Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Post ELH post

If there comes a day when we are able to plug a USB into our brains and download all that we have encountered over a period of time (a bit like Dumbledore’s pensieve) the experiences, conversations and ideas from the past couple of days at ELH would certainly be pushing any download limits.

For me personally, the conference was not only about gaining new ideas and seeing how other teachers are experiencing ICT in schools but also about strengthening the online connections that I have made in recent times. Meeting people face to face that I have ‘tweeted’ with on twitter and strengthening that connection through conversations has been invaluable and has again inspired me to pick up the pace and to try and inspire other staff members within my department and beyond it.

A tweet from Jenny Luca this morning has further inspired me to try and encourage more people within our school to see beyond our school and the potential for extending learning that connecting and collaborating (beyond the school walls) will bring. Not only student learning but also, and perhaps more importantly, professional learning. Professional learning that can be done in classrooms, in the staffroom or at home. You don’t need to travel far or be taken off class to do it.
I attended a variety of sessions at ELH and was aware of many of the tools that presenters were discussing but it is always important to see how others are using those tools (like prezi) and being inspired to use them in different ways. However, I was not only interested in the content of the sessions but also in the way the presenters were presenting (i.e. teaching) the information. I felt I could learn a lot from my teaching peers by simply watching them and seeing how they presented the information, the tools they used to do that and the manner in which they did it. And, I did – I learnt a heaps. I was also inspired by their passion, their knowledge and the tools that they used to get their message across. I learnt a lot through the presenters’ use of ICT and am sure that my students can benefit from ICT if used for the right reasons and in the right situations. ‘Tech for techs sake’ will not add value to the classroom and…
The question now is how do we spread ‘the message’? How do we get teachers using technology effectively? We perhaps need to try to get more teachers into each others classrooms as part of their professional development. Team teaching, mentoring and sharing in the classroom. There is no simple solution but this surely is part of the process. The next image needs to be read from the bottom tweet up.

See and download the full gallery on posterous

Posted via email from KGS-ELH09


Why use and teach how to use Information & Communications Technology in our classrooms? After all ...

  • I've been teaching for years without the need for it
  • All the students need to do is pass the exam and get into the right University course
  • They need to write exam papers not type them
  • Social media is "social", it's not educational
  • .....

Yeah but ... hang on ... What if we don't integrate technology into our subject area? Are we not doing our students a disservice?

  • Will our students be engaged in the classroom (they are certainly engaged outside of it)?
  • They may pass the exam but will they survive University?
  • They may pass the exam but can they think critically?
  • Don't we learn through engaging in conversations (face to face or otherwise)?

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.

But first...

Consider this ...


Posted via web from I.C.Teaching

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

The story of Hachiko / ハチ公

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.



Posted via web from Js Nihongo

Monday, 10 August 2009

Wikis, Student Work & Diigo

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.

  • For Year 7 it is more like an online supplement to the textbook. One day I aim to make it the textbook. This wiki is visible to anyone but can only be edited by members.
  • For Yr8 it is as above but in more detail and also a place to share some student work, uploaded by the teacher. As for Year 7, this wiki is visible to anyone but can only be edited by members of the wiki.
  • For Yr9 I am trying to turn it into a reference text as well as a place for students to work together on projects, upload their own creations and learn from each other; bringing all the work we do into one central location. At the moment this wiki is a private wiki; it can only be seen or edited by members of the wiki.
The Year 9 'experiment' began with their ICT assessment task - to create their own wiki page on the class wiki and describe their likes, dislikes and abilities in Japanese. The ICT component of the task was simply aimed at enabling them to learn how to navigate around the wiki, edit pages and become familiar with the different features of the wiki.

The results were quite impressive. Some students created simple but effective pages using the target language, others were able to create visually impressive pages that both used the target language and embedded a variety of media to enhance it.

The next step was to provide feedback on the students' pages. This is when our Diigo class group became the tool of choice. With a Diigo Educator account, I have been able to create a class group for my Year 9 class. The class group is closed but we share bookmarks and there is a Group Forum to discuss sites and Japan related topics. This private Diigo Group could be the key to effective feedback for learning as it allows me to highlight text and add comments on web pages (including the students' wiki pages). These comments are only visible to those in the class group. Students can see the comments on their own page and on those of others in the class. They have simple but effective feedback and (if they wish) can see if others in the class are making similar mistakes.

My apologies for the quality of the screenshot here but hopefully you get the idea. I have posted a sticky note on the students work, providing them with a little feedback. The sticky note becomes visible when you are logged in to Diigo and place your cursor over the highlighted text. Students can then add to a comment to my sticky note if they need to ask a question or seek clarification. Too easy!

So, for all the teachers out there - get yourself a Diigo Educator Account.

If you're still not convinced that wikis can work for you, watch the clip below and simply substitute the word 'boogie' for 'wiki'. Enjoy!

It needs to be acknowledged that I was able to work on this unit of work and others for our language department thanks to funding provided by the Australian Government through the Languages Program.