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St Mary's Teachers featured in National Publications: Revision

Questions for Interface Magazine

 

 

Judith Smallbone

(Year 5 and 6 Team Leader and class teacher)

 

1.    How is ICT changing the way you teach?
It just makes it more interesting for both the students and me. We have a buddy class in New York this term and have shared writing, photos, newspapers, facts and interesting stuff using the internet. Our breakfast Skype call the other morning was so much fun. Technology means that places that always seemed so far away are now very accessible and genuine learning opportunities can be developed.
I am finding that the students are far better at reflecting on their learning and identifying their Next steps when regularly using our eportfolios. I also really like the way I can use KnowledgeNET to connect with my maths group – which has students in it from other classes. The Mac Book laptops we use are a fantastic tool that make it easy to create and present work.
Researching, answering questions, finding out things is so much easier with the internet, and because it is engaging, the students are ready to hear about search methods, referencing and validating information.
Our IWBs are highly engaging and just plain groovy to use!

2. What's your favourite tech-related activity - and why? (Or perhaps your most successful or most popular?)
The one I use the most is my class camera! It is so good to have a record of what we have been doing for eportfolios and modeling books. I use my camera everyday! My next would be the ipads, and I think these are the students favourites! So portable, so engaging, so great for individual and small group work. We are just starting to use ipads with our ORRs students this year as well. Oh and I do LOVE my ipod touch!

3. What's your favourite online resource and how do you use it in class?
 My top favourite is Blogspot. This year we have a class mascot, Charles who is travelling the world. The class do not know where he is until he posts on the blog, then we follow up in the classroom with facts and information about the place that he is. This is a great way to increase knowledge about the world. See http://www.charlestheadventurer.blogspot.com. Last year Charles traveled with me and blogged  - which was a fun way to stay in touch with my class while I was away overseas.
My next favourite would be Skype, I love the way it gives instant contact with people anywhere. We are currently using Skype to connect with a buddy class in New York city. Last year my class had a Skype lesson from an Education Centre in the United States about Hissing Cockroaches, complete with cockroaches hissing!
We will use a blog at year 6 camp again this year to keep in touch with families and create a record of each days activities.
After those two, I guess it would be the huge variety of maths games and activities that are available online. 

4. How do you keep up with the latest changes and developments in ICT? (other than reading INTERFACE!)
There are a few connected people at work who thoughtfully share sites, ideas and resources! I also spend time reading other education blogs.

5. Is there anything you'd like to do with technology in your classroom that you aren't already doing? If so, what's stopping you?
I think that I would like to have my students use computers for all their work, particularly drafting and editing writing. The main reason I don't is although I have a wonderful range of technology available I have to share the 15 Mac Books!
I also would like to be a little more expert at using some things, I just need some time just to "fiddle around!".
I would really like to use ebooks for reading, but need some more ipads or ipods...

6. What would be your advice to teachers wanting to make better use of ICT in their classroom?

Just do it!!! You have to! I have been teaching for over 20 years and the development of technology is incredible! I thought coloured pages in the Banda machine were exciting when I started! Students love learning using technology so they are engaged and motivated and that is a great start!!  Every year I choose something new to focus on, so just choose one thing for one curriculum area to get started with. Everyone has things go wrong,so don't worry! Find a buddy to help you and give it a go!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

David Bach – Year 5 and 6 teacher

Interface Magazine

  1. How is ICT changing the way you teach?

 

I am increasingly using ICTs as a tool for teaching in general, rather than as a separate subject or curriculum area to teach in isolation. I was a latecomer to ICT  - only seriously trying to operate a computer, and use it for learning, when I had already passed the age of thirty. I still often feel like a newcomer, although I have made a lot of progress in twelve years. Fortunately I have colleagues to support me at school and the children themselves, including my own children, can be great teachers and sharers of their own learning in ICTs. This can have the added bonus of motivating children and improving their self esteem.

2. What's your favourite tech-related activity - and why? (Or perhaps your most successful or most popular?)

I really enjoy working with video, although my knowledge of video editing software is still very basic. I have my own flip video camera and have begun using it with my class. I think video also has great potential as a tool for students to use to genuinely reflect about their learning, especially with those reluctant writers out there.


