Creatubbles

CreatubblesCreatubbles is a safe online site for students/children to share their creative and artistic skills. There is teacher support on the site too. That is all I can say. You need to take a look and see if it suits your purposes.

Time to upgrade save icon

Google -retro Google is celebrating its 17th birthday and has a lovely image of retro technology. I have a nice purple lava lamp next to my computer. My old csi monitors are in the garage waiting until I can lift them to recycle them. Why did we ever use such hefty monitors? My retro laptop comes out occasionally and I have an old word processor which prints one line at a time to thermal paper.

save icon Image: Iconfinder

But what about the save icon? I have floppy disks.I know what they are. I regret not having a floppy drive any longer. 1.44MB of data was huge. How did we manage all that storage? Yet the floppy icon lives on as the save icon. How many will still know what it represents? How many will have seen a floppy disk? Isn’t it time to move on and upgrade the save icon to something more relevant?

Electronic communication

electronic communication According to Workplace-Communication.Com there are 55 types of electronic communication. How many are you familiar with? How many do you use? Which ones have students mastered? Are there any missing? What purpose does each form of communication have and what is its impact? How do you alter the impact? How do you use each of these forms of communication effectively? The site discusses a number of issues and ideas. As teachers we need to be in control of electronic communication and we need to ensure students are getting the positives out of it and that they too have mastered the various forms of electronic communication. Literacy in the 21st century is demanding . The choices are impressive and each choice creates a different impact both on the net and for the receiver. Communicating electronically is about using the best tool for the job and then experimenting to see how you can change the impact. An example? I don’t read emails with a high priority alert any sooner than any other email. I decide what is a high priority in my packed agenda not someone else because they don’t have my life and my day. We need to use alerts and notifications better in schools. The world runs on streaming information and then alerting you to events and changes. In a school context there is a need for a high priority form of communication with an appropriate icon. While we are shifting outside time frames and walls we need to develop suitable protocols through apps, LMSs and email and smartphones which ensure we get the information flowing by way of content and then highlighting events, deadlines, priorities via alerts. Then there needs to be an accepted form of electronic communication for emergencies and emergency information. Things to think about and things to master – literacy first then functionality.It’s not about being tied to work 27/7. Effectively developed and implemented electronic communication saves time and effort and is not time consuming or debilitating.

My teacher is an app

my teacher is an app BBC 4 has some intelligent podcasts on digital learning and how it impacts classrooms and universities.The discussions and information are enlightening. There are other podcasts on the site which address other subjects which you might like to listen to.

My teacher is an app

Much ado about literacy

Digital literacy isn’t new. We have had computers in schools since the 80s. We have mobile phones since the 90s. The big shift was in the 90s. It has only really been since 2009 that there has been a massive push to get technology up and running in classrooms – all classrooms. Not just a computer room for occasional use. In Australia we have made a big commitment to this and used a lot of time , energy and thinking to ensure our students are comfortable with technology and digitally literate. So what is the headline?

School computer use may be affecting literacy and numeracy skills, OECD study says

If you read the article it suggests technology doesn’t teach literacy – teachers do. The article did not highlight the real strength of Australian schools for which we do need recognition. It has been hard work . There have been numerous stakeholders and the level of collaboration across school communities and key technology providers and advisers has been a J learning curve and pretty impressive:

By analysing international test results for 15-year-olds, the OECD found Australians perform significantly above the average in digital reading, and in particular, have strong web-browsing skills, are better able to plan and execute a search, evaluate the usefulness of information, and assess the credibility of sources online.”

We need recognition for that but we are also aware we are at the stage now where we can enhance and improve what we are doing. Getting the juggernaut rolling was a monumental team effort and the best learning and teaching I have seen in education. I have seen a lot of rollouts in 42 years as a teacher. The technology roll out has been a demanding and appropriate learning programme for teachers because they have been challenged very thoroughly and tested really well.

For this reason I think we need to be careful about what we say about technology and literacy. Everything in books is on the net. A computer , its application and use , is far more demanding than any print based course both as a teacher and learner. The literacy demands are complex and can be met but it is not as easy as getting out a book and putting pen to paper. Computers and mobile technology offer so many different forms of communication and each has to be weighed up, quantified and analysed. Additionally, as teachers, we have been providing a significant role in language development. Technology has been critical in evening the playing field in this area. In Australia , differentiation of the curriculum really matters. Our classes comprise students from different cultures, language backgrounds and we include students like those on the autism spectrum and with special needs. We include everyone as much as we can because we have a belief that is right. We have become quite expert in creating learning environments for all sorts of students because it is about their needs.There has been a better accommodation of a broader range of students in classroom because technology has helped us create and find suitable  materials. We have been working on personal learning plans and technology has facilitated that.

National and international tests are important and the results are always interesting but drawing hasty or illogical connections from results is not doing us or the testing justice.

  • What was being tested when the OECD tested for literacy?
  • How were these tests performed?
  • Were the tests performed so students could operate from their natural strengths?
  • Did they look at the composition of classes across countries?
  • In Australia we are teaching students who have English as a first, second, third, fourth and even fifth language. Did we account for that in our testing?
  • Were students allowed to take the test in their strongest language?
  • We have a highly transient world population for all sorts of reasons. Were those factors considered?

We need to ask the questions, get the answers and look at how we can use technology to improve what needs improving. We have access to everything. How we effectively use that is what teaching is about.

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