Thursday, April 8, 2010

Done and Dusted!

So, for my one follower, I thought I'd let you know that I did eventually get my assignment completed. I always worry that I have misread the expectations and have gone off in a completely different tangent. I get completely stressed out, changing my mind constantly! I'm sure everyone else goes through the same thing, but I'm just glad assignment one is complete. Now have the incredibly frustrating job of patiently awaiting the return of my assignment and how well or not well I went. Either way, I have totally learned a huge amount and feel its been worth the research!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Assignment one

I have been agonising for weeks over the first assignment, and its due tomorrow. I keep changing my topic. One minute I've spent ages writing about e-learning within mathematics, but there is not much information for me to refer to, so I had to scrap that one. The next thing I started on was teachers practice in e-learning, but as I was writing this, I realised that it wasn't of that much interest to me, and felt I was choosing something for the sake of choosing it. Then I thought about writing the assignment on engaging students within e-learning, but I felt this was to broad. I've settled on using e-learning to promote a thinking skills environment, which is what we use at our school, and so far I've got a lot of ideas on how to link e-learning to using this approach to teaching, but I need to find more information to back it up. Totally stressing out as it seems like everytime I am interested in one aspect, there isn't enough information out there, and when I move on to another, it doesnt interest me that much and I just choose it just because it's easy to research. I know I will have finished the assignment in time, but I just worry that I'm going off in the wrong direction. Will keep working on this one, as I'm really interested in it, and hope it all works out. Wish me luck!

Monday, April 5, 2010


So I just read jerry's blog about wikis and it got me intrigued to find out more about using wikis within the classroom. I haven't done all that much research just yet, but I am keen to see where the path leads. One of the goals in the school I'm currently teaching in is to see how wikis and blogs can assist in the classroom, in particular with our concluding conversations at the end of a science or social science unit.

One of the concerns I have with creating something that is open for all to read is the anonomity of students and if we will be able to keep their identities closed off for strangers or other people of concern. This is addressed in Richardsons article. He says one way to help with that is for the teacher to loosen the reigns a little and give students more freedom over the editorial side of things. If something that has been added is not suitable, students will take it upon themselves to get rid of it. Whilst this is a good idea in theory, its still a scary thought for my as a teacher to allow my students such free reign over something as big as this. I guess that will ultimately be a personal goal I'd need to work on to achieve. Richardson also suggests using a login and password wiki, which will also aid in security.

Having a class wiki would work quite well in my classroom once I get my head around it more. My students work in collaborative pairs to answer their scenarios, so the wiki would just extend their abilities to work collaborativley. They would need to discuss information with each other and agree on what would be considered 'correct' before publishing it to the wiki.

The school I am teaching at the moment runs their units for Science and Social Science on a two year rotation. By creating a wiki for each of the quests, it could provide a starting point for the students that work on it the following time. I think this would be great for both intermediate students, but also teachers. As we all teach the same unit, we would be able to pool everything we do and aid each other to teach the unit more effectively the next time.

I have learnt a lot through Richardsons article, and look forward to learning more. The more I'm reading, the more I'm starting to envision how a wiki would work within my Year 7 classroom.

The Knowledge Society

This post is based on the Gilberts book "Catching the knowledge wave? The knowledge society and future of education."

One of the main points that stood out for me was about how education is moving to a position that is not based solely on imparting knowledge to students but to provide skills for students to create new knowledge which is addressing the needs of society in todays post modernism society.

When I think of my own practice within the classroom, I can see how relevant this is and how my teaching is slowly evolving more into this kind of way. I do not stand in front of the classroom and impart all my knowledge to students, I do not just teach in one particular style or medium, I provide many different opportunities for students to form their own opinions. Within Science and Social Science students are provided with a scenario which they are to research and come to a conclusion based on my guidance for relevant information. I guide them with co constructing relevant questions, and that is one skill that I impart on them, the question asking skill. This is vital as for students to grow into people who benefit our society, they need to be able to ask relevant questions in order to create new knowledge themselves and test the boundaries of knowledge that they already own.

Gilbert also suggests that if we do not have state funded schooling, and leave the payments for students education up to parents, we are not providing equal opportunites and the cycle of the "haves" and "have nots" will continue. Our community will be segregated into two tiers.
Tier one will be well educated and more likely to leave New Zealand in search of more opportunies to increase their knowledge and find a place where they feel they are contributing to a knowledge society.
Tier two will consist of people that are under educated, under employed and not valued within the Global market. This will eventually lead to them having a lack of skills and knowledge and they will become dependant on the New Zealand welfare system.
With all the tier one people leaving New Zealand, we would have no chance of becoming a knowledge society that is valued within a global perspective. New Zealand will become an unproductive and unjust country which does not promote cohesion and progress amongst the community.

I see this relating strongly to the e-learning within a classroom, because there has been a huge increase in knowledge around what ICT has to offer us. There are still students out there who do not have access to computers within their homes, and if we weren't able to provide opportunities for them within the education sector, they would almost definately end up within the tier two people and that is what we want to minimise.

I found this reading really interesting. I had never really thought of knowledge having become more based on how it can help New Zealand on an economical scale.

Gilbert, J. (2005). Catching the knowledge wave? The knowledge society and the future of education. Wellington: NZCER Press.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Finally, I have begun!

I'm a little behind with readings at the moment, and I have taken ages to set up this blog, but I have finally gotten here. I haven't had much experience with using a blog, and keeping track of my own learning (although I am constantly telling students how important it is, so I definately see the benefit!) is still something I am getting used to!

I found the reading :
Hendron, J. G. (2008). RSS for educators. Blogs, newsfeeds, podcasts and wikis in the classroom (pp. 1-16). Oregon, USA:
International Society for Technology in Education.
incredibly enlightening. I wasn't aware that there were so many different parts to online communication. For example podcasts, I've heard the term thrown around, but I would never have been able to tell you that they can be compared to a radio feed. I have already started to think of ways this could be used within the classroom. Students could upload their own reading to a blog for their parents, peers and themselves to listen to and they could track their own improvement as they go. Their peers and parents could offer them constructive feedback on what they do well, and areas they could improve on as part of the comments in regards to the podcasts as well!

I also liked the idea of the school in Goochland County, Virginia. All their teachers were to keep a blog. It opens up the communication between home and school really well, and also provides parents with the security in the knowledge that their children are coming to school and learning what they are meant to be learning. It also keeps teacher accountable for what they are teaching. Yes, we all keep a daily planning diary, but that isnt readily available for parents to view. By teacher keeping a blog, there is less room for parents to say that we are not teaching anything in a school day!

These are just some of my thoughts after reading the reading. I'll add more once I have processed it further!