Kathleen DeLaurenti looks at different options available through technology which can change how writing assignments are completed. She refers to a Music of the Civil War class where they completed alternative research assignments. There wasn’t a central learning portal so they developed an online bibliography where students could collect links and get feedback and also used a wiki to support the writing.
For the Civil War assignment, I focused on helping the students get started using the technology, but also on how to evaluate websites. Website evaluation was a significant part of the Worlds of Music project as well, but I also played a greater role in meeting with the students. Each group was required to sign up for a 45 minute meeting with me to make sure they were comfortable with the technology, but also to talk about the research resources and strategies they would need for the assignment. In addition to introducing them to key resources in ethnomusicology, we talked about how to narrow their topics (one wiki page in one semester certainly wouldn’t represent all of the music of China!) and how to present this material in the context of a wiki. For example, using slideshows if they built image collections rather than cluttering up their webpage with so many images it was confusing to other readers.
Michael Gorman briefly looks back at using textbooks where he started his teaching career 35 years ago and what has since changed.
I first started my teaching career close to 35 years ago the textbook was not only the curriculum, it was also the center of learning. I was able to curate by finding an occasional article, ordering a 16 mm film several weeks in advance, finding a filmstrip with its exciting beeps between slides, and an occasional field trip.
He reviews a number of tools starting with Symbaloo and Diigo
The list in full
akbacademic from the University of Derby technology blog in the UK list a series of questions which will help reflect on why research is important and how it contributes to development. The list includes
What’s the connection between innovation and dinosaurs?
What links Kodak, Raleigh Bicycles and the Roman Empire?
When is it time for you to retire?
Nary Chun reports from Cambodia about a blogfest that students recently attended.
My media class went to the BlogFest because we wanted to know more about Facebook, websites, blogging and how to use them. This is because we really like to study media and want to be able to write a blogpost. In the future, media can help us to have a good job. All the students in the media class want to connect tothe Internet, because we want the people around the world to know us
The students learnt more about a range of web topics including Wikipedia and web design.
Thabo Mohlala reports on the rise of use and appreciation of positive aspects of combining teaching with technology in South African classrooms. They mention the changes with lessons no longer being predictable but where the pupils have more choice and motivation about their activities. A competion was held for a number of pupil projects including:
One was by Sume Delport, who is artistic and whose goal was to make a painting for her room. The other one was by Michaela Zealand, a bookworm who wanted to finish a 170-page book in English, which is her first additional language. Delport did not know how to mix specific colours and had to do a Google search for a colour chart. In the process she learnt which colours complement one another. When she read the book, Zealand encountered some difficult words and had to use the cellphone-based dictionary to figure them out. “Both these pupils used mind maps to brainstorm and organise their thinking and knowledge-building.
Sarah Cirella shares a screencast that she recently created reviewing software games for children. There are different characters to help, objects to click, missing words to find and a series of challenges. They discussed who the game might be appropriate for – what would be important at different ages
this game requires children to be able to use a mouse or track pad and to be able to understand the story and the concept of how the game is actually played. The only thing is if the child playing is between the ages of 6-8 we would recommend that an adult play with them, as some parts can be difficult (I played with my 6-year-old niece and she needed help, despite her stating otherwise).
She mentions the things they enjoyed, the good and not so good aspects including use of language
Laura shares a video she recently created
Lots of people have expressed frustration that it’s difficult to influence whole-school ICT developments and policy from a grass-roots level.
In this video (made using Videoscribe for iPad) I’ve put together some advice to help move things forward. I hope it helps!
Watch the video
Jared Cosulich blogs about a fractions puzzle game he is exploring. He unravels each area with a series of screenshots and explanations, including the simulator, option set, goal, feedback loops, explicit content, appropriate challenges, editing / selecting levels and an escape valve:
The Escape Valve
The Escape Valve is simply a mechanism that makes it possible for a student to declare that a challenge is too hard and get additional help with it. This project will build out libraries that will make it easy to include a hint system that gives students one piece of the puzzle, allowing them to work their way closer to a solution. This technique only works if there are enough puzzles of similar difficulty so that a student can get hints on one and still be able to assess their proficiency by taking on another level of similar difficulty.
Joy Seed blogs about the experiences of integrating technology and learning in a movie project with Hosoi Sensei
We have had the goal of transforming learning through the integration of specialist subjects, core subjects and digital technologies. We wanted our students to discover important elements of Japanese culture, deepen their understanding of the design process, develop their ability to collaborate, understand that people learn in different ways, practice their instructional writing and experiment with presenting information with imovie
The post has videos that they watched and then describes how they worked with the children to encourage them to take on different movie roles and reflects on the how the students felt about taking part in these processes.
Sue Magruder takes a look back at the changes that have happened since she was teaching in Missouri in the the 1950s. Her first post was working with students from different local rural communities who came to school in one place:
I learned more than I taught. I learned how to approach parents whose language I did not understand to seek permission for their daughter to take part in a National Folk Festival. I learned how to deal with foster parents who cared little for the children in their charge. I learned when it was appropriate to call the state patrol when violence erupted with an older, unstable student. I learned how to Bunny Hop down the hall with other teachers to relieve tension.
Later on in the post she takes a look at educational philosophy and the emphasis on test scores, wondering about their value in education of a child.