Building Googling Skills

This 5 min video clip is a great addition to the teaching toolbox. So much time is wasted during a search of the internet. Here we see how searches can be refined using timelines, mindmaps or a tabled presentation of information. I love the tools shown. They will be valuable to teachers and students alike. They will be timesaving and reduce the amount of stress incurred when looking for information from the ever growing pool of online resources. Take a look and hone your skills.

google2

Engaging Students

My newest challenge is to entice students to learn technology.  Nothing out of the ordinary about that you say.  Perhaps that should be true, but for me it is new, challenging and a little daunting.  I need to cater for students k-6 and encourage them to think beyond internet games and wordprocessing.  For the last three weeks I have been planning and scheming.  So far I have turned Excel into an art program for Stage 1 and a treasure map for Stage 3.  If anyone has any ideas for me I’d really appeciate it.  Thx

Animated Generator

Well, it’s been a long time without adding anything here.  I have been building my delicious account with some of the great things  I have found as well as trying things out with a variety of classes.  Now it’s time to add a few more things here.  As  a fun starter, I am just posting a quick little site I have found to add some movement to a website. 

Try it out and see how you go 🙂

The Changing Face of Technology

 

WOW! In David Merrill demos Siftables I have just seen an advancement in technology that is open to creating a variety of learning experiences for students from all grades for multiple Key Learning Areas (KLAs). Tiny little biscuit sized computers, that fit into the palm of your hand can be maneuvered freely and work together to facilitate learning experiences that can drill spelling or create cartoon movies to develop writing and storytelling skills. While my first thoughts are about how I can use these in the classroom, I am almost immediately taken by how useful they would be in the home. Students and parents can play together while developing both their relationship and skills. Then the realisation hits…

Today’s adults are creating these new designs in technology. What will our students be creating when they are adults? Knowing how daunting it can be for some teachers to delve into the world of technology, I wonder how many creative students sit in classrooms where they are not exposed to the variety of technology available to them. How many students, who could be future inventors, are languishing in classrooms that operate with minimal connection to technological life?  We can’t expect parents to do it all. For many, they will never have the resources to provide such life experiences for their children. As a society, it is important to provide opportunities for all students to experience the possibilities that technology holds for them. We would be horrified if we met a child who had never opened the pages of a book, yet classrooms exist where technology is an option that is catered for at a minimal level. We would never allow a teacher who couldn’t read to teach our children. Why do we not expect them to be technologically savvy? There are teachers who are willing to bring fascinating technologies into their classrooms and take their students beyond the walls of their classrooms to learn. Their students have a great advantage over others.  Other teachers who are slow to invest in their own professional development rob their students of learning opportunities that will assist them to grow into technology savvy people who are eager and competent to generate their own learning experiences through a feast of options available to them. 

Technology may not be everything, but it is certainly the future for our students.  Our children will be creating things beyond siftables when they graduate. We don’t know what they will be creating, but we should know what is available to them now, so that they are primed to take on next generation of technology and create the one that is to follow.  We must not allow any student to miss that opportunity.

QR Technology

A few weeks ago, I came across a strange shaped icon on a billboard at the bus stop.  My immediate response was…something else to learn!  Thanks to Mrrobbo, I now have some information on what they are – Quick Response codes – as well as how to use them in my lesson planning.  With the help of a mobile phone with a built in camera, I will be able to engage students in learning experiences that allow me to take technology to the student.  So often students know more about technology than they experience at school.  QR is new in daily life.  It is easy for the students to implement and utilise in their classrooms.  Some students may be familiar with it, but many will not be yet.  What a fantastic opportunity to put education in touch with technological advancement and for students and parents to see school work as being current and relevant.  The opportunities are endless.  The treasure hunt idea Mr Robbo mentions would make a lively collaborative lesson – either online, outdoors on in the classroom.  Better still, students can be the designers and generate learning experiences they can share with their peers. 

The question often goes out “Why would you use this technology over traditional learning experiences?” Why can’t the answer just be “so we can teach students how to use and create with technology”?  I want my students to feel that school is teaching them about their world, not that it is behind the times. 

Innovative Teaching

Sometimes it feels like kids are being taught how to shoe horses and hitch up a wagon while their parents get around on rocket ships.  Teachers need to push their personal expectations beyond what they were 30 years ago when they were studying.  We need to be challenging ourselves to be learners, to be uncomfortable and to learn something new to provide relevant learning experiences for our students.  This can be hard to do if our colleagues are still coasting, yet to be an effective teacher, it is a must.  One such teacher is Anne Mirtschin from country Victoria.  In 18 short months she has transformed the learning experiences for the students of an isolated country school into a globally connected classroom with award winner students who are venturing into new technology experiences along with their teacher. 

