Confronting the differences between unit plan structural components head on!

Why is it, that each and every course has a different format for unit planning?  Is this just to confuse us or is there more to it?  These are the questions I asked myself as I viewed the 3 stage structure of the unit plan for Assignment 2.  The structure of this unit plan includes:

Stage 1:  Desired results

Stage 2:  Assessment evidence

Stage 3: Learning plan

Okay, I think I am starting to make some connections here, this plan has been designed as a way to ensure we use the backwards design model (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005) to guide the development of our unit plan to ensure an alignment between curriculum (stage 1), assessment (stage 2) and pedagogy (stage 3).  In the past where I have used backwards design (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005) to guide my unit planning, I have not been given such an explicit unit plan that really guides the alignment of curriculum, assessment and pedagogy.

I don’t think the differences in unit plan designs are set out to confuse us, rather I think they are dependent on the course and its content and more specifically the context.  The unit plans I have viewed in school contexts are different yet again, however it should be mentioned that they are designed to suit the contextual requirements.

As pre-service educators, I figure this course is trying to get us to think of the whole picture in regards to unit planning, rather than just isolated parts.  While this unit plan may take a bit of getting used to, I think it will prompt me to carefully consider the alignment between curriculum, assessment and pedagogy and not only consider this alignment but make it happen.

References

Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by design (2nd ed.). United States of America: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development.

Another new framework, surely not!

Yes, you read the title correctly, I have been introduced to yet another new framework this week.  This ‘new’ framework is known as the Dimensions of Learning (DOL) framework.  Click here to view a You Tube video on the DOL framework (figasia88, 2008).  I must admit when I saw that we were given yet another framework to consider I began to worry.  To integrate ICT’s effectively into our teaching, were we required to use all of the frameworks suggested to guide our planning?  Surely not, right?

As it turns out, frameworks guide the sequence when designing learning experiences.  We are not required to implement every framework known to man, rather we are to use the framework/s that best suit the purpose of our learning intentions.

As the learning path progressed, we were given a list of frameworks in a tabular format to guide the sequence of learning experiences for the upcoming development of a unit plan that integrated ICT’s.  Here is a screenshot of the tabular format provided by the Week 5 learning path:

Okay, I think my first point of action is to investigate further the frameworks/models listed within the tabular format to ascertain those most appropriate to guide the sequence of experiences within my unit of work.  I am familiar with the process of inquiry, Bloom’s taxonomy, 5 E’s and TELSTAR.  However, I feel I will need to retouch on each of this to decide which framework is best suited to guide my unit of work.

My initial concerns have been solved, I am not expected to integrate all of these frameworks into my unit plan.  Rather, I need to choose those that are most suitable to guide the learning experiences I intend to use for my unit plan.  The frameworks as a whole give me both a set of principles and an approach to guide the development of my unit plan.

 

References

Figasia88. (2008, September 11). What is the Dimensions of Learning framework [Video file]. Video posted to http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=yuHMOVXenxg

Planning my unit of work by thinking backwards

This week (week 5), I have been given some practical considerations to keep in mind when developing my unit of work.  The practicalities within this week’s learning path referred to the construction of a unit plan as a similar job to that of an architect.  It detailed the design process of an architect and how they carefully produce designs that correspond with a blueprint.

Before I read further to see how they would relate architectural design to unit planning, I did some thinking of my own.  I asked myself, how does architecture relate to unit planning design?

Here are some of my initial thoughts:

  • It is a detailed process
  • It requires a sequenced approach
  • You need to consider the outc0mes you are trying to achieve
  • It requires you to analyse the constraints you have to work with, what you can and can’t do

A post titled ‘Educator as an architect‘ by a fellow peer, which featured on her blog ‘Lifelong learning’ recently caught my eye.  She cleverly referred to an educators role as architectural by the building of enriching learning experiences to prepare learners for an unknown future.  This was a great post and one I suggest you check out, as it really puts everything into perspective.

As I progressed through the week 5 content I discovered some further considerations when planning a unit of work.  In a nutshell these are some of the suggestions provided:

  • Curriculum goals and assessment plan should always be referred to guide development
  • Time, resource and curriculum restraints exist
  • Interests of both student and teacher should be taken into account

It looks like I have quite a task ahead of me.  I can now see the resemblance between architecture and unit planning.  It requires careful consideration and planning prior to implementation.  It is not sufficient to just whip up a unit of work and expect it to work.  The key in my eyes is alignment.  Is there an alignment between curriculum, pedagogy and assessment?  Enter the backwards design model (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005).  Here, the backwards design model requires 3 basic approaches and assists in the alignment of curriculum, pedagogy and assessment (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005).

  1. Determine results – know and do (curriculum)
  2. Determine evidence – how they will demonstrate results and meet standards (assessment)
  3. Plan learning – experiences and instruction (pedagogy)

Now I know the key to unit plan development, I need to start thinking of a some ideas for a unit of work.  Where else to start then, determining the results.  What do I want students to be able to know and do?

References

Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by design (2nd ed.). United States of America: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development.

