Thursday, 12 April 2012

Assessment Activity - Week 2: Group 1 Tools - Wiki, BLog & Website

Group 1 Tools: Wiki, Blog & Website


Reflection on a WEBSITE


 OK so I created my website and I am really happy with its presentation.  I have found that the website provides me with options that the wiki and blog do not.  The website allows me to add resources that I want my student to access that they may not be able to access due to school security restrictions (i.e. YouTube clips).  By embedding these into my my webpage the student can access my webpage and therefore view these very useful YouTube clips. 

Student could construct their own website and use these to market a specific product therefore learning the language of marketing, understanding what is involved in creating and maintaining a webpage and then thinking of ways in which the advertising companies promote their websites. 

I have constructed a website that once I have finished editing, I will need to have it approved by my mentor teacher and placement school (to ensure that the resources I am using are able to be used by students, and do not  not breach any copyright or ethics and safety standards).  Once this website is approved by my placement school I intend to provide the link to my students so that they can access the additional resources that I have included here.


While I think the wiki, blog and website each has its place in learning, I decided to focus my attention on the website.  The website that I have created is really storage for my resources that I want my student to access.  I have sorted this website into the areas that I teach and have embedded links to excellent websites such as NASA’s astronomical website for interactive learning and math questions.  I have included direct links to blogs or articles specifically dealing with our unit of inquiry on plants.  I know that typically my students would A, not look for this information as it is more scientific based than they are used to, and b would get sick of having to troll through all of the information to find something useful.  While I have no intention of using these sources for any assessment items, I am instead trying to provide my students with more technical sources of information so that they become exposed to the higher level vocabulary and for the gifted and talented students to ensure they are engage with the content being provided.    I have also embedded a number of excellent YouTube clips as YouTube is blocked from the student’s computers; however by accessing these clips through my website they are still able to view them.  This also gets around a multitude of safety and ethical issues of having students trying to search for YouTube information at home.  YouTube has excellent resource, but it also has a great deal of explicit sources of information that you do not want children to be exposed to. 


 Ms Higlett's Website



Reflection on a WIKI

 While I have decided to focus my time and attention on my Webpage, as this is the most useful application for my pedagogy at the current time.  I have also created a Wiki and a Blog.

I decide not to focus all of my attention on the wiki as I felt that this would not be the best program to use for the purpose I had in mind.  I created my webpage as a storage system for all of the wonderful resources that I am discovering but had no where to combine and  develop.  This is only an extra resource for my student I have other application that I will be using in class with them, such as my Prezzi - where I have include a lot of things that I want to cover in class, Gizzmos - simulation experiments that the students may be required to start in class and finish for home work.  The OneNote Notebook that I have developed for them to record their notes in this.  This document holds the questions that go with the photosynthesis lab Gizmo and the seed germination lab Gizmo.

Also I have developed a Homework Wiki which I intend to give all students access to only this page, with the intention that over the course of the 8 weeks of learning and experimentation, the students would periodically answer questions that set in this wiki.  As there will be two classes of Year 11 biology students the opportunity to constructively learn through collaboration is great.  As each student has formulated their own hypothesis and made their own decision as to what to test, this forum give the students the ability to share their information, so that if you did not actually test for example pH you can see those in the class who did and what results they achieved.  This homework wiki is then discussed in class as a group to ensure student are making correct inferences from what they have observed, recorded and drawn their conclusions on.

Collaborative Homework Wiki for Yr 11 Biology Experiment


Reflection on a BLOG


The creation of my blog gave me the platform to begin reflecting on my experiences and on the activities I was undertaking.  My blog was essential for my learning as this is where I have completed all of my reflections on the activities undertaken blog.  I understand the importance of reflecting as both a learner and a teacher.  It is important for teachers to not only reflect on their own practice but to reflect on their student learning and to what level this is being achieved. 
  The Blog is what you are seeing now, I have included a Voki, Photos, all of my responses to the weekly activities and assessment 2.  Some interesting resources and a cartoon.





Assessment Activities - Week 4: Group 2 Tools - Movies, Images & Audio


MOVIES

I think movies are a great tool for developing the students learning.  All student are visual learners and the use of video and movies are an essential component of the multiliteracies. 
    






 IMAGES

The old adage a picture say a thousand words  is often quite ept, and the use of multimodes sources such as movies, images, podcasts, avatars (vokis) and formal text in association with each other will only heighten the learning outcomes of students.    NASA Images are some really incredible examples of some amazing photos.


