My first week

Well my first week got off to a flying start with my first lesson on Monday. This was a literacy lesson and allowed me the opportunity to introduce my class to the class blog that I had created using kidblog. The students had to write a descriptive piece on themselves. This allowed me the opportunity to integrate my blog, learn about the students I was teaching, introduce myself to the students and teach important facets of literacy like grammar, punctuation and spelling. The students responded so well to the blog and most of them didn’t need help navigating their way around the program. I was amazed at how easily they picked it up. Most of the week was taken up with NAPLAN testing. In between this I was able to conduct a few more lessons. I taught a history lesson. I used Bubbl.us to brainstorm with the students. I have discussed the use of Bubbl.us in my blog ‘Mind Mapping in Wonderful‘. The students loved the incorporation of the program and responded well to it. The students then used the class blog to write an imaginative piece, again focusing on the important aspects of literacy. The lesson did not go exactly to plan. However, I have decided that next time we need to brainstorm I am going to allow my students to create their own mind map on their laptops. Following this lesson I taught a Mathematics lesson on division. There was no use of technology in this lesson as I was given little planning time due to NAPLAN and Friday afternoon sports. All in all it was a good week. I am slowly getting use to the class and teaching and am sure that the second week will bring many more thrills and challenges.

Before I go I have one more reflection I would like to share. I thought going into my prac that integrating technology would be easy. My PLN was developing and was certainly larger than it was at the start of the subject, the school has available technology to use and the class seemed to respond well to the small inclusions that I made in the first week. So why am I finding it difficult? I thought that it would be easy, however it isn’t. I feel that what I have so far included has not enhanced the learning experience, it has just been using technology. I am going to spend this week reflecting on what I did and how I can improve. I am also going to plan for my second weeks lesson and really research some ways in which I can integrate technology to enhance learning. I have come across the site ‘Enhance Learning with Technology’. It has some really useful ways to incorporate technology and even discussed using them in conjunction with various learning strategies. I am determine to persevere and ensure that I integrate technology that is useful and purposeful. After reading Candice Merrimans blog post ‘Pessimist or Optimist Towards Using ICT on Professional Experience‘ I have decided to stop whining that it is too hard and dive in head first! I can only hope and expect that my second weeks lessons are going to be better than my first weeks lessons!

Classroom blog

I have created my class blog and put the finishing touches on it today.  I decided to go with kidblog as i felt that it provided me with the safest way for my students to blog. I am starting to get into the swing of this ICT use in teaching. I am already excited to see the effects of the blog in the classroom and am starting to look forward to experiencing the effects of using ICT in the classroom. I also look forward to seeing the difference between student participation, engagement and understanding. I am now starting to wonder how the students will respond  to my endless supply of ICT…well maybe not endless. I have still remembered week one’s learning of the Computer Practice Framework in which there are 3 dimensions to using ICT and it is imperative to ensure that the ICT incorporated is used to enhance learning and this depends on the way in which ICT is used. To refresh your memory and read more on the CPF click on this link. I would like to thank Theresa MorganMichelle Poulter and Bec Twidale for their feedback on the name of my blog.  Bec actually came up with the name of my blog which is ‘Tech Smart: 5D the Place to Start‘ (click on it for a link to the site). Through writing these blogs each week and interacting through the use of ICT and many of the social outlets that link to this subject I have seen first hand the guidance and assistance that ICT has provided to my PLN and my understanding of ICT. I hope that one day this same message will resonate through schools.

New programs I have discovered

I am writing this blog post to announce some of the new programs that I have discovered while researching for assignment three. With prac looming next week and lots of lessons to write I have been researching some of the professional blogs that are out there. My favourite is Teachbytes and Teach 100 which I am sure everyone has seen at some stage. They offer some really wonderful programs and ICT teaching ideas. I have added both of these to my blogroll.

So the new programs that I have found are listed below. Have a look and see what you think. Can you integrate these into your classroom while on prac?

Socrative –  Socrative is a smart student response system that empowers teachers to engage their classrooms through a series of educational exercises and games via smartphones, laptops, and tablets (Socrative.com, 2013).

