Saturday, December 29, 2007

Social networking

We had an interesting case here in New Zealand (reported on the News just before Christmas). A young girl working for a large retail shop was upset over having to work late in the build up to Christmas and said so on her blog. This was seen by the manager at the store she worked at and was then called in and her employment terminated. She was unhappy about this as 'she hadn't mentioned where she worked'. However she mentioned the store by name in other posts on her blog - saying how much she enjoyed working there.

This is something that people don't seem to understand - their blog can be read by anyone and come back to haunt them at a later time. As teachers we need to make sure that our students do understand about how emails and blogs are sent and how they are not secure and that deleting an email does not mean it has gone for good! Some of them are incredibly naive.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Coming of Age plus Flickr and Blogger accounts

A great new video by Terry Freedman - coming of Age

A tutorial to explain how to set up flickr and blogger accounts, and and then details how to use this tool in a classroom science project.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Literacy progressions

The literacy progressions are available.
The purpose of the draft Literacy Learning Progressions is to provide teachers with a professional tool that shows them what knowledge and skills their students need in order to meet the reading and writing demands of the New Zealand Curriculum.

Well worth checking out. There is a pdf file to download for you to use.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

ICT conference for kids

I went to Star of the Sea in Sumner, Christchurch, New Zealand this morning. How exciting to see what these children are doing.

The children in the Senior School (Year 8 - around 12 years old) organised the whole thing.

They planned the conference for the school with a 'futures' theme. These children formed groups and planned various topics around the theme. They wrote lesson plans for the work they are doing over the two days of the conference, designed a logo for the conference, issued invitations to various people and organised a welcoming committee for visitors (with a map and name tag for visitors).

Today they had set the conference up and were teaching, facilitating and mentoring the other children.

They set up teaching posts, video cameras, digital still cameras, laptops (with microphones) in various areas around the school for the conference.


Year 8 children teaching a group

Concentrating on a task - using PowerPoint - notice the storyboard they have completed prior to starting this

Using Sim City to find out about the effects of water levels rising due to global warming

The conference will conclude with a celebration of their learning tomorrow afternoon. What a fantastic experience for all these children.

The children are to be complimented on their organisation the did a wonderful job and it was fantastic to see all the children involved in their learning in an authentic and meaningful context.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Pupils tracked with chips!

Love it.

Check out Pupils can be tracked round town with chips - very interesting concept.

Children are to be tracked around schools and other sites they visit for lessons via microchips embedded in their uniforms.The manufacturer of a radio-frequency identification chip is marketing it nationwide following a trial with 19 pupils at Hungerhill School in Doncaster this year.
The chip is embroidered into school jumpers using conductive “smart threads”. This allows a pupil’s identity, photographs and other details, such as whether they misbehaved in their last lesson, to flash up on the nearest teacher’s laptop or hand-held computer.

I wonder if this will become the norm and what pupils and parents think about it.

Unfortunately I suspect that when I was a kid I would have been working ways around how to fool the teachers!!!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Face to face / web based learning

I have been reading and thinking about the differences between delivering face-to-face and online delivery. I have put some of my ideas in the following table.

Any other ideas???
Face to face learning environment
Web based delivery
Engaging learners with quality materials
Physical presence of teacher
Needs to be able to compensate for the lack of physical
presence in the virtual classroom by creating a supportive environment
where all learners feel comfortable participating and where learners know
that their teacher is accessible.
Largely based on high level of oral communication
High level of written and verbal communication skills
for communication.
Values critical thinking in the learning process.
Text based resources
Digital resources come in many forms and include content-free
resources, such as software applications and communication tools, and
content-rich resources. Content-rich resources provide a clear learning
intention as well as an engaging learning experience, immersion in a context,
and a benchmark for learners' own work. Learners can view from a variety
of resources to reinforce their own learning. Learners have control when
and if they access the digital resources.
Provide opportunities for learners to control their
own learning to become independent learners.
Creating learning situations
Designing environments that engage learners
Requiring learners to construct knowledge in a way
which is most meaningful to them
No flexibility for learners when they learn –
lessons are provided at a given time
Provide flexibility for learners when they learn
No flexibility for learners where they learn –
in face-to-face situations
Provide flexibility for learners where they learn
Synchronous discussion only not allowing for time
to reflect before sharing ideas
Design ways for learners to add to asynchronous learning
allowing the learner to read, reflect, write, revise if wanting to before
sharing ideas with colleagues
Act as moderator to organise, plan, establish and
maintain relationships by guiding and developing discussion
Provide intellectual stimulation
Encourage participation
Design opportunities for purposeful interactivity
which is engaging and stimulating
Imparts knowledge and skills to learners
Provides guidance and support to learners
Provides scaffolding to ensure learner success during
self-directed learning

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Blogs in plain English

Commoncraft has made a video 'Blogs in plain English'. It is fantastic what so many teachers are doing in their classrooms to enhance the children's learning and also reflecting on how/why they are doing this.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Comic strip generator

A great online tool to use in the classroom (free to register and use) is the Comic strip generator.

Lots of ideas on how children could use this to enhance their learning in a fun way.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

21st century skills

In our classrooms we are wanting to enhance the children's learning and encourage higher-order thinking skills - the integration of ICT can help us to do this. Some recent research about teachers and ICT integration in classrooms found that the majority of the teachers studied were unclear about what they meant by higher-order thinking skills.

enGauge has a very good area on their site about 21st Century skills. Here is their list:

Students Who Are Higher-Order Thinkers and Sound Reasoners:

Identify the essential elements in a problem as well as the interaction between those elements; use electronic tools to facilitate analysis.

Assign relative values to essential elements of a problem and use those values to rank elements in meaningful ways; assess similarities and differences in problems and their elements.

Construct relationships between the essential elements of a problem that provide insight into it; extract implications and conclusions from facts, premises, or data.

Create and apply criteria to gauge the strengths, limitations, and value of information, data, and solutions in productive ways.

Build new solutions through novel combinations of existing information.

Another video from teachertube about blogging in plain English. Many of my students have difficulties thinking about using blogs or wikis in the classroom so this is another video I will be directing some of them to: