Effective ICT in the classroom

Sarah Hardie made this VideoScribe video in 2014 as part of her university degree to illustrate why ICT is so important to engage the 21st century learner. I wonder if she is teaching now and whether she is implementing her ideas? If she is, I wonder if she has changed any of these thoughts? There are some sound issues with the video but Sarah talks so much common sense and makes some good points and observations . As a young person with fresh eyes on ICT in the classroom and how to use it effectively she has done three things. She has demonstrated a real willingness to master visual communication with quality software. She has advocated for students and then she has looked at ICT from a professional viewpoint and created some sound arguments to support an ICT approach in a classroom not a mere use. The only thing I’d dispute is that students are expert in technology. They are experts in certain sites , apps and techniques but they do not generally have a broad range of ICT capabilities and skills. It is important to update skills , explore different devices and to constantly share what you know with others. People tend to become experts in particular ways of using technology. The constant conversation about the best app, best software, have you seen this, do you know about such and such has to be there . Teachers and students need to form learning partnerships because that is how it works…connecting and setting up a feedback loop so there are constant ICT conversations.

She is meeting aitsl professional learning standards:

1.6 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of strategies for differentiating teaching to meet the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities.

3.4 Demonstrate knowledge of a range of resources, including ICT, that engage students in their learning.

3.5 Demonstrate a range of verbal and non-verbal communication strategies to support student engagement.

3.6 Demonstrate broad knowledge of strategies that can be used to evaluate teaching programs to improve student learning.

4.1 Identify strategies to support inclusive student participation and engagement in classroom activities.

4.5 Demonstrate an understanding of the relevant issues and the strategies available to support the safe, responsible and ethical use of ICT in learning and teaching.

6.4 Demonstrate an understanding of the rationale for continued professional learning and the implications for improved student learning.

Not a bad effort for one video at undergraduate level. I wonder what grade she received for it? YouTube has given her 771 hits and that is a really sound feedback result.

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So how good are you with Adobe Photoshop?

Erik Johansson is incredibly talented in visual art. His videos and web page show how a real master blends real life and virtual reality. Watching his creative process you understand that nothing is too much or too difficult to achieve his artistic ends. You also realise he is prepared to put 123 layers into his Adobe Photoshop creations to achieve what he wants. The blending of real and imagined is seamless. The detail is infinitesimal and he is incredibly painstaking in the way he goes about creating his images. Technology can shift the boundaries and imagination can reach out and use its limitlessness to show itself. What can be imagined now was restricted before but that same imagination has to be very disciplined and precise in its thinking to achieve its goals with technology. Near enough is not good enough and precision is everything.

This is 21st century teaching

EdTech Mixed Plate has a number of videos on YouTube where practising teachers join together to discuss ICT in the classroom. This is what we can do now as teachers. We can join together online and discuss things which are important in a classroom and how we develop and pioneer technology input Рor anything else for that matter.The videos are professional development for the teachers participating but they are also professional development for anyone watching. The episode I am using today is on Minecraft in the classroom because Minecraft is gaining traction in classroom use. EdTech Mixed Plate discusses a range of topics and it is interesting to see how the teachers have become involved in edtech and mostly the co ordinator for edtech in their school. Worth a look because I am pretty sure this is the future and now such a gift to us in terms of professional development. Technology is offering us all sorts of possibilities . We are waiting for bandwidth so we can implement these opportunities more effectively.