NASA Images

NASA images

Photo shows the City Lights of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, acquired February 22, 2012

(Photo downloaded from NASA Earth observatory, taken from:http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=77360)


PODCASTS


I use podcasts all the time I love these and often use the audiobooks or abc science podcasts.

A way in which I would use this resource in my pedagogy would be to supply the students with a range of podcasts from varying sources (some from well respected sources that utilise established scientifically research information and other sources whose information may be questionable).  I would then ask my students to write a review (maybe even a peer review) on the podcast

 I think these could also be a good resource to give to students to download onto their ipods, and then write



VOKI's & BLABBERIZE


I have had a lot of fun creating my Blabberize media.  Please go to my Blog(link: Blabberize). I have recorded myself attempting to use this tool to post questions to my students, etc.   I think this tool would be great embeded into a Wiki to scaffold a learning task assigned in the Wiki or a Website to pose questions to the students based on the information they have rad on that website to ensure the students are not only understanding the information read but they also know how to put that information into practice.   I have also enjoyed using Voki - I have created a Avatar / Voki on my blog layout page, his name is Harrod and he is my 'welcome dog'.  Voki can be used for the same sorts of applications that you would use Blabberize for.  One difference that i have found is that the Voki is more interactive and may therefore be more engaging for the students.  However seeing their teacher with a Blabberize face would be quite funny!

Students could also create a Voki for themselves to present information in their own assessment itesm, for example to add to their PowerPoint presentations, or on a website they have designed as in the example I used for Productive Pedagogy (Blog productive pedagogies).

ASSESSMENT 2 - REFLECTIVE SYNOPSIS



REFLECTIVE SYNOPSIS

The rapid developments of digital technology over the last decades of the 20th century has seen today’s students from kindergarten to college having grown up with these technologies as a part of their everyday lives (Prensky, 2001, (1)).   Termed the digital natives, Prensky (2001) explains that, as a result of being surrounded by this pervasive digital environment and the large number of their interaction with it, "... today’s students think and process information fundamentally differently from their predecessors” (Prensky, 2001, (1)).
Due to these continual interactions with the digital environment, Prensky believed that  children have developed different thinking patterns and suggested changes in brain structures (Prensky, M, 2001, (2)).  This notion is supported by the research into Neuroplasticity, which has found that the brain is constantly rewiring and re-organising itself throughout our childhood and into adult life.   Before this was discovered it had been long thought that the brain could not physically be changed based on stimulation received from the outside. 
“Today’s students are no longer the people our educational system was designed to teach (Prensky, 2001, (1)).”  The big difference from today is this:  the kids back then didn’t expect to be engaged by everything they did.  The kids today do, because this is the reality of their digital world, directly available information at their fingertips, instant gratification and frequent reward. (Prensky,2005).  Our students want to be engaged with what they know, the digital world.    E-learning through its student centred, constructivist approach has enabled our students to access, apply and manipulate knowledge in dramatically different ways through multimodal methods of learning.

Digital Pedagogy moves the focus from ICT tools and skills to a way of working in the digital world (Queensland Government, 2008).  The key is to using digital pedagogy effectively, is to support, enhance, enable and transform teaching and learning to provide rich, diverse and flexible learning opportunities for a digital generation (Queensland Government, 2008).  When digital pedagogies are used effectively they become productive pedagogies and can facilitate deep knowledge through higher order thinking. 


Mobile Phone DeBonos Hat Wiki (Constructivist Learning)

My learning journey started with the a group online activity whereby we collaboratively provided responses to the Mobile phones question under the framework of De Bono’s Six Thinking Hats in the Wiki.  I felt that this experience was an extremely positive one for me.   When I first saw the question (Mobile Phone Wiki) I wasn’t sure how to answer it, as there are for and against arguments to allowing the use of mobile phones into the classroom.  However being able to consider this question from the different perspectives supported my learning process and by using the collaborative application of a wiki I was able to understand the question and how to answer the question by considering comments posted by my peers.  Once I got into this activity and started “putting on” the different hats and looking at the question from that specific perspective I felt the freedom of considering point of view and side to the argument that I probably would have disregarded had I not used this Thinking Tool.  My initial reaction was concern relating to the safety, legal and ethical problems surrounding the use of mobile phones in the classroom.   .  It wasn’t until I was given the freedom to relinquish myself from these mental programs and start to consider the question from many different perspectives that I was able to truly understand what the question was asking.  It didn’t matter what we were discussing it was the fact that we were discussing in a public forum (wiki) collaboratively and from different viewpoints combining our programs from religion, culture, parents, school life and other experiences and factors that shape our views of the world.    At the end of this task I had actually changed my initial feelings and beliefs surrounding the use of mobile phones in the classroom and I was onside with this idea, because I was given the opportunity to consider different perspectives in a passive environment.
 I would implement the use of de Bono’s six thinking hats in my pedagogy to assist my students in achieving deep knowledge through higher order thinking.  I would also employ the use of graphic organises such as the Know, Want, Learn (KWL) diagram to help my student structure their thoughts and thinking.
Please refer to my link:( link to blog post on de Bono's 6 Thinking hats ) for further information pertaining to my learning experience from this activity.