The concept map verdict is in and the winner is…

I have finally had the opportunity to analyse the Survey Monkey results I collated, which was instigated by an earlier blog post titled ‘Concept mapping, which one is more appealing you choose’.  While my survey only managed to attract 9 comments, it has allowed me to collate some results and ‘play’ around with Survey Monkey.

Here is a word cloud that demonstrates some of the words used within the comments, in response to the question, Which concept map do you prefer, handwritten (paper version) or bubbl.us (online version)?

So here is the verdict:

According to the results generated by Survey Monkey,  6 people voted for the bubbl.us version and 3 voted for the handwritten version, therefore the online version is the clear winner.  I was actually quite surprised by the results, I expected perhaps one person to prefer the handwritten version over the online version, however the results suggested 3 people preferred the handwritten version.

A positive of using Survey Monkey, is it not only lets you to create a survey and collate results, it also allows you to view comments and generate a way to present your information using a graph.  I must mention that I managed to perform all of these functions using a free account and did not have to pay for an upgraded account.

I would recommend Survey Monkey and can already imagine its application in the classroom.  For example, in a classroom context, students could be offered a variety of ways to present an upcoming assignment and could be asked to vote for their preferred way to demonstrate learning.  I also envision students supplying their teacher with their comments regarding a unit of work after completing a vote which captures whether they understood the content of a unit or required further assistance.

To me, the online version by bubbl.us is a visually appealing way to present the information contained in a concept map and is confirmed by 66.7% of respondents.

The big reveal

Well here it is, the grand reveal of my digital artefact (Assignment 1).

To capture attention, I decided to use Glogster as my overarching platform.  As you can see, it is visually appealing and allows for the embedding and inclusion of other ICT tools.

Click on the below screenshot to be taken to my Glogster.  Or alternatively, if you would like to bookmark the link for future use, I have included the link:  http://www.glogster.com/frintzilas/enable-evolutionary-essential-/g-6kssa1cbmvcouq1tvui9pa0

Please note:  there are 3 major components embedded into the glogster (radio station, video and a magazine).  Run your cursor over the glogster and you will see a ‘www’ sign appear and this will take you to an outside link.  This is except for the radio station, where you will need to run your cursor over  the word ‘play’ until it fades.

 

I would like to briefly describe the types of ICT tools I used to create my digital masterpiece.

I used a program called Spreaker  to create a radio broadcast.  This was a lot of fun and relatively easy to use.  I worked out my script prior and added some sound effects and voila I had a radio broadcast.

To create my video ‘Educational Affairs’, I recorded video footage and uploaded and rearranged the footage using  iMovie.  From here, I uploaded the iMovie to Vimeo and then uploaded to Mozilla Popcorn.  Please note, I chose to capture a screenshot and add a link to the screenshot in Glogster, due to the incompatibility between Mozilla Popcorn (HTML5) and Glogster (Flash).

I created the magazine using Joo Mag.  This was another wonderful ICT platform that was relatively easy to use.  I used a template provided by Joo Mag and then deleted and moved parts of the template around to make it ‘my own’.

Finally, I used create.ly to create my infographic.  I found this tool quite self-explanatory and feel it has given a nice ‘edge’ to my artefact by summarising the 3 key reasons for ICT integration within this context.

I felt the adding of references onto each of these would have disrupted the flow of my artefact, hence I have included the reference list below.

 

References

Atkin, J. (2001). Enhancing Learning in the Middle Years of Schooling. Retrieved March 21, 2013, from http://www.learning-by-design.com/papers/MSdevelopment.pdf

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). Information and communication technology (ICT) capability. (2013). Retrieved March 22, 2013, from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/GeneralCapabilities/Pdf/ICT

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). (2013). Welcome to the Foundation to Year 12 Australian Curriculum online. Retrieved March 21, 2013, from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/

Blurton, C. (1999). New Directions of ICT-Use in Education. Retrieved March 22, 2013, from http://www.unesco.org/education/lwf/dl/edict.pdf

Connectivism. (2013). Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved March 21, 2013, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Connectivism

Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. (2012). Videoconferencing at Wodonga Middle Years College [Video]. Retrieved from https://fuse.education.vic.gov.au/pages/View.aspx?pin=LUM69C

Luckin, R., Bligh, B., Manches, A., Ainsworth, S., Crook, C., & Noss, R. (2012). Decoding learning:  the proof, promise and potential of digital education.  Retrieved March 21, 2013, from   http://www.nesta.org.uk/library/documents/DecodingLearningReport_v12.pdf

Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs. (MCEETYA). (2008). Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians. Retrieved March 21, 2013, from http://www.mceecdya.edu.au/verve/_resources/National_Declaration_on_the_Educational_Goals_for_Young_Australians.pdf

Pendergast, D., Flanagan, R., Land, R., Bahr, M., Mitchell, J., Weir, K., Noblett, G., Cain, M., Misich, T., Carrington, V., & Smith, J. (2005). Developing lifelong learners in the middle years of schooling. Retrieved March 21, 2013, from http://www.mceetya.edu.au/verve/_resources/lifelonglearn_midyears.pdf

