Month: March 2014

Why should we use ICT in the year three classroom?

After  many, many late nights toiling away I have learnt a great deal about ICT that prior to starting this assignment I thought I would never know. One web page, two videos, two separate ibooks later I can transfer and convert with the best of them…. well at least the beginners.

In order to view my assignment file you will be required to open it in ibooks. If you need to download ibooks click here and follow the prompts.

Follow the link to view my ibook titled Year Three With Mrs Carpenter. It uses narrative to capture a teacher’s justification to a parent for integrating ICT into her year three classroom. It has been designed to present to parents at the start of the school year.

The benefits of incorporating ICT to students touched on in the book include; assisting students with communicating ideas, providing support for students to organise and visualise thinking processes and making programs available that support students in developing creativity.

 

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Do we make enough time for original thoughts?

Today I felt like I was a bit too caught up in my ‘idevices’ to be in the moment. I had my son approach me to fly paper aeroplanes but I was too busy checking Feedly to hear him. When I offered a half hearted pardon he didn’t even have the desire to repeat it because he felt it was a pointless request.

Keeping in touch and up to date is important. This I am finding is even more so when considering my studies. But is it really all that important?

When did it get to the stage where I needed to schedule in ‘connection’ time with my children? It has become expected that we are contactable 24hrs a day. Do we really need to be?

Where is the time we need to ponder our thoughts and consolidate our ideas? Oh yeah thats right we don’t need to as we are able to scan through pintrest or google to use someone else’s thoughts.

Giftedness is not a fairytale!

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http://www.sengifted.org/archives/articles/overexcitability-and-the-gifted

I was quite enraged to hear of the attitudes of many preservice educators when it comes to gifted education. One blog post in particular well rather the innocent and artistically pleasing picture that accompanied it has me furious. Why is it that the very people who will be instructing the students whom hold the greatest potential to make astounding discoveries and profound changes to the world can’t see their uniqueness? And while we’re at it let’s make the important and significant distinction between gifted and talented.

Gifted studentsare those whose potential is distinctly above average in one or more of the following domains: intellectual, creative, social and physical.

Talented students are those whose skills are distinctly above average in one or more areas of human performance. Nsw Government 

Gifted learners need considerable support. Often Dabrowski’s overexcitabilities come into play and these students need support to help them cope with extreme sentitives. They will easily become board in a class that doesn’t challenge them. This is where our efforts should be. I don’t want to hear that every student is gifted. They aren’t. But those that are have needs that are significantly different from their peers and even then different from other gifted students.

I beg you to not fall into the romanticised notion teacher pleasing ideals. Gifted kids will make your life hell! And they should, they should push you to help them learn. The skill lays in your ability as a teacher to ascertain at what level this is going to be.

When did maths become fun?

I came across this today and wanted to share with you what I feel to be one of the best things about being a teacher. Giving students the chance to create their own understanding. I wish my maths teacher had taught like this. This video is a testament to the saying “seeing is believing”.

This program is available as an iPad app and I have it downloaded ready to explore. It could be a great addition to my prac lessons.

Native, immigrant or lazy?

A post I read today linking a program with the terms digital native and digital immigrant had me thinking about the validity of the terms.

They are catchy and it’s easy enough to convince yourself of their validity. It is true that students in school now, have grown-up emersed in computer technologies. Has anyone asked their 2 year old how they managed to locate and open their favour game on an iPhone? It does pay to consider that even though we have not have the same level of exposure as the whippersnappers, we have managed alright. Hay even some pensioners can use video calling and email with the best of them!

Ask yourself this, if you had to take a test and your marks were to be plotted against those of your peers would you study? Perhaps you would throw the towel in because there would be students that have had more exposure to the content (they may have even engaged in course materials *gasp*). Or do you work hard at learning what you need to learn?