GROUP 1 TOOLS

My learning journey followed onto the Group 1 tools which included the creation of a wiki a blogs and a websites.  I explored all of these tools, my blog was essential for my learning as this is where I have completed all of my reflections on the activities undertaken blog (link to: link to blog post on group 1 tools).  I understand the importance of reflecting as both a learner and a teacher.  I also explored the Wiki and I embedded a number of different applications, however the most useful addition I made to my Wiki was to add a page (Link: Collaborative Homework Wiki for Yr 11 Biology Experiment) which I intend to use with my year 11 class for homework.
While I think the wiki, blog and website each has its place in learning, I decided to focus my attention on the website.  The website that I have created is really storage for my resources that I want my student to access.  I know that typically my students would a) not look for this information as it is more scientific based than they are used to, and b) would get sick of having to troll through all of the information to find something useful.  While I have no intention of using these sources for any assessment items, I am instead trying to provide my students with more technical sources of information so that they become exposed to the higher level vocabulary and to ensure that I am catering for the gifted and talented students to ensure they are engage with the content being provided.    I have also embedded a number of excellent YouTube clips as YouTube is blocked from the student’s computers; however by accessing these clips through my website they are still able to view them.  This also gets around a multitude of safety and ethical issues of having students trying to search for YouTube information at home.  YouTube has excellent resource, but it also has a great deal of explicit sources of information that you do not want children to be exposed to. 


GROUP 2 TOOLS

My learning journey onto the Group 2 Tools includes Movies, Images, Podcasts, Voki (on my blog) and Blabberize (Link to Blabberize blog post).  (Please refer to my blog posting for more information: link to blog post on Group 2 Tools, movies, images & audio).
Of these tools, the tool which I would use the most in my pedagogy would be the movies or movie-maker.  I think this gives the students freedom to be creative, to use this tool to produce assessment items for example, I could engage my geography or science students to plan, coordinate, direct, produce and feature in a short movie / information report based on endangered animals and recorded for a primary school audience.  I think movie-maker would be the best application as this is readily available and very easy to use.


 GROUP 3 TOOLS

My journey then led me to the Group 3 Tools, which I think will be quite helpful in designing and organising my lesson plans and the resources for my lesson plans. 
I spent most of my time creating a Prezi zooming poster.  (Link to blog post on Presi zooming presentation )
I also created an interactive PowerPoint presentation (Link to blog post on PowerPoint )


My take home points are from this learning activity are:
1. I like the visual aspects of Prezi it helps me sort my thinking and assists me in relating all of the information back to the big picture by having all the information on one display screen and being able to zoom in and out. I think as a teacher I would be more inclined to use Prezi for my presentations. And I would encourage my students to use Prezi where appropriate.
2. However I think PowerPoint might be a better application to have my students use when designing their presentations as this would be less time consuming and more user friendly.
3. Glogster is a great poster style visual presentation tool and it is interactive as it has animated objects, sound and video / you tube embedding available. However it does have its draw backs as it restricts the amount of information you are able to present in this application. I love the fact that it requires students to be creative and to express themselves.
4. At the end of the day I would have my student play around with each application and I would offer my students the option to choose which visual presentation form they would prefer to use (Prezi, or PowerPoint or Glogster). (Much like this course!).



 GROUP 4 TOOLS

My journey continued onto the group 4 tools which really amazed me. Once I started to explore the Group 4 tools and developed an understanding of exactly what resources are available for my pedagogy.  These tools (see my Blog Posting: Group 4 Tools BLOG for further information and resources) are very engaging especially the simulation tools.  I could stand in front of the class and point at a picture a leaf at the cellular level and try to explain what happens through photosynthesis, or I could give my students a simulator gizmo (providing I also scaffold them appropriately) and give them the opportunity to fiddle and play with the setting to consider what is happening and why and to answer some questions to test that the student did achieve the learning outcomes.  Following on from this my student can then use the knowledge that they attained from the simulation gizmo and apply it to their own experiment, which they are required to hypothesis, design, undertake, investigate and draw findings and conclusions from.  I think this would be a great way of ensure that my students were using Higher Order Thinking and were relating plant physiology to the real world (agriculture). 