Prensky, M. (2009). Marc Prensky”s Essential 21st Century Skills. Retrieved March 21, 2013, from http://www.scribd.com/doc/16594116/Marc-Prenskys-Essential-Skills-for-the-21st-Century

Room 13. (2011). Who are we? [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://thompson67.edublogs.org/about/

Siemens, G. (2005). Connectivism:  A learning theory for the digital age. Retrieved March 21, 2013, from http://www.itdl.org/Journal/Jan_05/article01.htm

Sources of Energy. (2010). Scootle [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://walkersoe.blogspot.com.au/2010/09/scootle.html

Williams, R. (n.d.). Has the world changed and we haven’t noticed? [Image]. Retrieved from  http://www.flickr.com/photos/planeta/7294481020/

 

Any images or video footage not referenced above are from my personal collection.

 

 

Mozilla Popcorn frustrations exposed

Well my Assignment 1 journey has certainly included times of extreme frustration.  Countless hours, working until past midnight most nights, has really taken its toll.  I truly am hoping that my finished artefact is well worth it.

I wanted to share a major point of frustration that I experienced this week, with Mozilla Popcorn maker.  This program allows you to edit an already created video and add bits straight from the web, such as Twitter feeds and Wikipedia inserts.  Another great feature included the flexibility to add pop-up annotations.

So, long story short I created a video using my iPhone, then uploaded it to iMovie.  From here, I then uploaded to Vimeo and then straight onto Mozilla Popcorn maker.  After a lot of fiddling, I had the video just how I wanted it, pop-up annotations and all.  It actually wasn’t too difficult to use.  Then the problems began.  As this platform is HTML 5 and Glogster (where I want to embed my Mozilla Popcorn video) is essentially a Flash system, this = a huge problem!

After a chat to the course examiner, (he suggested the reasoning I explained above) David advised to try screencasting software.  Well I had never heard of screencasting before, but from what I could gather it was like taking a moving screenshot of a video (includes both audio and visual on the screen).  I found a free screencasting program to use (Screencast o matic), however while it worked and allowed me to upload my video to You Tube (so I could then upload to my Glogster), the audio quality was extremely POOR.  Given that part of the rubric criteria is for execution of the artefact, I couldn’t accept handing in a video with poor audio quality.

I even managed to get my brother in law (a tech guru) to have a look and he was baffled.  No way to improve the audio, due to the free screencasting software that I had used and no way to embed the Mozilla Popcorn video straight into my Glogster.  Had I have chosen to pay for an upgrade to a screencasting program, this may have been a different story.  With emotions running high, I decided to capture a screenshot of my Mozilla Popcorn video (and placing it onto Glogster) and add a link to the picture that would take viewers to my video which they could view in Mozilla Popcorn, but this time with great audio quality.

Not quite what I planned and after about 15 hours of trying, I was at the end of my tether.  This is the best option and for only 14 marks this will have to do.

Note to self and others, if using Mozilla Popcorn maker and your plan is to upload it to You Tube or Vimeo, rethink it, unless you have oodles of money to pay for additional upgrades.

Astonishing: some ICT tools are actually easy to use

As my title suggests, some ICT tools are actually relatively easy to use.  Some are even self-explanatory, even for the novice ICT user.  Inspired by a post by Mrs Poulter, at Keeping up with the times, I thought I had better check out a tool called easel.ly.  Prior to this, I had been fiddling with Glogster, as I had chosen this platform as an ICT tool to present my first assignment.  Taking some skills that I had gathered from navigating around Glogster, I entered the world of easel.ly.  Wow, easel.ly is in fact easy.  I decided to use a template and found it extremely easy to delete parts of the template that I didn’t require and manipulate text and images.  This by far, was the most simple infographic I had come across.  While there weren’t an excessive amount of templates to choose from, they were sufficient to meet my purposes.  There was also an option to create your own infographic from scratch.

I don’t know about you but infographics are extremely appealing.  I feel this is due largely to the visual nature of the infographic.

Another positive, it didn’t cost me a cent to create this infographic.  I am now working on embedding an image of my infographic into my glogster, which I feel is a visually appealing way to entice viewers.

The moral of this story is that not ALL ICT tools are difficult to use.  Sure, I have come across some major hurdles (which I will save for another blog post) during the creation of Assignment 1 (including one that even a brother in law tech guru couldn’t fix) but amongst the difficulties are some great tools out there, just dying for us to try them.  I hope this post has encouraged you to give it a go (thanks Mrs Poulter).

You will be able to check out my infographic created using easel.ly shortly when I make a few finishing touches to Assignment 1.  I look forward to sharing it with you.

