Applying the RAT to one of my learning activies.

In week 6 we were asked to apply the RAT to a learning activity. This was quite challenging as we needed to justify why this activity amplified and transformed the students learning.

Hree is my first attempt of this activity, I am not sure if I have got it right so I am open to all advice :).

Year level: Foundation

Learning area: English.

Learning objective: Construct texts using software including word processing programs (ACELY1654)

Learning experience (what will the students do): Students will respond to the text by analyzing the context (choosing a character and their role), description (of the character), evaluation (reason for your choice and explanation) and personal connection (I like… ). Personal responses scaffold students to make connections with their own experiences. Students will use skills, techniques, processes and technologies to create their personal response. Personal response will be created to be included in their e-portfolio (blog). Students will video tape themselves reading their personal  response and then share via project Noah which will be an opportunity to collaborate and receive feedback from another class from interstate.

SLIC         Replacement    Amplification  Transformation                           
Student Learning Students will videotape themselves and then use Project Noah to present their personal response to a larger audience virtually. Instead of using just paper and pencil. Students learning is amplified. ICT is used to introduce the students to a different way to demonstrate their knowledge and to enable collaboration with a virtual class. Students learning is transformed by allowing the children to use another way for presenting their personal response, which would have normally just been through pen and paper. Students are exposed to a different form of feedback from peers from a virtual class.
Instructional methods  The teacher needs to model and support students in using these new tools. The ICT tools also provides scaffolding to students. The teacher’s role has changed. Even though they still interact and engage the students by providing the students with the resources for learning, they have amplified their learning by teaching them new skills to demonstrate their capabilities, skills and knowledge. Transformation is occurring as students are able to record and present their presentation to fellow students, teacher, family and the virtual class. It transforms the mode to otherwise using pen paper, PowerPoint, or a story board app. Project Noah  also enables a variety of feedback and recognition for their hard work.
Curriculum goals Teacher is not the only person providing feedback to the student.  Teacher is broadening the way in which students can convey their knowledge and skills. Students can watch their presentation and can show and interact with family, friends and their virtual classmates.  By using these ICT tools, students are gaining 21st century skills whilst demonstrating and meeting English learning outcomes. The student’s gain the experience of presenting their work via a different mode. The students gain feedback from a variety of people exposing them to different perspectives and suggestions on how to improve their work for next time.

Thanks for reading!

Is there such a thing as “Screen addiction”?

As I was emptying my email inbox, a subject line caught my attention, “Is screen or internet addiction a ‘thing’?” Dr Justin Coulson, from Kidspot discusses parents concersn of the tantrums that young children throw when screen time, such as ipads are taken away from their child. He compares these tantrums that are thrown by the children, to those that are thrown when a child is removed from a swing at the park. Coulson says, “challenging behaviour does not offer sufficient evidence of an addiction”.
He link60minutess his article to a recent 60 Minutes episode that investigated whether ‘screen addiction’ might be affecting our children. Coulson did not believe that 60 minutes told the
whole story and challenges some of
the claims. He defines addiction as compulsive behaviours that persist despite negative personal and social consequences. Addiction causes distress and interferes with typical daily function; therefore, Coulson states, “only in the most extreme cases can we argue that children are addicted to screens”.

Coulson goes on to discuss why screen time is so appealing to young children and what concerned parents can do to ensure that their children are using screen time wisely. I do believe that children are engaging with screen time more and more, however, it is up to the parents to be smart about its ubaby using laptopse. It is imperative that parents recognise that although technology does play a significant role in healthy development, “a balanced childhood is best achieved through hands-on, active play and exploration with the real world, and making strong social connections with people that children can see and touch without needing a screen”.

Erin discusses technology addiction in her blog and explores whether it is compromising students’ attitudes to health, physical education and exercise.

You can read more on the topic here and here.

