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1. Progression with technology:
Before this PLN course I only used google and some databases related to my subject. I am now aquainted with blogging which I wasn’t too comfortable with at first as I really don’t like talking about my thoughts and publishing them online in a blog. However, I am getting more comfortable with it. I really like Diigo as a way to get the students to collaborate. I am also endeavoruing to get my colleagues to collaborate as well. I am still trying to master WordPress and when I have more time I will try out some of the other features.
2. Impact of Technology:
We are now global citizens. Anyone who wants to bury their head in the sand and deny themeselves the use of technology then they have been left behind. I do wonder about our ability to connect with each other on a more personal level. Technology does have it’s place in learning and there’s no denying it opens our students up to broader perspectives and access to enormous amounts of information. However, how are we teaching them to connect with each other on a personal level? It’s easy to put our thoughts into a blog or a status or a quick tweet. We assume hundreds of people are listening to us but do they really need to hear some of what we say? Is our opinion worth listening to? Would we necessarily say the same things face to face. I am finding my students seek me out personally less and less as they seek help online. this is meant to encourage independence but do they have the skills to sort the wheat from the chaff when it comes to google? I suspect that is our role.
3. Use of technology and educators:
Online citizenship is an interesting concept as some people seem to think that they can act anyway they like online. The type of behaviour I am referring to includes: cyberbullying, racial slurs, inappropriate photos, videos or comments. Ironically this is anti-social behaviour on a social media site. Unfortunatley, Facebook is the much maligned social media site I am refferring to along with Twitter.
I shy away from social media because I am a teacher. I have only joined FB and twitter for this PLN course. I keep everything private.
I think by making sites such as FB part of the educational landscape in schools is blurring the line between teacher and student. Students use FB to connect with their social group and as soon as you add the three most offputting aspects to their FB world (that is teacher, adult and non-celebrity) it will cease to be a cool way for them to connect with their peers. It’s like having cake everyday. You think you want it and you’d love to have it everyday, because it has it’s place on special occasions is why we enjoy it so much. Once cake becomes something we have everyday everywhere it loses it’s appeal, we tire of it and if we have too much well, we start to dislike it and look for alternatives (those who don’t have control will over indulge and the consequences are quite dire). This idea of looking for something else came to me after speaking to my 16 year old daughter. I mentioned to a student about the idea of FB at school for learning and she screwed up her face.
The idea of control of use and having certain protocols for the use of FB with students in schools is fraught with danger. The issue of what goes online doesn’t stay online (in the sense it gets used for a different purpose). The UK have just recently ruled that you do not own your photos once they go online!
There are too many risks associated with students and digital sites. They need to be managed just as we manage them in sport or examinations. The repercusssions of misuse can produce irreversible damage especially in cases of cyberbullying.
FB was never meant to be used for anything other than a social media site. Sometimes, we shove any societal issue or latest new idea into schools. The school is jammed packed with the curriculum as it stands and then we add issues of obesity, alcohol and drug abuse, bullying and of course cyber bullying.
If FB and social media is to be used in schools as an education connection, then teachers need to learn to be good online citizens too. Many of my colleagues are still struggling with how to use laptops in the classroom. They’ve not mastered that last idea and speaking with my students many don’t like to have all of their learning online. Many like the feel of pen and paper and connecting face to face with their teacher. Relationships with people and having strong role models are the best tools of learning.
4. Technology and the Effective Learner:
I think the characteristics of an effective learner have many of those qualities related to Marzano’s Habits of Mind
Persistent: These types of learners are efficient at online tools to search and seek related ideas. They tend to ask the teacher for guidance and then seek out as many and varied ideas as they can from sources other than google. They don’t just take the first site they read. They see the value of research and enjoy the chase to find ideas and not just hit google and use the first five websites they find. I find Diigo helpful for this.
Take Responsible Risks:
They think outside the box. they are courageous with technology which allows them to explore their creativity by using various ways to present ideas such as online media tools and presentation tools such as prezi. They move away from obvious sites and move to online databases and move outside of their own library to use State Library resources which connect them with more global ideas.
Look at tasks from different perspectives:
The amount of information available to them via technology enables them to explore other aspects of a topic. They can use different tools in their presentations wheteher they are written, visual or spoken.
More creative tools are available now more than ten years ago when the humble PowerPoint was considered a creative way to present a speech. Now with the use of cgi and photoshop software studenst can be more creative.
One student I know put up a blue sheet in her room (acted as blue screen effect as used in movies), videoed herslf making her speech and placed visual effects in the background that added atmosphere and drama to her presentation.