As we are transitioning into the next step of our program, moving into the classroom, it is imperative as pre-service teachers that we are aware of what our responsibilities are: 
·         All teachers work within policies that are developed from legislation. Whilst the ongoing consideration of safety potentially limits the freedom of online exploration, it must be adhered to and well managed.
Refer to the below links which will help to ensuring that both myself as the teacher and my student are behaving in a legal, safe and ethical manner. 



(Information sourced from course content: http://moodle.cqu.edu.au/mod/resource/view.php?id=254722)

As an effective eLearning teacher I am required to:
  • have an understanding of the role of ICT for 21st Century curriculum design/interpretation, pedagogy and student learning;
  •  make conscious decisions about student centred learning based on an understanding of digital learners
  • employ a variety of methodologies and current learning theories and practices and
  • demonstrate an ongoing commitment to professional development and collaboration with practicing professionals to share and reflect on learning (Queensland Government, 2008). 
My goal for the next phase of this learning journey is to be an effective eLearning teacher, to systematically explore the students learning capabilities and capacity through the effective use of ICTs in order to structure the student learning with graphic organiser and thinking tools (such as de Bono’s Hats) to promote higher order thinking.  



References:

·         Prensky, M (2001), (1) Digital natives, digital immigrants. Retrieved from www.marcprenzky.com

·         Prensky, M (2001), (2) Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants Part 2: The scientific evidence behind the Digital Native’s thinking changes, and the evidence that Digital Native-style learning works! 

·         Prensky, M., 2005, Engage Me or Engrage Me- what today’s learners demand.,Educause review, September / October 2005; Access from: http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/erm0553.pdf

·         Queensland Government, 2008, Smart Classrooms Bytes – advice for schools on the latest ICT research for education; issue: August 2008, Visit the Smart Classrooms, access from: www.education.qld.gov.au/smartclassrooms




Week 6: Group 4 Tools - Interactive Learning Objects

INTERACTIVE LEARNING OBJECTS

  In relation to the interactive learning objects that make up the group 4 tools I have used used  GoogleEarth in the past.  So I was quite excited once I found out what resources are out there, available online.   I do have to say the simulation interactive learning objects such as the Gizmos, really interested me and I can easily see how I could use these within my classroom. 

 

GIZMOS

I have designed my Prezi Zooming Presentation which I intend to use during my first placement where I am working with year 11 students on their unit of work which will be covering Plant Physiology.  I have included a few Gizmos into my Prezi to use in class.  I have included a PrintScreen of the Photosynthesis Lab which we will be using.  The idea is for the students to simulate experiments to gain an understanding of what factors affect plant growth.  Then the student are to undertake their own plant growth experiment by selecting one variable to alter (soil pH or light levels, etc.  I first obtained the Gizmo through my access to SCOOTLE (Catholic Education Database for Teacher Resources), using this access I was able to also get access to ExploreLearning.  I have added the links to these in my Prezi (however I do not think they will open without the Scootle password - sorry!) (I have also signed up for a free 30 day trial).  Definitely a resource I will be looking to have access to once I become a registered teacher as well. 


The great thing about these Gizmos on ExploreLearning is that they also come with teacher notes and notes for students to scaffold learning.  I wasn't able to embed the pdf file into my blog.  So instead I have saved into onto my website - Under Science - Biology of Plants.  
http://www.weebly.com/weebly/main.php
 
The class that I am working with all have computers so they often take all of their class notes in OneNote.  For my class to use this pdf, they can access from my website but, to make it easier for them I have actually added the pages from the pdf into OneNote so that the student can add their comments directly into OneNote during class.


ExploreLearning






7 BILLION ACTIONS


Explore your world through 7 Billion Actions - did you know that we live in a world of 7 billion people, living in seven continents and more than 200 countries, this dashboard allows you to take a closer look at the world population in 2011 and beyond: Check out populations by region or country. Look at the proportion of young and old. See what various paths the future population growth may take.

7 Billion Actions




(Print screen captured from: http://www.7billionactions.org/data )


ADOBE FLASH



Link to Futures Thinking Tool - Biotechnology Learning Hub


This Tool - Futures Thinking used Adobe Flash.  This is a really amazing tool that I would implement into my Human Geography or Environmental studies.  I would probably look to use this as the assessment item as it ensure that students are using higher order thinking.  Students are required to look at a scenario / topic from many different perspectives - personal, local, national and global.  They are to consider these four perspectives when thinking about the existing situation, the trends over time & drivers of these trends (reasons for change), when contemplating the possible futures, and then deciding on their preferable futures.  Taking this all into accounts students are then required to summarize their decisions and explain how they came to these decisions.  (Very Cool!)




