Tuesday, December 28, 2010
we were rocked by several big ones on one day and a lot of further damage has been caused. I have been very lucky as we have had very little damage but many of the buildings in the central city area were badly hit again. Some of the ones suffering damage this time had survived the first major one but not this one. Hopefully that is the last of them but they are predicting that it is not all over yet.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Using ICT in Literacy Instruction: Tips for Teachers
There are many benefits to using ICT in education, especially math and literacy – ICT is a growing field, and related skills are required for many types of work now. Technological developments continue to increase the widespread applicability of ICT in a variety of venues, from the medical field to the arts and everything in between. Using it to teach literacy and other educational subjects can give students a head start on learning how to successfully use ICT in daily life, which could increase their chances of receiving higher education opportunities and jobs.
Teaching with ICT can also help students learn material more efficiently with a better rate of internalization – so they’ll be able to recall what they’ve learned from you about literacy when they need to use it. The connection between information and ICT skills is great for students, especially where literacy is involved. With both communication technology abilities and literacy knowledge, students will be better prepared to interact with the world in a successful and rewarding way. So if you’re thinking about integrating ICT into your literacy instruction methods, try using some of the following tips from a Newcastle University ICT research team to get started on the right track.
Get Comfortable with Educational ICT
ICT isn’t the tough subject you might imagine it to be – it’s just Information and Communication Technology. By breaking the title down into its three individual components, you’re simply using these tools to help you teach literacy: information, communication, and technology. Brainstorm to come up with ways to include these tools in your literacy lesson plans, such as using word processors, presentation software, spreadsheets, database software, desktop publishing, graphics software, and more. There are also many online tools that can be used in effective teaching, such as introducing students to Google Notebook to keep track of online research more easily.
Identify Ways ICT Can Contribute to Class Objectives
Now that you have some potential ways to use ICT in your classroom, check your objectives to make sure that ICT has something to contribute. Using new technology just to use it doesn’t make for effective teaching, so unless the ICT activity brings something unique and important to the table, don’t use it. Students can be easily confused by activities that don’t relate to the content you’re teaching. While many forms of educational ICT are relevant to almost any topic, it’s important to make sure that your ICT activities are on-target.
Assess Students’ Current ICT Skills
Do all of your students know how to use the technology you’re considering for the classroom? If not, you’ll need to teach them how to participate in educational ICT before you assign any activities. You can check for ICT skill by doing a simple exercise in class that uses the technology you’d like to fully implement later on. While students are trying to complete the task, walk around the room to make sure everyone is familiar with the technology.
Assess Available Equipment, Resources and Back-Up Options
You’ll need to make sure that you have the resources to use ICT in your classroom. For example, you’ll probably need a computer lab with at least a few computers – about three students can share one computer at a time if needed. It’s also helpful to evaluate which types of software are available to you, what kinds of licenses they have (single or multiple), and what your budget might allow in terms of new software or other types of technology. You can even collaborate with other teachers to see if you can share resources, propose purchases that would benefit the whole school, and get some practical educational ICT advice.
Integrate ICT Activities into Lesson Plans
Now, the last step is to modify your lesson plans to include ICT activities. This doesn’t always mean tacking on ICT as an afterthought or as a lifesaver if you run into unplanned down time. The best way to integrate it is to re-structure your lesson plan, using ICT as a focal point in the lesson content and methodology. Your students will be better able to connect ICT and literacy if your lesson plans incorporate both themes seamlessly.
Bio: Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education, researching various online programs and blogging about student life issues. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Here in NZ this is something we used to do and also something we used to get students to do for their own personal critique. Students found that they learnt a lot watching themselves teaching although many couldn't believe it was 'really them' they were watching. The advent of the Flip video, ipod touch with camera and the like make access to videoing and editing assessible. Now many NZ schools do not like our students using videos in the classrooms due to the New Zealand privacy laws.
