Integrating the Australian Curriculum Using Web2.0




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. 



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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.
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. 

In class this semester, we have been studying EDUC 343: Literacy in a multicultural society. It has been a very very interesting experience being in this class as it has made us think and reflect on our own identity, assumptions which we hold and how we are going to teach in the future.  This class is based on two main concepts, social justice and identity. 

The first assessment which we completed was about our own identity. It is called a cultural plunge. We were expected to go out and place ourselves in a situation, a context which is different from our own culture and experiences. It had to be something which we had not done before and something which we would feel uncomfortable doing. I chose to complete my plunge in the indigenous Australian community.  If you don't know this is a community which has been very poorly treated over the past 200 years, through stolen generations, the dispossessing of land and the government continues to make an absolute mess of providing equal opportunity to the community. However, I knew this is what would make me feel the most uncomfortable and it would make me begin to question some of the assumptions which I held from my upbringing.  Living in the north shore of Sydney, i had rarely met indigenous people and I didn't have any indigenous friends that I was aware of, so this was going to be a very very very new experience. 

The plunge taught me a lot about my own identity and strengthened in me a desire to teach. I feel an inherent need to help people who are less fortunate. I am not sure where this comes from, I am not religious (in fact quite the opposite) however I feel powerful and strong enough in myself that I need to help others, I think I get strength from that.  After the experience, I found that my racist preconceptions were not warranted. I felt completely comfortable in the community and I really enjoyed the experience, something I wish I could do again, but unfortunately I have not. 

So today in class, we were looking at social justice in literature, particularly the plight of women and how we can show an image of strong women through literature. We read a book to each other and it was about a young girl who was a bit of a tom boy (thats what the others called her) who wanted to climb trees. Her mother (we suppose) asked her several times to come down from the tree but she wouldn't. She wanted to keep climbing because that is what the boys were allowed to do. The moral of the story was all about women continuing to fight against all the forces who tell them they can't do something.  I believe (not being a woman of course) that this story is universal. In society, particularly in such an open visual society it is important that we strive for what we want in life, what we need to make us happy and what we feel good doing. 

A clear example is the lecturer of this class. He is gay and proud of it, and as a result of the injustice and lack of equity he has felt being a homosexual in a very straight white community, he is trying to teach the next generation of teachers not to fold to societal pressures which he was subjected to. He experienced prejudice, and he doesn't want to see that happening to any one. 

There was an interesting point raised in one of the podcasts which we had to listen to, can a gay man stand up in front of a class and talk about the bad parts of prejudice towards gays?  The point here is, the crowd is going to witness that and think, "Here he goes again", and that he is on his soap box.  It will be seen as agenda pushing, which would be ok if it came from a non-gay person however from a gay person is disregarded and thought of negatively.  Can an indigenous person stand up and talk about the injustice which has occurred, I will assume they cannot.  The moral here is, being in the white male population, holding the most amount of power and say in all society, I have the ability to do something, to stand up and to change things. This is going to be done through education, in my classroom every person will be free to contribute their thoughts and ideas, no one will be held back due to their cultural differences or perspectives.  EDUCATION is the way forward. 

In a research subject I am taking, the unit is focused on Teachers making a difference. This resonates with me, I know teachers can make a difference. It is now up to me to do it. 

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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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