My Mind (you don’t want to go there)

Imagine using a Mind Map to reflect your actual way of thinking – I would need one in 3D with multiple platforms operating simultaneously with sound effects for an accurate portrayal. I am not a mindmapper. I am a ‘lister’ – I like lists and post-it notes stuck on my computer and purse, and notes scrawled on scraps of paper all over the place. And yet my mind can visualise EXACTLY where something is, like the absent-minded professor, so never ever, ever clean my desk or I won’t be able to find what I’m looking for! As soon as I attempt to reorganise into some semblance of order I got side-tracked how to file things under specific areas, and re-arrange and re-sort and can never find what I’m looking for and yet my mind can visualise the EXACT colour pen used on the EXACT coloured paper and the EXACT spot where that important scrap of note WAS located.

New Mind Map (2)And yes you guessed it – I had to draw a mind map from a list written with pen and paper before trialling this program! Ok I admit it – it was fun, fiddly but fun. We learn by doing, however, and this little exercise has shown me some of the benefits of the wonderful world of ICT – no paper wastage or re-writing, ease of drag ‘n drop, colours for visuals. Just takes a bit of practice adapting and becoming familiar with new techniques.

This makes me reflect on individual learning styles and ways of thinking. Sure we should be providing students with the skills of the 21st century but we must also be mindful that different minds work in different ways. I am a firm believer in the pen-n-paper method as I find for myself personally (and saw an article recently) that minds can remember information better if written by hand. If I write down a phone number I never forget it, if it is typed into my phone contacts I never remember it. If I write my shopping list and leave it at home I can still visualise that list in my mind when out shopping.

I have used ‘mind maps’ written on the whiteboard whilst on prac (even using circles not lists!) but the advantage of this program keeps a permanent copy for future reference that can be pulled out at any time and edited. And keep older versions for comparison.

Learn by doing otherwise your mind can close off potentially advantageous avenues! Never say never (which is what I said when presented with this task).

Golly gosh the gadgets we take for granted – I have forgotten internet and emails from my list of ICT tools.

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Assignment 2 = devastation & destruction

My unit resembles one of the ugly step-sisters trying to squeeze into Cinderella’s shoe!

So we learn by making mistakes. A difficult and costly path to follow but one I have taken. I am notorious for having to do something wrong to get it right and I was true to form. In my enthusiasm in unlocking the world of ICT I have mistaken ICT-rich for ICT-saturation in my Year 6 science unit on Natural Disasters. Because I am personally on an exiting ICT learning/discovery journey I have therefore entirely focussed my unit on the students’ learning new ICT and completely left out the science content descriptors from my unit and how the ICT aligns to them and what the students are supposed to be learning. So, basically I had a unit on ICT and nothing on Natural Disasters ! I have also totally missed the point how ICT can be transforming for teachers, not just students.

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HINDSIGHT. One word that is such a horrible experience but one that should be turned into a positive learning experience. Although right now I would rather chuck a temper tantrum and toss in the towel. The joys of finding information on the internet, finding too much and trying to mash it all into a size too small in the excitement and pride of demonstrating ‘hey look what I have learned’.  So after a chat with my kiddlywinks, I now aware that while all the wonderful ICT I implemented is new to ME, it is old news for THEM. They have already learned how to use these tools so I did not need to explicitly teach them or even focus on them, or use so many of them. HINDSIGHT.

I was so proud too to find several existing units online and learn from these ideas and make my own tweaks to what, I thought, was an engaging and educational unit. As I now try to fill in the missing content descriptors and match them up to learning experiences I am just realizing that they are not ‘alignable’ (yes marker, I think you’ve invented a new word). And another huge mistake was using a variety of science and geography units for reference – the subject areas do overlap and are complementary but I have used geography and literacy content descriptors to design my science activities. So after beating myself over the head and kicking myself in the butt,  *lightbulb moment* I finally understand what is meant by an integrated unit. In (unsuccessfully) trying to create a unit focussed on science descriptors I have actually designed an integrated literacy, geography and science (and ICT???) unit – and looking at these subject areas’ content descriptors, there is alignment.

So, not EVERYTHING in the classroom has to be complicatedly conducted as an assessment piece using ICT – there is nothing wrong with simple group or class discussions to achieve the same aim. The difficultly now lies in taking a step back, regrouping myself and my emotions (fear of failure) and march onto assignment 3. I would personally like to thank Barb (Messsenger) and other members of EDC3100 (Facebook) for their support!