I see ‘digital immigrants’ as a cop out term and an excuse to throw the metaphoric towel in. I for one plan on rolling up my sleeves and learning. The younger generations have had greater exposure but with age comes; motivation, concentration, planning, perseverance, cognitive skills, patience, content knowledge, experience…………

Are you too lazy to learn?

Adapt and Overcome

Today I need a break! I’ve spent the weekend working on assignments that are heavily integrated with ICT. Great. I’ve learnt many things and ways to navigate programs.

Book creator apparently cannot support the audio and interactive features once uploaded to the web. My first major headache. Do I give up and admit defeat, submit the assignment as a standard ebook? I could. I would have in the past. No. Instead I tackle the problem head on. I import the file into another program (Explain Everything) only to discover the videos don’t work. So I then have to reload the videos into the new program and place over the top of the old ones.

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Should I bang my head against the desk or bask in my new found confidence?

I’m yet to decide.

What about the introverts?

I was quite struck today by a blog I read that described a mother and pre-service educator’s experience with Gardeners theory of multiple intelligences. What an inspiring read to see how theory can impact on students that don’t travel on the same learning path as the majority do. This child was blossoming because he had a teacher and a mother that were looking outside the box and providing alternative ways for him to demonstrate his understanding.

The current swing in pedagogy toward an inquiry based co-operative learning centred classroom has many supporters. Just like Gardner suggests we learn in different ways. But with all the collaborating and group work I ask you …

“What of all the introverts?”

Not every child will be comfortable with this level of interaction. So many invasions into their own inner thoughts and understandings can in fact be distracting to students like this.  Spare a thought for these children when your planning your next assessment or group task. Sometimes we all need quite reflection.

Google Docs in the classroom

I know we are better off creating our own knowledge and making connections between what we have learnt and what we are currently learning. Aren’t some of the best memory enhancing programs based on giving a a rhyme or chant to a name in order o remember it? If we connect it we remember it.

Sometimes this brain of mine is so busy making connections there is little left when lower order thinking comes into play. You’ve all read those posts asking where something obvious is as the author is unable to find it. I am that author (it’s not hard to prove).

There are times when explicit instruction has a place. I would rather think about the bigger concepts and have a deep understanding than be able to list and locate.

I stumbled across the blog today that can help with organisation to fee up ‘thinking time’. Why work harder then we don’t need to.

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There are some interesting ways to incorporate Google Docs in the classroom. I think homework distribution is the way to go. No more “I lost my homework” and no more waiting inline for the photocopier.

http://michellecairnsmfl.wordpress.com/2013/05/26/google-docs-in-the-classroom-top-10-tips/ 

Sir Ken Robinson Schools kill Creativity

A video I saw today recommended by another teacher
http://adventuresofapreserviceteacher.wordpress.com/2014/03/07/information-overload/
made me think about Sir Ken Robinson’s Ted talk titled ‘schools kill creativity’. I recommend you watch this. It runs for about 20min but it is likely to stimulate some deep thinking about the shift in education from being teacher centred and knowledge based to student centred and inquiry based.

I have never been creative. Until I stopped to reflect on the significance of developing creative thinkers I didn’t place much value on creativity at all. When our students will be looking for employment they don’t need knowledge (generally speaking) as the internet has levelled the field and knowledge is available to everyone. They have to have the skills required to think abstractly and reflectively. These are the skills we must focus on

Drill is not a dirty word

Reading a fellow bloggers post today saw me digging out an old activity i had buried away. It makes you think of all the possibilities out there.

http://audreyayres.wordpress.com/2014/03/07/spelling-for-home-work/

I can’t believe that I am about to say this. Students do need time to practice skills. To an extent they need a level of ‘drill’ practice. This is a fun way to incorporate that type of practice. I have seen it also done with a colour appointed to each number and simple instructions to write the word in that colour.

I hope I don’t have to use look/write/cover/check in my classroom. Not when there are so many other more creative not to mention FUN ways to get students to practice their spelling.

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