Integrating the Australian Curriculum Using Web2.0
 
Via the most fantastic finding on Twitter of the past few days of the use of #edchat tag, the world of twitter and resource sharing has opened a new leaf. The amount of links and resources now flooding through my tweetdeck is almost too much to handle. However, with the vast array of resources, I have explored many quality links and have been able to explore more possibilities for my classroom.

I read in the recording of last week’s #edchat conversation the line:

"#edchat Why waste time on the slackers? If they don't care about educ., don't force it on them. Spend time on the smart kids, who care."

This really made me think. Do teachers actually believe this? And without sound harsh is this something that a teacher should be saying?  Of course I realise how preachy I sound, and perhaps how naive considering as I haven’t been ‘stuck’ in a classroom with 30 destructive kids for a couple of years, however this comment has had a deep clash with my ideals.  There are students who may not have the same kind of educational motivation that I have had, or the students who I have been teaching on practical experience.  These student’s beliefs and actions, (I believe) are a result of their past experiences with education, their upbringing and other social factors both from within the student and from their peers.  Does this mean we give up?  Is that what educators do, just give up on students who show little attention or don’t want to contribute? 

Short answer, I believe we do not give up on any student.  So many ideas come to mind as to how we should be encouraging these students and putting more effort in, not less to inspire them and engage them in the process of education.  This conversation arose from twitter, well do you think these students have myspace, facebook, twitter, youtube accounts?  I would like to assume, that if these students have the financial ability at home, they are on these websites and spending a large amount of their time (like all other students) on these social networking sites.  This gives teachers the opportunity to allow such students (all students) to explore their education, to learn and develop through using these great facilities. I was pondering last night as I was trying to fall asleep, a possible lesson plan. Having students search up the price of their favourite video game, let’s say the wii (which has become so popular over the past 12 months).  Have students check the price of the wii across the world, see how it compares in China, India, America, UK, Canada, and Germany.  They could go about this by asking students from all around the world on Facebook, twitter etc, or they could search for it. They could find out what video consoles people are using throughout the world. This activity would involve maths, English (communication skills both writing and oral) and perhaps geography if they were to represent their findings on a map.   I would like to think that if any students were given this task, they would not consider it work, they would enjoy doing it, as it incorporates their world not ours and they are learning skills which they will be able to use in the real world.

I repeat, we should not be giving up on the ‘slackers’ in our class but spending more time and energy, trying to connect with them in their world. Learning is a partnership between teacher and students.  The teacher therefore must be willing to give up some ground, listen actively to the student’s needs and wishes and use that information to get the most out of them.

I will step off my soap box now. 
 
 
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Looking back at this year, as we tend to do at this time of year, it has become clear to me that one of the largest influences on the world's social media and potentially on education has been twitter. I have had a twitter account since the 14th of March. In the scheme of things this has not been very long and this is clear from my measly 30 followers. Not that I am dirty about it or anything...... The question I am pondering at the moment is how has twitter helped? What is its purpose. There have been many sources suggesting that Twitter would fade much like myspace has and many of the other web2.0 social media applications. With this being said, it is quite clear that Twitter is hear to stay and it is getting strong and stronger by the day. So why can't I get any followers???

What is twitter used for in Education?  I have been using twitter as a medium to find new resources, stay in touch with the educational community (even though it is mainly an American population) and to broaden my understanding on some of the issues which I will be faced when I teach. Examples of these: Tombarrett posted 1 hour ago: [f you are thinking of starting a class blog, be sure to tap into these teacher's advice + guidance  http://bit.ly/86aWvc http://bit.ly/4Mv4LH]  Those websites turn out to be links to Edte.ch an educational blog I follow which has many wonderful sources and ideas to help teachers connect with tehcnology in the classroom. Considering that this was posted in the past hour, imagine what has been poster over the past 10 months of my involvement in twitter. There are at least 5 valuable resources, links, ideas or themes which can improve my teaching pedagogy, resources or philosophy. I should also mention I am only following 90 people of which around half are educators. The other half are news outlets, football outlets, interesting celebrities or friends. 

How can twitter be used in the future? As a future teacher, I can see that twitter can be a great way to teach students about web2.0, social media, and the important skills they will need to keep up with the fast evolution of information that is available today. I intend to set up a twitter account for my class. This is a great way for students to communicate with the world, with other classes and for them to have access to a wide range of information from an even wider range of sources.  Mark Prensky suggested that students today are digital natives, they require hyper-linking and large amounts of information at the same time.  Twitter is the perfect way for them to fulfil their need for hyper-linking and non-linear forms of information gathering as well as skills which they will need in the future. I honestly do not believe any student would complain about an assessment of 140 characters. The challenge is fitting the information your require in such a short amount of space. 