Watching her presentation Flat Classroom Walls is nothing short of inspiring.  The contacts she has made worldwide have lead to fascinating student led investigations, revealing interactions with different cultures and a greater experience of their home country.  Some of her students have been part of a Russian TV news broadcast, others have travelled to Qatar and some have ventured into virtual worlds. 

Since watching this a few days ago, it keeps spinning in my head.  It is so exciting and inspiring.  This teacher has taken up the challenge, and taken her students with her for the ride.  Her personal and professional growth have been enormous.  This is a teacher who is dedicated to bringing her students the best education possible and preparing them to be participants in the world at large.  With teachers doing this for their students, what will become of the students whose teachers won’t take up the personal challenge?  Isn’t our purpose always this:

  • to prepare students for life
  • to give them experiences that are worthwhile
  • to set them on a path of self discovery

Let’s leave the horses for recreational activities and power our students with rocket ship shoes for life adventures in the 21st century!

Creating Online Books

It’s been a while since I have posted but over the last few weeks I have had the time to surf.  Oh, what fun!  So much to see and do.  I am so excited.  There are so many ways to connect learning with technology.  Here is one that has so many potential uses.  The Big Universe site provides students and teachers the opportunity to read a variety of books online, but even better, to create their own.  The short video tutorials will get you started.  There are images that can be resized and background scenes.  Design the page and add some text or upload your own images.  So much potential. . .

You can see great class collaborative books posted by teachers, personal stories by parents and stories by children.  There is a wonderful collaborative book of children’s pictures of how their families celebrate Christmas.  How many variations can be spun from that idea?  Do you need a new idea for a Father’s Day gift . . . take a look at Me and My Dad for a starting point.  If you’re teaching explanations, students can present their text in a book.  Small groups can compile their project work online into a book that can be shared beyond the classroom walls.   My mind is racing with ideas.  I can’t wait to get back into the classroom and try this out.  Have a go and let me know how you go too.

Slam Dunk for Technology

The idea of being an effective teacher, somehow conjures an image of long hours and extensive behind the scenes work.  The planning and preparation of a good lesson that meets the needs of all students in a class, multiplied by the number of lessons in a day, across all Key Learning Areas (KLA), building into significant units of work … this requires a toolbox of systems. 

One such system I am adding to my toolbox it James McKenzie’s NoTime Slam Dunk Lessons.  His recipe for creating versatile, collaborative learning experiences can be adapted to any KLA and facilitate learning for all students in the class. The lessons can take advantage of the variety of information contexts available online ie podcasts, images, videos, charts and text.  They can take advantage of up to the minute, current information or historical archives.  Students may have, but do not need individual access to technology to take advantage of the learning experience.  What a plus!

It is worth having a few Slam Dunk Lessons up your sleeve.  James McKenzie shows us how to do it all in the blink of an eye…well, maybe 10 minutes.  Take a look for yourself. 

A challenge for students and simplicity for the teacher.  Breakthrough!

The Value of Creativity

 

The power to learn 

It has taken many years for me to discover creativity in my life.  It is something that I don’t often recognise, yet others will see it in me far more often than I do.  The one thing I know is that it is when I am working through a creative process that I feel the most alive.  It is when I have created something myself that I feel the most successful.  Creativity opens me up to be able to see more of myself and to expect more from myself.  It brings both satisfaction and hope.  It unwraps new ideas and possibilities along the way. 

This is what I want for the children I teach.  I want them to see the possibilities of their own lives and to have hope for their futures.  I want them to see that they have what it takes to make a life for themselves that will be satisfying and surprising.  I want them to experience that when they take on a challenge, new opportunities present themselves.  Like a tree branching out, doors open in creativity.  The classroom should be a safe place for students to experiment with their ideas and follow them through to a satisfying conclusion.  This is my hope for my classroom.

Here is a thought provoking video from Sir Ken Robinson called Do schools today kill creativity?  I fully agree with his comments that ‘all kids have tremendous talents, and we squander them’ and that ‘creativity now is as important in education as literacy. And we should treat it with the same status.’  Let me know what you think of it?

 

Adult poems in children’s hands

bookcover

Being an effective teacher requires the teacher to find ways to extend children beyond their current abilities and increase their understanding of themselves, the world and its people.   With so much of life and teaching looking toward the future, it is worth considering the value of life’s past contributors.  By considering classic works in our classrooms, we are able to broaden students’ understanding of life and possibilies.  We can open students to new ways of looking at their world.  We can extend their language skills and vocabulary.  I have come across some interesting poetry lesson plans  that use a book “Rose, where did you get that red?” by Kenneth Koch.  This book provides a range of poetry by poets such as Donne, Shakespeare and Whitman and shows teachers how to combine reading and writing poetry to introduce students to adult poems.   The resulting work by the students is inspiring.  This is a book that I would love to read and use in any classroom I find myself.  The examples provided range from Year 1 to Year 6.