In her wiki ‘6 words’ (thanks for the link and information, Jenny Luca), Lauren O’Grady says something that I feel very passionately about – she talks about bridging students and teachers through multiliteracies. Her blog, ‘teachers are learners – learners are teachers’, takes as its theme the vision of a partnership between student and teacher, and more than that; if we acknowledge that learning and teaching are complementary, then we do away with that hierarchical, unequal footing in the classroom. Then we free teachers from having to know everything (which is impossible), and encourage them to learn continually, share their learning, take learning from whoever is willing to give it.
With Book Week coming up, I decided to involve students in my own learning. Voicethread is something I know about in theory only, and I thought we could record the activities including student comments . I’ve also not used iRivers or audacity to record or edit audio. Today I spoke to some students and, surprise! surprise! – they’re more than willing to help out. I’m looking forward to it and will post about the experience once Book Week is over. Next week I’m hoping to take part in a class of year 7 students who are learning to use Video Studio. I’d better make a head start on the how-to, because, as the teacher reminded me, the pace will be at the level of the students, not the adults.
Connecting with the Beijing Olympic Games is more interesting and dynamic with technology. Think of what the moon landing would have been like if we’d had the same possibilities. I remember being spontaneously sent home from school so that we could all watch the landing on TV. (Grade 5, in case you’re wondering. Linda Fewings came home with me and we ate crumpets.) What we have now is almost instant visual information (videos, slideshows, pictures), dynamic news through RSS (Twitter; Very Recent search engine) and interactive tools (trackers and maps). A great way to introduce students to Web 2.0 technologies when they’re already engaged in the Olympics.
I’ve been fishing for links to the Beijing Olympic Games and here’s what I’ve caught:
Summer Games on Youtube
Interactive map of Beijing Games on New York Times
Teacher Planet (lots of resources on the Olympic Games) Continue reading #080808 Olympic Games
This inspirational talk is by Benjamin Zander, a leading interpreter of Mahler and Beethoven, known for his charisma and unyielding energy, and once conductor of the Boston Philharmonic.
Benjamin Zander has ‘two infectious passions: classical music, and helping us all realize our untapped love for it — and by extension, our untapped love for all new possibilities, new experiences, new connections. He uses music to help people open their minds and create joyful harmonies that bring out the best in themselves and their colleagues’ (TED). Continue reading Who am I being
Wes Fryer compares good teaching to good cooking. He talks about ‘recipes’ being modified in a Web 2.0 context to suit specific needs and situations. His six main ingredients for powerful teaching and learning are del.icio.us social bookmarks, Flickr photo sharing, VoiceThread digital storytelling, collaborative writing tools, websites for phone recording as well as SMS polling, and videoconferencing. How do these tools and applications differ from traditional 19th century teaching and learning? Replacing a one-way direction from teacher to student, where the teacher is the expert and the student a passive receptacle, these ingredients enable active and interactive learning.
I’m interested to find out more about the websites for phone recording and SMS polling. Are Australian teachers doing this?
I realise that many people would have discovered ages ago what Hawkesdale College has been doing with blogging, but since I’ve only just looked through properly, I have to do my little rave because otherwise I’ll burst. It’s so fantastic!
The Hawkesdale K-12 blog : Techno7 (Our first year 7-12)
is about students and teachers blogging through the 7-12 school journey.
What’s on the blog?
• There’s a page for each subject, plus extras, eg. study skills, etc.
• Each student has a blog for each subject
• Each teacher has a blog following their Web 2.0 journey, posting stuff for students, or just ideas, findings, etc. Continue reading Bravo Hawkesdale
Here’s a useful way of using Pageflakes in the classroom. A not so recent but still very exciting and relevant blog post by Will Richardson in Weblogg-ed (dated 21 November 2006) discusses Pageflakes as a dynamic student portal. Will talks about creating a topic-specific page on Darfur/Sudan built on tag feeds from YouTube for videos, Flickr for photos, the New York Times and the Sudan Tribune for news, del.icio.us for what people are bookmarking, and Google Blogsearch blogs.
