While googling using ICTs in the classroom I came across a document written by the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development they call it “Digital Deck”.
“The Digital Deck provides a quick overview of the range of digital resources available to schools. It starts with an eduSTAR overview then explores other resources and methods along the ePotential continuum. Each of the 63 resources has a description, advice for getting started and classroom ideas.”
Although many of us are teaching in Queensland and will not have access to the Victorian education department log in, this document still gives you an example of many programs that are available online tody and can be incorporated into the classroom. The quick and colourful summaries are made to be user friendly. I advise everyone to take the time to look at the Digital Deck resources and think about how you can adapt this information to work in your classroom.
The Queensland Government has also put out the “teaching and learning ICT placemats” which provide “practical ideas and strategies for providing digitally-rich student experiences.”
Yes it is wonderful to have all these documents readily available to guide you in your teaching and incorporating ICTs but in some schools and classrooms it is not always easy to incorporate these ICTs into all or some of your lessons. I found this out on professional experience, there were only 7 working computers in the classroom and 28 students, and this made it impossible to always use ICTs. The C2C curriculum also made it hard to juggle the use of ICTs, even when it required ICTs be used the resources available made it hard, and the possibility of group work or rotations seemed impossible for the task at hand. I found for most of the ICT incorporation I was the one implementing and using the ICTs, however, students would use ICTs to aide them in their studies. For me sending students all around the school to use ICTs to do a exercise did not seem practical, while the computer lab was only available for 30 minutes a week.
So in conclusion, I believe ICTs do need to be implemented and there are many out there that will grab and maintain the attention of our students but we as teachers need to be creative in the way we present these and implement these within our classrooms.
At the beginning of the year David suggested we joined the Learning Place Affiliation Program for about $30 if we were going to do professional experience within an Education Queensland school. Personally I was not sure why this would benefit me, I had always had my placement in an Ed Qld school and never seen any reason to want one, apart from maybe being able to access the C2C curriculum. Well this semester my mentor opened my eyes to edStudio and the benefits it has for you as a teacher – support from other teachers and access to what they are doing, and for your class. I have previously blogged about my experience with edStudio’s. So looking through the website now at what the affiliation program has to offer – access to the learning place, thousands of digital resources, edTube, edStudio and much more which can be found here. I urge you to have another think about the affiliation program although $30 per calendar year sounds like a lot of money; I believe there may be many benefits to it that we never knew about.
My experiences with edStudio during my professional experience placement were enlightening. As a pre-service teacher I do not have access to many of the documents and resources available on the learning place, but during my placement my mentor introduced me to edStudio’s. I believe this is a fantastic resource for all teachers especially middle primary and above, it allows teachers to create their own secure webpage where students can create their own pages within the class page. Teachers can upload documents students have been working on, or part of the learning sequence so students and parents can see where the unit, term or semester is heading. Video’s, PDF’s, word documents, Voki’s and all sorts of interactive resources can be uploaded. Students have permissions to edit their own page and can personalise it, they can even access this site from home. The teacher can set the permissions for who is able to see the pages and comment on them, but with it being within the learning place designed by Education Queensland you can allow more than just your class comment on it and know that it is still relatively safe and the correct audiences will be able to see the students work.
This document outlines many uses for edstudio and provides a brief summary of what edStudio’s can do.
Part B – The Planning Essay
Year Level – 7 within a primary school
Subject – Students switched between three teachers for their core subjects, this practical experience for me was based on teaching English to three classes. For my home class I also took reading, dancing, spelling and volleyball lessons.
Topics/Lessons being taught – The first week the students were finishing writing their own biographies of people of their choice in their community. The next two weeks we spent introducing memoirs and looking at what was required of them for their assessment.
Community Environment – The school is situated in a middle socio-economic status area on the north-side of Brisbane. It is a relatively large school with approximately 1050 students.
Class and School ICT environment and processes – There are seven out of eight computers in the classroom work and are shared between two classes. There is a large television on the wall on one side of the classroom which has Apple TV connected to it. The room also has a portable data projector which can be hooked up to an iPad. The school has a computer lab with twenty-five computers, each year seven class has access to this for thirty minutes on a Monday. There are twenty-seven/twenty-eight students in each class.
Established class routines – The student rotate between three teachers for their core subjects. One teacher takes English, one teacher takes maths and the other teacher takes history/geography, science, health and technology.
Student needs – between the three classes there is one student with ASD (click here for more information on ASD) and Intellectual Impairment (click here for more information on Intellectual Impairment), two students with intellectual impairment, two students who are very low and have learning needs but are not verified and four students with behaviour problems.
As I have recently finished my connect.ed modules, I am going to include my reflection of these fantastic modules designed for pre-service teachers. Here is a copy of my Connect.ed certificate for the connect.ed modules. Throughout the modules I learnt about the various impacts that cyber-bullying has on students and how easily this can happen. It gave many different techniques an resources for teachers to implement within the classroom for the various year levels. There are some great on-line and interactive activities that can be used in the classroom and incorporated into units you are teaching. The last module stepped you through designing your own cyber smart unit and was very beneficial to me as a pre-service teacher. I suggest and teacher, pre-service teacher or parent should encourage students to look through the connect.ed website.
My experience in the on-line world is very similar to that of my students, I use Facebook and other social media to communicate with friends and colleagues. The difference is the maturity of the adults I communicate with compared to the maturity of the students using these sites, not realising the impact and safety issues presented.
Students in my professional experience context were not required to use on-line learning resources, however they did have access to their class ed studio where they could share their learning with others in their class and other students and teachers will learning place accounts.
The information and facts found within the unit have given me a great insight behind the internet and what we as teachers need to be aware of.
A reply to April’s reflection.
There are some days I too wonder why I would want to be a teacher, but just like you I want to teach, I like seeing the children learn and grow from the direction you are giving them. Yes you do have to spend a lot of your own time preparing lessons, attending staff meeting, dealing with parents concerns and helping the students, not to mention the before and after school sports practices. But even with all of this I too would not change my mind or choose another job in the world.
I too found it hard to always incorporate ICTs, because of the limited availability and the flexibility within the C2C lesson plans. The school I was at said a class set of iPads was 8, I found this very difficult when there were 28 students in the class, not all classes had access to iPads, mine didn’t, so in order to get access you would have to borrow the 8 iPad’s from another class. Therefore I found other ways to incorporate technology into my lessons because with my year 7 class it was hard to find applications that could be used and incorporated into the English program.
I was looking through feedly at the blog posts from my fellow EDC3100 primary students and saw this post from Rebecca McLucas. I had never seen this webpage before and proceeded to follow the link to the Bouncy Balls website, it was fascinating. I can see how Rebecca liked using this program in her classroom, it would certainly engage the younger years and even the senior years of Primary Education. I had a similar experience with too noisy lite which is an iPad app. If the students are making too much noise in the classroom then the sun cries and the weather gets black and stormy. I connected my iPad to a projector and projected it onto the whiteboard during silent work, my year 7 students experimented with the app for a few minutes to see what it did before settling down and using the app the way it was intended. It worked extremely well, you can also change the level of acceptable noise for silent work, group work etc.
Thank you for sharing Bouncy Balls with the group Rebecca I am excited to try this with my next class.