On-line stopwatch – This is the coolest program! Test it out. I have to say it gave me a bit of a fright when the bomb goes off or the rocket blasts off into space but it certainly will make students stop working. There are some more quieter ones like the candle and the runners. My favourite was the C4. When you load the website, click on one of the small boxes down the bottom of the screen that says ‘Classroom Timer’ and a list of the timers will come up. Fun, quirky program to add into the classroom.

Edmodo – I know that this is not a new program but I have just signed up and have already noticed some of the benefits. Edmodo provides teachers with a way to connect with other teachers and share resources. This has been very interesting in order to get ideas and to discover what sort of programs and lessons work in the classroom.

Instagrok – I actually discovered this program from Katie Reed’s blog titled ‘Instagrok-Another fantastic ICT. The program has various features. I typed in ‘Australian Colonies’ (as I will be teaching this on prac) and it brought up various facts, videos, websites, images and quizzes that I could use in the classroom (click here to see the Australian Colonies information that Instagrok provided me). This is a valuable tool to have when introducing a topic for the first time or to research information. It even provides quizzes which can be used as a formative assessment.

What I am starting to notice about the various programs that I am finding is how I can use these in the class to work on my pedagogical practices such as Blooms Taxonomy and Gardners Multiple Intelligences, which I am a big believer in both. Programs like Animoto work with multiple intelligences like visual, musical, kinaesthetic and interpersonal. This is vital in ensuring that all students in the class are able to understand the topic being taught through their own varied way of learning. I wish that many teachers had taken this into account when I was at school.

Topic of Interest – ICT in assessment

One of my blogs for our week 10 was to explore topics of interest with regards to ICT within schools. I have chosen ICT within HPE (click here for link to this blog) and ICT in assessment, which is the topic of interest for this blog. For assignment 2 for EDC3100 I had the students complete their science report using PowerPoint. This was an easily accessible way for the students to compile their report and present their findings to the teacher. However, after completing this assignment I did wonder about the various ways that students and teachers can incorporate ICT into assessment. Here is what I found:

When assessing students, teachers need to ensure the assessment is assisting with the ongoing learning of the individual. Teachers should ensure that assessment is for learning. Assessment for learning provides students with interactive ways to learn, selects and adapts materials to suit the learner and provides differentiated teaching strategies and learning opportunities that help students to gain understanding of the subject. It is expected that assessment for learning will boost motivation and encourage reflection. Mary Lincon (n.d.) writes in her article titled ‘Aligning ICT in Assessment with Teaching and Learning‘ that “The use of ICT in middle years assessment is appropriate. It can lead to enhanced student engagement and achievement and support higher order thinking, when accompanied by effective pedagogical practices”. This higher order thinking can be achieved through combining ICT tools with teaching strategies such as Blooms ICT Taxonomy and  De Bono’s six thinking hats, along with socio-cultural theories such as those from Vygotsky (Vygotsky can really be applied to most pedagogical practices as social interaction plays such a major role in how we all learn). To determine the knowledge, understanding and application of students we need to do assessments. These can be in the form of assignments, oral presentations and quizzes. So what programs can we use with this theory? Well, when it comes to ICT integration the program would depend on the subject.

For students to present large summative assessments where there needs to be creativity and information shown then there are a plethora of programs that can be used. For example Edcanvas, PowerPoint, Animoto, Xtranormal, Prezi, infographics or a website like Weebly.

For exams teachers can use Google forms (click on the link to learn more about it) to create the test and then link it with a new spreadsheet in order to mark the answers and gather data about the class. Google forms are a simple and effective way to create a quiz for students. Jennifer Walsh writes about Google forms in her blog ‘What are Google Forms? How Do I Use Them? and shares some great information on them. Another great program that I have just discovered for quizzes is Socrative. Watch this video for a demonstration:

This is a program where teachers can enter the details of the quiz on their computer, students log in using a password (so privacy is protected) on their laptop, iPad or smartphone and take the quiz. Very simple to use and a great way to test students. It provides immediate feedback and teachers can print out a report at the end. You can also utilise quizzes that other teachers have shared.

