Monday, 10 June 2013

Module 10

Wikis have been explored at school to co-ordinate level planning and is proving to be quite successful, allowing teachers to access the information anywhere, home included.  It is a far more efficient way of working and the fact that you can add links makes it even more appealing.

I look forward to further exploring ‘Ning’, the links to Classroom 2.0 especially interested me.  It is not which wiki, blog or tool that a teacher is using that is important, but rather how to engage students through whichever medium is going to help them be successful at the time for the purpose in hand.

Since viewing Eric Mazour videos and learning how he used Google Docs with his students and completing a ‘Google Doc’ tutorial at school last year, we have been using them increasingly as a tool for collaboration.  It is efficient, time saving and incredibly powerful as a means to communicate with others.  The fact that any person with access can contribute ideas at any time or place  provides equality within a team.  I find this empowering and tend to want to contribute more, it also allows for more time to deliberate on possible suggestions. 

Virtual learning communities will be a way that our present students may conduct their working lives and every opportunity that we can give them now to familiarize themselves with this way of communicating will assist them in becoming global life long learners.


I think that undertaking the Web 2.0 course has encouraged me to explore more tools but also has given me a wealth of resources at my fingertips to ensure successful integration into my work.

Scootle, teacher tube, YouTube allows you to view tutorials, implementation ideas and even lessons.
Twitter, blogs and nings ensure that I can ask questions or have an educational or intellectual conversation with other educators at any time.
Picasa,, Prezzies and other tools have enlightened me to other forms of presentation options as well as storing information to access anywhere, anytime.  In this digital age, students should be au fait with combining video, photos and music to present information and Web 2.0 tools provide this opportunity.

At times during the course, this saying came frequently to my mind:
‘Getting information from the internet is like taking a drink from a fire hydrant.’
 (Mitchell Kapor)
While I find the visual image forming in my mind amusing, I think it is important to educate students to be discerning about the use of Web 2.0 tools and to be clear as to the purpose of tools.

The course reflection module in my mind tied all of the other modules together and I was delighted to view the iLE@RN (CEO Sydney) link.  Since technology has had such a profile in schools, for me that was being part of the LaTTiCE project in the late 90’s onwards, I have been a firm believer that ‘engagement’ is the key to unlocking learning for all learners (students and teachers alike). 

It is not about technology but about quality teaching and learning.  With the introduction of so many new forms of communicating via technology I think it is even more important to keep this a very clear focus. 

 Web 2.0 tools give us the opportunity to assist students, anywhere, and at any time to participate in powerful  learning opportunities. We can offer both students and ourselves the opportunity to collaborate, reflect, question ourselves and others and engage in higher order thinking with others from around the world.

The adaptation of Bloom Taxonomy for digital technology is very helpful in assisting teachers to identify stages their students are at and how to move them further.  It could also make a very valuable self- assessment tool for students themselves.

I particularly like the idea of using Twitter to improve work study habits by encouraging students to take notes on what is being discussed in class and using the ‘chunking’ principle to post brief points.  Notes can be reviewed quickly and shared with others to participate in ‘discussions.’  This would help in retaining information and would facilitate higher order self- reflection.

Students (and teachers) need to ask:
How do I learn best?
What skills do I need to succeed?
How do I contribute to 21st century learning?

Nearly one hundred years ago, John Dewey stated, “If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow.” These words are particularly applicable to the utilization of technology in the classroom. If teachers fail to teach the new literacies, they are failing to prepare students for tomorrow, as well as missing valuable opportunities to engage student learning. According to Hagood, this practice consists of teaching “reading, writing, speaking, listening, viewing, and designing in print and nonprint media using pop culture and digital technologies.” Through technology, students collaborate, communicate and create to learn. According to Werner-Burke et al., for many students, technology in the classroom provides much needed motivation as well as preparation for the daily digitized world outside of the classroom.

Hagood, M. (2012). “Risks, Rewards, and Responsibilities of Using New Literacies in Middle Grades.” Voices from the Middle, 19 (4), pp. 10-16.
Werner-Burke, N., Spohn, J., Spencer, J., Button, B., and Morral, M. “Bridging the Disconnect: A Layered Approach to Jump-Starting Engagement.” Voices from the Middle, 19 (4), pp. 45-49.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Module 9

I love Scootle and the Learning Paths but I must admit I have not used it of late.  I was first introduced during the 'LaTTiCE' (Learning and Teaching Technology in Catholic Education) program but it has come a lot further since then.
Upon looking at it over the last few weeks, I am quite excited to see how it can be utilised by staff to help plan our next inquiry unit.  The whole school is going to be inquiring about the same big question and I have found alot of helpful material that I plan to show to staff at our Inquiry staffmeeting in the next week or so.  I certainly will be encouraging all levels to explore and use Scootle.

