Using the Interactive Whiteboard- The Lost Thing activity

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This activity links in well with this week’s reading by Higgins et al (2007) as the focus on this lesson is student-directed rather than teacher-directed. As asserted by Higgins et al (2007), the Interactive Whiteboard provides many opportunities for engaging activities when used appropriately. The use of the soundscape links in particularly well with this notion as this activity would not be as effective or possible if you were to use a regular whiteboard in the classroom. 

 

References

Higgins, S., G. Beauchamp, and D. Miller (2007), Reviewing the literature on interactive whiteboards, Learning, Media and technology, 32(3), 213-225.

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Effective Educational Blogs

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Classroom blogging has become an effective teaching and learning strategy that is enjoyed by students and teachers alike. Two blogs that I have read have stood out in particular. The following examples could be used to model to my own class about what makes a good blog.

The first site, Year2S, is a Sydney-based class blog. It’s tagline, 2S Scottish Highlanders- making the most of every moment, is very positive and makes me interested in what they have to say. Visually, it has a good balance between text and image. It is neatly organised and includes a variety of topics and class ‘goings-on’. It is not just a forum for topics the students are learning about. There is a post about their class pet, the swimming carnival, school excursions etc. There are many photos of the students engaged in various activities too. The students are also able to discuss what they are learning about and title topics with the use of question to engage the audience. Students also seem to have a large input into the blog and are able to comment on many aspects of the blog. I would use this for a lower primary class although an upper primary class may also be able to critically analyse the site.

http://year2rc.edublogs.org

The second blog that I found that I could show my students is from a Year 6 class. It would be an example where the students could work towards something that looks professional and highly finished. The blog Year 6RC, Life in Year 6, is very visually appealing and gives the impression that the students have worked very hard to ensure their blog is of a high standard. The students rotate the role of ‘Student Reporters’ and each person is given an opportunity to write about what they are learning in class as well as what else is happening in the school. The students have tagged key points and many have commented on particular topics that they have included on the site. There is also a good structure to the blog and a good balance between text and visual images. This could be used with a class in upper primary.

http://year6rc.edublogs.org

Digital Media and literacy learning- Class Blogging

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This week I read an interesting article about a teacher who was sharing her experience using blogs in her classroom. More than a tool to engage students, she provides many reasons for why blogs are an effective teaching and learning strategy. Pericles stressed that blogging has made a significant difference to how her class is organised, how she teaches, how the students learn and how they demonstrate their learning (2008, p.4). Such assertions are also supported by Barone and Wright who believe that teachers now need to redefine the concept of reading and writing, particularly with the advent of the Internet (2008/2009, p.292).

There were three key ideas about blogging that I felt teachers would find helpful:

1. The class blog allows for authentic learning experiences. A blog can be a forum to post assignments, class news, summarise particular topics that the students are learning and can be an opportunity for the students to demonstrate and reflect on their learning. Students are also linked to real audiences and are able to engage in a dialogue with them. When students have the opportunity to engage in authentic learning experiences, their knowledge and skills become more meaningful and effective.

2. Blogs are an effective way to encourage self-directed learning.  Depending on the explicit instructions and boundaries specified, a blog can provide an opportunity for students to take ownership over their work, demonstrate their understanding in different ways  and be able to work towards explicit quality criteria. Pericles asserts that blogging allows for discussion and negotiation with students, with a view to setting high quality guidelines for class and personal blogs (2008, p.5).

3. Blogs provide an opportunity to build a strong sense of community within the classroom. It is something that each student has the chance to participate in and can be extremely flexible when demonstrating knowledge and understanding. This provides a non-confrontational platform and can really help to bond a class together. Having a sense of a belonging is crucial for any student and a blog is an effective tool to keep in your toolkit.

References

Pericles, K. (2008). Happily blogging @ Belmore South. SCAN, 27(2), 4-6

Barone, D., & Wright, T. E. (2008). Literacy instruction with digital and media technologies. The Reading Teacher, 62(4), 292-302

Greenwashing – The Media Show

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This video satirically looks at the way big businesses and marketing firms can invest millions of dollars into portraying a certain kind of image to its stakeholders. Many can ‘jump on the band wagon’ of a particular sociocultural issue and use it to their advantage without it necessarily being a truthful representation of their organisation. This video for example is looking at ‘going green’ and being environmentally friendly. The characters comment that although people/companies attempt to ‘show their concern’, sometimes they are misleading the audience into thinking they are something they are not. This can be in the way that they brand themselves without any attention to truth and facts.
This video brings to light many implications for teaching kids about the internet and media content at school. The basic message is that it can be easy for children and adults alike to only see what the companies want us to see. Unfortunately, this may not always be an accurate picture and can mislead us. It is vital that when we are using the internet and when we are engaging in various media that we are able to think critically. We need to understand the author’s point of view and what their agenda is. We also need to learn how to search out reliable sources and discard those that are unreliable.

Defining ‘New Literacies’

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There are a number of terms and concepts that have been associated with literacy in the 21st century. Similarly to the term ‘literacy’, the term ‘new literacies’ is constantly evolving and can mean different things to different people.

Generally speaking, literacy refers to the cognitive process leading to the development of autonomous skills that allow us to read and write. It also can be used to describe what people do with literacy. In a similar way, ‘new literacies’ refers to something that is continuously transforming. We should no longer think of it as something static. In her article, New Literacies, Learning and Libraries: How can frameworks from other fields help us think about the issues? Eveline Houtman describes the idea that technological change aligns with a range of increasing popular values. ‘New Literacies’ is also built on old literacies and reflects social and historical times. In essence, you could think of it as being literate in the 21st century. For example, the concept of publishing is still current but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are printing something onto a piece of paper or cardboard. Publishing can now mean writing on a blog or posting something online through a social network. As new technologies emerge, so too are ‘new literacies’. It is an exciting time and as teachers, we need to embrace the changes and ensure our students are confident and sensible navigators to achieve academic success.

References

Houtman, E. (2013). New literacies, learning, and libraries: How can frameworks from other fields help us think about the issues? In the Library with the Lead Pipe.  Retrieved from http://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2013/new-literacies-learning-and-libraries-how-can-frameworks-from-other-fields-help-us-think-about-the-issues/Accessed February 14th, 2014

Moving with the times!

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Hey all, this is my first time blogging! At present, I am feeling excited yet nervous. I guess you can always teach an old dog new tricks!! Stay tuned for some interesting insights! 🙂