The results are in

le sport Image:clker.com

I wouldn’t even have considered trying the computational thinking approach to my Year 10 topic of Talking about Sport unless I was fairly certain it would succeed or , at least, sustain a level of competence in myself and my class which was credible. These are Year 10s going into Year 11. Calculated risk and intelligent trials are worth the effort and will improve performance and outcomes. Flying blind with no sight of the ground is not an option. As you can see from the last post I restructured the topic¬†to ensure it met with the computational thinking elements. I am refreshing my own coding skills so I was more than acutely aware that every tiny bit matters and that it is not a sin to be working in the dark. I was also aware that when you take yourself up to higher level learning you have to copy. You have to look to who can do it and learn from them by leaning on them and their knowledge. Soon, your brain patterns the information and you can start doing things for yourself. The end part of my Sport topic was an assessment of a dialogue where one student was wildly enthusiastic about sport and the other one was very reluctant and negative. We built it up from vocabulary, to expressions, to specific sentence patterns for positives and negatives. We reinforced it all with online training. We listened to French people talking about sport and listened for what we could recognise. We did small exercises to practice one thing and put them on our blogs. We did tiny orals to get used to saying things. They then had to emulate a dialogue we could hear and see online. They changed it a bit and we listened to the original dialogue and then they had to do their version and record it. We then came to their having to do an authentic dialogue of their own. I had marked a dialogue of theirs at the¬†beginning of¬†term. They weren’t bad but they were a bit awkward and I could hear the students were not comfortable at this level of French even though they could understand it. I am now really glad I decided to go about the Talking about Sport dialogue in a computational thinking way. It has made a considerable difference. I was marking the sport dialogues yesterday. They had all handed them in. They sounded confident and competent. They sounded like they were relaxed and having fun. The dialogues were far more natural and their pronunciation was so much better. Working though a topic or lesson from a small thing to a bigger thing is not foreign to me because I have been using gaming principles for a couple of years now. The computational thinking approach has refined that further and is a logical next step to that methodology.

Share and share and share the magic

There is so much magic with technology .¬†We have to keep the conversations going. We have to keep sharing. We are connected. Gradually , we are working out positive behaviours and practices around the internet, mobile technology and device use. We are now working out the social side of it so our practices do not impinge on others and infringe upon their space and sensibilities. It is becoming obvious now who the team player are NOT. The little video looks at some of the things we have come to agree upon but might want to discuss. There is always a personal preference allowed in our thinking because it no longer has to be one size fits all and it no longer has to be we are all doing this now , in this way, with this. The conversations have to continue so we arrive at consensus and a happy way of finding the magical things in technology use. It is easy for me to say , “Put your phone away , please” because we teach responsible use. The Year 9s were starting to champ at the bit because they know they will have laptops next year and they want them now. To help combat this frustration I have lifted my game with the iPads and my laptop use so we are using great sites, great images, great tools.discover Quebec I walked into class with the Discover Quebec app for them to download. They loved it. It’s an intelligent app which had 3D renditions, videos, maps, images, interviews. A whole information rich and visually impressive app which treats users intelligently and runs in French and English. I pulled out my really nice presentation on adjectives and one of the students remarked about how nicely the colours all went together and how the the whole board was filled with a balance of colour. They loved the red Ferrari on my wishlist in French. So then one of the students, as she prepared her presentation, was using an app to make a background for the slides with different coloured fingerprints.Her own fingerprints and her own choice of colours. Custom made backgrounds for learning their French. We have set up a mega online vocab challenge for next week of one boy against the other 3 best students one at a time. Everyone warmed to that kind of risk taking. In the next class I had my spreadsheet out which automatically calculates the percentages for the students. I remarked how daft Excel was for calculating at the bottom of the percentages 576% or something equally nonsensical. It should have something which stops it from doing ridiculous¬†things. One student felt my frustration and offered to change it to an average for me because by now they know how number challeged I am . My percentages spreadsheet is orginally thanks to my brother in law but by now I can actually do the function stuff myself. So the student¬†was trying to do¬†the average¬†and it all hashtagged and went stupid. A couple of students offered suggestions and I showed him how to format cells. We were doing this in French. It was not prescribed “content”, the exams and assessments will never show we were doing this. The bell went and we decided to finish it off on Monday. That was all learning based on sharing but we would not have been learning had we stuck to the plan, the device, the ascribed roles of teacher and student. We were having fun because we can and we were working out the boundaries with social niceties and consideration.

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