With regards to student portfolios that display assessments, school work and results there are various programs that can be used rather than numerous folders that come home at the end of the term. For example livebinders offers students the opportunity to have an online portfolio that can be used to display any information regarding marks, examples of work and teachers comments. It allows tabs for each subject and creates an easy way to display work when attempting to go for employment. It can carried all the way through from school to university.  Educational Technology and Mobile Learning blog states “Students can use liveBinder as a digital portfolio where they are able to organize and store their docs , pdfs , urls and any other web content that they find online .This is really a very practical and useful tool in classroom researches and projects where the amount of the information is too much for students to organize and keep ; they can use LiveBinder to put everything in order and make things presentably clear”. 

 

 

ICT in Health and PE.

I am taking a specialisation in Health and Physical Education for primary school and this subject has given me some thoughts on how I could incorporate ICT into HPE teaching. Apart from using the obvious choices of video cameras,photos and watching YouTube clips, I wanted to investigate other ways in which technology could enhance HPE teaching, develop skills, educate and provide a new dimension to learning. I have to say that this was a difficult task. I read an article titled ‘Trick or Treat‘ it talks about using technology in Health and Physical Education classes to engage a new generation of learners. Jon Perry states “With children stimulated by television, the internet, video games and other high-tech toys it has become challenging to engage today’s kids at an effective level in PE. Few students choose a game with a ball and bat over an interactive game in front of a large screen TV – you can see how PE teachers have a tough job on their hands”. However, this can be achievable if you combine the two, technology and computer games and sport! I found two YouTube clips that I would like you to watch. Please click on the links below:

 

What do you think after watching these videos? Do you believe that technology can be intertwined with physical education?

I believe that these are some great examples of the way technology is revolutionising education in schools. It provides motivation to students. They can enjoy their computer simulations while keeping active. It allows for various fitness levels, abilities and understandings. It also offers variety to students. For example living in the hot state of QUeensland does not provide students with the opportunity to go snowboarding. This can be achievable for students through the use of technology. Students are given the opportunity to try sports that they would never normally be able to experience.

On the flip side, this is an expensive way to educate students. I am sure that Government funding provides limitations to what schools would be able to install. THere is also the issue of maintenance and continuous computer upgrades and new programming. Although I believe it is worth the funding, especially to many of the large public schools, it is probably not a priority to Governments.

Lets pretend for a minute that I have been provided funding for technology in my HPE class. What would I incorporate and why?

Firstly I would be buying ipods (which can have apps downloaded), video cameras, heart rate monitors and pedometers (for high school students). I believe that this would cross over into classroom learning through discussions about heart rates, calories, diet, fitness, strength and cardiovascular education. Students would benefit from understanding the total capacity of fitness through one simple device. Candice Merriman in her blog ‘ICT rich lessons in Health and Physical Education – Resources to Help you Along the Way‘ talks about the use of two apps that she feels would benefit high school students.  These apps can be downloaded onto the iPods and used to further the students improvement in a particular sport or event.

Secondly, I would also incorporate some Wii’s. This would provide students with opportunities to learn about different sports, how they are played and an experience to participate in these sports.Again, cross over into classroom learning.

Lastly, I would probably invest in some large machines that offer a more thorough use of technology such as bikes and treadmills that record data and can be used to better fitness and endurance.

I may not be popular by saying this (given that I am studying a technology subject) but although I believe that technology can play a role in HPE (given my above reasons) I also believe that there is nothing wrong with conducting a lesson that is outdoors, in the fresh air that involves having students run around and have fun and incorporate many of the basic HPE accessories without using any technology. I don’t think you can replace some of the basic sports that are offered in Queensland schools  like netball, soccer and Rugby with technology.

 

Names please!

How do bloggers come up with a name for their blog? I am currently trying to come up with a catchy name for my class blog. Given the type of students they are I am after a name that engages the students straight away and makes it interesting for them to investigate the blog and entice them to want to write in it. I found this site called ‘Catchy Blog Names‘ which provided me with a basic outline of things to think of when creating a blog. Obviously you need to think about your target audience, the type of blog that it is, ways to describe the blog and something catchy.

So my reason for writing this blog is to ask for some feedback on the names I have come up with.Perhaps someone has some better ideas that they can come up with. Below are the names of what I thought of.

5D Class blog (Boring!!)