In some states in USA the students will have:
"more demanding requirements to receive their teacher license: Under a newThese assessments are made by independent evaluators rather than the Teaching Colleges. It will be very interesting to see how this goes. As one professor said:
teacher evaluation system being tested in 19 states, evaluators will watch video
clips of student teachers delivering lessons in their classroom, and candidates
must show that they can prepare a lesson, tailor it to students of different
abilities, and present it effectively."
“It’s a big shift that the whole country is going through,” said Misty Sato, a University of Minnesota education professor who is helping to adapt the assessments for Minnesota. “It’s going from ‘What has your candidate experienced? to what your candidate can do.”
I am very strongly of the view point that our graduates need to know both about and how to teach. I wonder, if in the present environment, some feel that the theory (about) is more important than the practical (how) i.e. the 'about' rather than the 'how'. We are in the middle of changing our courses and are now lecturing in mass lectures rather than smaller classes (where people are able to model behaviours that can be used in a classroom).
Seems that those in the states have now gone through most of this circle and are bringing more 'how' back into their courses. I saw a newsclip in Sydney two years ago on the same thing - 'we think it would be beneficial for our students to have time in classrooms rather than lecture theatres' was the the person being interviewed said. We are not up to that realisation yet, I wonder how long it will take us?
Saturday, October 2, 2010
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
There is an interesting programme for teachers including such things as:
- Using Web 2 tools in the classroom
- Global communities
- Virtual field trips
- Developing iPod Touch/iPhone applications for learning
For those not able to come to the conference look at the web site for some ideas to use in the classroom.
With the earthquake (still getting those aftershocks!!) some people thought it would be cancelled or postponed but everything is going smoothly. It should be a really good conference.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Some ideas to use in the classroom:
- Story writing - the children could have a story they have written on the web site with a quiz to finish
- Research project - children could write about the findings from a research project on the web site and have a quiz for the viewer to finish with
- Maths - children could construct maths quizzes to put on the web site and then others in the class could use them
Monday, September 20, 2010
There was a time when online education was the anomaly; today however, it is the norm. It has grown in leaps and bounds not just in the quality of education offered, but also in respectability and reputation. In fact, the University of Phoenix which offers both on-campus and online courses is the largest institution in the USA in terms of number of students enrolled. More and more people are choosing to study online for various reasons – it allows them to earn while they learn, they can set flexible schedules, and they don’t have to pay through their noses to gain an education.
While critics of online education are quick to point out that the success rate in online education is low because people tend to leave courses incomplete and the dropout rate is pretty high, the truth is that online programs are meant for people who are able to establish a schedule and who have the discipline to stick to their plan. It takes more than just the will to learn to taste success in online education, and to do your best, you must be:
• Determined: You must be determined to succeed no matter how many hurdles you face. It’s not just enough to want an education, you must be willing to do all it takes to ensure that you get one of the highest quality. There will be hurdles cropping up every now and then, you may be bogged down by work and other personal issues, and there will be times when all your efforts seem so futile. However, the key to success is to never give up. Stay on the path that you’ve marked out for yourself, and you’re sure to scale greater heights.
• Disciplined: You’re going to be juggling many balls in the air when you choose to go back to school and earn a degree online. With commitments to work, family and social relationships demanding your attention, your education could take a backseat. However, if you’re disciplined and set aside at least an hour every day to devote to your lessons and assignments, you won’t find the going tough when it’s time for your exams. Just as you make time to eat and do other things that are a part of your normal routine, make some time for your education too.
• Flexible: Even the best laid plans tend to fall apart because of the uncertainty of life; so unless you’re able to change track on the fly and reschedule your day according to the circumstances, you’re going to be stressed out and find yourself staring into the eyes of failure. Learn how to multitask – you can invest in a netbook or a smartphone and learn on the go, when you’re traveling or when you have a quiet hour at the office; know how to alter plans so that you’re able to get things done without getting flustered and losing control. Success in online learning is all about being flexible and knowing how to go with the flow.