Getting creative with Stickman

This week (week 4), I was introduced to the ‘Draw a stickman’ tool which allowed me to draw a stickman and other exciting objects.  ‘Draw a stickman’ is quite a clever marketing tool.  After you have drawn your stickman and worked your way throughout the first episode, your finished product features on a t-shirt that you can purchase.  In this instance I was guided to put on my creative hat and draw a stickman and other objects whilst being guided by instructional activities.  I watched on as my stickman, ‘came to life’.  It is safe to say that during this activity, I was deeply engaged, waiting to see what my stickman would do next.  Here are some images that  I captured during the creation of my stickman.  Not at all very creative in comparison to other one’s I had seen.

‘Draw a stickman’ is an engaging tool that encourages learners to follow instructions to create a stickman.  I attempted to upload my image to twitter, however when I clicked on the twitter feed it took me to the ‘Draw a stickman’   instead of my particular image.  Something I may need to investigate more.

Check out the ‘Draw a stickman gallery’ here.  If your drawing is anything like mine, it may put your stickman to shame.

Goodbye Google Reader, hello possibilities

Well today I was informed via my PLN that Google Reader would be ceasing operations from July 1, 2013.  My initial thoughts were the following as summarised by the below word cloud:

 

So after some concerned thoughts, I did a quick Google to see what I could come up with.  Sure enough, people were ‘all over’ the Google Reader shutdown and had already been blogging about some alternatives.  Whitson Gordon is one of these people.  This by far is a wonderfully written post.

In a nutshell it told me the following:

Thanks to this insightful post I don’t feel as apprehensive about the closure of Google Reader.  While it is a bit sad, given that I have only just begun to use it, I am sure some bigger and better RSS feed readers are out there.  The question is though, are they free like Google Reader?  That will be my next area to look into before importing my Google reader feeds.

As teachers we are to embrace change and this is exactly what is needed here.  Embrace the change, yes Google Reader is coming to an end but think of the possibilities.

 

References

Gordon, W. (2013). Google Reader is shutting down; here are the best alternatives [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://lifehacker.com/5990456/google-reader-is-getting-shut-down-here-are-the-best-alternatives

 

 

Diigo breakthrough – should have occurred some time ago

My inspiration for this post is thanks to Michelle Thompson and her blog ‘Bringing technology to students with Special Needs’.  Similarly, Michelle overcame an obstacle and had worked out how to use Diigo as a social bookmarking tool.  When Michelle mentioned that she used the Diigo toolbar, I thought hang on it really is time that I get this toolbar sorted.

This is no unknown breakthrough, rather it is a breakthrough for me.  Some time ago after we were guided to sign up for Diigo  we were advised to use Diigo to view annotations on documents etc.  To do this, we needed to download the Diigo toolbar.  Now, don’t get me wrong this wasn’t a difficult thing to do but it was something I was unsure of during the previous week.  I put it out of my mind and kept adding bookmark’s to Diigo  via the sign in page and thought that was suffice.  Well, then I moved onto the week 4 content and discovered to view the annotations on particular web documents, I needed to download the Diigo toolbar.  I couldn’t find any instructions on the study desk for this, so I decided to turn to my virtual friend and answer provider, GOOGLE.  I instantly was met with instructions from the Diigo website explaining how to download the Diigo toolbar to my browser.  Here are the instructions I used.

Now I have a toolbar and sidebar.  Guess what?  I can now view annotations, send pages or bookmark interesting websites/blogs etc using my toolbar.  Wow, I think this may just save me some time.  A part of me wishes I had done this earlier and taken the time to work out how to download the Diigo toolbar.  Anyway, it is now done and I am happy with the outcome.

I think it is safe to say that with many of the ICT tools that we are using, we aren’t fully aware of all of their functions.  To become aware, it requires time, patience and a bit of research.  I found the instructions for downloading the Diigo toolbar and managed to do so in a matter of 5 minutes, something that could have been done week’s ago.  I think I got too caught up with trying to take the shortest possible avenue when in fact by not adding the toolbar I was in fact creating more work for myself.  Lesson learnt.  Thanks Google!

 

Digital artefact process reveal

I felt it was essential to write a blog post on this topic, as the Assignment 1 due date is looming.  I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the words ‘An example assignment, why?’.  The thoughts that came to mind were the following:

After reading on, I discovered an exemplar in relation to the University context would be offered as a guide, however three valid reasons were included to support the examiner’s advice, to NOT copy the exemplar.

However, enlisted within this section of the weekly content contained a process which we could use to frame our assessment if we wanted to.  After looking at the 6 step process in conjunction with the rubric, I noticed an alignment between the rubric and the process suggested.  I have decided to use this process to frame the development of my digital artefact.  The reasons for this are two-fold:

1.  Meet criteria

2.  To scaffold and guide me towards success

So here it is, the 6 step process that I plan to follow and some initial thoughts on each step that I have come up with.  You will find the 6 step process in bold and my thoughts on how I will do this in normal font.

1.  Establish the context:  Find out more about my context, by talking to my mentor (email or face to face) with specific reference to ICT’s and how they are currently integrated within the classroom.  Why does the teacher use ICT’s?  What policies influence the teacher’s decision to integrate ICT’s?

