Archive | July 2011

Unit 8: Professional Learning

EdTechCrew

I have only just discovered EdTechCrew. This looks like a great place to find out more about technology in education. I really like that it contains podcasts so I can listen to the pd rather than always having to read everything. Its great to have multi-modal ways of learning.

Screencasting

Screencasting is something I have seen many times on other people’s blogs but have never known how to do myself. I think this is an extremely valuable tool. The times I have seen it used on other blogs, it has been really useful. I have learnt how to do many things by viewing screencasts. Screenr is a tool that you can use to create screencasts. I am only just learning how to use it but I love the fact that it is free and really easy to use. I will have to try and use the site with a purpose, maybe I could make a screencast to show my students how to use a particular tool. I might even be able to use the tool with the students and have them create screencasts for their peers.

21st Century Learning

Wow… the video: RSA animate Sir Ken Robinson talk: ‘Changing Education Paradigms’ is inspiring. It makes me want to rethink everything I do and make sure that I help my students explore and develop their divergent thinking skills everyday. I love the way Sir Ken describes the increase in ADHD and the idea that we are sedating students instead of waking them up. The idea of contemporary learning and teaching students to live in today’s world – not the world we grew up in excites me. This is why I teach, not just to teach students to read and write but to help them prepare for life in the real world – today’s world, or should I say the future!

Unit 7: Which comes first – pedagogy or technology?

I am a digital native. I grew up in a family that always had the newest technology we could afford and with close friends who were always going to go into the IT field. I learnt a lot about technology as a kid from a friend who was always pulling apart computers and putting them back together again. This was a great base to build on as I got older and continued to learn more about technology. I chose ICT as a subject in VCE and always had an interest in new tools and gadgets. Being a digital native has made it really easy for me to integrate new technologies into my classroom. I find it easy to try out new tools and am now in the lead role of ICT and contemporary learning in my school.

As much as I love technology and get excited by all the new programs and web2.0 tools I can use with my students I know that pedagogy will always come first. It is important that technology is used to support the curriculum and not just for the sake of it. Every time I use a tool or gadget I think to myself “Is this tool going to help my students learn?” If the answer is yes then I go with it and try to get the most out of the tools we are using. There are so many tools that are beneficial to teaching the curriculum and help students become deeper thinkers. I think if we use these tools thoughtfully and state the purpose before using them, then they are a great way to engage students. Being part of the PLN program has confirmed for me how important it is to stay on top of new technologies and that they need to be used with student learning at the centre.

I have started blogging this year and have found it to be one of the most valuable things I have done this year. It challenges my students to think about the purpose and audience of their work and allows them to receive feedback that would never be possible without the blog. It also acts as a place to store our learning. We regularly check our blog and make new posts. My students ask all the time to go back and look at older posts. This allows us to reflect on our learning all the time. We make connections between things we have done in the past and things we are doing now. My students go home and share their learning with their families and their families have the opportunity to comment and connect with our class. I can’t express enough how valuable blogging has been for me. Something that started as a tool I thought would enhance learning that I would use every now and again has become an integral part of my teaching.

Unit 6: Animoto, Timeglider, Slideshare

Well I’ve finally found some time to start getting back on track with the VicPLN program. So here goes…

This time I’ve been exploring the website called Animoto (my first attempt at hyperlinking in a blog :)). It looks fantastic. It’s a great website that allows you to make videos using images, videos and audio. I love how there are preset choices that makes it a lot easier to get a great look. I think one of the harder things for me is that I don’t feel like I can use many of the tools I learn about without connecting it back to my classroom. I am not really at the stage where I would use Animoto for my own personal use or for something that I would put on this blog. I really only use the tools with my students to publicise their work on our class blog. As it is holidays I really need to wait until we are back at school next week to give it a proper go. I will definitely make it a priority to try out Animoto in the coming weeks on my class blog.

Another great tool is Timeglider. This tool allows you to make a time line that presents information in an interactive way. It looks great. It would be very useful for students presenting information for projects.

Slideshare is a tool I use regularly for posting thing on my class blog. I love that it is quick and easy to upload files to share on the web. I use it to create slideshows of work samples and photos when my students have completed an interesting task. Another website I use is Kizoa. It is very quick and I can publish slideshows on my class blog in a matter of a couple of minutes. This is great when you are trying to post something the students have just done and only have limited time.