Wednesday, October 31, 2007

21st Century skills

A report has just come out from the USA but probably reflects what a lot of people here feel about 21st century skills that are taught in the classroom.

A summary of some of the findings are:

Eighty-eight percent of voters say they believe that schools can and should
incorporate 21st century skills such as critical thinking and problem-solving
skills, computer and technology skills, and communication and self-direction
skills into their curriculum.

Sixty-six percent of voters say they
believe that students need more than just the basics of reading, writing and
math; schools alsoneed to incorporate a broader range of skills.

Fifty-three percent say they believe schools should place an equal
emphasis on 21st century skills and basic skills.

Social networking in schools

A new report that is available about social networking in schools which is very relevant to us for the classroom.

Letting Social Networking into Schools

Creating & Connecting Research and Guidelines on Online Social - and Educational - Networking

National School Boards Association

September, 2007

School districts may want to reexamine their policies and practices in order to use social networking for educational purposes, says this report. Time spent using social networking services and Web sites now nearly equals television viewing among youth. A remarkable 96 percent of students with online access report that they have used social networking technologies, such as chatting, text messaging, blogging and visiting online communities, such as Facebook, MySpace and services designed specifically for younger children, such as Webkins and the chat sections of Yet the vast majority of school districts have stringent rules against nearly all forms of social networking during the school day - even though students and parents report few problem behaviours online.
Both district leaders and parents, says the report, believe that social networking could play a positive role in students' lives and they recognize opportunities for using it in education - at a time when teachers now routinely assign homework that requires Internet use to complete.
What do students do online?
41% post messages
32% download music
30% download videos
29% upload music
25% update personal Web sites or online profiles
24% post photos
17% blog
16% create and share virtual objects
14% create new characters
10% participate in collaborative projects
10% send suggestions or ideas to Web sites
9% submit articles to Web sites
9% create polls, quizzes or surveys
The report recommends that school boards:
Explore social networking sites.
Consider using social networking for staff communications and professional development
Find ways to harness the educational value of social networking.
Ensure equitable access
Pay attention to the nonconformists (defined in the report as skilled online but lukewarm about school)
Reexamine social networking policies.
Encourage social networking companies to increase educational value.

The pdf file of the report is in the file box for those who want to read it.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Essential understandings for 21st century literacies

Read an interesting article from Kim Cofino
Effective Learners

Students and teachers will understand that learning is a lifelong process and that the pace of technological change requires us to focus on learning how to learn, rather than learning specific tools. It is expected that neither students nor teachers will know how to use every available tool, rather that they will be comfortable learning how to use new tools independently.

Independent learning requires that student and teachers are able to evaluate information for authenticity, relevance and bias as well as evaluate tools for applicability and effectiveness. As independent learners, teachers and students will be able to filter out unimportant stimuli and information so that they can focus on the important and useful, to be able to navigate graphical interfaces as well as different types of text and media formats.

Lifelong learners are reflective, they routinely practice metacognition to think about how and why they understand what they do, and they constantly strive to look deeper at their own thinking, processes and practices. Lifelong learners are intrinsically motivated to better understand the world around them and to use that knowledge for self-improvement.

Effective Collaborators

Students and teachers will develop the behaviors, attitudes and dispositions required for working in partnership with others, whether in person or over distances. Global collaboration requires effective communication, social and cultural awareness, and flexibility. Effective collaborators actively take responsibility for their role, and are able to delegate or share responsibility when necessary. Effective collaborators are equally comfortable as either leaders or participants. Effective collaborators appreciate and internalize the essential interdependence of all human endeavors.

Effective Creators

Students and teachers will understand that an essential component of lifelong learning is analyzing, synthesizing and applying what they’ve learned to make an original contribution to society. Effective creators are critical thinkers who are able to “think outside the box” and analyze systems to identify and solve problems. Effective creators are constantly innovating and routinely use metacognition skills to evaluate and improve their own work. Effective creators are goal oriented, using time management and multitasking skills in order to work at their highest level of productivity. Effective creators understand that, as members of an interdependent society, their work must adhere to standards of ethics and social responsibility.

This is certainly relevant to us as educators.

Something else I found interesting was what a 14 year old pupil thinks about the use of Web 2.

And on a video on Web 2 in the classroom: where does it fit in?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Information R/evolution

Great video to show the way we access information has changed (and is continuing to change). It raises questions about the skills needed in order to harness, evaluate, and create information effectively.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Thanks Giving

Love this video made by a Grade one class:

Sunday, October 7, 2007


Well I can't let it go past: 'New Zealand is in mourning!'

The French beat us in the World cup semi finals!!!

The papers are full of it; everyone is talking about it...

"it is ONLY A GAME"

I do wish we had won but we didn't and there is no going back.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Exploring ICT use in a UK primary school

Australasian Journal of Educational Technology
2007, 23(3), 390-407

A great read about integrating ICT into a primary school. Research was carried out over two years (2003-2005) and included observation of lessons, document analysis, interviews, and questionnaires with staff at the school. Many of the teachers were 'fitting in ICT' rather than using ICT as a tool to enhance the learning of their students in meaningful and authentic contexts.

Problems, beliefs for example give insights for us.

Teachers make a difference......

I believe that a good teacher makes a huge difference for the students.

Here is an interesting video about that very idea.

Stephen Heppell has some good points to make with supporting video.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Web2 in the classroom

For those (like me) who were unable to go to the ULearn conference (I was teaching the whole week) Ewan McIntosh's blog gives a whole range of stuff for us.

I found the following on Internet4Classrooms which I think is appropriate:

Web 2.0 is more about users and content than about surfing on the Internet. It's more like what can the Internet do for me as a creator, a collaborator, an active participant,
rather than a passive viewer of what is out there on the web.

Here is a video "What is Web 2.0?"

This web site also offers many valuable links for the classroom teacher.

I have also put a lot of information relating specifically to the use of blogs in the classrooms.

This is another look at why use blogs in the classroom environment.

Interesting slide show about using Web2 in the classroom.

Another idea I came across is a Random Ideas Generator to encourage higher-order thinking skills. It is simple and works like this:

Some good ideas in this video:

Monday, October 1, 2007

Free software

For those without Inspiration but want to use brainstorming there is a free alternative on the web. It is Also don't there is Sqirlz water reflections, animations and morphing software.