Feedback

After receiving feedback for my blog from my peers the consensus was that I needed to:

  • Focus on my reflection of the weekly tasks and show how my understanding has changed
  • Ensure I included teaching ideas that related to each topic areas
  • Include more graphics to enhance the visual appeal

Upon reading this and reviewing the rubric, I could clearly see where I was lacking in substance, so with this in mind I went back to each week  and reviewed them independently.  These are some of the modifications I made:

  • Added an image of my Prezi presentation and worked out how to add a link to it on the image
  • Conducted further research and found some creative teaching ideas using Prezi
  • Added an image of my Sploder game
  • Provided examples of how the skills learned through gaming can transfer to other contexts
  • Included the two Scratch links
  • Added examples for using infographics in the classroom

With these changes I was able to demonstrate my understanding between what I have learned in this unit and how it may influence my future teaching as well as ensure that the presentation of this blog is appealing and easy to follow.

I definitely found it harder to provide feedback and evaluate the work of others than what it is to receive feedback, however I feel I am on the right track in understanding this mind boggling world that is Digital Technology.

Thanks to my peers Donna and Tina for the constructive feedback.

References

PunchDigital. (2010). The World Has Gone Completely Digital.  Retrieved from http://www.punchdigital.com.au/blog/digital-marketing/the-world-has-gone-completely-digital/#.VGVvXskxjtg

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Lifelong Learning

In recent years we have been a part of a great shift in the way the world works thanks to digital technology, and based on what we looked at this week, education plays a significant role in ensuring our future generations are able to embrace these changes. As a teacher my role will be different from when I was at school in that I don’t necessarily provide students with knowledge so much as how to access knowledge therefore shifting from teacher-centered learning to collaborative learning (Howell, 2014).

There are different digital skills that we need to ensure students take with them throughout the remainder of their schooling and beyond. These include:

  • Experiences and exposure to various software and devices
  • Willing attitude and approach to digital technology
  • Fluency in using digital technology
  • Ability to transfer knowledge from one context to another

With these skills, students, and later employees (or employers), can approach all aspects of their life confidently and willingly with the ability to become global citizens.

Howell (2014), highlights some of the digital technology that students are expected to have throughout primary. These include:

  • Word processing
  • Spreadsheets
  • Publishing
  • Web-searching skills
  • Web design
  • Social media
  • Presentation software

Armed with the ability and fluency to manipulate these technologies, students are able to progress and transfer their digital knowledge to new contexts.

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CTRL + click to view Prezi presentation

With this in mind, this week I experimented with presentation software, Prezi, one of the many uses of technology to communicate our message not only within the classroom (or in our case on the blackboard) but globally.

Prezi was an easy program to manipulate, and whilst many of my peers commented on the ‘dizzy’ effect, it also presented the relevant information with clarity.  It would work well for a collaborative project as it can be used simultaneously with up to ten people (BBC Active, 2010). I know that my daughter in year 4 has repeatedly worked with Powerpoint at school, and I believe that Prezi would be even easier to engage with and design a presentation, and as an online program, it can be accessed from anywhere.  I found this Prezi presentation with some excellent ideas for using Prezi in the classroom at the various levels.

References

BBC Active. (2010). Using Prezi in Education.  Retrieved from http://www.bbcactive.com/BBCActiveIdeasandResources/UsingPreziInEducation.aspx

Howell, J. (2014). Teaching with ICT: digital pedagogies for collaboration & creativity. Melbourne, VIC. Oxford University Press.

Kroocmo, T. (2013). Using Prezi in the Classroom. Retrieved from https://prezi.com/myqouhhikdzy/using-prezi-in-the-classroom/

Digital Blurring

This week we focused on the idea that the world of gaming and virtual worlds can ‘blur’ from home life into school life for many students or perhaps transferring learning from one context to another. I’ve always perceived gaming and virtual worlds to be a negative impact in our lives for two reasons:

  • We zone in on what we are doing and shut out everything and everyone around us
  • Rather than have a virtual garden or home, why not take a look at and care for the one we already have.

Now it is obvious that there is more to it than this.  The fact is that when we are gaming we develop a set of skills, values and motivation that can be applied to other areas of life and learning, as Jane McGonigal highlighted in her presentation (TED, 2010), including:

  • Through gaming we develop a sense of trust and working collaboratively to develop and succeed
  • There is a motivation to achieve and succeed in what we are working towards
  • There is a level of contentment in being productive rather than doing nothing
  • There is a desire to be a part of something and achieve

All of these attributes can be transferred for use in the classroom, in other activities. The desire to achieve and be part of something, students getting involved because they obtain satisfaction in productivity, working well collaboratively and developing a sense of trust and respect for teachers and their peers all contribute to a positive classroom environment.  These skills, for example, can all relate to a class game of soccer or T-ball as well as working in groups to make a movie or drama skit.

