Archive | August 2011

Unit 11: Gaming

I have grown up with gaming. My family have always had the latest game console. I always liked Nintendo the best. My brother preferred Playstation. I liked Mario and all the games related to his adventures. When Nintendo released Super Mario All Stars on Wii I was so excited and bought it the day it came out. The game has so many memories associated with it, as does Donkey Kong, another Nintendo game rereleased for Wii. I am up to date with most games but I would never play most of them. I stick to fun, family style games. I prefer Wii, DS and Apple Apps.

I think gaming can have an important role in education. I know all my students have gaming consoles at home and they are at times more familiar with using iPhones and iPads than I am. We often have chats about certain app based games when my students see my iPad or iPhone. Gaming is a way to engage students, in particular, boys. I think if we can tap into some positive elements from games we will help our students learn.

I have used a website called Kerpoof with my students and have encouraged its use amongst my level (yr 1/2). Kerpoof is owned by Disney and offers lots of activities such as ‘Spell a Picture’, ‘Make a Movie’ and ‘Draw a Picture’. These activities encourage literacy skills and very effective lessons can be created around the program. The reason I think this site fits into this topic of ‘gaming’, is because throughout the site you earn coins and the students can spend coins on items to improve the site. I was amazed at how effective this was in motivating students. They were instantly engaged and wanted to earn as many coins as possible. They also talked about what to spend their coins on so they could make wise choices.

I recently came across this blog post written by Lynette Barr on her ‘Educator’s Guide To Innovation’ blog. Lynette provides some well thought out activities based on Mario Kart. It is definitely worth looking at!

Unit 10: Learning and Teaching Tools 2

FUSE Primary looks fantastic. It has a nice feel and layout and there are so many resources on offer. The site is very easy to use. There is also a teacher resource section, which I have used. I have already found some resources for my current inquiry unit on building. If you are interested there is also an early childhood and secondary section.

Flickr is a tool that I have been meaning to try out for some time. The thing that has stopped me apart from time is that I’m not sure if I really need an account. The only photos I really post online are from my class to put on our blog. I’m not even sure if flickr is supported in global 2??? I will probably give flickr a go when I get around to it, but its not really a priority for me right now.

I love YouTube as a resource tool. It offers so many avenues for teaching and learning. I was talking to a student at recess yesterday about knitting. She was in the middle of knitting a scarf. I asked her how she learnt how to knit and her response was that she had searched YouTube for a video and taught herself. This is the perfect example of how useful and accessible YouTube is!

Unit 9: Research Tools

In this unit I have looked at Zotero, a tool that you can use in Firefox to collect references and create a bibliography. I’m not sure that this will be a tool that I will use much as I have other ways of collecting the resources I need. I don’t really need to collect resources for assignments or projects where I need to keep references. I can see how this tool would be beneficial to students in secondary schools or universities.

Google Docs is a great tool that I have started using more and more. There are often documents associated with conferences or other blogs that I connect with. Having these docs on Google Docs makes them very easy to access. I would love to start using it to plan with my level. We often begin planning together and then one person takes the document home to finish and emails it to everyone once it’s completed. It would be great if I could get my level on board to trial using Google Docs so that we can continue to collaborate on our planning after the planning meeting is over. The other thing I want to start doing is using the form function. I think it would be great to collect data from my students and staff.

Reform Symposium 3

Over the weekend I have been lucky enough to participate in the third Reform Symposium. It is an amazing FREE e-conference that boasts presenters from all around the world. Over 100 countries participated in the conference. You choose the presentations that suit you and spend as much or as little time as you can. Unfortunately I was only able to participate in one day of the conference but I was still able to listen to four sessions.

This was the first year I knew about the symposium, but I will definitely be waiting for the next one! I have learnt so much from people willing to give their time to share resources and ideas, and to simply share something that worked well for them. I have expanded my PLN by making new twitter connections and deepening previous connections. The conference was definitely one of the best professional development opportunities I have had in a long time, and it was FREE!

I thought I would reflect on some of the sessions that I listened to, to help me get my thoughts together and sort out all the information that I have gained.

Techie Brekkies and Teach Meets – Henrietta Miller (@henriettami)

This session was fantastic. It was all about spreading the knowledge about technology. One comment that resonated with me was the idea that people who are passionate about technology should not whinge about those who are not comfortable with it, instead they should go out and offer support and encouragement to help them become comfortable.

Techie Brekkies

Techie Brekkies are sessions held in the morning that help develop ICT skills in teachers. As I am an ICT leader in my school this has become one of my goals for the Term. I am now hoping to run some Techie Brekkies with the staff to encourage them to further their understandings and try out some new tools.

Teach Meets

This is where I got really excited. As Henrietta Miller started to describe her experience with teach meets the chat room (part of the conference room) went wild. Teach Meets gather teachers who connect through social networking to a classroom for a chat and catch up session. The idea is that the teachers who connect online would benefit from meeting each other face to face and having a ‘real’ chat. Henrietta started her teach meet in Sydney. As the conference continued the teachers from other states around Australia started discussing the idea of creating teach meets in their state. I am from Melbourne and within minutes a new hashtag #TMmelb was created by someone in the conference. This hashtag has grown into a wiki TeachMeetMelbourne. Hopefully this wiki will enable teachers from all across Victoria to connect and share their experiences.

Why Schools Should Be Like A Family Restaurant – Dr George Couros and Dr Alec Couros (@gcouros and @courosa)

The idea around this presentation was as the title suggests that in many ways schools should follow the lead of family restaurants. The presenters talked about their experiences growing up with their parents running a Greek restaurant and how they make connections with their teaching today. Some of the key ideas I took away were:

  • Passion grows passion – if you are passionate about something you can spread the message and help get other people on board.
  • If the kids had the choice, would they go to your school? -I hope that my students would still come. I aim to teach in a way that engages every student in my class and provides powerful learning opportunities.
  • It’s about reputation – as with restaurants, schools need to maintain a good reputation. This can be achieved my making strong connections with the school community as well as the wider community.
  • Leaders must be visible – there is no point walking the corridors, leaders (particulaly principals) need to be in classrooms getting to know their school. They need to know every child by name and make connections with the students on a daily basis
  • It is always about relationships – continue to build on these relationships everyday
  • We don’t need to do the same things differently , we need to do different things – this speaks for itself

Digital Leaders in the Classroom – Chris Mayoh (@chrismayoh)

Chris Mayoh used this session to share his experience with developing digital leaders. He spoke of the process he went through when first working with the leaders and the wonderful learning opportunities that they gained through the process. His leaders were nine students from years 4 and 5. These leaders were asked what the most important issue with ICT in their school was and the overwhelming response was ‘the teachers’. This led to the students preparing to run a staff meeting to help the teachers develop their skills. The power of this was amazing. The students were effective teachers and the teachers were open to learning from the students.

I have been hoping to develop ICT leaders in my school this year, but am only at the very beginning of the process. Listening to this presentation has given me ideas as well as confidence in moving forward with developing leaders in my school.

Overall this conference has been priceless. It not only provides excellent opportunities for professional development it also grows enthusiasm. I am so excited when I think of all the new things I want to take on board this year. A big thank you needs to go out to all the organisers of RSCON3 and to all the presenters!!