• Ambitious: There are times when you need to look beyond your coursework and search for more information. Use sources like the Internet, books and magazines to collect data and information needed when you’re doing practical projects and when your assignments call for you to get creative and push the boundaries of your knowledge. Unless you are ambitious and try to be the best you can, online education is going to be just another thing that you do, not something that you must succeed at.
• Tech-savvy: And finally, it pays to understand technology when you choose to study online. There are a number of gadgets and applications that help you learn better and faster, and which help you get organized and become better managers of time. So invest in learning technology before you invest in the gadgets themselves, because unless you know how to harvest the potential of a device, it’s as good as useless.
So if you’re armed with these necessary qualifications, you’re sure to find online education as easy as a stroll in the park.
This guest post is contributed by Carrie Oakley, who writes on the topic of online college. Carrie welcomes your comments at her email id: carrie.oakley1983(AT)gmail(DOT)com.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Even though you think something like this does not affect you, it does. The other day I went into a mall and kept thinking; ‘I don’t want to be here if we have another aftershock’. These were continual but luckily have now died away.
Some roads are still being repaired but most have been repaired to the point that traffic can use them. Many people have found that the houses they live in are going to have to be pulled down and rebuilt which is putting pressure on finding them rental accommodation. It is very unsettling for people in that position.
This week I have been into several schools around Christchurch and found that the children are all coping very well. They know that if there is an aftershock they go down under their desks – they are pretty good at it. For many of them it seemed like a big adventure.
I was very impressed this weekend from someone in England (who I do not know) wanting to know how to make a donation to the earthquake disaster. As this is going to cost several billion dollars we need all the help we can get so I thought that it was lovely that someone wanted to help.
We have had a big storm over NZ this weekend - luckily Christchurch was not in line for this but down South they have had a big dump of snow and the weight of it caused the roof of a big netball stadium to collapse.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
This picture also appeared in the paper. As I said in an earlier post it has always been said that there is no major fault line over on this side of the alps.
The earthquake was centred around Darfield. A farmer from there went out and wrote in his field - right by a new fault line.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
The city has now extended the state of civil emergency for another seven days.
This morning I was quietly sitting having a morning cup of coffee when the first of the after shocks (this morning) struck. It was very frightening - another big one but not as big as the initial one. The house shook and things feel down but nothing too bad here however in some parts the electricity went off again and more damage has been reported. Since then there have been several smaller ones.
Although New Zealand has fault lines it was always thought that there was not a major fault line near Christchurch. It has always been thought that a 'big one' would strike in Wellington. Well Mother Nature has proved them all wrong.
It is entirely open and public which means anyone can edit the site so feel free to add your ideas or use it with your students.
Already there are some great ideas for teachers on the Share Ideas page as well as photographs and movies.
Monday, September 6, 2010
I was sound asleep when I got woken up by the initial jolt. I realised straight away it was an earthquake; the house was shaking - side to side and up and down!! Very scary.
As a teacher I have taught disaster units where we have looked at such disasters as the Napier earthquake. During my life time I have felt other earthquakes.
My natural inclination is to want to get outside but that night I could not get out of bed, the whole house was shaking so much I could not have stood up. I have just heard about someone I know who did try to get out of bed and now has a broken ankle.
I just lay in bed, held onto the side of the bed and waited for things to stop. When they finally did stop I realised that nothing much had happened here - the power was still on and I did not realise about the water at that point.
I went outside and there was an awful smell of sulphur, that was from the estuary which had been bubbling stuff up. It was very quiet everywhere and quite eerie.
Family members and friends rang each other to make sure everyone was OK.
At that stage I did not realise how serious things were as none of the houses near mine were damaged. It was only when daylight came and accounts were on TV and radio that the full impact of what was happening struck. I certainly did not venture out on Saturday as I thought that it was better that people stayed off the streets.
It is not an experience you want!!