5D’s adventures in the classroom

Good times in 5D

Work and Play make 5D blog away (Probably my favorite)

Any suggestions or feedback on these??

 

 

Post visit to prac site

Well, yesterday I visited my mentor teacher and class. I was able to gauge an idea as to what type of class, technology and work load I was going to have to work with. My mentor teacher is great and very honest about the class and what they are able to understand and achieve. I have known him for a couple of years as I met him at a previous prac at this school and he is very well known and respected within Catholic Education on the Gold Coast. This is a very difficult class therefore my behaviour management skills are going to need to be brushed up on.  He has some very difficult students, some with problems, some that do not want to co-operate and some that do not receive support from the people who are their role models. There is a student with a hearing impairment and technology has been installed in the classroom where I wear a microphone and my voice will be projected through the classrooms stereo system. This is a wonderful opportunity to work with a new type of technology as well as learn how to cope with learning difficulties in the classroom.

My mentor teacher is aware that I need to incorporate as much technology as possible in the three weeks that I am there and he has given me the go ahead to go nuts with what I want to use. He is actually looking forward to seeing what types of technology are available. I discussed the use of a blog within the classroom and was unsure how the students would relate to it or whether they would be able to contribute to it given that they are academically behind. My mentor teacher and I discussed it and he believes that it might be a great idea as the students seem to respond well to the use of technology and believes that it may just capture their attention and provide them a different avenue to write. I posted in a previous blog about incorporating a blog. Click here to read about it. I think I am going to go with kidblog rather than edublogs. I think it provides myself and the students with a safe, reliable and even better, free environment to promote learning, enhance communication and easily incorporate technology. All of the subjects that I will be teaching will all provide opportunity to use technology and I am now on the prowl to find different programs that I can incorporate.  I am unsure as to exactly what the curriculum focus will be but I have been given a rough guideline to work from. All I can do now is research and gather information. A great place to start is my peers blogs. For example when reading Mrs V Learns blog I came across her blog titled Little Helps for the Classroom. This blog had some great little tips on some very simple but effective programs that can be used for grouping students  called ‘Hats’.

Well I am off now to look for programs. Wish me luck!!

Preparation for Prac

Tomorrow I am meeting with my mentor teacher to discuss various aspects of my upcoming prac like curriculum, lesson planning, NAPLAN (which is on while I am there), technology integration, timetables and what is expected from me. For this prac I am teaching grade 5 which will be quite a change from previous pracs where I have done HPE (that is the specialisation that I am taking). I’m not feeling overly confident about the use of technology in the classroom as I am not sure exactly how I am going to implement it, what I will use and when I can use it. I want to make sure that I am using the TIP (see this link for a previous blog about TIP) model of planning so that the ICT I use is providing students with rich experiences. I also need to ensure that I am aware of TPACK while there as well as ensuring my students are learning and enjoying what they are being taught. Since the start of this subject I been building my PKN and PLN. My network has grown and I am learning so many great ideas from everyone as well as ‘hopefully’ divulging many great ideas in return. My PKN is growing day by day but I am concerned that what I have added to it is not going to be useful in a grade 5 classroom.

These are the programs and ICT instruments that I so far plan to use:

Storybird – love it love it love it! Can you tell that I love this program! (See my previous blog post for info).

Class blog – this is an obvious choice. Probably the quickest and best way of communicating with and understanding student learning. I noticed that Katie Reed was also planning to create a class blog. I was also interested in reading Jen Brown’s blog post titled ‘The Class Blog‘ as a great introduction to her experiences and the benefits of using a class blog.

Science simulations – I wrote about these in a previous blog post. I am planning on using them for Science. Scootle has an array of great simulations that would be excellent for science lessons. Please feel free to leave me any more simulation suggestions as I am always on the look out. There is a website titled ‘The Connected Classroom‘ that has some good simulations. Going to book mark that site.

I would love to use Edcanvas in the classroom for perhaps a presentation or for research purposes and I have subscribed to Animoto so hopefully there are some opportunities to use this program too. I also love the Xtranormal program and hope that it can be useful too.

I would love to hear from any bloggers who can offer any new programs to me that are suitable for a grade 5 classroom.

I will write a follow up blog to let everyone know how my meeting went and any ideas that were generated. Fingers crossed! I hope everyone is excited about their upcoming prac!!

