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Emma Watts's blogs

  • Commented on Ainsley's blog post about 'blogging' as howework - some interesting point are being raised on the dicsussion.  Check is out at:

    /mod/threaded_forums/topicposts.php?topic=54087&group_guid=52477

  • This was a question that was part of a discussion for the Whakatu Cluster:

    My first response to: ‘How are they getting greater access to e-Learning tools?' is to ask further questions.  What are e-learning tools?  Is this the hardware that we use in our rooms? Is the infinitive amount of Web 2.0 tools available online? Is it purchased software or freeware? How can we ensure greater access with these ‘tools' available to us?  Access to hardware (for me this means access to internet capable devices) varies greatly across our cluster schools.  Part of my role as lead e-learning is to be an agent of change, to promote what e-learning you can embed into your classroom programme regardless of the amount of internet capable devices available to you.  One computer in the classroom is better than none!

    My class is timetabled to use the e-space (computer suite) once a week.  In Term 1 we used it for reading blogs from our school and schools in Nelson and making comments.  We focused on the difference between academic commenting and social commenting. Through blogging we have been exploring LGP/Netsafe's attributes of a digital citizen.  They state that a digital citizen;

    • demonstrates honesty and integrity and ethical behaviour in their use of ICT
    • respects the concepts of privacy and freedom of speech in a digital world
    • contributes and actively promotes the values of digital citizenship

    I don't believe e-spaces are the answer to greater access, in fact I agree with Jan-Marie Kellow (www.inquiringmind.co.nz): "The research (Becker, 2000; Norris, Sullivan, Poirot & Soloway, 2003; Ravitz, Wong and Becker,1998) supports computers being located in classrooms if they are going to be used by teachers and students. Additionally, having computers in labs means it is not as easy to integrate computers into the classroom programme or for teachers and students to use them as they would any other classroom tool..." and Mary Cuillane (Microsoft)  "Imagine saying to your students, ‘Okay class, now we're all going to get up and go down the hall to the room where the pens are."  Until our SNUP upgrade it is a physical impossibility to put more than one desktop into our classrooms (there is one data connection in each room).  But I'm not giving up!  We have invested in wireless, enabling laptop use in the classroom and the fundraising committee raised money to buy 16 laptops, which will be divided into 4 pods (to be purchased this term).

    So in my classroom room I have one classroom PC and my laptop.  I have an interactive whiteboard and data project permanently in my classroom, which is great for promoting communication and collaboration in groups across all curriculum areas.  I aim to use a wide variety of Web 2.0 tools and I aim to use  e-learning tools in as many lessons as possible; numeracy, literacy (reading, writing and oracy), art, inquiry, P.E. and many more. 

    To increase access in the classroom students rotate in groups or pairs depending on the lesson or focus.  For example, during Voicethread projects pairs students rotate during the day. In numeracy the groups rotate throughout the week (3 groups using ICTs on the hardware in the classroom each daily lesson).  Projects where students are communicating their learning and creating new ideas more often than not take a lot longer than planned!  When students are using digital learning objects to practice knowledge and strategies it is quicker to rotate groups and pairs.

    I occasionally use our school's eye-box (mini auditorium with data projector, dvd player, sound system, internet access etc.) to watch Youtube clips for inquiry themes, internet research, watch DVD clips, relevant programmes on Sky etc.   I could integrate the use of the eye-box further into my programme - my target for Term 2!

    Students regularly use the classroom digital camera to record their learning experiences and use the pictures in a range of ICTs and Web 2.0 tools to share their learning experiences with others.  We have also started to use it for recording digital video footage.

    I also use my own (ancient) video camera with the students, (which has a UK plug so we have to use an adapter to charge it!)  Last year we used it to experiment with stop animation.  I have also purchased my own iPad, which my class absolutely love using - not that I promote other teachers to buy their own hardware (I personally couldn't wait!)  So far my aim has been to find educational apps where students can practice knowledge and strategies. 

    I have also purchased apps that promote collaboration and creation (I believe this is the most important reason to use e-tools in teaching and learning!)  During Term 2 we will explore these more and start using the iPad to connect to the internet and Web 2.0 tools.  Hopefully with research this year I can put forward a case to purchasing a pod of iPads next year!  I have also purchased Comic Life and I Can Animate for my mac - purely because they look good fun and are great tools for students to create new ideas!  I want students (in my room and across the school), through collaborating and creating using Web 2.0 tools and digital learning objects, to;

    • be confident and capable users of ICT
    • use technologies to participate in educational, cultural, and economic activities
    • use and develop critical thinking skills in cyberspace
    • be literate in the language, symbols, and texts of digital technologies (LGP/Netsafe)

     

  • During 2011, as part of my e-learning leadership role, I am working with teachers in their classrooms with their students to support embedding e-learning into their classroom programmes.  The first teacher and class I have started working with 'ran' with the CDROM resource, which we worked on in our first session and rotated students working on the reading resouce throughout the following week.  It wasn't a flash resource with bells and whistles but the teacher reported back that it had engaged one student so much, and that it was the first time she had seen him smile, when he was using the resource with a friend!   The teacher has also gone on to independently explore webquests with the students.  This week we will look at using digistore and encorporating it into numeracy lessons.

  • Each week I run 'techie brekkies' for staff professional development in e-learning.  The sessions are 20 mins long.  Last week's session on using Google Apps was inspiring.  4 members of staff attended. After showing the basics to get started it was great to stand back and hear the professional dialogue between the teachers (one teacher was sharing their understanding to another whilst the others were teaching each other!).  Watching the teachers confidently experiment and explore the Web 2.0 tool gave me a sense of achievement in my role of leadership. It was a great reminder of why I chose to lead e-learning at Tahunanui School. Click on the link to check out this term's professional development: Techie Brekkies at Tahunanui

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