Blogging and literacy skills development

I have been searching for how to integrate ICTs into the literacy curriculum. I found this blog “Primary Tech” which has been created by Kathleen Morris, a primary school teacher sharing resources, practical ideas and thoughts on blogging, global collaboration and technology integration me transliterate and to acquire the skills to read, write and interact across a range of platforms, tools and media, both traditional and digital.

Some of the benefits she discusses include:

  • Students are motivated to use their emerging writing skills,
  • Blogging makes writing purposeful, challenging, and real-to-life.
  • Blogging is an authentic way to teach both traditional reading, writing, speaking and listening, as well as multi-modal 21st century skills.
  • Students can read fellow peers posts and then respond with a quality comment, practising their literacy goal.

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Kathleen also offers suggestion on how to integrate blogging into the classroom such as building blogging into literacy rotations and creating digital portfolios.

Like Kathleen, I do believe that student blogging could be embedded into the classroom learning to transform literacy learning. Blogging can be a valuable learning experience for the students, as it is connected to their lives and world, purposeful and meaningful to them. In addition, all students would be able to succeed and learn at their own point of need.

Would you include blogging in your literacy curriculum to construct and transform their learning?

3 Key Trends in AV Technology for Schools

While I was surfing the net looking for information on ICTs in the classroom, I stumbled upon this very interesting and informative website, The Journal: Transforming Education Through Technology. 

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3 Key Trends in AV Technology for Schools provides an enlightening vision on where audio visual technology is developing at quite a rapid pace. “According to Mike Tomei an independent audiovisual consultant who designs and installs AV systems for classrooms, “Classroom AV technology plays a big part in facilitating active learning environments.”

Due to the increased use of ICTs in the classroom, Tomei says it is imperative for the continual development of new products that support more active and collaborative learning. The article lists three key trends that show how technological companies are addressing this requirement:

  • Projectors and displays are becoming increasingly interactive, with more touch points to support multiple users at once. See below for an example how interactive projectors are used in a classroom.

  • New apps and devices allow multiple users to collaborate and share content wirelessly at the same time.
  • Web conferencing offers a versatile option for making video connections.

group conference

The article provides examples and links to further information to reflect upon. It is a little daunting at how quickly technologies are being updated and replaced and reinforces the importance of researching, participating and embracing ICT personal development. I’m not sure how you could personally stay on top of it in addition to all the other requirements of teaching.

Damien talks about trends for education in his blog and lists some very interesting facts, such as “In 2009 “blackboard” was in the top ten search trends.
– blackboard is an educational technology company. www.blackboard.com“.

Time will tell I guess………….What do you think? How are you going to stay ahead of the kids in your classroom?

Measuring the success of my ICT integration into my teaching area.

One part of this weeks (6) learning path is my personal reflection of how I could measure the success of my ICT integration into my teaching area. I was asked to stop and imagine that I have just taught some of the ICT enhanced learning experiences that I have planned.

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I then had to answer the following questions:

  • How will you know if your use of ICTs in these learning experiences was successful?
  • How will you know if the use of ICTs you designed was good, brilliant, okay, or very limited?
  • What would success look like?

After reflecting upon how I would imagine my learning experiences would go, I have come to the hopeful conclusion that some of the following would determine my success of ICT integration into my teaching:

  • I will know that my students are authentically engaging and extending their learning and development by the level of student engagement, excitement and quality of learning.
  • I would ensure that the ICT be appropriate and suitable to the learning needs of my students. In addition to this, I would employ the Gradual Release of Responsibility teaching practice: I doWe doYou do. This will ensure that students are prepared to engage with the ICT and maximum benefits achieved.
  • I will know that the use of my chosen ICTs were good with the achievement of the learning outcomes and the increased confidence levels of students when utilising the ICT.
  • I believe that the ultimate measure of a successful learning experience can be measured by the level of autonomy that the students exhibit, that the students can work independently after appropriate scaffolding and know how to use the ICT, where to find the information and ask for guidance when required.

