Friday, June 3, 2011

My First Storybird! Thank you Thank you :P

Thanks to the very cute illustrations by Irisz Agocs. Here is my first ever attempt at Storybird creation. The story can be viewed if you click the title on top of the cover image. I have set the story as Publicly Published; hence, hopefully you should be able to read it. Haven't quite figure out the embedding part. I will try to work on that in the future.

Haha, due to the word limit, I can't have my Sunflower tell you all the story. I think multimedia in the classroom is great. It encourages children's creativity and their engagement. Some kids may find it difficult to operate at first as there are some certain steps and processes that need to be followed. However, that's why as future teachers, we need to start 'playing' around these technos NOW and to let the kids be impressed when we get into our teaching career! On the other hand, as these sites can be viewable to the public, we need to make sure that we teach the kids as well as ourselves about cybersafety matters. For instance, don't make a Storybird and suddenly it tells all about yourself like when you do a presentation of About Me in the classroom - the Internet is not the same as your classroom.

Proyecto Facebook

The first time I saw this video was on the blog post Learning in a Participatory Culture: A Conversation About New Media and Education (Part One) from Henry Jenkins Weblog. It was Spanish; but luckily, both Henry Jenkins and Sir Ken Robinson can speak English and even better - I can understand English!

The video and the comments made by the two education professionals are quite interesting, not just because the video was funny. It makes you wonder about what school is really about and why do we go to college? Do the world really need more and more university professors? Proyecto Facebook, translated as Facebook Project was an experiement and a demonstration of collaborative learning. Sir Ken Robinson commented in that video "The Internet is based on collective intelligence. We learn from each other." On the other hand, as shown in the video, school should be about 'real learning' - not to make everybody look 'good' or the same like robots.

It is amazing what you can find on the Internet these days - almost everything you want to know! or should I say, it is everything? These are the results of collective intelligence of people all around the world. Wikipedia, being one of the greatest inventions ever as I'd like to think so, has become something quite big. When I talk with my friends and if we come up with something that we are curious to know or just not sure, we look up on Wikipedia. It is usually quite satisfying for our curiosity and we always find out more than what we want :)

Although it has its possibilty of errors and inaccuracies, Wikipedia is evidently a quite powerful tool for learning. Being in the 21st century and as technology is rapidly evolving, schools should make their ways towards the future of eLearning (of course, not all places can afford that.)."Schools need to prepare young people to use these new resources creatively, effectively, and responsiblity" (Henry Jenkins, 2010) - creatively, because creativity makes great things happen; effectively, because the world spins quite fast; responsibily, because not all things you see or hear are always true.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Two Things you may find INTERESTING o( ^_^ )o

University of Western Australia Discussion Boards

School Matters Magazine (by the WA Department of Education)

This new edition of School Matters talks about technology in teaching ^_^ ! There are many issues related to what we are talking about in our ICT workshops this semester; for instance, How technology is changing our classroom, Managing social networking, the technology tide/boom in classrooms, etc. It also has a definition list of the KEY Tech terms, like Blogs, E-book, Moodle and Wiki.

I thought this is a pretty good edition - something you can relate to when reading :) So if you haven't got your hands on a hard printed copy (it goes around in the GSE building), check it out online \(^o^)/


David Crystal on It's Only a Theory S01E02

This video's so good I have to save it somewhere! I even made a friend who studies nothing about language to watch it today - and he found it great :) I am not quite sure about his statement "the earlier starting to use a mobile phone, the faster/better the language development" - have to read a bit more on that to see whether there are evidence supporting the statement. It seems a little bit unrealistic for me. On the other hand, I don't really think texting has made people less punctual these days - it's just what happens in the society. Even if text was never ever invented, people can still call up when they are going to be late - not necessarily the fault of text messages.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Get a new pedagogical DNA?

When you search for videos about Web 2.0 and education, there are a lot of good ones available on YouTube. I choose this one for a beginning and as the title for this blog since it talks about using technology in classrooms in the 21st century and it's interesting when you read the comments people posted for the video.

Technology, Web 2.0 or even Web 3.0 (that has emerged in many ways around the web) are so important in today's modern society and students' life - it is a fact agreed by many people. A very significant example is Facebook. More and more people and schools are trying to integrate technology into education; however, as Roblyer & Doering (2010) mentioned, instead of asking whether a school has enough computers, it is best to ask how can the technologies be used to create a more productive learning environment.