The value of simulations in primary and high school

For my EDC3100 assignment I used a simulation in one of my science lessons to demonstrate to students the effects of eliminating certain nutrients from plants. The simulation demonstrated what effects this would have on plant growth. From this inclusion in my assignment I became interested in the use of simulations and began researching the internet and sites like Scootle to find further evidence and support on the value of using simulations in primary and high school classrooms. Simulations allow students to visually experience and engage in a learning experience other than what they would normally be able to be involved in. It provides a new dimension to pedagogy and incorporates ICT in one the best possible ways. As teachers we should be looking for new and innovative ways to educate the next generation. Lecturing off a blackboard is long gone and students should be able to interact with what they know. Teachers Max Fischer (n.d.) has an interview in Education World titled ‘Simulations Engage Students in Active Learning‘  about the use of simulations in the classroom. Max states “When students are given an affective outlet in which their feelings are aroused to stimulate learning, we are increasing their opportunities to learn cognitively as well. Simulations help deliver variety to my instruction and keep students engaged to the point that discipline rarely becomes an issue”. Simulations can be used in history to explore other countries, science for experiments, in Mathematics to learn a concept and in HPE as a demonstration or interaction with a sport not available. The most important thing to remember about the use of simulations is that they are not ‘games’. The incorporation of them into the classroom should be for educational benefits and to enhance understanding of the topic being learnt.

This is what some Harvard Professors had to say about the use of Simulations in the classroom:

Prof. Luerhman: A simulation stimulates active engagement of students. They are playing a role, not just reading and analyzing. They make decisions and see the results of their decisions in the response of other players and the outcome of the sim. Simulations generate much more energy among students than traditional lectures or case discussions.

Prof. Roberto: Simulations provide one way to provide some variety in pedagogy. They also provide that rapid feedback on student decision-making which is so critical for their learning.

Simulations are something I will add to my PKN and hopefully something I can incorporate into the classroom on my upcoming prac.

TIP

This week I will begin with showing everyone the TIP model.  TIP stands for Technology Integration Planning can be understood in the blog ‘Virtual Professional Development‘. Please take a brief moment to investigate the image below and see if you are able to determine what TIP offers to the world of teaching and planning.

The use of technology in the classroom needs to be meaningful, purposeful and effective. It needs to create learning experiences that develop knowledge not replaces existing materials for the sack of integrating technology. This is where TIP ensures that the integration is effective and meaningful. Using TIP is very much like implementing any lesson plan. There needs to be goals and objectives, lesson plans designed to enable learning, and reflection on what worked and what did not. The difference is that technology needs to be the lead player. The goals and objectives need to point towards the use of ICT integration, the lesson plans need to provide advantages and improve learning and the reflection needs to be able to to demonstrate what worked and what did not work and how it can be improved for next time. TIP discusses two main categories of benefit – Enhancing and Changing. Enhancing allows for some advantages in using ICT where as changing provides the ability to do something new, something that has never been done before.

Here is an example:

This weeks learning task asked me to look at a scenario that I had been placed in or that I had used in a lesson plan where the use of ICT was used to to solve a problem. As a soon to be HPE teacher I am always looking for ways to incorporate ICT. Rather than have an expert come into the school for a demonstration, which can be expensive and difficult to organise I had my students study some YouTube clips as a demonstration for jump rope. Although this is not a new technology it did enhance their learning and provide students with various ideas and guidelines for skipping that would not have been learnt otherwise.

For a unit plan I developed for EDC3100 I had students use a science simulation that allowed them to view the nutritional requirements for plants and to discover what they could and could not live without. This was a very quick and inexpensive way to learn about the effects of sunlight, soil and water on the growth of plants.  The simulation even created a report that students could print out.

Here are some useful sites that provide information on TIP:

WizIQ provides a slideshow on TIP and has some very useful information that is very relevant for pre-service teachers who are about to embark on pracs where technology integration is essential.

Kelly Frintzilas and Emma Smolenaers both blogged about the effectiveness and how to integrate the TIP model into their teaching plan. Please feel free to view their blogs on their ideas and thoughts on TIP.

YouTube – TIP model