After I post my response to this activity, I will be able to view my peers’ responses to these questions. I can imagine that it will be very interesting to read all the different judgements/opinions that each of us have in relation to this. Liv in her blog suggested “students feedback on their learning”. This is a very relevant aspect of teaching as feedback helps us to grow and develop and to reflect upon aspects we have never considered.

Reflecting upon the broad scope of judgments that we all will have, I became more aware of the important role that educators have in observing and reflecting upon each learning experience to ensure the integration of ICT in the classroom is constructing and transforming for each individuals learning.

ICTs are an effective and alternative learning tool if used in the right context and if the users are actively engaged with them. Queensland College of Teachers Readers Digest published an interesting article which reports that “more substantial gains in pupil attainment are achievable where the use of ICT is planned, structured and integrated effectively”.

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Education Queensland (2005) also affirms that ICTs can be used to enrich students, learning when tailored to accommodate the individual needs of students and focuses on the learning process. Education Queensland (2005) states, ‘Technology learning activities actively engage students in design challenges that enable them to develop a deep understanding of the processes and practices involved in the design and development of technological products.’
I am looking froward to reading more blogs regarding this topic, as I am sure there will be many more aspects that I have not considered.

Some resourceful websites I have found…….

I do love Google! It is an awesome search engine to find information about anything and everything! The tricky bit I find, is refining my search results so that I’m not reading all the results for hours to find the ones that suits my needs.

I have started to develop a list of links that are appropriate to my assignment 2 context, PREP and learning area, English.

So far, I have:

http://www.australiancurriculumlessons.com.au/2014/09/26/mem-fox-literature-study-unit-years-f123/

http://www.australiancurriculumlessons.com.au/2013/11/09/jungle-themed-mini-unit-foundation-year-1-2-weeks-lessons/

https://www.education.tas.gov.au/documentcentre/Documents/Tas-Curriculum-K-10-ICT-Syllabus-and-Support.pdf

http://www.education.vic.gov.au/school/teachers/support/Pages/techlearnprepclass.aspx

I have come to realise that there are many resources available online from fellow educators and educational organisations. I reflected upon the abundance of lessons, unit plans and suggestions that are readily available for educators, and believe the reason for this is in relation to the types of people that become educators.

I am sure that we have all done personality tests such as the Humanmetrics Jung Typology. After you complete the test, you will be assigned your 4-letter type formula according to Carl Jung’s and Isabel Briggs Myers’ typology, along with the strengths of preferences and the description of your personality type. It will also reveal the careers and occupations most suitable for your personality type, and your preferred communictaion style.

There are many online personality test available online and this site recommends three to complete to obtaing a broad understanding of your personality, strengths and abilities.

I just took this test and my best career choices included social work, education and law. This is consistent with my previous test that I have taken in the past.

This is why I believe that there are many fellow educators across the world that are willing to help each other. We are in this industry to help others, not for the big dollars or the public recognition.

Why do you have a go at the Humanmetrics Jung Typology test as see how you score!

Isn’t a question a question??

Working through week 5 on study desk, I was intrigued and a little overwhelmed with the idea of having to use “essential questions” in our lessons. Don’t we have enough to absorb and implement? Argh!!

What is an essesntial question?

‘Essential questions’ are designed to promote genuine, important and necessarily-ongoing inquiries. This is what I imagine most teachers would hope to achieve. With this in mind, I did some google searches on ‘essential questions’ and compiled a list of definitions:

essquest

To break it down, an essential question is when it:

  • causes genuine and relevant inquiry into the big ideas and core content;
  • provokes deep thought, lively discussion, sustained inquiry, and new understanding as well as more questions;
  • requires students to consider alternatives, weigh evidence, support their ideas, and justify their answers;
  • stimulates vital, on-going rethinking of big ideas, assumptions, and prior lessons;
  • sparks meaningful connections with prior learning and personal experiences;
  • naturally recurs, creating opportunities for transfer to other situations and subjects.