 

 

 

The answer to my AAP query – thx Barb

Earlier I excitedly posted about a ‘new’ pedagody Age Appropriate Pedagogies that I ‘discovered’ in an online teachers forum but was unable to find any official documentation even though I joined the AAP group on facebook. Click on the link at the bottom and Barb has found where to find out the answers ! Now THIS is how blogging and networking SHOULD work! And I was able to link to her blog using the ‘share’ icon instead of having to screenshot, copy and post, it was all automatic including a link.

In 2 weeks, I begin my 4th Professional Experience. I’m going to Prep or Foundation, the very early years of learning. In light of that I decided to do some exploring about little people. Queensland Early Childhood Education and Care , is definitely worth a visit. Links galore and lots of information. Age appropriate pedagogies applies to […]

via Professional Experience coming up. — Barbc.blog

Planning and Preparing for Prac : ICT

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Before this course I would not have considered one single item on this checklist – now it has become my mantra. OK so I won’t let ICT takeover my prac planning and it may not be possible for me to achieve all ten goals  but now my mind is aware and open to ICT whereas before it was closed and limited to using YouTube videos as an engaging lesson introduction. Credit goes to Teachthought blog (me before: blog meh, me now: blog yeah!). Again, before this course my mind was closed to blogging now I find myself turning to professional blogs for learning – not just the practical aspects of ICT tools and delivery but the theory and pedagogy of ICT in the classroom. Number 9 has been the successful challenge for me, all credit to this course and I aim to achieve all the others over my teaching career beginning with my very next prac.

digital citizenshipCredit  goes to World Economic Forum : 8 Digital Life Skills all children need – and a plan for teaching them. (Both of these popped up on my Facebook newsfeed from the group Digital Technologies and Computational Thinking – they came to me, I didn’t have to go looking. Another learning curve : how social media can be educational networks not just about funny cat videos and sarcastic memes). This article directly relates to last week’s lecture which has unlocked a whole new mindset and way of thinking about my roles and responsibilities as a teacher. My mind is afire with so many new concepts concerned with the 21st century, and prac/teaching is oh so much more than planning lessons and managing student behaviour. I feel so naïve about my concerns for undertaking prac in light of this whole new world that has been unlocked.

 

 

 

Assignment 2

SAMRWhat did I change for assignment 2? Only ALL of the ICT !!! The unit itself is appropriate as I borrowed it from the internet (another learning curve : why re-invent the wheel when you are inexperienced and instead can learn from the tried-and-tested as posted by the experienced on the internet?)  I confess that as a digital immigrant I am still learning with the R & A of the RAT paradigm yet at a loss with the T stage. I am still ‘discovering’ how to use ICT for the RA and am aware that I am missing the (poin)T.  Google to the rescue! Want to Transform Learning? Then Choose Transformational Tools. The SAMR model is similar but having experienced examples is essential as a guide through the profusion of ICT and the plethora of ‘new’ concepts. So I borrowed the ICT examples provided.

I have used PowerPoint and MovieMaker once only for university assignments but it is all I know so used these in my original plan and have heard of mind maps and graphic organisers. Dear Bloom : remembering the ICT discovered so far on a journey is one thing, applying it is something different entirely!  OK so I may have been ‘lazy’ and copied these transformational ideas but it has helped my individual ICT learning considerably. Things I could not conceive on my own.

The Year 6 science unit : ‘Natural Disasters’ aka ‘sudden geological changes and extreme weather events can affect Earths surface. Working in mixed ability groups to maximise peer learning, students are assigned a ‘disaster’ and have three tasks/learning experiences to complete and post to the class blog where they can review each other’s work and learn about more than just one ‘disaster’ in a term.  For each task, groups create a mind map or graphic organiser as their formative assessment in addition to the end task assessment which is posted to the blog so they can follow their own progress as they learn and receive feedback from students and teacher. Each ICT was selected due to its compatibility across a range of devices. (I have been hung up on the equity issue of access, or lack thereof, to ICT devices at home and at schools and confused entirely by the range of different devices and have therefore ignored many an ICT. But this assignment has led me to the ‘discovery’ of using programs with device compatibility that can be used in any classroom regardless  of the ICT available. Ignorance – be gone, Mindset – evolve).

Lucidchart is the mindmap/graphic program used – it can be used collaboratively by more than one student at a time, working together from different computers/devices, no more having one student in ‘control’ while others stand around over a single computer.

Task 1 : students create a PowerPoint constructing the scientific facts of the ‘disaster’. This was changed to PowerPoint Online which allows students to be seated independently at their own computer yet still working collaboratively as a group. And teacher can provide private feedback a they work – the concept behind all ICT chosen for this unit.