2.  Brainstorm (list) as many concepts for integrating ICT’s into the context with supporting literature:  Use my concept map as a beginning point to think of some broad reasons for ICT integration.  Do any of these reasons apply to the context?  Similar to the concept map activity in week 2, use post it notes for the planning phase and use an online platform to brainstorm and present information.

3.  Organise reasons into 3 appropriate groups:  Do this during the organising phase when developing my concept map.  Separate into categories.

4.  Find examples to support these reasons:  Network and connect with others via Twitter and blogging to find examples to support these reasons.  Look for similarities in comparison to other contexts.

5.  Figure out what type of online artefact to use:  Go through my tool bag and in particular apply the TEST (Task, Environment, Skills, Tools) framework.

6.  Implement the online artefact:  Create my online artefact and add to my blog, seek comments from PLN.

I now feel as thought I have a backbone to completing Assignment 1.  I must admit, prior to reading this 6 step process I was feeling a little overwhelmed and unsure of how to start Assignment 1.  With this suggested process and the application of the TEST framework (used by the Toolbelt theory), I feel I am well on my way.

 

References

Socol, I. (2008). The Toolbelt [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/irasocol/toolbelt-theory

Introducing TPACK, the key to success in EDC3100!

I have just been introduced to a core concept that will be used throughout the course.  This will help me effectively integrate ICT’s into my teaching and learning.  So, it is safe to say I have now nestled this acronym deep into my tool bag.

The acronym TPACK, stands for:

Technological

Pedagogical

and

Content

Knowledge

(Jones, 2009)

As mentioned in this week’s lecture, “TPACK gives us a new set of eyes”.   If you click on the diagram above you will see that TPACK comprises of content knowledge (CK), pedagogy (PK) and technology (TK).  The intersections between these 3 types of knowledge include, Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK), Technological Content Knowledge (TCK), Technological Pedagogical Knowledge (TPK).

After reading and viewing this week’s readings, I have formulated the following definitions:

CK:  subject knowledge, what it is you are trying to teach

PK:  knowledge about teaching and learning pedagogical practices, way to teach this

TK:  knowledge of using technology, tools and resources, ICT’s to support teaching of content

The most note-worthy point that I obtained from the readings on TPACK was the required alignment of, content, pedagogy and technology.  This site (Alsagoff, n.d.) was kindly supplied for the EDC3100 participants to delve into.  By looking at this site (Alsagoff, n.d.), I have essentially learnt about a pedagogical tool (Bloom’s Taxonomy) that can be implemented using technology.  I am now starting to recognise the connection and linkage between pedagogy and technology that could result by implementing some of the ideas within the site (Alsagoff, n.d).  However, tools by themselves are not conducive of learning, it is how we use these tools and scaffold such understandings.

In relation to my upcoming practicum, when stumped with a question such as: How will I teach the area of a triangle to Year 7’s?  I now will use the TPACK model to assist me to effectively integrate ICT’s to teach this concept.  I need to bring all of this knowledge together as an integrated whole, to form what we call TPACK.

 

References

Alsagoff, Z. (n.d.). A juicy collection of Bloom’s Digital Taxonomies! Retrieved March 12, 2013, from http://zaidlearn.blogspot.com.au/2012/10/a-juicy-collection-of-blooms-digital.html

Jones, D. (2009). The TPACK image [Image]. Retrieved from http://www.flickr.com/photos/david_jones/8538394076/

RedBubble and digital creations

The inspiration behind this post stemmed from reading Leah’s post over at Drury Lane.  Here Leah described Red Bubble as:

“an online marketplace”

Week 3 introduced me to as Leah calls it, “an online marketplace”, where users can make, share their creations and essentially sell and market their work.  RedBubble has the ability for the user to sell their digital creation on a t-shirt, iPhone cases, stickers and the list goes on.  Creativity is swarming at RedBubble with people sharing, commenting and admiring other peoples creations.  RedBubble also has a blog which contains featured artists and their creations.

Now while this is a great marketplace to store, comment on and sell digital creations, it must be mentioned that it attracts an additional cost to have your creation printed.  For example for a card, you could be looking at anywhere from $2.48 per card.  This got me thinking, as the question put to the EDC3100 cohort was, “How could you make use of a tool like RedBubble in your teaching?”.  While I could easily sign up and create a RedBubble account, to allow my students to print their creation in the form of a card, t-shirt or iPhone case, this would incur a fee.  This got me thinking of my practicum class.  Currently the teacher purchases ‘cheap’ rewards from the ‘cheap shop’ for her reward system.  RedBubble offers the purchase of gift vouchers, imagine if the offer of gaining a RedBubble gift voucher was on offer?  This in my opinion would create such a buzz in the classroom, I mean what student wouldn’t want to see their creation in print form on a t-shirt, sticker or card?

I feel the biggest limiting factor of RedBubble is the associated cost for printing, although the positives must be mentioned to.  In a classroom context RedBubble allows students to experiment with marketing their products.  It also encourages the creation of innovative designs and how to make designs appealing to consumers.  Students could connect with others on both a global and national level to comment on other’s creative designs and use other peoples designs as inspirational starters for further creations.