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Working with Sploder cemented for me that these skills, values and motivation were present in the world of gaming and therefore made me believe that there are benefits in using gaming and virtual worlds in the classroom. For example, the ability to persist in designing my game demonstrated the need to try various options, be creative and learn to navigate the program, but eventually motivated me to successfully achieve a basic game. It also highlighted the advantage of gaming and virtual worlds in that they provide the ability to modify and adjust features to suit the abilities of the user, allowing all students to participate (Howell, 2014). The more confident I got, the better the features I added. As well as developing motor skills, it can also benefit creativity and the development of problem-solving skills.

Ultimately, it comes down to finding a balance between applying these digital resources as well as others in order to satisfy learning and build our future generations’ digital fluency.

References

Howell, J. (2014). Teaching with ICT: digital pedagogies for collaboration & creativity. Melbourne, VIC. Oxford University Press.

TED. (2010, February). Gaming can make a better world. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/jane_mcgonigal_gaming_can_make_a_better_world

Digital Fluency

In week six, we explored the need as teachers to be digitally fluent as well as working with students to develop their fluency. There is an expectation that primary students will have developed a certain competency and fluency in some technologies such as word processing, spreadsheets, web searching skills, animation, podcasting, presentation software, blogging, social networks, publishing movie making and web design (Howell, 2014) by the time they move onto high school.

Working with Scratch was a challenge in that the prompts were complicated to manipulate and sequence in order to have the Sprite move around. Here is my attempt at using Scratch. I later gave some brief instructions to a year 4 student and prompted them to design an animation and this is what they came up with, although the student spent slightly more time on the program than I did. I believe this program would be suitable from perhaps year 3 onwards as a basic introduction to programming, where students are fluent readers, familiar with sequencing as well as certain mathematical concepts, but perhaps too complex prior to year 3 for these same reasons. Some of my peers designed mathematics games and mazes using Scratch which would be great for the younger groups but only as users of the design as opposed to actual designers.

According to 123ICT Limited (2011), Here are some of the learning skills they believe Scratch can be used for:
1. Information and Media Literacy Skills
2. Communication Skills
3. Critical Thinking and Systems Thinking
4. Problem Identification, Formulation & Solution
5. Creativity and Intellectual Curiosity
6. Interpersonal and Collaborative Skills
7. Self-Direction
8. Accountability and Adaptability
9. Social Responsibility

I’m not sure that I can see how all of these learning skills are developed with Scratch, but certainly from a creativity and critical thinking perspective, can see students extending their visual designing skills and sequencing ability.  It is necessary to understand the concept of one idea or direction happening before another can happen, certainly when developing story writing skills or working on number patterns this is very apparent.

References
123ICT. (2011). Using Scratch in the Primary Classroom. Retrieved from http://www.123ict.co.uk/using-scratch-primary-classroom/

Betchablog. (2010). Teaching kids to think using Scratch. Retrieved from http://chrisbetcher.com/2010/10/teaching-kids-to-think-using-scratch/

Howell, J. (2014). Teaching with ICT: digital pedagogies for collaboration & creativity. Melbourne, VIC. Oxford University Press.

Digital Information

Digital Information can be understood as information that is presented in a digital form; however this can come in the way of:

  • Text
  • Images
  • Audio files
  • Video files
  • Websites

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The advantage of having information available in so many different ways means, that as a teacher, I am able to present information to suit the various learning styles and abilities of my students. My particular favourite method of learning is visually, through the use of images, so this week’s exploration of Pinterest and my board that I put together about the various types of digital devices, software and search engines that exist, was a highlight for me because my attention was drawn toward images that I believed to be relevant to my topic, and I was then able to extend my research by opening and reading the pins.

Exploring these pins highlighted the array of ways that information can be presented and how easily it can be accessed by anyone. Pinterest can be used by students when following a particular line of inquiry, to try and find instructions on a topic, for ideas for an event or occasion as well as many other purposes. I found this youtube presentation titled Using Pinterest in the classroom, that includes some basics about how to manipulate Pinterest but also reflects on the different uses for Pinterest in a classroom.  I could definitely see myself using the suggestion to create a travel journey with the images and information with my future students.  The possibilites to then extend on this through visual arts and drama are endless.

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References

dribble. (2013). Flat Icons EPS. Retrieved from https://dribbble.com/shots/1074961-Flat-Icons-EPS

Pinterest. (2014). The Pinterest Badges. Retrieved from https://business.pinterest.com/en/brand-guidelines

savannaK. (2014, September 4). Using Pinterest in the Classroom. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6V0MYDIZoY

The Digital Divide

This week’s topic required the production of an infographic and served two purposes, including learning how to design an infographic and learning about the existence of digital participation and digital divide in Australia and around the world.

Firstly I researched ‘what is an infographic’. I developed the basic understanding that it is a visual representation of information using graphs and images, and is intended to show information that can be easily viewed and interpreted without the use of too much text (visual.ly, 2014). With this in mind I was able to formulate an idea of the information about digital divide that I needed to look for in order to make my presentation informative and easy to follow, as well as ensure that the text I did use was concise enough to explain and complement my image use.

