Digital Community- resources for ICT in education

Hi everyone, I was just browsing the net for other ICT tools we could use in the classroom and came across this page. It’s a mindmap of different technology we could use in our teaching (some of them we have come across in our blogs). I wanted to share it with everyone because :

1. It’s useful to have these many ideas/ resources at our fingertips

2. It provides brief and clear information on the different types of programs

The page looks like this and to find out more about a specific program you simply have to click on it (ie. twitter for example) :

 

 

To access the webpage, simple click on the picture.

Finally, while further exploring this page, I looked at twitter and how it could be used in education. Honestly, I still am a little apprehensive about using this program in actual classes because it I think there are enough distractions as is. However, twitter for teachers who need answers quickly might be a good idea. For example, one of the suggestions was that teachers could build up a network very quickly and share resources so that if teachers had a question or needed resources on a topic, they could simply put up a tweet instantly and other teachers could then reply if they have something helpful. With a smart phone, this could happen pretty much anytime, anywhere.

 

Picasa- Teaching Collage

After reading about the tools for week 7, I tried using Picasa to edit some pictures in my collection. While playing around, I found the option to make a collage with selected pictures related to my teaching experiences and decided to give it a go.  It was very easy to do as the software is easy to use. Below is the result:

 

 

What I thought students could do with this particular feature is to create a digital narrative/story using pictures. They could arrange their pictures however they wanted and then present their story to the class. Besides this it could also be used for other units including science ie. the life-cycle of a frog showing how a frog starts of as an egg and becomes a tadpole and so forth.

Furthermore, while using other photo-editing programs, an idea I thought of was for students to edit themselves into a particular context being studied (ie. medieval society for Humanities, or Italy for Romeo and Juliet for ESL) and make that a postcard. They then have to write to someone (in the future maybe) about what life is like there from that character’s point-of -view. The only issue I have with this task is that students may spend more time working on the photo-editing then on the other tasks. However, giving clear instructions and and criteria might reduce the risk of this happening.

That’s all I can think of for now. Do let me know if you come up with other ideas or other special features with regards to Picasa!

 

Animoto- India Trip

Hi everyone,

I’ve made a 30 second slideshow of my trip to India last year using  Animoto. It was very easy to do and the longest bit is actually, waiting for the pictures to be uploaded- I decided to get something to eat while waiting. After that, you simply select the music you would like for the background (provided/ uploads possible) and they’ll send you an e-mail once it’s done.

I believe this would be very easy for students to use and from it they would be able to tell a story of a trip or event. They could even make a their version of a video clip of a book/film they are studying by first taking their own pictures and then compiling them into this clip. Oh what fun!

Here’s my slideshow. Enjoy!

Create your own video slideshow at animoto.com.

 

 

Wordles- word clouds (it only takes 2 minutes, literally)

After browsing blogs, I came across Ricki’s idea for wordles and thought I’d try one out myself.  What it is, is basically a program that allows you to display key words or concepts in a creative way (also known as a cloud). I’ve done a wordle on my blog by simply putting in my URL in the space provided and it churned this out (see picture below). As you can see, it picks out words that are most frequently used and enlarges them to show that they are more significant than others. Technology and teaching came out tops. That’s a good sign!

Things I can do with this in the classroom:

1. Like Ricki suggested, put in key words of a story and get students to guess how this story goes. A great introductory activity to a book/film.

2. Get students to create their own wordles at the end of the unit using key words they know of and swap with a friend. They each have to be able to talk about the unit and what they’ve learnt using those key words. Can be used for revision.

3. Get students to do one of their own blogs and get them to talk about why certain concepts were talked about more than others.

Let me know if you think of other examples! Thanks.

Ipads in the classroom

After watching Kelly’s impressive video on making a digital story using the ipads, I cannot wait to try it out myself. For those of you who haven’t watched it, you have to. Kelly did a fantastic job! However, because I don’t have an ipad, I’ll probably have to look for a different means of doing that (probably with my iphone).

 

Having said that, I’ve been doing some reading on the ipads in the classroom. It was in the news that Victoria was the first state to try out using the ipads in the classroom sometime last year. To read the article- click here. Following that, I have heard of several schools receiving the ipads but I personally have not had the chance to handle any classes with the ipads.

However, being interested in what else we could do with the ipads, I’ve stumbled across this website (click here- ipads in the classroom) that is full of teaching ideas and good videos on using the ipad in the classroom. I thought I’d share it with all of you in case you’re interested or in case you ever have to teach using the ipads and have no idea what to do!

 

 

 

Audacity

Hi everyone, I’ve just tried out audacity and embedded it as an mp3 clip in the link below. Hopefully it works!