Times are changing, can I keep up?

As the title suggests, ‘Times are changing, can I keep up?’  This was the question I asked myself after reading the week 2 activities, titled ‘Changing nature of society’.  In particular the video below was what sparked the question, Times are changing, can I keep up?  Click on the video and you may begin to understand why this video caused me to think of my ability to keep up with changing times.

(Xplanevisualthinking, 2007)

The changes are phenomenal and the rate of change is what inspired me to write this blog post.

I must admit, I wasn’t at all surprised when I watched ‘A vision of Students Today’ You Tube video clip.  The handheld signs that the students held up reminded me of my prior experiences in a lecture hall.  The video really reinforced the impact of changing times on learning and how often the teaching and learning process is not conducive with changing times.

(Mwesch, 2007)

It got me thinking, if ICT’s were integral to keep abreast of 21st century change, I would need to adopt a new attitude towards their implementation.  My pedagogy would have to include the latest developments and would require me to become aware of new and exciting changes.

After viewing the video, as if it was a sign, I was sent a link by Simon McKenzie @ connectedtchr via twitter.  He recommended application and consideration of ‘The New Mind Set’.  The question, “Will twitter become the new staffroom?” (McKenzie, 2013) and the statement “the blog to replace the resume” (McKenzie, 2013) were very pertinent given week two’s sub-focus on the ‘changing nature of society’.  You can check out Simon’s blog here.

You can check out ‘The New Mind Set’ presentation below by clicking on the image.  I have added it to both Diigo and re-tweeted to Twitter, as I think it is extremely relevant to this week’s content, as I am sure you will agree.  Check it out and let me know what you think.

I think it is safe to say that with my developing PLN, I can and will be able to keep up with the changing times.  Changing times = changing pedagogy.  It is not suffice to continue using ‘old’ teaching and learning strategies, resources and tool’s.

I just wanted to share a significant PLN achievement this week.  It was this week where Simon McKenzie @ connectedtchr viewed my blog and added his take on an important tool to have – ‘The New Mind Set’.  He shared this with me via Twitter.  I have to mention that Simon McKenzie @ connectedtchr is NOT a EDC3100 course participant, he is an ‘outside’ connection that I have made.  This to me is a very significant achievement.  I have managed to converse with a person outside of the boundaries of the EDC3100 cohort.  While I deeply value my fellow peer’s contributions, this is the first ‘outsider’ to view my blog and give their opinion.  Pretty exciting stuff really!

 

References

McKenzie, S. (2013). The New Mind Set [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from http://www.haikudeck.com/p/5FhGO9pYbD/the-new-mind-set

Mwesch. (2007). A Vision of Students Today [Video file]. Video posted to http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=dGCJ46vyR9o

Xplanevisualthinking. (2007). Did you know 2.0 [Video file]. Video posted to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMcfrLYDm2U&feature=player_embedded

 

 

 

 

Capturing the ‘Kodak’ moment and what to do with it

This post was inspired by an activity, which involved not only the capturing of a weather image in my local area but the sharing of an image.  This entailed using a digital camera (or in my case my iphone) and having the photo uploaded to flickr.  I had never used flickr before and was totally unaware of its capabilities as a photo sharing and storing tool.  When I was made aware that flickr could be used to upload a photo, add a comment and share it with the world, I was mesmerised.  What a great tool!

With some help provided by the EDC3100 week 2 study desk, I was prompted to take my image and email it to a particular web address to have it uploaded to a shared group.  Click here to view some other great weather images that have been added to this group.  Just by looking at this wide assortment of weather images you can appreciate the appeal this type of activity would have in the classroom.

Imagine this scenario in a classroom:  you are covering a unit of work on the weather, and in doing this a specific focus has been on erratic weather patterns such as; floods, cyclones and tornado’s.  Some students may have never experienced these weather patterns, however after uploading a picture of the weather in their area and sharing a comment they are met with other weather shots from around the globe.   This is nothing short of amazing.  Not only can they see the picture, they can comment!

This is the picture I captured and shared with my EDC3100 peers:

Caption:  This photo was taken this morning (8:15am, March 2nd, 2013) after a week of rain. The sun is trying to appear but the dark clouds suggest this wont be for long. The weather where I am located in Queensland, Australia has been very wet and a sunny day would be a nice change.

Flickr is definitely a program I am keen to further explore, when time permits of course.

 

Putting on my toolbelt to get ‘hammering’ on Assignment 1

It looks like I am going to need a pretty large belt, because I have a lot of tools to hang off it.  ‘Toolbelt theory’, was a concept I had never heard of prior to week 2.  At first I was wondering what a toolbelt had to do with ICT.  After reading some information provided by the EDC3100 examiner, I was intrigued.  I conducted some additional reading and came across this website which explains it well.  The toolbelt theory entails the following which can be remembered by the acronym TEST:

Task at hand

Environment

Skills

Tools available

So it got me thinking, how could the toolbelt theory help me with my assignment 1 task?  I decided to apply the TEST acronym and hence the toolbelt theory to my situation.

