Why use and teach how to use Information & Communications Technology in our classrooms? After all ...
Yeah but ... hang on ... What if we don't integrate technology into our subject area? Are we not doing our students a disservice?
Social media is everywhere. For me, it has opened up my world on an educational level and made me think critically and analytically far more than any professional development day could ever hope to have achieved - BT (before technology). Now, the professional development day (with social media included) is a winning formula. It enhances PD by allowing us to learn, connect, interact and engage in thought provoking conversations.
If our classroom is the student's "professional development day", why not include those ICTs that enhance the thinking, sharing and collaborative process that will help our students to think critically and analytically. Students use social media already, but we need to show them how to use it to help them learn and grow. There are many applications, sites and tools that can be seamlessly woven into lessons to enhance learning, not simply to satisfy ICT outcomes. Our plan is to show you as many of these as we can and hopefully also the results of these.
Consider this ...
Rummaging through the internet in an attempt to find the latest on pets in Japan, I was reminded of the story of Hachiko. This is the true story of a loyal dog that, for years after its owner had died, continued to turn up at the same time each day to Shibuya station in Tokyo where Hachiko had regularly met the owner on his return from work. The story of this faithful dog (Akita breed) spread and eventually became a well known story that came to symbolise loyalty and faithfulness.
A reminder of this story continues to wait patiently outside Shibuya station, in the form of Hachiko's bronze statue, and is a popular meeting point. Further testiment to the importance of this story to the Japanese is that the stuffed remains of Hachiko are preserved in the National Science museum of Japan (Ueno in Tokyo). Every year on April 8th a rememberance ceremony is held at Shibuya station in honour of Hachiko and "man's best friend".
In 1987 Hachiko's story was told in the successful Japanese movie "Hachiko Monogatari".
とうとう(meaning finally - with some negative connotation) the American version of the film was released in Japan on August 8th - the Japanese number 8 is pronouced 'hachi'. Here is the Japanese trailer for that movie, starring Richard Gere as Hachiko's owner.
I am a fan of the wiki and use Wikispaces with a variety of classes and in a variety of ways. Basically I began using it as a site where students can access the information they need on a particular topic. A place to put summaries and tasks they needed to complete. Now I am in the process of trying to take it to the next level and harness more of the wiki's potential by creating a place where students can work together to create the information that they need as well as present their own creations and digital portfolios. Somewhere to share, to pool knowledge and to discuss issues.
Currently I use wikis in different ways for different year groups.