3. What's your favourite online resource and how do you use it in class?

 

I suppose it would have to be You Tube and the huge range of other video collections to be found online and easily downloaded or embedded into a flipchart for learning purposes. Visual media often grab the children’s attention and can have a significant impact on them, especially in the afternoons, when they can be less focused and harder to motivate. Videos have often sparked animated discussion and debate in our classroom.
 
4. How do you keep up with the latest changes and developments in ICT? (other than reading INTERFACE!)

I pick up some new ideas and resources from colleagues and professional development sessions, but mostly I find things by surfing the Internet and following links from information databases or recommended sites.


5. Is there anything you'd like to do with technology in your classroom that you aren't already doing? If so, what's stopping you?

 

I would love to use a whole lot more computer programs and online resources generally with my children and often it is just a lack of time that is holding me back from finding them and learning to use them. I would also like to get the kids doing their curriculum learning using ICTs much more frequently and I guess cheaper computer systems and faster Internet access in the years to come will greatly aid this aim. The children have for the first time this year begun developing their own pages on our Learning Management System KnowledgeNet.

6. What would be your advice to teachers wanting to make better use of ICT in their classroom?

 

Test things properly before you try them with the class, although if you do get stuck during a lesson do not panic, it can become an IT problem solving activity with the children. They are going to have to deal with computer glitches and unknown programs just like us, as they progress through their life of learning and work.

 

 

 

 

Sylvia Dunkley  - Year 3 and 4 Teacher

1. How is ICT changing the way you teach?

I think the multitude of online teaching resources and ideas for planning are awesome. I am continually finding brilliant resources with little effort. I am very aware of the pull of ICT for children, they love ICT based anything. Life really has changed so rapidly in our time. I believe it is the way of the future but I am also very aware that the ICT used must be learning based. 

 

 2. What's your favourite tech-related activity - and why? (Or perhaps your most successful or most popular?)

I like to record the children’s voices on our Activboard. The children love hearing their own voices and it is a great way of sharing things we have written or showing good examples of work. It is also especially helpful for dyslexic and special needs children who may have trouble writing but certainly have great ideas - which they can more easily share with their peers. I also love being able to instantly access information about anything! Teachable moments become very real when a question is asked and we can instantaneously find the answer.


3. What's your favourite online resource and how do you use it in class?
I love Tutpup and ICT Maths games as the children really enjoy using these during Maths time. The games I choose for them to play follow on from what they have been learning in the classroom. I am also quite taken by ietherpad which allows real time comments by multiple users at anytime. We used it recently to find out who was bringing what to our team pot luck dinner! However there could be lots of uses for this in the classroom. We have also used Facebook when following two of our classmates who were overseas last year (vetted by myself before we looked at it of course). We learnt lots about different kinds of foods they have in the Philippines.

 

4. How do you keep up with the latest changes and developments in ICT? (other than reading INTERFACE!).

Through my own teenage children who have both been in a “digital classroom”. By my partner who works in the ICT world as a systems analyst and knows lots techie stuff! Also by word of mouth from other teachers, attending the Learning at Schools conference and using our ICT cluster wiki.
 
5. Is there anything you'd like to do with technology in your classroom that you aren't already doing? If so, what's stopping you?

There are lots of things I would like to get better at and learn more about of course. As for most teachers, time is the limiting factor. I would like to learn more about ipods and how we could use them in the classroom, I really know nothing about them. I would also like to get better at using the numerous functions on my activboard. At the moment I am working on integrating ICT into my weekly reading plan for follow up activities, rather than having isolated activities such as playing a reading game.



6. What would be your advice to teachers wanting to make better use of ICT in their classroom?

Start off small. Try and integrate it into one of your major curriculum areas and get one group per week working on something to do with ICT. Steal others ideas and ask other teachers what has worked for them. We did some fantastic art with just digital cameras and arranging things we found in nature. They were brilliant and everyone thought they were amazing. Keep things simple and uncomplicated. Tell the kids to go for it. Don’t try and be the expert in everything, let the kids learn as they go you will be amazed what they know and can do without you having to know everything/anything!