"Life begins at the end of your comfort zone."

~Neale Donald Walsch~

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Ponderings..the technology revolution

In the last six months I have really enjoyed watching the ongoing conversations with educators and the media as to how we as a community are embracing technology and what is the best way to go about it. At times in history there must have been great  groaning sounds as man attempted to work out how this technology was somehow going to enhance our lives. Electricity, the car, radio, telephones and movies with sound are some of the things that come to mind. Teachers and educationalists are in general a very creative and innovative bunch who themselves have grappled with and conquered new technology and further used it to enhance the learning outcome for students for many thousands of years. We are part of something great and valuable. For this I am grateful and I feel now more than ever that no man is an island and there is genuine support for teachers within a global community that is growing faster than ever before. How exciting to be part of mankind's technology revolution.
 Social media informs and connects where no connection had been made before and existing technologies continue to develop and spread. Skype for instance changed the access for teachers, schools and classrooms to connect on a large and global scale that has not been seen before. I look forward to engaging with students and teachers in a wide variety of technologies and excitedly watch in great anticipation where it will take me next. 

Last week I was blogging about Techy Work Stations. They went really well. However there are often problems that occur when engaging with new technology. I didn't realise that I had a few class members under 18 and they could not access Youtube or Twitter. The blog I set up on the Google site didn't allow them to make a post so I quickly changed tack and we started a Twitter stream. Those student who could join in did and the others continued work they could have access to. All in all I felt it went well. There are always teething problems when starting something new and I kept my cool and know for next time to fix this prob. 

I am still trying to keep my dream alive of running my own business and helping other teachers use technology classroom that is affordable, easy to use and engaging for students. Met up with Tracey B again from Level Playing Field and are getting close to finishing this logo. Have decided on color and layout and we are just getting to down to the line. 

This week I really want to focus on encouraging students to ask good questions. This week we will continue examining poems, reports and research essays and I don't want to do all the prompting. I would like to be more of a coach and facilitator and am going to try a few new strategies to get students to develop good questions amongst themselves.

Have been mega busy and time poor this week so I'll save up my favorite links for next week. 

Hope you all have a great week and I do really appreciate the time you take to read my blog. 

Until next week,

Friday, 20 April 2012

Mixing it up

During the school holidays it can be hard to find time to think about the term ahead. There are many distractions and ways to procrastinate however I have managed to do some work. Thank goodness.

In previous blogs I have mentioned the Teaching Channel. https://www.teachingchannel.org/ I have found it an excellent resource. The wonderful thing about it is that whilst some of the ideas come from primary teachers or high school teachers not in my faculty area, many of the ideas can be applied to what I do. Often in group work we are all doing a similar task however there is no reason why we can't have technology work stations. https://www.teachingchannel.org/videos/poetry-and-technology This litle clip has inspired me to think about what technology the students bring to class and how I can I utilize it better. I could have iphone stations, laptop stations and podcasting stations, online mindmapping stations and ipad stations. Within group work this might be a good tool to break up activities. Our lessons are either 2hrs or 2 1/2 hours so a variety of activities would be beneficial to keeping students engaged. I have complained in the past that we have not always had the best access to technology but I really need to make more of an effort to engage students and given them confidence using a variety of technologies. Even if there us only 1 ipad there is no reason why pairs could not engage with it whilst others are off doing other activities. 

There are many aspects of learning and various learning styles and I have been reminded again off late to consider these in my lesson planning. It's one of those things you learn at uni and try and implement but really it is the consistency or remembering these that gives most benefit to the students. I am hoping to try out a few new strategies when teaching poetry this term and I'll keep you posted as to my success and failures. I love that this job provides the opportunity for me to continue to be a life long learner as well as my students. The more I learn the more I realise I know so little.
During the week I had the opportunity to teach more teachers about the benefits of twitter. In discussion with a variety of teachers over the last few weeks there is limited understanding about the benefits of twitter and social media to aid with teaching. I have found social media to be the best form of professional development I have ever done. I have paid thousands of dollars a year in professional development and I have had more support and follow up from my twitter teaching friends than I would from any course I have gone on. Not to say that these courses were not beneficial but teachers need to consider that social media can really help them in their classrooms. 

As the new term approaches I feel that I am slowly getting a handle of my new job and I feel that I can experiment a little further this term as I am really getting to know my learners. I relish the chance to challenge myself and my students to become life long learners and confident in the skills they are seeking.

Sites for the week:
  • Have been thinking about how to incorporate video games into learning as adults purchase and play lots of video games too.

  • Grammar Bytes- More for high school students I think. I may use it this term. 

  • Graphic novels and comics are very popular at the moment and I would love to incorporate these further this term.

Until next week,

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

A fork in the road

You just never know where life will take you. Life is always so full of surprises. I am happy announce that I made it through term 1 without losing the plot or falling apart. I have thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of my new job and have spent the last week reflecting on all the things I have learnt. I am left wondering if I have learnt more than the students as this has been a massive term. As I haven't had the chance to blog in the last couple of weeks clearly I must work on my discipline with blogging. 

There has been many things that have happened in the last few weeks and I find myself yet again faced with a new dilemma. Many of you who have followed me since November last year will remember that I was very unsure where I was going with work this year. Last week my boss announced that the HSC will not be offered next year and so TAFE is going to promote their own version of HSC called TPC (Tertiary Preparation Certificate).

He has also suggested that we look into partial online components of the course to attract more students. This has sent my head into a bit of a spin. However, last Thursday I was able to go on a course and meet, Maria D'Angelo a fantastic trainer and a pioneer in online delivery. Unfortunately I won't be able to do the course but I now have a clear vision as to how this can be achieved. I am so excited about this prospect and it is taking up much time in my creative thoughts. 

On Saturday I was reading a SMH article http://www.smh.com.au/national/theres-a-greener-pasture-for-mothers-juggling-family-with-parttime-work-20120406-1wgtq.html about the organisation Chief Executive Women that gives part time women scholarships to develop leadership in business. I don't know if this would extend to developing online training. This got me thinking that I could endevour to learn all I can about online delivery in the hope of showing others how different technologies can be used for learning and engaging online delivery. Or... I am hoping maybe I can get some funding from TAFE to work on development for these new courses. I really see this as a wonderful opportunity to use my creative talents and engage with technology.

 Not sure where this will lead. Am jumping on board and see where the ride will take me. 

My desire to start my company has taken a back step off late however I have managed to have some consultation with the lovely Tracey and we are working on getting the logo right. Should be ready in the next few weeks. Am running another Twitter and Blogging workshop for teachers next Wednesday. Am really getting good at this one as I have run 5 training sessions on Twitter in the last term alone. 

Too many thoughts and not enough time. Anyway for this week's fav websites:
Teaching trends:

If you haven't got onto teaching channel then you must!

Poetry and the Mic: Absolutely love this idea

Poetry and Technology: This is a little gem. I'm definately using this in the next few week as we start Wilfred Owen poems for HSC.

Until next week,