(Print screen captured from: http://www.sciencelearn.org.nz/Thinking-Tools )


GOOGLE EARTH


Google Earth

I have used Google Earth quite a bit adding my own pinpoints for future reference  to define areas that I needed to zoom to quickly.  I think this would be a great pedagogical resource especially for my teaching areas science and geography. With geography the students could use Google Earth 'to fly around the world' and then view these from the street view (which is amazing).  Giving the students the ability to gain perspective on places without having to leave the classroom.  There are also other functions and applications / layers (traffic layer, etc.) hat you can add to Google Earth.  But my favourite add on program is Ocean - this is where a National Geographic ocean explorer, Sylvia Earle, narrates a highlight tour through some of the best photos and videos in the 'Explore the Ocean' layer in Google Earth.

Explore Oceans in Google Earth


Google Earth even has its own Lat & Longs Blog!



Assessment Activity - Week 2: De Bono's Six Thinking Hats







 De Bono's Six Thinking Hats


  Mobile Phones - should they be used in the classroom?



The engagement activity this week was to using de Bono's six thinking hats to facilitate in reflecting on the topic "mobile phones - should they be used in the classroom?".
 Mobile Phones Wiki Activity

When considering the four learning theories of behaviourism, cognitivism, constructivism and connectivism, I fell that this activity was mainly based in the Constructivist approach along with some Connectivism. Through the use of the wiki for collaborative style learning and response both Constructivism and Connectivism are being applied in order to engage the learner and improve their level of thinking and learning. The use of the appropriately scaffolded wiki which house the de Bono's size thinking hats framework for us to reflect within was also designed within the Constructivism approach.

The Constructivist approach to pull information, ideas, existing prior knowledge, and facts together building the knowledge bank and constructing learning and understanding. The connectivist approach is applied through connecting people, and knowledge with the use of the wiki (technology).

Through the use of both of the theories class combined Reflections were compiled in the wiki quickly and with relative ease and students were able to utilise the information collaboratively in order to learn as much as possible. My experience with this process of collaboratively providing responses to the Mobile phones question under the framework of de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats in the Wiki was extremely positive. When I first saw the question (Mobile Phone Wiki) I wasn’t sure how to answer it, as there are for and against arguments to allowing the use of mobile phones into the classroom. However being able to consider this question from the different perspectives supported my learning process and by using the collaborative application of a wiki I was able to understand the question and how to answer the question by considering comments posted by my peers.

Once I got into this activity and started “putting on” the different hats and looking at the question from that specific perspective I felt the freedom of considering point of view and side to the argument that I probably would have disregarded had I not used this Thinking Tool. As humans we are creatures of habit, and we tend to be set in our ways and our opinions, and resist. I know that automatically my first thoughts were negative when reading the question about whether there is a place for mobile phones in the classroom. I automatically thought of the legal, safety and ethical problems that might be caused by allowing students to use their phones freely in the classroom, you see my experience has been that it is rude to use your mobile phone in the classroom or when at a meeting, etc. and not to mention the risk of increased cyber bullying and the other behaviour management issues involved. It wasn’t until I was given the freedom to relinquish myself from these mental programs and start to consider the question from many different perspectives that I was able to truly understand what the question was asking.

It didn’t matter what we were discussing it was the fact that we were discussing in a public forum (wiki) collaboratively and from different viewpoints combining our programs from religion, culture, parents, school life and other experiences and factors that shape our views of the world. At the end of this task I had actually changed my initial feelings and beliefs surrounding the use of mobile phones in the classroom and I was onside with this idea, because I was given the opportunity to consider different perspectives in a passive environment. I have been thinking of ways that I can implement what I am learning into my pedagogy in the classroom.

The tools that I have found to be the most helpful with my learning have been the use of graphic organises such as the Know, Want, Learn (KWL) diagram or the use of the learning tool – De Bono’s 6 thinking hats to help structure my thinking and learning. I also think using a resource such as a wiki for example the students to complete their homework, so a Homework Wiki, is a great application of this as student can check what they had learnt in class that day through the comments of their peers in a collaborative framework. This resource however would have its limitations as it would be difficult to see those students who actually do not really understand but are just mirroring the comments of their peers. So this would be used periodically for homework or a response to an interesting mulch-faceted question.


 (Image taken from Loosetooth.com Visual Communications : http://www.loosetooth.com/Viscom/blogarchive/0404.htm)