The two learning instruction models, directed and constructivist, have sparked many debates around the question "which strategies will serve today's educational goals". The directed instruction model, as being the more traditional approach to learning, is basically where knowledge is fed to students by teachers. I don't necessarily agree with people who are absolutely negative towards this model. Coming from a background, where traditional approaches are widely used in education, and having experienced the teaching here in Australia - I think it's fair to say that. I don't think everything taught to me before I came to Australia was using the cramming method of teaching - or maybe I was fortunate that I had gone through a better schooling experience. My junior high school had Smartboards installed for all classrooms including music rooms and biology labs when I was in my 2nd year (which is like year 8) - that was almost 10 years ago. And I have to say that those Smartboards made learning much more interesting. Some subject knowledge areas sometimes have to be taught using the traditional methods because for most schools, it is not always possible to use the constructivist model. For instance, if a primary school class is learning about frogs, it would be great if all students get to see and/or feel a frog up and close. On the other hand, it is not always that easy to catch frogs (some places may not even have frogs around).

The benefits of constructivism, as summarised on the Concept to Classroom: Constructivism as a paradigm for teaching and learning (2004)website:

  • Children may learn and enjoy more as they are actively involved;
  • Concentrates on learning how to think and understand;
  • Constructivist learning is transferable;
  • Ownership and inquire-based learning;
  • Connecting with the real world; and
  • Collaborative classrooms.
On the other hand, like many other theories and models, there are limitations. For instance, teacher and student training - as some critics say, to 'teach' or to 'educate'.Based on Roblyer and Doering (2010) as well as the Concept to Classroom website mentioned above, just like the directed instructional models, there are still a few criticisms around constructivisim:
  • Social constructivism leads to "group think" where students are allowed to demonstrate knowledge and learning in varying ways collaboratively. Hence, some students' voices may be pressed down by "tyranny of the majority"; and it becomes harder for teachers to evaluate and assess students' individual skill levels - fail to comply with today's accountablility standards.
  • Constructivist approaches can be very time consuming and thus inefficient for learning - to be honest, you can never run away from assessments and students are expected to be knowledgeale in all subject areas according to their age and year levels.
  • Not all subjects can be taught using constructivist approaches successfully, like science and language studies - so what happens if a students questions you 'why do we pronouce this word like that?'?
  • Constructivist approaches encourage students' individual active thinking and curiosity - but how do you know if a student has actually learnt anything? How do you know if they will be able to transfer their skills into real-life situations? For instance, Maths.
  • There are questions about sufficient resources for a constructive classroom, including teachers, parents, students and actual learning resources such as technologies.
" In truth, progressivism didn't work with all 'privileged' kids, just those who had advantages at home or were smart enough to do discovery learning. " - E.D. Hirsch
from wikispace Being a 21st Century Learner and Teacher: Pedagogy for this Era of Learning

We must be open minded in finding ways to merge the two integration approaches that will benefit both learners and teachers in today's world. It is important to consider the nature and characteristics of the topics and problems as well as individual needs for the learners. In tech terms, to combine Web 1.0 with Web 2.0 and emerging into Web 3.0 - for schools and students who do have the previlige of technologies.

The advantages of Web 2.0 are obvious - to make learning more involving, engaging and collaborative. Students can communicate with teachers and each other more easily; and it becomes a worldwide community of learners with the vast coverage of Internet. Blogs, for instance, provide a platform for students to express themselves more openly; especially for some who may not like to speak much in public. On the other hand, teachers can try to evaluate and assess students' learning and understandings by reading the blogs and providing feedbacks to enhance students' learning.

For conclusion, 'get a new pedagogical DNA' means that in the 21st century, teachers have to become more engaged and active in their teaching - the generations do not always stay in one era and the world is rapidly changing and developing.

Here're some videos I found:

A Vision of Students Today
This one's interesting :) especially for Gen Y teachers~~~ How many are true in your case?

Introduction to edu 2.0
 A high-level overview of edu 2.0, a next-generation education web site.

Evolution Web 1.0, Web 2.0 to Web 3.0

See how Web 3.0 looks like - You may find that many Web 3.0 features are already installed in places you are aware of.

How to use eLearning Community 2.0
Knowledge Provider

Knowledge Seeker