Monthly Archives: March 2015

Reflecting on module 1

Now that Assignment 1 is submitted, I feel it necessary to provide a quick summary and reflect on what I have learnt in EDC3100 in the first month of my third year of University.

  • I have a total love/hate relationship with technology
    • I think it has the complete potential to turn us into anti-social yuppies
    • I would be lost without many ICTs – especially not seeing my sister with the fabulous FaceTime
  • ICT certainly has its place in the classroom, but you have to be organised and thoughtful with your usage of it
  • There are so many resources out there
    • one for example scootle – how amazing it is!
  • I am still not thinking enough about my PKN and PLN (note to self, review this book)
  • copyright is about to be thrown in the too hard basket, but I will battle on through my confusion and old habits.
  • To study effectively with my own thoughts and others I can’t believe I didn’t find googledocs earlier!
  • Lastly – Spending too much time doesn’t make your eyes square – but it certainly strains them (even with my glasses on)
    • no one should spend this much time on a computer I feel like a zombie
    • I shall go to the coast for the weekend and reboot MY system as well as give my lappy a well deserved break!

I have a serious problem.

I’ll try to keep this short…

With 3 and 2/3 semesters of my Bachelor of Education left, I’m not going to lie – I am worried.

My problem with this degree is the lack of preparation I actually have for the real world – for the actual classroom.  I don’t have enough fingers on my two hands to count the amount of teachers I have spoken to that told me either “My first year of teaching was a nightmare” or ‘I use practically nothing I learned at Uni” – which leads me to think WHAT IS THE POINT?

This article highlights one issue that I personally am not worried about due to my life experience up until this point regarding behaviour management. A friend of a friend is about to wrap up her first term of year 1 and she said “It’s so often that I just don’t know what to do.. What activities are good for learning ….? This kid said … how do I react? I’m just winging it most of the time”. Now she may not be the most organised of people but it certainly is a worry that she feels unprepared still, and furthermore are the students learning anything?

I strongly believe that (perhaps due to my learning style, (take the quiz yourself)) an educational degree should be 60% prac and 40% theory.  I wonder if I’m the only one that thinks this way..

Crash courses

I love it when my Uni courses have teach me things, or strategies, or ideas that I can use within my other courses.  EDC3100 ICT and pedagogy is obviously one of those courses.

I had to come up with strategies for teaching a four year old English as a second language in a early childhood settings, whose parents and grandparent either spoke very little to no English or were far too busy to have much involvement.

Anyway my first thought – ICT!  There has to be a thousand strategies out there to help L2 learners in the classroom!  Well there is language apps on the iPad or using comics perhaps may be more the learners style. This blog has some more information on using ICT for ESL students.

What this really proved to me as I thought more critically was that the Australian Curriculum has cross priories for a reason – to use across all of the learning areas as a tool or sub-idea to engage and assist in teaching and deeper thinking.

Powtoon

So I have almost finished my web article for Assignment 1 (thank goodness).

I used Powtoon to create a presentation and though it took me two full, long, draining, headachey days and nights to actually make, I do like the program.  Here are some reasons, it is:

  • Creative: I do have creative ability, somewhere inside of me, but Powtoon was good because it had engaging pre-made templates to use.
  • Easy to use: for a first timer I feel like the process was relatively smooth

I believe it would be a good tool to use in the classroom for simple presentation. I know teachers don’t have much time at the best of times and I think it definitely has the potential to be time consuming.

But:

  • you need a decent, fast internet connection (which I do not and I can attribute a lot of my frustration to this issue).
  • figuring out how to attribute a copyright picture via HTML was impossible for me
  • you are limited to a 5 minute presentation in the free version (which stands to reason, but it is Very expensive otherwise)

I would use it again, but it would be only for simple and quick presentations.  So I am sitting on the fence I guess – the jury is still out. Maybe practice makes perfect?

(BY) (NC) (ND) (SA) – What does it all mean?

What? I can’t just copy and paste from Google images and attach the URL in which I found it?

Wow well that certainly wasn’t a habit I meant to get into, and I’m sure there are many many people in the same boat (most of which I’m sure just don’t actually care).  I thought I was sufficiently giving credit where credit was due, but apparently 90% of Creative Commons are not attributed properly.

Here is some more abbreviations (on top of the many we learn in educational contexts) to remember

  • (BY) – Attribution
  • (NC) – Non-commercial
  • (ND) – No derivative works
  • (SA) – Share alike

Along with the YouTube video from Haylea’s blog , this handy Ultimate guide to Creative Commons may be useful for my fellow EDC3100’ers who are struggling to get their head around the idea of copyright images – if only it was as simple as the difference between a movie bought from Sanity and one downloaded (illegally) for free off the internet.  Reminiscent of the title of Haylea’s blog – no one ever said ICTs were meant to be simple!

Social media do’s and don’ts from a non-parent but concerned citizen.

Not here to rustle feathers (I wouldn’t dare) but a post on social media has got me yet thinking again.  Yes, it is a constant revolving thought in my head, beginning well before this course commenced, consequences of social media on society, especially the younger members of it.  One thing about parenthood that I dread (at the age of 25, and yet to bare young) is the dilemma faced by many whilst rearing children – when is it OK to say yes to using Facebook, and Instagram and the likes..? Natasha says 13, so let’s go with that.  It’s obviously a very individual choice and dependent on many factors. For me (and Natasha) maturity being the most important one. Possible consequences being a close second.  But this leads my thinking to my next question: What is the purpose of very young teens having access to these sites? I bet there is one common theme… because everyone else has it. So how about when that age lowers over time, when all of the 7 year old children have Instagram, is it OK for your 7 year old to too? What about when MY child is 7, his 5 year old little sister will probably want it too – because her friends have it!