I like this on so many levels. Firstly, Continue reading Green Pageflakes
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This video (3 in one) of the forum at Stanford University, "From MySpace to HipHop: new media in the everyday lives of youth", delves into a subject that I'm compulsively drawn to - social networking and the implications of these new ways of connecting. The questions that come out of these presentations are vital to our understanding of youth in order to evaluate and re-evaluate our teaching and learning programs. Some of these questions are:
Are we seeing an evolution to a new kind of engaged community?
Should we be enthused about the ubiquitous nature of digital media or should we be deeply concerned?
As educators, how can we spark the same engagement and motivation that we see on MySpace and Facebook?
Are young people changing through their participation with digital media?
How does this change their relationship to school and home life?
Why do they participate in digital communities rather than real life?
Although the research study presented here doesn't tell us what to do, only what we need to know, I think that it's vital to realise what we need to know. Our familiarisation with Web 2.0 applications is only the beginning of a new direction in education. More importantly, we need to understand why we are doing this and what else we need to find out. One of the speakers points out that we may be at an inflection point where change is accelerating and old ways disappearing, where systems are no longer working, indescribable innovation is becoming possible. If this is true, then we need to understand it and we need to understand the good and the bad, and we need to harness it.
I've spoken about the significance of audience for young people. The first speaker makes an important point - Web 2.0 and what young people do within this environment is inextricably tied with who they make it for and with. MySpace and Facebook enable deeply social activity not driven by the technology itself. Network publics are an extension of youth's existing publics. How does this change young people's relationship to school and home life?
I'm going back to the question I was asked at my recent interview: how do we get to know adolescents?
This question is at the heart of the research presented here. The goal of the research is to understand these changes from the point of view of youth themselves. As the first speaker said, before we can design our own adult-centred agendas for education, we have to try to take young people's agendas and experiences seriously on their own terms.
Have a look at Heather Horst's submission to the website Digital youth research. I found this link on Hey Jude. Thanks.
Restoration… Hagia Sophia scaffolding
Originally uploaded by annpar
Every day I’m reminded of the importance of the human presence behind the use of technology in teaching and learning. We need the good old-fashioned teacher to support the resource-based and student-centred learning more than ever. Before, during and after the research or learning process, we need, more than ever, the educator to explain, inspire, moderate, explain, encourage, supplement, support, explain … Otherwise the joy and understanding will go right out of the student’s assignment and the student will loathe the assignment and loathe learning. These are my thoughts as a teacher, teacher-librarian and parent.
Here’s what someone else had to say – scroll down to the halfway point.
It’s not a dichotomy – the old fashioned teacher and the 21 century teacher – it’s the same teacher.
esta es bella
Originally uploaded by sindicato de la imagen
I wanted to reply to a colleague’s blog on the subject of children’s books and childhood memories, but while I was searching flickr for a book cover that was under the Creative Commons category, someone else emailed me, wondering how to add a flickr image to the blog. Yes, I know I’ve done it, but that doesn’t mean I can remember how. In fact, the first picture I inserted was a simple matter of copying and pasting, and that was so easy, I’m wondering whether it was the wrong way to do it. This time I’m repeating the other way I did it, which was to click on the flickr image so that the picture had its own page, then click on the ‘blog this’ icon. I’ll see if this works. I love the way this is demonstrating learning – we don’t necessarily learn from the first time we do something. Doing it a few times, and especially trying to teach someone else, makes it stick. Having said that, I hope I remember it next time I get frustrated with a student who ‘has been told’ and who’s forgotten.
By the way, the picture is from one of the children’s books I remember from my childhood. Since I didn’t speak any English until I went to kindergarten, all of the books read to me by my mother and grandmother were in Russian. Looking back, I realise that I owe to these children’s books my love of bright colours (often strangely juxtaposed) and of the bizarre. Strange characters come to mind from the recesses of my mind – crocodiles in suits smoking cigars, a muddle-headed man who reminds me of Mr Bean, a giant, menacing sink (more like the whole vanity) with human features who bullied the boy who wouldn’t wash (Soviet moralism).