The End! (Almost)

I can’t help but think how time has flown. It only seemed like yesterday when we were introduced to a range of new ICTs and were told to create our own blogs, Twitter, Feedly, and Diigo accounts and now we have finished our three weeks of professional experience and are nearing the end of the course.

During the semester, I have learned many new theories and models about the use and effective integration of ICTs in the classroom, along with how to blog and use twitter (although I haven’t been on it much) to develop my PLN (personal learning network) and PKM process (personal knowledge management) which I can use throughout my uni courses and beyond as a teacher in the future. It has also changed my view of integration and use of ICTs in the classroom, as I am more aware of how ICTs can be used to transform and enhance learning. Through engaging and building on my PLN and the course itself, I have also discovered new ICTs and online resources and activities which have have been shared by experienced teachers and fellow classmates that could be used and incorporated within the classroom.

Now, it’s just a matter of completing the remaining assessment tasks for all courses, including Assignment 3 for this course…

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Resources, SMART board, and Prac

In the lessons which I was able to integrate ICTs on professional experience, I had used many resources which I had I found on the Scootle site, such as this Estimating and measuring angles site. It allows the teacher to drag an arm of the angle to show students the different types of angles and allows students to estimate its amount of turn, before measuring it using an on-screen protractor. The students enjoyed the interactivity of this and were enthusiastic when learning to use the protractor to measure angles to practice.

Unlike Amy, I found it difficult to find resources suitable for my lessons on the SMART exchange site that were at the level of my students, however I was able to make some of my own interactive slides using the SMART Notebook software installed. While the slides worked at school when it was connected to the SMART board, an issue that occurred during the trial before the lesson involved some of the images not being able to be dragged on the screen whilst some could – even after calibrating the SMART board (multiple times)!  I had no idea what needed to be done to fix this, so during the lesson I was only able to ask the students to use the mouse to move and manipulate the objects on the SMART board. This also occurred throughout professional experience, as my mentor did not use the interactive whiteboard often to teach and therefore, did not find this to be an issue that needed to be fixed urgently.

New Experiences on Prac

The three weeks of professional experience has now been completed and I am exhausted. It has been one of the most difficult class I have had due to their low ability and number of students who had learning difficulties. There were 26 students in the grade 5 home class I was with, however the Math and English classes were streamed so that there were 21 students altogether in the core class (mixture of students from my home class and the class next door) I taught. Their needs ranged from dyslexia, ESL, anxiety, ADHD, traumatic emotional experiences, and severe asthma which I need to be aware of when planning lessons.

During this time I had learned new class management and differentiation strategies, which has made me feel more confident of myself as a teacher. In an introductory angles lesson I taught in the last week of professional experience, I had integrated the use of iPads in the lesson, so that students could take photos of an area in the classroom and oval to outline on a drawing app and share their findings on the SMART board. To do this, I had discovered and learned how to use AirServer which the school has purchased and enables the mirroring of the iPad screen to the SMART board. While checking the iPads prior to the lesson, I had some difficulties figuring out how to connect it to AirServer (as it was the first time I had ever used it), however after a few minutes of quick research on Google I had realised that the iPads and computer had to be connected to the same wi-fi and the problem was quickly resolved.

As the students had not had this type of experience before in the classroom, all were very fascinated and engaged throughout the lesson and there were no major behaviour issues other than a bit of talk and being distracted with the other apps on the iPad. This was just one of the lessons which I had integrated ICTs throughout the three weeks, however I had been advised by my mentor to use more concrete materials in my lessons than ICTs, as the students required this type of manipulation of materials and learning to aid in their understanding of concepts.

Interactive Whiteboards + Prac

From chalkboards to whiteboards and now, interactive whiteboards, I can say that the first time I had ever used one was during my first ever prac for the Foundations of Curriculum and Pedagogy course at a private school. Although it was a bit confusing and overwhelming at first, I was able to slowly navigate my way through the different functions to incorporate it into the math lessons that I had taught. However, with no access to interactive whiteboards in the last few pracs that I had been on in the past year, I had forgotten most of what I had learned about using them. 😦

I found this week’s focus on interactive whiteboards in the learning path very helpful in learning about the different functions, communities for support, and resources that could be used in preparing myself for the upcoming prac. I did have some trouble with downloading the software, but hopefully it will all work out during the 3 week prac.

On another note, I found out that my class has access to a SMART board and 4 desktop computers in the classroom, along with over 70 laptops, 30 iPads, 10 iPods, and 10 digital cameras that can be borrowed for use. How exciting! 😀 Now it’s just a matter of coming up with brilliant ideas to integrate these ICTs into my teaching and planning to enhance and transform student learning.