At school I would talk for hours and hours to my friends, sharing what seemed to be endless stories. If this generation of kids are all caught up on every single moment that is so well documented on social media don’t they run out of things to talk about?  And moreover what I really worry about: are we producing self-absorbed, narcissistic procrastinators who think everyone actually cares what they ate for morning tea?

Some people believe along with these negatives there are some positives, such as confidence in social interaction and providing compelling teaching tools. For me though the jury is still out – I just don’t think it’s necessary for kids* to be on there, full stop.

*kids = open to interpretation

Why not map your ideas?

So you have something to brainstorm?  Why not create a Concept Map?  Somewhere you can put all of your ideas into one place, collate all of the important information and display it in a creative and summative manner.  You can use Bubbl for example which was super easy to use – easy enough for primary students, who I believe would benefit, and really enjoy the idea of brainstorming using this tool.  They could use it alternatively as a flow chart to graph information from story plots to mathematical factor trees, anything to “expand and organise” their thinking.

New-Mind-Map_7kwt

For me personally there is something about putting pen to paper to collect my thoughts, if I manage to actually get it out of my head in the first place.  Maybe I’m too old school, or I feel it’s not a productive use of time.  Perhaps I’m a bit like Kay and just haven’t had my ahh-haa moment, or I’m not quite as good of a thinker as Jenny who I feel is just a wonderful student.  I do however feel that we all see potential for such an easy task and see the value of using this tool in the classroom.  I hope to one day use it in an educational setting and see if it triumphs over the old pen and paper routine.

The Value of Videos

There has to be more to teaching than standing in front of a class talking all day long… I wonder how I could better the children’s learning?

How about the use of video’s in the classroom? Because that’s one thing that stood out in this blog I come across today.  There are 104 odd slides with links to videos and samples of what role they could potentially play in the classroom.  Wouldn’t that be great, after all kids these days do enjoy videos!  {Mary Howard has many other great ideas, strategies and ways to incorporate ICT into the classroom, you can check out her blog here}

I take time now to reflect on past learning experiences I provided for my 4 year olds in the Kindy room of my Childcare center. I think about the potential these types of videos had, and how at the time I didn’t really use them to my, or the children’s, advantage. I will say however at this stage in my career I had not been taught about the link between education and ICT, nor had I explored it myself.

One snippet from my days in daycare (and by days I should be more clear and add that it wasn’t just days, but years, 7.5 to be precise), I will not forget the enthusiasm the children showed when I took them all into the office for the first time (a few years back when we didn’t have access to a laptop or iPad) to sit around the computer and I told them we were going to watch a little video. Not only did they see it as a huge privilege and a great adventure, but they were so excited to actually get to WATCH something at daycare (which was extremely uncommon at my center at the time).  My class LOVED the Mr McGee books, we were going through a real phase (side note: I still LOVE Mr McGee, definitely not a passing fad for me!!!) and I stumbled across this video and knew they’d love it…

(or click here)

Now at the time we really just watched it (I’m sure 30 times over the next few weeks), and as any good educator would do, I asked questions to get the children thinking, but that was about it.  However re-watching the video now, I see a broad range of options and ideas spring to mind that 5 years ago wouldn’t have.  Over the Early Childhood contexts you could use the video in making reports, in sequencing, learning about and making inferences, doing voice-overs for characters – just to name a few.

Is there anything specific you would use this video for?

As I work my way through the learning paths I am discovering how limitless the possibilities are and how you really can (and to a point I did) utilise ICT to enhance children’s learning.

Face time vs FaceTime

I share a wonderful bond with my younger sister, we truly get along like a house on fire.  Up until now the longest time we’d not seen each other was 2 months (when I went overseas on holiday two years ago), and now the tables have turned.  Today marks the fifth month, some 141 days, since my sister moved to Canada with no return flight or idea of when we would meet again.  141 days since I’ve been able to hug her or have a face to face conversation well sort of…

Enter FaceTime.

Up until my sister left the country I had never used FaceTime or Skype, I had heard of them but never felt a need because there never really was a reason to do so.  FaceTime is now a staple ICT in both mine and my families life and I truly couldn’t imagine the last five months without it.  Though I can’t actually touch my sister, she could very well be sitting in the room next door and if it wasn’t for the huge jumpers and snow out the window, I’d be none the wiser.

In last weeks reading Decoding Learning, the idea of “Learning from experts” and how we could use such ICTs as mentioned above in the classroom to bring people together came to my attention.  I revisit an idea I touched on in a past blog, I certainly believe that social media and other forms of online communication should not take the place of basic social interaction, shaking a hand whilst meeting for the first time, but I do see it’s place in maintaining interactions with others. Nicole also shares my confusion of what side of the debate my head rests and the level of sociability the internet provides.

However, it is amazing that children in a small rural classroom could potentially (if we actually ever get decent internet service) discuss weather patterns with a meteorologist in Brisbane, or further, like over in Canada for example.  It may always be a trade off, but the use of FaceTime certainly is a blessing in my life!