What does twitter in the classroom look like? I believe twitter can be something which is open throughout the day, there can be monitors who could monitor the feeds from the class' followers and then report back the day's activity.  Students could be given the opportunity to share their thoughts on a particular topic, assessment, activity with colleagues from around the world in real time using twitter. Students can share their work using the many sharing websites available to them and most of all they can publish their work in the real world. Students (according to the NSW Department of Education) must feel like their learning is significant; what is more significant than work which they are contributing to the world in real-time as they do it. 

For now, this is all... I will be blogging more on twitter in the future. Here are a few of the educators I follow:

 

Wordle

12/21/2009

5 Comments

 
Wordle: My delicious Tags..
I have just stumbled across Wordle. This is a Web2.0 application which displays words in a cloud as shown above. I was able (in about 2 minutes), to create a a word cloud of all the tags which I have created on the Delicious social bookmarking website. This is a great way to display large pieces of information. An activity based around web 2.0 could be to create a word cloud with trending twitter tags... that could show students the vast amount of information on twitter whilst teaching them skills of using wordle. Just something to think about. 
 
 
What more needs to be said.
 
 
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When I was on Practical Experience this year, I had to teacher year threes how to write an exposition. Not really know what that was (I forgot to attend many of my English lectures) and most of all now knowing how to teach it, I was put onto this website.  It is an excellent website full of templates/ideas/examples of all of the text types needed in the k-6 NSW curriculum. This proved to be a life-saver and I am not sure what I would have been able to do without it.  So to all teachers and training-teachers I suggest you visit this website, even if it just saves you time creating a template for your class' writing activities. 

 
 
tara.Ed is a program set up by a friend of mine at university. She is passionate about improving the quality of education throughout India.  Jen has established tara.Ed as a charity which focuses on three things; 
1. Linking Australian schools with Indian schools in the hope of advancing learning outcomes for both groups of students.
2. Offering teacher tours and enrichment programs to Australian Student teachers who are offered a sponsored opportunity to travel to India, learn through teaching Indian students and experiencing Indian education in the slums of Mumbai and other major centres.
 3. An Indian Volunteer program where Indian University students have the opportunity to perform outreach activities relevant to the target population.


Jen works very hard at this program and her efforts are inspirational.  She is really trying to make a difference and unlike most she is actually doing something about it. 
 
 
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One of the earliest things we get taught as teachers in today's socio-cultural climate of educational psychology is Blooms Taxonomy. Essentially blooms taxonomy a hierarchy of cognitive abilities which move from lower order thinking skills to the higher order thinking skills. When teachers are setting questions, or marking responses, they are persuaded to use blooms as a guide. This is what the Bloom's taxonomy looks like:
1. Knowledge - this is the lowest of the levels of understanding. It is the ability to recall facts, to memorise and use bits of information. 
2. Comprehension - This involves making meaning of things, rather than just remembering them. This generally means translating information into your own words.
3. Application - This is the ability to use information and ideas in new situations such as solving problems that have a single answer. 
4. Analysis - This is the ability to examine pieces of information. Take different meanings from the same information and find connections between that information and other information.
5. Synthesis: This is the ability to construct something new in the style of something else. This is the ability to connect two or more pieces of information to make one whole piece of information. 
6. Evaluation - This is the ability to make judgements about the quality or value of a piece of information or something as a whole. This is the highest level of cognitive ability. 


Anderson and Krathwohl (2001) however created a revision to this taxonomy by adding another layer to taxonomy and changing the previous nouns into verbs, so its the ability to do those things, not just understand what they are.  It is shown in the picture above. 


I was wondering, where does a students ability to use hyperlinks and construct information from many sources at the same time fit into this equation. I would imagine it is a higher-order thinking skill as most students are also able to make judgements on its value i.e. the credibility of the information.  Using Interactive Communication and online medium is essentially allowing students to use all of the cognitive processes and then allowing them to create something like a blog will make sure all of the cognitive processes are being used.  I think this is a great tool, and something which we will have to use ore of in the classroom. 


That reminds me, we were told an interesting anagram in class yesterday. In class we want 


HOTS not    MOTS
Higher order thinking skillsMore of the same. 

 

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    This blog is that of a very confused, bewildered and amazed new scheme teacher in Sydney Australia who is hoping with all his might that he doesn't fall on his face. Enjoy!

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