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We have just finished the final lesson for our EDU 601 course. This has been a very valuable course for me on a personal level.  Before we started this course, technology to me was using a powerpoint or animation in the classroom (both of which have their places). But now my old eyes have been opened to the world that is available to me and my students.

Personally, something that I learned today was that I have found this link extremely valuable for making internet searches more efficient. You might want to take a look and see if it helps you too especially if you were like me and would just type in words and hope for the best.

Something that I will try next school year will be setting up a WIKI site for my four grade 11 classes.  Now that I have a basic idea on how to set up the site, I ‘ll get it up and running for classes when they start in August and get the students actively involved in their learning.

Blogging, I’m still coming to terms on how I could use that in the classroom, I’m still seeing using a WIKI as more productive at this stage.  Twitter, well I haven’t been able to think of how I could use that to enhance student learning. I guess I’ll take it step by step. I’m keen to have the students make podcasts. I feel that their presentations will be informative and fun to make.

I may try and get teachers and students in another country to work with my students through some on-line interaction. This may be ‘easy’ as being in an International School we have contacts all over the world and especially for us in South East Asia.

So to summarise, this was a very valuable course for an old dog like myself. It has made me take a good look at my teaching methods and now how can I incorporate technology into my classroom.

It’s coming up to  the final two of sessions of our EDU 601 course. So, what have I learned. I learned how little I know! My original course goal was to become more efficient in the use of technology and I have definitely done that. I have been exposed to some of the amount of technology that is available. I might be in technology overload now.  Now my task will be to try and sort out which technologies are best suited for my classes and how I will use them. I will be exploring the use of Wikis and podcasts.  Before I embark on using any technology in the class, I think how is this going to really change student learning and getting the opinions of teachers in this course has been extremely valuable.

Possibly the most useful part that I may be able to incorporate into my classes maybe as I mentioned earlier would be the either the wikis and podcasts. we are about to write a group project on making a wiki site and I am very keen to see how it works and what maybe the possible uses in my classes. I will try the pecka pucha style of powerpoint presentations in order to get my students to practice their timing and being very well prepared. I don’t want to use technology just for the sake of using it. I would like it to have some real educational benefits.

Technology

This was in today’s Syndney newspaper about technology in schools. Times have changed so much in only the last few years as a government report is suggesting that students leave primary school being familiar with blogging, podscasts and other related media similar to what we are talking about in our course.  I like the idea that Australian students will be able to study Wikipedia as part of a the school syllabus. I don’t know why so many teachers are so against using Wikipedia as a resource for their students. I know that anyone can add information but as a starting point I think it is great.

Powerpoint presentation

Last session we gave a short powerpoint presentation using the pecha kucha style of powerpoint presentation. Because of the time resrictions, in some ways it makes you be even more prepared than you would be without anytime restrictions. Having only 20 seconds to present a slide doesn’t allow for any real thought for the audience. It may be difficult to use for me in my classes as we rely a lot on diagrams in science and to anlayse a digaram in 20 seconds would be rather difficult. It also doesn’t allow for discussion.

However, I think that I will use it in my class as a task for the students to present using the pecha kucha style. Timing is difficult for many students so I think that this format will push them to be very well prepared.

I wonder

We just watched a video in our Tech course in which students were continually calling to be allowed more freedom in their education (I’m not sure if they wrote the script themselves or was it written by adults)  and should be allowed various ways to asses themselves.  Now, I don’t have any problems with that my concern is that we cannot get rid of testing with the traditional pen and paper tests. In the real world don’t we rely on the people we associate with to have been rigorously tested, such as doctors. Wouldn’t we be doing our students a diservice by eliminating pen and paper testing all together?

What makes a good blog

Anyone can make a blog and if they are in Stale’s course, they can make a really good blog. This has got me thinkning, “What makes a good blog?” Is it the number of posts that have been put onto it? What about the more people that contribute, does that make it better by default? What about the people who contibute. I would much rather read a blog say on earth science where the contibutors were credible academics who have been researching in the area for considerable time than a group of creation scientists.

I’m curious to know how these sites who claim to have the top blogs rate their blogs. For example on this EDUBLOG I couldn’t see their criteria for assessing the qualityof a blog.

I’m starting to see blogs as personal and for select groups who share a common interest. For example, why would I look at a blog on how a sporting team is going while other people might find that very interesting, getting people’s opinins on why the referee was wrong, e.t.c.

I don’t think that there can be a single definition on what makes a good blog. In my opinion it’s down to what you you want and what you get out of it.

Podcasting in education

I didn’t know what Podcasting was two hours ago and now I have some rough idea what it is and how it can be used in education.

I’ve had a look around the net and have found these sites which rlate to my teaching area of science. Many are quiet entertaining and informative, although soem are above the year levels that I teach. podcast 1

Here is a link done by two fellow collegues on education and technology in a podcast. Mike and Tom’s Podcast

I would like to find a site that has current information specifically in my area of biology up to grade 12 level, with an emphasis on genetic engineering, stem cell research e.t.c.

This is an interesting podcast on science and education but even if you don’t teach science I think you would still find it very interesting. Podcast 2