Here are 10 Tips for Teaching with an Interactive Whiteboard which I found to be quite useful.

Models and Frameworks

An activity we were required to do as part of this week’s learning path was to review our understanding of the different models and frameworks we have learned during this course. In completing the table, we also had to write about how each of the models and frameworks would be relevant in our next assignment and professional experience. Like Renee, I had decided to share what I have written for each of the models and frameworks.

Theory Purpose Application to Assignment 3/Professional Experience
CLEM Model Help understand how to learn about a new ICT and how to use it to enhance student learning. If there are any new ICTs you need to use it might help your explorations.Hence might be useful as part of the planning process for Part B.
TPACK Offers a way to think about the different types of knowledge (pedagogical, content, technological) required to design effective, ICT rich learning experiences. Need to be able to know what and how you will be teaching a particular concept including the available technologies that can be integrated to enhance student learning.
Backwards design To help design unit plans/lessons that aligns with the assessment/objectives. Begin with end goals in mind before planning activities that will achieve the desired outcomes.
SAMR Model A way of thinking about how ICTs are used in teaching (Substitution, Argumentation, Modification, Redefinition). Checking to see how ICTs are integrated within lessons – whether they enhance or transform learning.
TIP Model Helps with the meaningful and effective integration of ICTs into teaching and learning through focusing on ‘why’ ICTs are integrated. To focus planning of the integration of ICTs in lesson so that they enhance and improve student learning.
The 5Es A pedagogical framework to guide teaching and learning through 5 phases: Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate. Can be used to focus activities in developing student understanding within each phase during lesson planning.
WALT & WILF Acronyms to help students understand the learning purpose and objectives. (We are learning to… and what I am looking for…) This method can be used to inform students of the purpose of the lesson and what is required when teaching.
Connectivism A hypothesis of learning which suggests that people learn about different perspectives through making connections with different people. Making connections with other teachers and students in the course who are also the same content/year level to help with ideas when planning lessons and integrating ICTs.
Bloom’s taxonomy Shows the different levels of thinking (Remembering, Understanding, Applying, Analysing, Evaluating, and Creating) to guide questioning and planning. Can be used as a basis to frame questions and design activities which connect to their prior knowledge and help develop their higher order thinking skills.
Postman’s 5 things Provides 5 useful ways of thinking about technological change. Considering the use and types of ICTs to be integrated within lessons.
Toolbelt theory/TEST framework Scaffolds thinking to help find the right tool/s to achieve a specific task. May help in deciding the type of ICT or activity that will help in achieving the lesson objectives.
PKM A framework to develop a network of people and sources of information that can be drawn upon on a daily basis. Looking at how sources of information my PKM can be used to plan effective lessons.

Getting Ready

I had found myself in a similar position as Sarah in waiting for a reply email from the contact person about prac… until I had decided to call the school and speak directly to my mentor.

The waiting game began when I had emailed the contact person on the first day of finding out the year level and school which I would be going to teach for the 3 week prac from SONIA. Within the four days of waiting, I had printed off the weekly feedback sheets, professional experience report, the ICT statement, and other forms and booklets to put into my folder, as well as visiting the school’s website to see if there was any information that could be useful – school policies, behavior management plan etc. To my luck, I had found a parent handbook which provided me with more information about the school bell times. So on the afternoon of the fourth day (during lunch), I had called the school to ask for my mentor who was very lovely and had answered all my questions despite having to get to class. In the end, she had also given me her contact details which saved me from having to call (or try emailing the contact person) again.

With the year 5 class’ busy schedule with NAPLAN testing occurring during the week before prac, my mentor had decided to just meet up on the Monday which prac begins.

Not long to go now…

Managing My Digital Footprint

Reading this post and watching this video (below) about digital footprint as part of this week’s learning path activities has made me reflect on my own digital footprint and posts I have made or shared online.   

In the connected world today, it is extremely important to be mindful of what we post online as it is very easy for students, employers, and anyone to see and gain access to information about your personal life without any restrictions. This can be seen through the simulation Take This Lollipop (it’s safe), which uses your Facebook information to demonstrate the dangers of posting and sharing private information online. 

You wouldn’t want something like this to happen at your interview right?

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TiQH1jhzdWk%5D

While there are some teachers who avoid social networking sites and leaving any ‘footprints’ behind, there are other ways which allow the other party to find out information about you. Reading student comments on sites such as Rate My Teachers enable others to find about you as a teacher, as it allows students to comment and rate the overall quality of your teaching based on scores given out of five stars for easiness, helpfulness, and clarity.