into parts to explore understandings and the students justify their decisions. This unit of work provides the students to have an outside focus, they are to populate a wiki, they are making a useful contribution while learning (Kearsley & Shneiderman, 1999). The authentic learning context of the project increases student motivation and satisfaction. According to Marzano and Pickering(1997) a resource to help student's extend and refine their knowledge a teacher must explicitly teach the skills of comparing, classifying, abstracting and analysing perspectives. In this unit of work these skill are important to not only extend and refine knowledge but to use knowledge meaningfully. This requires students to engage in complex thinking and reasoning processes as they complete long term meaningful tasks (Marzano & Pickering, 1997).
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Beyond School! Wow did an eleven year old really create this. I agree blogs can be an innovative tool to enhance children's creative writing. I have two male students in my class who have fantastic ideas but struggle immensely with their handwriting. It is sometimes unreadable and because it is hard work for them, the ideas become lost. They can however.....type! This technology opens up a learning world for those who desperately need it and others who also benefit from the engagement of using reflective blogs as both an individual and collaborative process. Imagine teaching in a school where every child has a laptop and part of their daily routine is to write on their blog. It could perhaps replace "diary writing" or at the end of each week students can reflect on their learning, what they liked most, what didn't they like, why, why not and any common issues arising for the week. I would love to know what my students think about my teaching and the highs and lows of their learning. I can only benefit from feedback and why not ask the people that matter the most. The class could have their own class blog and a different student adds to it each day to continue a fictional story. It could relate to the unit of work, healthy eating for example, the students can use a blog to post recipes, enhancing their abilities to write procedures. For older classes it could extend to exercise, diet, health etc. Blogs encourage student's to not only write but to read. An authentic task such as the step by step story, one which they have total control of, they choose the scenario for that day and each day they must read the prior postings. The students are in control of the story, they are making the decisions, generating new ideas. They are creating, they are involved in a higher order thinking skill according to Bloom's Taxonomy (Pohl, 2000). Students' are intrinsically motivated to learn due to the meaningful nature of the learning environment and activities. The Engagement Theory (1999) focuses on self directed and experimental learning, it represents a new paradigm for learning and teaching in the information age.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
I recently gave a lesson on note taking. The students were in groups and had to write key points from a particular text about satellites. They shared their points with others during a doughnut activity (previously explained). The groups could now create quizzes through class marker for other groups and in turn they would all become familiar with each others text.
Additionally students could create a quiz on math algorithms and extend their knowledge to write more advanced mathematical problem solving questions. English is another key learning area where students can create a quiz for their class peers. Extending functional grammar skills to make choices and identify circumstances, process, pronouns, adverbs etc. A grade 5 class could create a quiz for a lower grade, providing them with an outside focus providing them with a sense of achievement and satisfaction. The Engagement Theory (1999) is based upon the idea of creating successful collaborate teams that work on ambitious projects that are meaningful to someone outside the classroom (Kearsley & Shneiderman).
Creativity is one of the higher order thinking skills in Blooms Taxonomy in which we generate new ideas, products or ways of viewing things(Pohl, 2000). We should be seizing every opportunity and utilising technology to provide and instigate higher order thinking skills in our students.