Show and tell technology

computer technology I keep saying it. If you learn something with technology – pass it forward. Pass it on. Share it with someone. It’s the only way. It joins the dots and fills in the learning gaps. At school we are getting better and better at this and there is a noticeable lift in confidence and competence and then that real high you get from implementing something good in a classroom. Tips?

1. If you don’t know how to do something – ask!
2. Plan one on one or small group meetings where you are going to share what you know. Our faculty has planned to share its individual knowledge openly at meetings in the last week of term. That way we’ll all have a bigger pool of expertise to draw on.
3. Our technicians are very patient. They make sure each individual can do whatever it is they wanted to learn to do.
4. Our resource centre has implemented a media server and that means we are all now talking about how to use it and the resource centre staff are being rewarded for the time and effort they are putting into it. Everyone is in the conversation.
5. Students love to share. Teach them to ask and show too and include them in the learning loop.
6. Make technical resources available and let some people get good at them and then facilitate the learning of others. Spread the expertise by snowballing.
7. Show people what you do. Invite them to look and see. It generates some good learning conversations about how to use technology in a school.
8. There are no dumb questions. No stupid questions. Just things people don’t know or cannot do.
9. Use technology to circulate information. It keeps everyone in the loop and gets them to be a part of the learning curve.
10. Enthusiasm is a wonderful thing. If you are keen , it is very infectious and breaks down barriers.

Computer Basics

computer basicsGCFLearnFree has plenty of free online material to help you master your computer. There are written and video tutorials and then free mobile apps which you could make use of while you are waiting, on the bus, on the train – those times when you have to wait and you want something to occupy the time. As an added extra there is also help with Maths and Reading. This is an example of a well designed site which just offers what it says and then lets you get started easily. With computing it gives good instruction in social media, your computer , office applications and internet use. It is very clear and well thought out. When you know you are not very good on a computer then this sort of approach is invaluable. It is important to master one tool, one application at a time. A computer can do so many things. It is not possible to know everything. People who are good on computers know this and feel no sense of inadequacy when they can’t do something. Someone who feels like they are bad on a computer tends to think they can’t do anything. You can. One thing at a time!

Measuring Up

Measuring Up (3min, 27secs) from Graham Cousens on Vimeo.

This 3 minute video shows how powerful technology can be in getting a message across. It underlines the importance of working with others in a real way and using your talents and skills to unlock theirs. The Sydney Story Factory is an initiative to unlock the power of education for all.

Steve Jobs

I cannot ignore the fact the universe has changed and we have noticed. Steve Jobs is proof that people are not replaceable. He has inspired so many and his firm belief is that he has trained his team so well they will carry on without him. As teachers and educators we can learn a lot from this man who had the capcity to change the whole way we looked at everything and could value all he learnt. His speech at his commencement at Stanford University gets it very clear about how education and learning are to be valued and that lifelong learning is unique. He talks about loving what you do and doing what you love and within that he shows , as he speaks, how learning leads you to a life you love.

iMovie Tricks

iMovie is very popular with the laptop students. They love learning how it works. There have been some hiccoughs which I’ll deal with in another post, but by and large it has been relatively easy to introduce into lesson as long as I have allowed time for problem solving and one to one learning so they can master the software. Their final products have been really rewarding and student feedback tells me they want to get better and better. This YouTube clips gives some clear instruction on some of the lesser known features of iMovie.

TeFL Domain 3 Challenge 8

TeFl Domain 3 Challenge 8 Challenge 8: Have you helped them to appreciate the input of others? Students are swamped with information from television, the internet, social media and school . For me the challenge is to make sure I am not competing with a lump of plastic with connections so they drift off glazy eyed into the screen and I am just a droning hum in the background. I believe teachers are irreplaceable and have a crucial role to play in a technological world. One of my prime jobs is to ensure students know where to get valid and valuable information. Teaching them to consult and check and double check has become important since a lot of information is misinformation and a number of things are just plain wrong. I used to be able to use song lyrics and know they were fine. I now have to check and double check because some lyrics are wrong and some lyrics are very poorly spelled. One of the things I do these days is put the lyrics on the whiteboard and correct them as I go along to explain why they are wrong. The world is full of willing collaborators but they haven’t all had a good education so you appreciate their input but know there is stuff to fix. For students this is a valuable lesson. Tomorrow’s song is a perfect example because the person has written foie instead of foi – liver instead of faith!! Last week it was ninjas falling from the sky instead of angels and I am proud to say one of my students was very quick to point that out to us all. In my classroom there is open contribution to factual information and correction of errors. I teach check, double check then triple check. I ask them to consult with other teachers and their parents. I encourage them to check with each other. I also show them how to verify information they have accessed. Today I was showing one boy on his laptop how to type the information into so he could verify the spelling of the stadium he was writing about. Students use Facebook to get help and verify information from each other and their Facebook friends. I use Twitter. Social media is very good at getting immediate help when you are not sure. I have even known students to email authors, artists, chefs to verify something or other in their work or life. Often they get a warm response. Sometimes they are ignored. You teach them just to try the next avenue. We live in a connected world so teaching the value of this is important. No one has to wait to be sure..they can ask and, sure enough, the planet gets back to them.

Challenge 7