Schools are supposed to be open tomorrow but I have seen the state of some schools and I am not sure that some will ever be able to open again. One school in Dallington looks as though it will be condemned.
We had some big after shocks last night and everyone is still very jumpy.
Thank you so much to everyone for their messages of support (they have been coming in from all around the world) - it has been great, especially as we are such a small country and so isolated from everyone else.
Sunday, September 5, 2010
As I have said we are so lucky in that there were no deaths. There is a lot of damage to property around the region (about 2 billion dollars to repair). Gradually things will return to normal but at present you just feel as though you are living in limbo and of course the after shocks keep coming. It is an awful feeling.
The husband has wisely decided to stay away for a while longer!!
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Friday, September 3, 2010
We had a 7.4 earthquake last night. It struck at 4.35 in the morning and I was sound asleep in bed! I certainly woke with a start as the bed started to rock and roll.
I live in a 4 story house on the beach so luckily the house is on sand and just rolled with the quake. I have to be very honest and say that I was pretty shocked.
My husband is away for the weekend so I was on my own. I was too frightened to get out of bed for some time. Our water is off and a lot of broken glassware but no real damage. In the inner city a lot of buildings have come down and many roads have big holes. A lot of the bridges over the Avon River are closed so we are rather cut off but have plenty of food etc. Really we have come out of the whole thing pretty well as there are no reported deaths and only one serious injury where a chimney fell on a person.
Monday, August 23, 2010
Classrooms without pens and paper, and lessons given online, could soon be the classrooms of the future. This is already starting in some NZ schools.
A Ministry of Education pilot programme at Howick College has allowed students to use their cellphones in the classroom.
This style, called mobile learning, was moving the learning out of the classroom and into the family and community. Teaching and learning is no longer confined to the classroom but is also outside the four walls. Many classrooms have their own blogs and wikis.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
One of the things I have always found is that you can not assume that everyone has the ICT skills at the start. Scaffolding must be put in place for students which will also help them to become independent learners. Someone this year produced tutorials with a lot of information on a page. Our students became confused and would ring/email or come and see me for extra help. I used 'just in time learning' and produced a small book of how to tutorials which were placed in our online learning environment. What students liked with these was that there was only one concept for each tutorial so that they didn't become confused.
Our students use Mahara as do a lot of schools here in NZ. They do not share their e-portfolios with each other although the option is there. I personally would like to see them sharing and giving each other constructive feedback.
I certainly agree with Ewan McIntosh's comment that e-portfolios should be:
for the whole, open web: otherwise we set ourselves up for nearly onlyI found that a lot of students wanted feedback from me throughout the course - how much better to get feedback from their peers as well as others from completely different backgrounds.
introspective learning with people who share our viewpoints, cultural biases and
outlook on learning and life.
At an intermediate school in Auckland children have been developing their e-portfolios for some time. A long time ago I discussed Jess's eportfolio on this blog:
I find this e-portfolio inspiring as I can see how Jess developed this over the three years. You can see the growth in her learning as well as how she is also a ‘guide on the side’ to other’s learning (through discussion areas she has on her wiki, tutorials or videos she has developed for the learning ).
This e-portfolio was started in 2007 by Jess and developed through 2008 and 2009. It uses a range of Web 2 tools to demonstrate her personal growth and learning and is fully public as she uses several wikis and blogs. She has done blogs which include reflections about her learning for example there are different blogs for her science inquiries. In her wiki she has a page where she asked her parent’s opinions on what they would like to see in her e-portfolio. This was recorded and put into her wiki. She has developed an area for her own ‘voice’ where she talks about Web 2 tools and 21st century learning.
Jess gets feedback from all over the world – this is authentic and meaningful for her. It is interesting to see how these comments were continuing through 2009 and that Jess was still developing her e-portfolio then – becoming a life-long learner (although no longer being at the school). It is also interesting that the high school she goes to does not continue these on.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
E-portfolios are being used in many New Zealand schools so it is important that our students understand them for when they are teaching themselves. We are using Mahara which has been developed here in New Zealand.