Secondly, I searched for facts and statistics about how Australians compare in the use of digital devices and applications and decided to focus on the use and access to internet and smartphones. In my search for facts that would represent the topic well, I made several discoveries; however none that really surprised me:

  • 2/3 of the Australian population own a smartphone (Godfrey, 2013)
  • Less that 5% of 14-17 year old Australians do not use the internet, whilst 40% of Australians over the age of 65 do not use the internet, (Australian Bureau of Statistics [ABS], 2011)
  • Australia is up there with other countries in the number of households with internet connection (approximately 72%) (ABS, 2011)

Featured imageWhilst I didn’t receive any direct feedback for my infographic, I did consider some of the general advice that was given by ensuring that the amount of text is kept to a minimum. Whilst viewing the posts of some of my peers it was certainly apparent when there was minimal text, that it helped focus my attention on interpreting the facts presented in the graphs and charts included.  Piktograph was a little complex to use, but certainly with good scaffolding and opportunity to ‘play’ would be suitable for upper primary onward.  It could be used by students, following a research topic, to present data or key information to the class.

Through the application of the various digital technologies in teaching and learning, teachers can help narrow the digital divide, by providing students the opportunity to develop digital knowledge and fluency (Howell, 2014), an opportunity that may not exist at home.  Some of the more general technologies which could easily be used in classrooms may include word processing, spreadsheets, web searches, ipads and perhaps in the later years, social networking.

References

Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2011). Households with internet access, selected OECD countries – 2009 (a). Retrieved from http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4102.0Main+Features50Jun+2011

Godfrey, M. (2013, July 29). Two-thirds of Aussies own a smartphone: report. The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved from http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/mobiles/twothirds-of-aussies-own-a-smartphone-report-20130729-2quj1.html

Howell, J. (2014). Teaching with ICT: digital pedagogies for collaboration & creativity. Melbourne, VIC. Oxford University Press.

PRWeb. (1997-2013). Small Business Marketing Secret – Bridge the Digital Divide. Retrieved from http://www.bloggingprweb.com/small-business-marketing-digital-bridge

Visual.ly (2014). What is an Infographic. Retrieved from http://visual.ly/what-is-an-infographic

Digital Safety in the Classroom

Although a little behind, weeks 2 and 3 of Living and Learning in the Digital World saw me exploring the ideas of digital identity and digital security. It is understood that the students I will be teaching will be digital natives (Howell, 2014), however the extent to which they are able to use the array of digital devices, software and social media, and their abilities to use them safely and appropriately is perhaps of utmost importance in order to prepare them for the ‘real world’.

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Students come to school with varied knowledge and abilities of the many devices and software available (Howell, 2014) and I would suspect that very little focus goes into their safe and appropriate uses. Take Facebook, for example, where a teenage girl may post a ‘sexy’ photo of herself in order to gain the attention of a guy, oblivious as to how that photo will next be used by someone unexpected. I therefore believe that the first stages of learning to safely use and manipulate technologies must include:

  • Checking with an adult the appropriateness of a site/game/social network
  • Awareness of the correct etiquette, including appropriate language and respect for others.
  • Recognising that information that you post can then be used by anyone (CBS News, 2010)
  • The ability to set privacy settings to limit access to personal information
  • Setting passwords to accounts that are difficult to hack
  • Understanding of downloading and data usage to avoid excessive charges

I found a website called Common Sense Education that has given me some great lesson ideas for how to educate students of all ages on how to use technology safely and hopefully cover some of these areas and I also think that the task of designing a Wordle with the topic of Digital Security, as we were required to do, would be a terrific lesson idea for upper primary and high school students, as it was an easy program to manipulate.  Upon completion of the task, students could participate in a whole class discussion to extend, clarify and provide examples that relate to the topic.

Having said all this, in week two we saw a great you tube clip on how the principal of Sunlake High School is able to connect with all his students on Twitter. Although I was reluctant, I can see that with all the safety and appropriate use, rules and policies established, Twitter can be a supported collaborative learning tool creating social interaction, sharing and constructing ideas and knowledge (Howell, 2014), providing opportunities for all students including the less confident ones, to participate how they feel comfortable. Whilst my first attempts at Twitter in the last few weeks has left me feeling very uncertain in terms of my tweets and if they could be misconstrued in any way, I hope that I have considered my safety tips well enough!

References

CBS News. (2010, May 8). Five Hidden Dangers of Facebook. CBS News. Retreived from   http://www.cbsnews.com/news/five-hidden-dangers-of-facebook/

Common Sense Education. (2014). Staying Safe Online (K-2). Retrieved from https://www.commonsensemedia.org/educators/lesson/staying-safe-online-k-2

Howell, J. (2014). Teaching with ICT: digital pedagogies for collaboration & creativity. Melbourne, VIC. Oxford University Press.

Pasco County Schools(2013, 9 October 9). Changing the Culture of a School with Twitter. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THrtZKuK_94