Task 2 : students create an online book using Storybird (also with collaborative and feedback functions) to construct a case study of an real-life disaster event which ends with their analysing the consequences on humans (leading to task 3).

Task 3 : students apply their knowledge and transform it to create an authentic community awareness campaign in video format using WeVideo to inform the public how to prevent, minimise and survive the effects of their disaster. WeVideo also has a collaborative function and advanced features such as green screen and embedding stills and videos to maximise student creativity and critical thinking.

lightbulb ideas.PNGJust occurred to me – to make this unit entirely authentic,  their disasters should be chosen from the Australian context (cyclones, drought, floods, bushfires) and their campaigns could actually be shared on SOCIAL MEDIA when such a disaster does occur in real life, who knows it might help save lives! Until this very moment I have been extremely biased against using social media in the classroom. Now I see the potential.

A slight detour …

Digital Technologies 4 Primary. This just popped up on my newsfeed, and whilst this course doesn’t delve into digital technologies, it’s worth a peek especially the video on Digital Transformation. I have to confess to delaying this course, several times, specifically because it deals with ICT of which I have a high level of fear and frustration. My general incompetence with ICT has now bloomed into a fascination with ICT both in general and in education and has led to an addiction to digital technologies which I had hereto avoided. I have avoided it also because I can’t afford it nor can the local schools where I prac or may end up working. But this can change. Quickly. We could find ourselves teaching this in our first job!  (Watch the video).

With each online discovery I now scroll down to investigate the platform the website is based on which leads to an investigation to see if I can learn some new ICT (who is this person???). I never would have bothered before and feel like I have progressed significantly in my ICT mindset. So, getting back on point, this site uses the G Suite of which I have heard discussed in teacher forums. It is not free unfortunately but you may have heard of the free Google platforms – the Google Docs is one you will use as an online student collaborating in groups with other students from around Queensland (specifically the third year science course). What ‘newer’ alternatives are there for Wiki, Wix or Weebly (and why do they all start with “W” ???) that we could use for our third assignment? I am hoping to trial something ‘new’ to improve my mindset and skillset (who is this person???).

And while I was ‘quickly’ investigating this, I found the answer to another quandary – STEM. I could not understand why the teacher forums shared the STEM storage boxes STEMof toys and activities that apparently appeared to have nothing to do with the ‘traditional’ interpretation of STEM. This explains it! A NEW PEDAGOGY !!! I am so excited right now. I haven’t been able to find anything ‘official’ online so if anyone knows where I can find more information about this ‘new’ pedagogy – please share. It looks to be our future (watch the video).

More on online PLNs

Here are a few more online PLNs that I have joined and found invaluable. While some may seem ‘dead’ and not particularly active or recent, there’s always the ‘search’ option if you are looking for something in particular that has been previously discussed (and I must confess this is how I have found some of the amazing stuff I have shared on my blog) as well as the ‘files’ section which is a record of files posted previously. And yes, these are all found on Facebook, the only social media tool that I have been successful in navigating, so you will need to join Facebook to access these interactive groups.

The Beginning Teacher (Personal Learning Network), Australian Pre-service Teachers (only created last week!), Digital Technologies and Computational Thinking, Teaching and Learning Digital Technologies/STEM, Teachers Resources for using ICT in the classroom, ITeach: Apps for the classrooms.

Interestingly, this little survey popped up from USQ on one of these groups : Teachers’ understanding of the digital technologies curriculum. So I am all excited about the possibilities of a digital technologies course being offered in the future (so please everybody – sign up and say YES we want this!!!).

USQ education students are on-the-ball in creating Facebook study groups for individual courses at USQ, as there is for this course (just search for the course code). These groups have been both a boon and a bane so it will be a matter of personal preference. The support offered by fellow students can be heart-warming and save you from quitting when it all just gets ‘too much’. Sometimes panic can set in and mob mentality can get out of hand. Sometimes you can ask the dumbest questions and get the best answers from your peers where the course has been unable to do so (like when you’ve read the task sheet 10 times and still missed something important).

Word of Warning : Technically these are ‘private’ and ‘closed’ groups, but as we all know (or should be reminded) NOTHING is private on the internet – what goes on the net is public, even if it is deleted. And whilst the rules of the group can stipulate that information on the page cannot leave the page or be shared, the reality is that this can neither be policed or enforced – how do you stop anyone from screenshotting a ‘private’ conversation and sharing it publicly online? Food for thought : we can teach our future students about online ethics but how can we prevent them from being involved when things get out of hand? Also, as teachers we will have to be aware of what WE share privately online could end up in the public arena where we can face online abuse, loss of reputations (and jobs) or end up in court. So PLEASE be circumspect in what you say online.