It is interesting that Mahara and other LMS are for private use or just with a small community of peers for example. I really like the way some children in Auckland used wikis and blogs to make their e-portfolios. Jess made this one back in 2008. You see some real value in her e-portfolio when you read all the comments that have been made. This is what other e-portfolios lack.
I have also made a Prezi about e-portfolios for anyone interested.
Sunday, August 8, 2010
In this site the children design characters, write their story and make the storyboard. They use animation and sound in their movies. I can see this site being a great hit with children and would really motivate reluctant writers.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
I was so pleased to see someone voicing my thoughts.
The spreadsheet above was used for children to check their tables, there are different worksheets for each one.
In this example the user has to solve the problems in order to uncover the hidden graphic.
I have found some ideas like this to be really useful and fun to use in the classroom. Many children then want to learn to make these themselves - learning in an authentic and meaningful context.
Sunday, August 1, 2010
Mindomo: With this tool you can make mindmaps for visual learning, developing creativity and problem solving. You can organise and present your ideas visually.
Cartoonist: with this tool you can create your own cartoons. You can use their professional backgrounds, characters, props, images and text. You can also create title cards, speech balloons, thought balloons, or scream balloons. You can also combine all this with your own images.
MovieEditor: MovieEditor is an online video editor to create movies, complete with professional-looking titles, transitions, effects, animation, music, and narration. It is a timeline-based video editor, similar to traditional desktop-based video editing tools. The difference - MovieEditor is web-based and a web browser with Adobe Flash gives you instant access! You can export the result to your favourite media player, or directly to YouTube or Facebook.
AudioEditor: AudioEditor is an online audio editor for recording, slicing, and mixing audio. It is useful if you want to publish the finished sound clip as a podcast.
This tool follows established conventions for sound editing, allowing you to place sound files along a timeline, across several channels.
You can also record sound and add it as a track on top of your final edit.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
I came across a site recently which interested me. It is The Elements of Digital Story Telling. Digital story telling is a great idea to use in the classroom. Something the teacher needs to think about is the different types of media that can be used and the different combinations. Digital story telling may be done using a single medium, multiple mediums (where two or more mediums are used but not interwoven), or multimedia (where two or more mediums are woven together in a seamless presentation).
They are looking at such questions as:
- What is unique about the digital environment?
- How do users respond to it?
- How can its potential be maximised?
These are all questions we, as teachers, want to know about.
On this site you will find:
- A taxonomy of digital story telling
- An analysis of current practices
- A showcase of innovative story forms
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Here is a great video to explain Dropbox.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
By Kate Cunningham
Educators are excellent and natural role models for the students they teach and are often held in fairly high regard. When learning a subject matter they are truly interested in, students can often be drawn to the professor in hopes of finding guidance, advice and support. And because students at the age of young adulthood often look to people of success and power when searching for outside influences, many will strive to emulate their professors in academic, social and professional ways. Generally, there are three types of role models recognized at the university level: academic, mentor and citizen.
Academic role models are the most common role models associated with university level educators and professors. As the name suggests, students will look to their professors as leaders in their academic discipline and admire their scholastic successes. Professors are academicians and scholars that have extensive experience and expertise in their field of study. They also strive to engage their students and to provide them with a thorough education. Research studies have proven that students that are taught by successful, interesting, encouraging and engaging professors often show improvements in their grades and personal growth. Academic role models challenge their students, provide them with stimulating information and foster their love of learning.