Task at hand:

  • What digital artefact can I use to present my assignment?

Environment:

  • I have a time constraint in relation to my assignment (submit no later than March 25th, 2012)
  • I have a rubric to go by and I am aiming for the ‘Exceptional Standard’
  • It must be presented on my blog
  • There are no standard methods of completion – only ideas

Skills:

  • I can use a web browser
  • I can create basic presentations
  • I can use a web browser to source information
  • However, a particular weakness of mine is self-doubt

Tools available:

  • Refer to other blogs within my PLN for inspiration
  • Try out some of the ideas used on the EDC3100 week 2 home page (eg. infographics or digital storytelling)
  • Use the USQ 3100 study desk to conduct a search to find other student or teacher ideas for artefacts by typing in ‘artefacts’
  • Keep an eye on twitter for new ideas shared by my PLN
  • Keep an eye on diigo for new ideas shared by my PLN
  • Browse sites with various ideas for Web 2.0 tools (eg. http://www.kn.pacbell.com/wired/fil/pages/listweb20s.html)

Well it looks like I have some work to do.  I have plenty of tools to work with and an environment and skills conducive with it, so its now about working out which tools to use.

So how does all of this apply to the classroom and in particular learners?  The aim of the toolbelt theory is to encourage students to apply their own set of tools and skills to meet their needs.   This is based upon; choosing and using solutions, evaluating various tools and using solutions in accordance with both their environment and skill level.  This is something I would like to implement in the classroom.  With the acronym TEST, I think it wouldn’t be a difficult concept to grasp.

References

MC900095387| [Image]. (2013). Retrieved from http://office.microsoft.com/en-au/images/results.aspx?qu=tool+belt&ex=1#ai:MC900095387|

Socol, I. (2008). CSUN 2008/A Toolbelt for a Lifetime [Web log post]. Retrieved March 5, 2013, from http://speedchange.blogspot.com.au/2008/03/csun-2008a-toolbelt-for-lifetime.html

 

New addition to tool bag – Scootle

Prior to commencing the week 2 activities, I had never heard of Scootle.  Even if I had heard of it, turns out you need to have a recognised email address to subscribe.  Luckily for me and my fellow EDC3100 cohort, we were granted access by use of our university email address (Thanks David). For those that don’t know, Scootle provides digital curriculum resources that are aligned to the Australian Curriculum (ACARA).  Turns out there were links to Scootle digital resources to support the ACARA content descriptors.  Have a look at the below screenshot to see what this looks like (click on the screenshot to be taken to the website):

 

I must admit I am feeling a mixed bag of emotions right now, pure excitement (can’t believe we have access) and astonishment (why had we not known about this before).  By having a login and now knowing how to access Scootle, I was now on the road to finding some great resources.

A pertinent learning activity which required the EDC3100 cohort to sign up to Scootle, choose a content descriptor (relevant to the practicum context) which features the ICT capability and comment on one of the aligning digital resources was required during week 2.  Here is a snapshot of how I used Scootle to assist me to find a digital resource that complemented my chosen content descriptor.

A description of the curriculum link (e.g. the year, learning area, content descriptor or other as appropriate)

• Year level:  7

• Key learning area:  Mathematics

• Content Description:  Establish the formulas for areas of rectangles, triangles and parallelograms and use these in problem solving (ACARA, 2013, p. 47).

• Elaboration:  establishing that the area of a triangle is half the area of an appropriate rectangle (ACARA, 2013, p.47)

A link to the resource

http://www.scootle.edu.au/ec/viewing/L145/index.html  (please note if you are not signed up to Scootle you may not be able to access this).

Here is a screenshot for those who cannot view the link:

A brief description of what the resource is/does

This resource prompts learners to determine the area of triangles and requires the learner to first estimate the area of a triangle.  From here they get to build the triangle and essentially build the formula.  The manipulative allows for comparisons against the original estimation.  Via various triangles, learners practise applying the formula of a triangle.

I actually trialled using the manipulative and found it aligned to my chosen content descriptor and elaboration quite well.  After the estimation of the area of the triangle, learners begin to manipulate the triangle.  From here a rectangle was used to show learners how to determine the area of a triangle based on the area of a rectangle.  Learners are required to manipulate their triangle to determine the relationship between the area of a rectangle and that of a triangle.  It allows students to manipulate the base and height of the triangle and provides supportive prompts, after the first attempt is made.

Overall, a good manipulative that I feel is well suited to the content description that I had selected.

I have now added Scootle to my toolbag, that I will take with me when going into my practicum setting.  I will be armed with an arrangement of tools, ready to commence my 3rd year practicum.  This resource has definitely taking the work out of searching for digital resources.  Scootle has done the hard part (by finding the resources that align with the curriculum), now it is my turn to find the resources most suitable to teach the concepts I require.