Testing out audacity

I must say that it was very easy to do and the instructional video was extremely helpful. My clip is only about a minute long during which I mention one or two activities we could do with it- mainly related to pretending to be radio hosts!

Do let me know if you guys have any comments (please excuse the mistakes and the nervousness) and ideas that we could use audacity for in the classroom.

Technocentrism- Technology for technology’s sake

It wasn’t too long ago (read: yesterday) in a place not too foreign (read: Rusden lecture hall) that one of our education lecturers took to the stage and delivered what he called a ‘devil’s advocate’ stance on educational issues. Among them were issues related to the effectiveness of the ultranet, socializing with students through social-networking sites and finally, the use and perhaps overuse and misuse of technology in the classroom.

He explained the term ‘technocentrism’ which refers to the notion that the solution to every problem can be found in technology. The name behind the term is Seymour Papert, who is known for his critique on technology and more appropriately our reliance on it.

Some of the arguments included that:

– Students learn in a logical manner and most technology does not provide us with that sort of format instead has many things happening at the one time

– Social constructivists believe that students learn through interaction with each other and technology reduces these sorts of tangible interactions

– Computers reduce a child’s attention span so that students cannot follow a line of thought through a book

-Finally, teachers become over-reliant on technology and think that just because they are using technology, that good teaching is happening

Much can be said about all these points but personally, I find the last one most striking. Clearly, there is so much emphasis in using ICT in the classroom that sometimes, I do admit, at placements, I’m tempted to simply use ICT for everything just to say that I have used it, regardless of whether or not it improves my teaching. But I cannot help but question, why do that? I do not want to simply use ICT so that I can add it to my report if it doesn’t help my teaching in anyway. I owe my students high-quality teaching and if that means having a good class discussion and brainstorm, why not? After all, the last time I’ve checked, technology is there to enhance teaching, not to replace it.

Has anyone had similar/ different experiences?

TED talks as a teaching resource.

I highly recommend this website- TED ideas worth spreading,  to those of you who enjoy thinking about new ideas. This website is a collection of talks/videos on various issues by big names, and other creative individuals.

There are all sorts of engaging topics being discussed and the best part is that most of them don’t go for that long. I think the average is about 15 minutes, so that as an audience, we are kept engaged.

Popular topics include education, global issues, technology and design to name a few. I have also used a few of these videos in my class. I was teaching the use of Persuasive language to year 11s and asked students to watch two videos from TED while noting down how the presenters were persuasive and to name what techniques were used. They were fully engaged and responded well to the task. They also enjoyed the topic and we had a good discussion of the issue after.

I have embedded a video (above) a friend recommended recently. It’s about teaching world issues through a game. I found it quite spectacular and would like to share it with you. Let me know if you have any comments!

Enjoy!

 

Prezi- A new way of presenting information

Looking for a new way to present information but just overly sick of powerpoint? Prezi‘s the way to go.

I first saw this at a PD (at PD week actually) where one of the presenters used a Prezi to conduct her session. It’s a really neat and simple program that allows you to freely construct what seems like a poster/ mindmap of information in an engaging way. Besides this, you may freely add text, pictures and even embed videos onto the presentation without much hassle. I believe this will be useful for both teachers and students because it’s easy to use and it’s well, honestly, fun as well.

Check out this video to find out a little bit more:

 

And here below, I thought I’ll give this a go. So below I’ve done a very quick prezi on my teaching philosophy with 3 points for now.

With ESL and Humanities, I believe students will have a great time presenting information in a prezi.  The strengths of this program is that it is easily accessible, it’s free and it’s simple to use. Furthermore, students get to embed pictures, videos and possibly audio with ease. I could see students using this to present on an issue for English as a Second Language. I remember conducting a unit on the controversial unit of the wearing of the burqa and I could imagine students using this to present their opinions using the prezi in an engaging way. Students could also use this to present their orals, and having the visual prompts will be very helpful to them.

 

Do let me know what you think!

 

Music on my blog? Why not?!

After having a look at some of your blogs, I found out that we could add a playlist to it (see bottom left of sidebar). And why not have the option of some music playing in the background while browsing sites? So thanks to Hannah and Julia, I have followed their simple instructions of getting on to MixPod.com  and creating my own playlist before adding it to my site.

 

The tricky part (which isn’t very tricky once you know what to do) comes once you want to add the list to your blog.

1. First get onto Mixpod, sign up and add songs that you would like to your playlist.

2. Secondly, copy the embed code- the one for ‘other’ sites as prompted by mixpod once you’ve saved your playlist.

3. Next, on your dashboard, click on widgets and look for the widget that says ‘Text’.

4. Finally, paste the code in to the space provided.

 

Don’t forget to save your changes and your playlist should appear on your blog. Tada! Now we can share our tastes in music too!