Mrs BMW deserves more than a blogpost. She is worthy of quite a few accolades. She has put together a paper.li which is full of new fashioned goodness for Australian teachers. It means we have a vibrant place to go for current and up to date information for our classrooms and our professional standards. There are plenty of good links to be found on Teaching the Aussie way which will both encourage and lead classroom delivery strategies and stimulate discussions in schools around Australia.
I’ve got my poster. John Dewey was a philosopher, psychologist and educational reformer. He was ahead of his time and it is probably only now we are beginning to understand what he meant because we can actually make the choice on the poster I have chosen. We can choose to use methods which served the last millennium well or we can look to this new millennium and understand it needs a different set of tools and techniques. We can work in partnership with our students. We are not the sole author of our classroom and we need to be flexible enough to test out what is new to see what educational benefit there is. The world is changing rapidly. We cannot keep up with it but we don’t have to. We are teachers. We have classes of 30 students who will work with us quite willingly to explore the possibilities. We are still in charge and the leader of the group and we still need to make sound decisions and judgements with regard to materials and tools but we can work with our classes to see what is best practice and what options there are. I had my year 9s doing dialogues on the iPads. One of my students was typing up what the pair needed and the other was helping her by checking and looking up words…but she also had this beautiful graphic design going in one of the paint apps. Should I have said she shouldn’t? It was so creative. She learned how to get an image from the iPad to my laptop after the lesson was finished because it really was a lovely image. If you want a poster to make you think , go to Poster-Street. E-posters seem to be very popular at the moment. They are popping up on Facebook all the time. It tends to suggest it is currently our favoured way of communicating important beliefs. Is it a case of the medium is the message? Use it to your advantage in your classroom.
Scoop.it has so many good special interest sites for technology. Ana Cristina Pratas curates the Digital Delights for Learners site where you can get so much information on things to use in your classroom. That is all I have to say. Have a look!
This is a well thought out and well presented overview of the ICT competence for the Australian National Curriculum by Sylvia Guidara.
At the end of March last year I blogged about my Professional Network and was surprised with how complex it was now since I had branched out into being a connected teacher. I am lucky to have so much valuable input both inline, online and offline!! I had been thinking about how this had changed so I looked at that presentation again. As I reviewed my online professional network I became aware of how much that had changed in a year. My blogs constantly force me to think about what I am doing professionally. To keep blogging, though, I have to have input and that often comes from my online connections, either because I want to share or because I want to follow something up. My Facebook feed now has a number of pages which keep me on the ball professionally. This is also the role Tweet Deck fills. TweetDeck runs my Twitter feed but as TweetDeck you can customise it to run one or more hashtags so you can get up to date information, participate in discussions or simply look for trends and ideas. The TweetDeck timeline also has random input from people other than those I follow. Initially I did not like that change but now feel that it sometimes offers a new look at things from other perspectives and does so out of the blue, so there is a fun aspect to it. Pinterest has also become very quickly one of the corner stones of my online professional development. I can share and gather resources, I can look up theory and practice. It is a rich resource. SlideShare is a community I have long valued since it has improved my presentation skills, allows me to connect with other tertiary educated people, has a wealth of knowledge to access and provides some good challenges and encouragement. I ought to be able to include LinkedIn but I am finding it difficult to get traction. One of the reasons is you need to have email addresses to connect so if I don’t know them I cannot send out the emails and I am not paying for Inboxing on a site which has, as yet, to prove its worth in my life. Other communities I belong to are easier to connect with and develop in a strong way. In this last year I have also made good use of my iPad apps. There are a number which bring me good information or help me to think things out. The iPad has a solid place in my professional life. It makes it very easy to engage with what I want to engage with or it brings me material to consider which I might not otherwise see. This is often courtesy of TeacherCast or FlipBoard. It is quite remarkable how quickly online communities and resources have contributed to my knowledge and development .If it can change this much in a year I am certainly looking forward to the next level of learning.
The Personal and Social Capability for Year 8 is here. This is the slide presentation for year 10. I have changed nothing with regard to the ACARA document. I have packaged it this way so I can work on the capabilities one at a time without distraction. As I was making these slide presentations I became aware that our school is already doing much to address these capabilities . I would imagine most schools are. We are not dealing with anything new. What we are ensuring is that we have covered these capabilities in a logical and sequential way. I was also thinking that part of this capability is the awareness and management of oneself as a virtual being. That, too, now needs to be addressed and our school has made inroads into that as well. I am sharing these under the creative commons licence since you might find it easier to work with the capabilities separated out into the year levels.
We are rolling out the Australian National Curriculum. Part of that are the general capabilities, one of which is ICT but the teacher learning community I am in is looking at the Personal and Social Capability. We have to look at the document and come back with our thoughts next meeting. I looked at the document and was finding it hard to focus on the year levels which apply to me – namely year 8 and year 10. I decided to separate out the requirements for each level into slide presentations. I have not altered anything with regard to the ACARA document. This way I can focus on each requirement without being distracted and have the opportunity to add additional information as I need to in an easy way. I have loaded them here and on Slideshare since others may find them useful.
This video really tipped me on my head. It is a completely different way of approaching teaching and looking at how learners learn. The belief that deep learning goes on inside a learner as they process information visually is worth exploring and would certainly lend strength to the use of technology in a classroom when considered carefully. Matthew Peterson has done the exploring , the testing and gaining of feedback. As a learner he was challenged. As a person who was swamped by text based learning he makes his point well. We cannot continue to tip word and print based activities onto students in our classrooms and learning groups if that is not the way they learn. The other thing which struck me was that he was talking about visual learners. When my home group was exploring what learning styles they had, all of them identified themselves as visual learners except two. The two identified themselves as kinesthetic learners. I was one of those. It was a really interesting exercise for us to be doing together as a group. Matthew Peterson’s talk, then, really had pertinence for me and what I was thinking about. Do we know how our students are learning? Do we know which methods are succeeding better? The students we now teach are more used to GUIs. Would we then be disadvantaging text based learners if we make the swap totally to technology or only certain types of software and devices? If I look at myself I learn best with a lot of text but I also learn really well and probably better if I combine text with an activity – a learning challenge. I need to be doing. I would never endorse the abandonment of words, words, words because they can be so powerful and that is something I want to teach – the power of language. Others, far greater than I have said that much better, so I leave you with these quotes so you can think about how you will best serve your students and yourselves as learners. Matthew Peterson’s talk rings very true, but so do these literary greats:
“Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly — they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced.”
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
“Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning.”
Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
“I turned silences and nights into words. What was unutterable, I wrote down. I made the whirling world stand still.”
Arthur Rimbaud, Complete Works
Okay, so I’ll just move out of Australia so I can watch a Yannick Noah clip. Who knows why SME has blocked content in Australia on copyright grounds? Maybe you can watch it in your country and tell me if it’s a good clip or not. I really like Yannick Noah and have so many of his albums. I own this album, too. I just thought it would be nice to start my Sunday morning with a nice clip of his which is full of hope…then I got blocked. I thought we lived in a global society? I thought we were a global village? I thought we were sharing? Animal Farm strikes again. Well, now I have been sprayed with internet grapefruit juice, I’ll go elsewhere . There are a few sites which block content to Australia. BBC often does it and French sites often do it. Oprah’s channel did it to me on the Lance Armstrong second interview. Maybe I’ll just move…
Our students are used to playing games. It will influence their approach and it will influence how they learn. As teachers we can look at gaming principles and try and implement the theories which keep our students so engaged in games. We need to explore this avenue more and get some workable practices in place. I made this slide presentation to get the conversations going. Mine will not be the only point of view.