A mentoring role model is one who becomes personally interested in their students, their careers and futures. This type of professor is generally active in the field professionally and provides students not only with an environment of educational excellence, but also with moral support, encouragement, advice, and career development in the field. While there can be a fine line between mentoring and inappropriate relationships, many professors can take an appropriate vested interest in students who show great promise in the field. Experts believe that students with university level mentors have increased chances of career development and employment opportunities. This is due to the fact that fostering a relationship with a professional that is already in the field can offer students a great deal of insight, advice and connections. Mentoring role models can individualize their students, taking into account any special circumstance, limitation or talents. They provide career guidance by relating personal experiences in a supportive manner.
The last type of role model is that of citizen. This type of professor takes the education outside of the classroom and is incredibly active in the community. They aim to represent the school and classroom in the outside world and for the betterment of society. Students will look to these types of university level educators as a model for contributing, helpful and professional members of a community. This person could hold a leadership role in local government, volunteer with local organization and non profits or even organize charity events.
While there are several types of role models professors can embody, there is no denying that a professional educator who is engaging, active, compassionate and interested in the futures of their students can make a great impact on the young minds they aim to shape.
This guest post is contributed by Kate Cunningham, who writes on the topics of online university rankings. Kate is a Junior English Major at the University of Texas, and is also freelance part-time as a writer for onlineuniversityrankings.com. She welcomes your questions and comments at her email Id: cn.kate1 @ gmail.com.
Thursday, July 1, 2010
I know that some teachers or lecturers are slowly changing but I wonder how long it will take before others do? Does money have anything to do with it?
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Monday, May 24, 2010
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Digital literacy across the curriculum
What another great book for teachers to download (free). This book is aimed at primary and secondary teachers who are interested in critical and creative uses of technology in the classroom.
Schools are encouraged to embed the use of ICT in all curriculum areas across both the primary and secondary schools. Teachers need to consider how the digital literacy can support the subject knowledge can help ensure that using the technologies enhances teaching and learning as opposed to being simply an ‘add-on.’ As teachers we try to prepare young people to make sense of the world and to thrive socially, intellectually and economically, then we cannot afford to ignore the practices of digital literacy that enable people to make the most of their multiple interactions with digital technology and media.
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
I have been reading Steve Hargadon's blog about this as well as the information on Ning. Steve's blog is a balanced account of the changes.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
I think this is particularly important as our classrooms and schools are also changing at a rapid pace (here in NZ we have Mission Heights with some particularly innovative practices). Teachers need to be flexible and open to new learning themselves - teachers are now 'life long learners' rather than expect to go and do the course and be an 'expert teacher'.
I agree with Jessica's comments particularly the last paragraph as this is also applicable to us here in NZ:
"whether teacher education is at a university or not, we need some standard for
what teacher education is. Teacher education should not dump theory nor should
it focus entirely on the practical skills that can only be applied inside of a
classroom. Teacher education should combine the theoretical and the practical,
but more importantly, it needs to give future teachers rich preparation so that
they can be strong teachers for kids"
I would be very interested in what others think of this.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Monday, April 19, 2010
This book is free and has many ideas for the busy teacher. The best thing is all of these ideas come from teachers globally so that there are some really great ideas. These teachers have trialled the projects so you know that they are going to work.
Monday, March 15, 2010
He further links to Lindsay who complained about her boss on her Facebook page; the only problem was she had added him as a 'Friend'.
Ewan's final sentence to sum up is fantastic (I wish I had thought of it...)
"If Lindsay or Kimberley had been taught by a real "real teacher", maybe they'd
have not only had a conversation at some point about how one uses social
networks for both play and work, as part of your public face, they may also have
had, subject to the filtering policies in their schools, some hands-on practical
sessions in privacy settings and the art of communication on the net."
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Netvibes is a free personalised page where you can organise your online content.
Netvibes allows you to:
- Put your stuff in a page accessible from any computer or mobile device
- Manage and update your facebook and twitter accounts from one place
- Along with your personal, private page, create a public page viewable by everyone
- Setup a "watch" dashboard to keep track of your favorites subjects
- Pick a widget from a large catalogue of content and applications
- Put a widget on your own blog or computer desktop
- Share anything in your page with your friends