CREATE YOUR OWN PLN : some silly students were disrupting the serious study group so they set up their own facebook page where they could be silly!. Some of these students have since graduated and now are fully-fledged teachers whilst others are still studying and thus a network was created! From fun to reality – this group started out as fun, still has fun, has created a professional network and provides a lifeline support when life becomes overwhelming. Sorry but I cannot share this private group because it is private (invitation only and you will self destruct within 5 seconds of being revealed the secret identity). But if, like us, you click with other students then start your own network.

Personal Learning Networks

prep teachersThis professional group of teachers sharing resources, experience, lessons and ideas can be found on Facebook and is my ‘go to’ for all ICT solutions for this course. There is a group for each year level and for other areas like play pedagogy, coding, and age appropriate pedagogies amongst others (‘suggestions’ for similar PLN groups will pop up in Facebook, recognizable by the distinctive banner logo). This group has been the most dynamic PLN encountered so far, and whilst I joined in readiness for my prac with a prep class, have found information that transcends all years. Some of the other groups are ‘quiet’ (although interesting stuff can always be found in the ‘files’ section). This group, however, is constantly active and more than happy to help uni students. I have been overwhelmed at the amount of ICT that I have learned about and my diigo can barely keep up – and remember these recommendations are not sales pitches but tried and tested by experienced teachers on the job. There is not the time nor space to list the variety of ICT tools (amongst a lot of other teachings) that I have acquired but suffice to say that prior to this course my ICT skills were word processing for uni assignments, excel for budgeting my bills and Facebook for keeping in touch with my friends and family. Now, I have a wealth of knowledge and a resource toolkit bulging with apps about data management for the classroom (and uni and home), assessment and interactive feedback, portfolios, behaviour management, communication with parents, educational games, managing videos … and the list goes on and on and on. ICT concepts I could not have imagined on my own and even with the learnings from this course. I would recommend joining this group to boost your ICT knowledge regardless of whether you are primary, EC, secondary or TAFE. Not just for teacher tools and data management but transformational technologies for learning as well as teaching. And instant answers! Answers to anything – tax tips, tips on sanity and well-being, and always time for a laugh.

Here are just some of the magical toys … er tools …. I’ve ‘discovered’ but not yet mentioned …. educlipper, Symbaloo, Plickers, Edmodo, Showbie, ClassDojo, Seesaw, GoNoodle, Blabberize, Sqworl, Sketchup.

PLN rulesThe golden rule of these groups is that only FREE stuff is promoted (except for sales on educational equipment!) and advice about copyright – even sharing online, something we so easily forget. As one teacher found out the hard way – requesting a copy of something left at school, it could not be shared legally plus the creator of the copyrighted material is a member of the group. A timely reminder in this age of global easy-access-information.

Lost in (ICT) Space?

Mrs Treichler 's WikispaceLost in the plethora of software applications available? Instructional YouTube videos don’t provide you with enough information? Don’t have time to investigate the original website to gain an understanding of the basic concept and purpose of an app? Have absolutely no idea if the app you chose for your assignment can do what you THINK it can do? Then visit Mrs Trichler’s Wikispace ! Look to the menu on the left-hand side and click through the apps as she explains clearly for the beginning novice just some of those available (with a simple idiot’s guide to show you how they work too). There’s even helpful information about setting up your PLN and links to so many relevant ICT-in-education websites. Most importantly (for me) is the tips on how to use the ICT in transforming student learning! BAZINGA !!

To catch a RAT ….

RATFrustrating isn’t it when resources linked on study desk require you to pay or join some agency which you’d really rather not, or it’s in a book you can’t afford to buy and there’s no university campus nearby? In the mad dash of finishing assignment before deadline I found the actual paper on the RAT framework and this site also recommends other articles to help your understanding. I also found a BLOG (how exciting my first official professionally relevant blog) Digital Literacy Blog, which provides further information on this framework, and oh so much more.

RAT blogWhile I find the framework easy to understand in theory, I have some difficulty in putting it into practice – especially when I am so addicted to the novelty of so many new software applications. These toys … er … tools are simple replacement and amplication of old pen-and-paper techniques but I think I need more playtime … er … experience with them to be able to explore and apply the transforming part of the framework. Something which I hope these resources will help me achieve along the windy road to ICT-land.