Integrating the Australian Curriculum Using Web2.0

The Miniature Earth Video
Following on from my work this semester at UNI based around the subject of social justice and how education can be seen as an act of social justice; this video speaks clearly about the world we live in. If the world's population was broken down into a representative 100 people, what would it look like? Does the world's resources, finances and energy represent this break up of our population?  Should it?  This video would speak clearly to students in Australian classroom's, who are on the whole wealthier than a large proportion of the world's population and similarly have greater opportunities through the ability of work, running water, food etc. 

Uses for Education: 
This video could be used in an English lesson to look at ways of communicating. The video has only picture and written words. This is a social justice resource as it allows for those people who are hearing impaired. HSIE Outcome: CUS2.4 - [Describes different viewpoints, ways of living, languages and belief systems in a variety of communities].  Students could break down their classroom, use Maths to find out the percentages of different cultural groups in their class and make up their class' miniature earth.  From there they could create a video like the one shown above or some other way of displaying the information. 

Note: I am now going to start including a Uses for Education section in each post. This is a technique used by rmbyrne in freetech4teachers blog which I have much respect for. 
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]  Those websites turn out to be links to 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: 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.
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. 



1 Comment

This video is from the One Laptop Per Child initiative which is spreading around the globe. There is no denying that technology is a great way to improve learning outcomes. There is also no denying that education is the key to removing poverty and breaking down the prolification of the world's wealthy and poor.  Through this great program, people are able to donate a laptop to a child in Africa or any other disadvantaged country around the world. For $200US, you can donate a laptop to a developing country and give disadvantaged students the gift of education and opportunity.

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