I stumbled upon this awesome resource on ‘essential questions’ that has an abundance of resources and tools to help you create questions to ignite leaning and thinking. Essential Questions & Clear Learning Targets is answering the essential question “How can the use of essential questions and clear learning targets enhance instruction?”

I was reading through fellow students’ blogs and discovered another good resource from Sandy. The ASCD Essential Questions website provides clear contextual examples across all curriculum areas and is a very useful teaching resource.

In conclusion, I do not believe all your questions have to be essential, as there will always be a place for factual questions that are used when reasonable, simple and straightforward answers are required that are based on obvious facts or awareness. Factual questions are usually at the lowest level of cognitive (thinking) or affective (feeling) processes and answers are frequently either right or wrong. This article explains the difference between the 5 main questions utilised in the classroom.

What type are questions will you be asking on your students whilst on Prac?

Can ICTs play a vital role in developing children’s oral language and literacy?

Can ICTs play a vital role in developing children’s oral language and literacy?

I have decided to develop my unit of work for a Prep class with its focus on literacy. I was particularly interested in researching this focus, as I love to read and have instilled this love in my three children. In so much, that even if we have had a very late night, my six year old son still wants me to read him a story.

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I cannot imagine a world without real, tangible paper books. Although I know that one day, it will be a rarity to see people sitting down reading a “real” book. During my research, I discovered a research paper written by Mary-Jane Shuker and Lisa Terreni,  from Victoria University of Wellington, who investigate the role of self-authored e-books as a tool for facilitating early childhood professionals to engage young children in new literacy and language experiences.

The authors focus on the integration of digital texts and the importance of authoring e-books. They argue that e-books have “great potential to make computer use more interactive through the creation of these interactive texts”.
Some of the benefits that they identified during their research include:

  • The opportunities for the development of bilingual and multilingual stories;
  • The ability for children to share and distribute their work widely and easily with their friends and families;
  • The exposure to important creative learning opportunities with digital technologies;
  • Providing children with a more authentic reading experience instead of the more traditional drill or exercise way of promoting literacy.
  • Substantive gains have been identified in the area of word recognition and children’s use of e-books;
  • Fostering children’s phonological awareness by incorporating e-books.

They provided suggestions on how to incorporate ICTs into the classrooms to enable children to tell stories in ways that they have not been able to do previously. I definitely believe that creating e-books is an exciting and authentic way for children today to convey and exhibit their meanings, ideas and creative abilities with others. With this in mind, I look forward to the opportunity to support children in my prac class to create e-books and digital literacies and to observe the difference in engagement, enthusiasm, and quality of work.


Here is a quick video from KooBits Editor,  an Ebook software program for children showing you how easily it can be used. 

Let’s have fun in early childhood!

In preparation of assignment 2, I have been Googling alot to find how to incorporate ICTs authentically into the early childhood classroom. In doing so, I found this helpful site, Early Childhood Teacher that was created by Bevin Reinen who is also teacher and writer. The page, ECE Technology: 10 Trending Tools for Teachers list the top 10 trending tech tools that early childhood teachers can use to attain better outcomes in the classroom.

ect website

Each trending tech tool provides links to diverse and age appropriate learning tasks that align with curriculum documents. It is beneficial to have access to resourceful websites like this because it is essential that educators educate themselves as integrating technology reinforces key technical skills needed by all to thrive in the 21st century.

Julia Cornwell states in her blog that “teacher’s are now accountable for transforming their ‘old’ pedagogy of  teaching, to one that is more current and engaging for today’s students, the digital natives. Teachers need to elevate the quality of learning through providing an environment that is relative to their students’ style of learning”.

Do you feel it is the responsibility of educators to train and educate themselves so they can incorporate ICTs into the classroom in a holistic and authentic way to provide their students with these necessary 21st century skills?