 

References

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority. (ACARA). (n.d.). Welcome to the Foundation to Year 12 Australian Curriculum Online. Retrieved March 5, 2013, from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority. (ACARA). (2013). The Australian Curriculum: Mathematics.  Retrieved March 5, 2013, from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/Australian%20Curriculum.pdf?type=0&a=M&l=F&l=1&l=2&l=3&l=4&l=5&l=6&l=7&l=8&l=9&l=10&l=10A&e=0&e=1&e=2&e=3&e=4&e=5&e=6&e=7&x=0&x=1

Concept mapping – which one is more appealing? You choose!

Today I finished creating my concept map which addresses the stimulus question for week 2 – ‘Why should I use ICT’s in my teaching?’

Now, how on earth would I create a concept map using ICT’s?  The examiner kindly provided some additional links to help with the development of a concept map.  In particular, this link  (White, 2011) provided the scaffolding I needed to create a pretty cool looking concept map.  After reading the information provided by White (2011), I realised the initial planning phases of the concept map would be the most crucial.  According to White (2011), I would have to follow the below steps.  I have decided to let you all in on my planning process so you can decide  for yourself, what is more appealing, the paper concept map or the concept map on bubbl.us?  I look forward to your thoughts.

Brainstorm phase – laying out all the words that come to mind

New addition:  Fellow peer, Jenni at Adventures in Technology has recently blogged describing the creation of her concept map and has cleverly mentioned using Twitter to assist her with the brainstorming process.  Why didn’t I think of doing this?  Great way to use your PLN to brainstorm.

Organise phase – organising into groups by creating groups and sub-groups

Layout phase – put arrangement into concept map format

Linking phase – using arrows to connect

Finalising concept map – permanent phase

This is where I placed my concept map onto bubbl.us.  To be honest I had never used a tool like bubbl.us to create a concept map before.  I actually learnt by trial and error using the platform.  It was quite simple to use and once I got the hang of how to add arrows and words to the the rest was easy.  The colour gives it an extra kick!  Click on the picture to go to bubbl.us to have a closer look at my concept map.

Now you choose, what do you prefer?  Concept map on paper or concept map using bubbl.us?  I don’t know about you, but my without a doubt vote goes to bubbl.us

As a manipulation and presentation tool, bubbl.us definitely gets my vote.  Similarly, a fellow peer Bec posted a wonderful looking concept map on an alternative platform – SpiderScribe.  Check out the wonderful things that can be done with Spiderscribe by visiting her blog here.

I would appreciate it if you would take a few minutes to leave your verdict with survey monkey.  I will post the results at a later date.  Click on the picture below to cast your vote and leave your comments.

References

White, H. (2011). How to Construct a Concept Map. Retrieved March 4, 2013, from http://www.udel.edu/chem/white/teaching/ConceptMap.html

The fast developing PLN

A post today featured on my fellow peers blog – ‘Adventures in Technology‘ made its way to my Google reader account and it got me thinking.  This post caught my eye and prompted me to self-reflect on the week that had gone by and where I had come from and to evaluate how my PLN was travelling.  In this insightful post featured on ‘Adventures in Technology‘, Jenni spoke about the various new ICT’s she was now utilising and how she was managing them using a RSS feed reader.

Similarly to Jenni, I was using the Google feed reader to manage not only my blogs but my time.  After having a few initial concerns relating to time management and social media, I decided to use the feed reader.  Not only have I been utilising the feed reader, I have using it regularly.  Every night I check my feed reader and sort through the new postings to determine those that catch my eye.  ‘Adventures in Technology’ featured a great post titled ‘Teaching an old dog new tricks’.  Had I not have decided to subscribe this blog to my feed reader, I may not have seen this posting.  As I conducted my nightly check of new postings it caught my eye and decided to act on it by responding.

Well it is safe to say, this time a week ago I was in a very different place.  I think by memory I had a blog site, with maybe a comment or two.  I also had a twitter account with a few followers and I had signed up for Diigo but was yet to post anything (didn’t really know how).  This week is a very different story.  I have made some huge accomplishments this week and here they are:

  1. I am now followed by 62 people on Twitter – can you believe it?
  2. Via my connections and followers on Twitter, I have come across other interesting people to follow both inside and outside of the EDC3100 Twitter group, I am now following 101 people.
  3. Via the people I have been following I have found numerous links to other ICT resources and blogs that I can use for future practicums.  I even worked out how to retweet a tweet.
  4. I have contributed some resources to Diigo, some that I have mentioned on Twitter as well.
  5. I have received two pingbacks from two fellow peers, where they have made reference to my posts in their blogs.
  6. I am successfully using a RSS feed reader (Google reader) to manage my feeds.
  7. I am using the Facebook support group for this course for additional assistance.
  8. I am commenting on various peers blogs, by identifying those of interest via my RSS feed reader.
  9. I have created a blog roll which has listed the blogs which I am currently following via my RSS feed reader.

Some great accomplishments and many more to come as I set to embark on further expanding my PLN.

Thanks to Jenni for sparking the inspiration for this post.

I would like to leave you with a quote:

“How you use technology in education is more important than if you use it at all” (Thornburg, 1999)