The use of online tools such as Diigo encourage collabration. The sharing of ideas and forcing students to account for their choice of resources is meaningful and can create a cooperative atmosphere between students. Collaborators can assist their peers by providing feedback on usefulness of resources and it helps to know you’re on the right track with tasks.
5. Predictions for the Future:
I know in the future of my classroom I will be encouraging a more dsicrening approach to the Web. I will try to create a more collaboartive approach to learning. In the future I suspect the web will only get larger. I can see students perhaps connecting with classrooms on the other side of the world and sharing their learning. I don’t see FB or Twitter as having a role. Some teenagers have said to me they feel bored with Facebook. It was great a few years ago but now it’s a little old. So, who knows what’s ahead for social media.
The topic I searched was World War 2 and here are my findings in comparison to google
- gives options on the side to look up quick links to wikipedia, britannica.com, History Channel sites
- has related topics
- no prompts like google when seraching
- no tracking is attarctive option
- no options for connection to videos or youtube
- connection to images is available as well as coategories for a topic
- has suggestions when typing in a search like google
- has realted searches at side with links to videos, images maps
- you can narrow by language, region
- adavanced search (cog) is limited
- you can filter by use, location and language
- this would be best for younger students
- I found it hard to use and it was difficult to close up windows
- there are no videos and links to information was limited. I found it slow to connect
Free online tool: Popplet
www.popplet.com This tool helps you to create mindmaps.
- A login is required. You need to provide your first and last names, email address, password and confirmation of password.
- This tool is not really something I could use in professional learning but I could use it in my classroom and it would be good for consolidating learning after a unit of work is taught or even as a tool to show students the links within the topic. It can also be used to develop ideas for a written piece of work and you can place the links to images and sites within the planning. I can use it for the scientific report genre in science to help students to link their ideas and see how all the aspects of the report link together as well as get them to break their report in to its various parts and develop mind maps within each part. Such as, in the analysis of data they could place all the points they want to make about trends in the data and then build on each idea as well as put in links to online research and diagrams. This is probably more appealing to younger students.
In regard to the SAMR model:
- Substitution- this only gives them a visual aid to construct their ideas and structure of a topic or task and does not change it.
- Augmentation- it does not make spell checks so essentially the task is the same.
- Modification: a wide range of source material can be linked within each section of the task in a “popple”, it simplifies the structure of a task and assists in clearly setting out ideas and grouping them or linking them where necessary. Images can be imported and also diagrams can be drawn within each popple which can be linked to the information within it. Popples can be deleted or moved around to group ideas. I think this gives a more focussed and fun planning and learning process.
- Redefinition: collaboration of ideas with the whole class could take place in the formation of the embryo stages of a task and students can make contributions to the popple as a class discussuion or it can be used individually.
- I briefly created a very basic plan of a section on (here is the link) Homeostasis for year 12 Biology. I have been using tools in Word but popplet is faster and looks better.
Reflecting on online professional learning I have found not all tools are useful to me as an educator. However, in the broader field of the whole school connecting with its community of parents, alumnae and other interested community members I can see real benefits of tools like Twitter and Facebook.
Role in education
- Twitter is ideal for posing thoughts and ideas on topics, however, due to the limited number of characters it has limited appeal. It is used successfully at my school to inform the community of important and exciting events and achievements. I think as people are so time poor these days, it serves the purpose of keeping families and the wider interested community in touch with the goings on of the school without a lengthy newsletter or blog to read.I have had a look around twitter and find it useful to follow the vipln tweets. I can see its usefulness in connecting with colleagues around the country. Here is my twitter name.
I keep all of my resources on the schools network and back up to an external hardrive. I also use ONENOTE to organise my teaching. I hyperlink resources in course outlines to the college Portal for use by other staff in my curriculum area.
I have used Diigo to set up groups for my classes to share bookmarks and ideas. I have also set up a staff group to share resources and ideas about curriculum and pedagogy.
I don’t understand Evernote, it seems like another place to put things I already have in ONENOTE and in my files on my external hard drive. I’ve used Diigo quite successfully with students but I am overwhelmed by other strategies such as Evernote, google, I don’t think I’d ever use them. I would not use WordPress with students.
Digital technologies and internet access make it easier to share and store information. It streamlines organisation by linking resources to my One Note for use with students. In regards to Diigo, I can see what my students are researching and it allows me to create a more shared environment in the classroom. Digital technologies save time and space. It allows me o have one place to access resources and ideas.