Social networking also is not new to me but again I have not utilised this very well. I follow people on Twitter but don't all that often contribute although I do find very interesting links.  I am just learning Linked In so I am basically just playing around with this.  Facebook I really love - for reasons other than keeping up with friends - I am receiving alot of links via Pinterest about early education and am finding this an incredible source of ideas, educational reading and global trends. Much of this information I am passing on to teachers at school to open our ideas and experiences.

I am a person who loves to learn, explore, experiment and come up with different ideas and all of these social networks ensure my learning capacity grows and grows!!

Monday, 20 May 2013

Module 8

I was loving this module on RSS feeds until I looked further into Google Reader and see that it is about to be discontinued.  How annoying when I have found so many interesting things to read.
However, I read on Anthony (Speranza's) blog that he is using 'Feedly' so I plan to read more about this and then transfer over before July.
I often wondered how people could be so informed about so many issues - and how they found the time to read them - but Google Reader gives me the simple answer of having information fed to you.
It's amazing when you browse through so many various brilliant 'feeds' how something jumps out at you and seems to be just what you need at this moment.  Inspiration can come in many forms and at any time!

The link below is my inspiration of the moment.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Module 7

I have had fun exploring Diigo and Delicious for bookmarking but find Delicious more familiar.  I have used this in the past (not very well) to keep links mainly to articles but after this module, I am determined to use it to store all bookmarks.  I tend to use whatever computer I am working on to bookmark, and this is quite frustrating, especially this year when I tend to do quite a bit at home and never have the bookmarks I need at the time.  I also intend to organise the bookmarks by tagging, something that I have not done previously.

Online communities to share information and learning is also an advantage - and whilst we do this in a number of ways at our school, it is a great way to communicate to a wider range of users. 

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Module 6

I love Picasa and have used it for the past few years to sort and store photos on my computer but this module let me explore the many extra advantages of it.  I was unaware of the editing section of Picasa and hadn't considered the advantages of storing photos on Picasa itself.

From an organisational perspective Picasa has been great to store school images and then when looking for photos for presentations  it was very simple to scroll through and find suitable images.

I had absolutely no idea that it is so easy to edit and enhance photos.  Our students are coming to school with much of this knowledge already.  I get so much joy watching my grand daughter using the ipad, taking photos, adding text........ she is already teaching her family things they did not know (and the 2 year old treasure is not far behind).

We as educators, owe it to our students to be helping them be the best learners that they can possibly be, and in this present age, that has to be by using the technology available to them - in the best possible way.  I'm also not beyond learning about advancing technology through the students themselves - teachers are not the keepers of all knowledge!

Technology starts at such an early age!

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Module 5

Today I have spent quite a bit of time looking through the references for this module.  I decided to look at today although I have used it in the past when looking at Tony Buzan Mindmapping.  I had immense difficulty getting into the progam - I had to google it and go through 3 or 4 other links to get to it as it would not load via the website address.  I finally managed to get there, created a mind map, exported it - only to be unable to find where it was exported to - and then could not get back into the program.  Could be an 'Apple computer' problem (although I don't see how) so will try again tomorrow.

However, I have to say that I find very uninspiring.  I have used Mindmapping with classes for over ten years and find it much more rewarding to create them by hand - this allows for the use of colour, curves and other various shapes, illustrations,  different fonts and styles..... - I believe this embeds the content far more into the minds of our students.

Prezi however I found quite fun and I loved the links to the samples - especially Shakespeare.  I had a play and created a very simple one on the brain - the link is below.  With time and enough practice I think this could be a very beneficial way of presenting to our students - instead of just teacher talk - a very visual powerful way of engaging them.

Prezi sample

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Module 4

I have been very engrossed in reading Ned Herrmann's book 'The Creative Brain' lately and while participating in this module, reflecting on many of his findings.
"Have you ever felt like you're missing the mark?  I have.  In fact, if the life lived fully and well were a bull's eye, then for a number of years, most of my arrows seemed to be hitting around the edge of the target rather than its center.  Even though I was considered to be successful, many of my arrows never hit the target at all."
Herrmann was referring to his learnings about the brain being the center of who we are, but I connected strongly with this thought.
I felt in my earlier years as a teacher that  content was the target - and should be the epicentre of the classroom.  All students needed to learn the same thing, at the same time, in the same way.  How off the mark was I!
The more I explored pedagogy and different methods the more excited I became.  There are so many ways of thinking, so many ways of learning - we can all reach the centre of our target by so many different avenues.
This to me, is what Module 4 is all about.  By using - or introducing our students to - Podcasting, Vodcasts, Videos - and digital storytelling - we are inviting them to be creative, unique, exploratory in their learning. We are accepting their different ways of thinking and celebrating their ideas.
I hope today's students grow to realise how lucky they are!

'Every now and then we educators must close our books on pedagogy and open books on science, art, literature, theatre, cinema, politics, sociology and tear down the walls that separate these disciplines. Let these things contaminate each other!''
                                                                 Loris Malaguzzi