Digital or Hardcopy Portfolios? Reaction

After reading Michelle’s blog about the debate between using a digital or hard copy portfolio in the classroom, I got thinking about the particular benefits of each. What I got down to was my interpretation of each – in my mind when I think of a hard copy portfolio I often catch myself thinking of the portfolios I took home as a student. They contained your best work – often redone time and time again to get it to the teachers standards, not your own, they contained awards – again from the class teacher, or they contained maybe a couple of pieces you were allowed to select yourself – though these were also critiqued by the teacher before they were allowed the be placed. However when I think of a digital portfolio my mind suddenly does a flip to the student centered learning approach where by I would use this as a students interpretation – leaving construction and presentation solely to the individual.

The article Michelle refers to is a great little text outlining the benefits of both the digital and hardcopy portfolio use. Both have Pros and Cons, and both are designed and constructed based on the individual, be that the teacher or the student, or perhaps a collaborative approach. Either way – portfolios are in my opinion an important aspect of the K-6 experience and should be used in any form, if  not both!

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Can Microsoft really create a school of the future?? – Reaction

Kathryn’s blog caught my eye as I am always intrigued as to other peoples opinions on the future of schools. However this video took me aback just a little into the extent in which some schools and areas are coming to rely on technology as a major roleplay in their children’s educations.

I somewhat agree with Kathryn’s comment that students are losing the social aspect of schooling by replacing face to face communication with online forms, or even losing peer interaction at all with the amount of online entertainment available now that does not include interaction with other humans, but a computer motherboard of some form. I think her reaction as such, that the school will not be creating a higher class of mathematicians and scientists, but a bunch of “socially retarded computer geeks, with the physical abilities to match.” is a little far fetched – and feel that there are definitely going to be positive outcomes to having children who are technologically able with todays technology.

With this in mind, the reality of the issue is still that technology in education is very economically driven – so there is still a large population of students who have even minimal access to a form of technology even of the most basic form. Schools such as the one in this video are far and few between, so the threat of a population of Kathryn’s description is a future not so close to heart.

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Internet Server Level Screening – Yay or Nay?

After having a lengthy argument with my brother over the Rudd government’s plan to screen internet from the server level, I thought I would post it on here and see what the response would be…

The two arguments are generally from internet users from a school/teacher/parent perspective vs. internet users for personal and leisure use. The screening that is threatening to take place is described by several media types, but I found the Brisbane Times article to be substantive on the many views of the issue.

For the government to succeed in restricting internet for very high regarded causes (for example, pornography and pedophilia) the government needs the votes from several other political parties. They however all have their own agenda and are demanding websites such as offshore gaming websites to be included in the screening.

While all this is fantastic news for me as a pre-service teacher – with there being so much hype over the misuse of internet by students, or students stumbling across inappropriate materials while surfing google, I also agree strongly with Senator Ludlam, that this server level screening “runs counter to what the internet is all about” – the free access to information.

I personally feel that a better approach would be a more accessible security grade across education technology, rather than restricting use for all internet goers – perhaps a server level screening for school ISP’s alone?

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The Pencil Fairy Tale…

What an awesome read!! I’m not sure if Pencils Across the Curriculum (link from UTS online – KLA/discipline specific use of learning technologies) can be classified as relevant ‘literature’ as such, but some of the opinions/discussions it opens up are indeed relevant to how some primary schools are run.

The main point I personally took from the story is that the new technology being used in classrooms, and being widely implemented quite often comes down to the stakeholders deciding who will have access to the technology to begin with. Schools who have access to smart boards but choose to have one that is used by a particular staff at a particular time, are not in my opinion, utilising the resourse properly. I understand that there are economic restraints on a majority of schools in regards to the ‘smartboard’, but the same issue occurs when any new form of technology is released.

From the whole article, I agree with the ‘school B’ philosophy of trial and error with new technology to test its functionality and relevance to the K-6 curriculum, rather than leave the decision up to a select few who may in a number of cases not realise the objects full potential due to a narrow mindedness on their own subject areas.

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Blogging With Kids

Blogging With Kids by Angela Kulikowski was a personal and interesting read about a teachers struggle to involve her class in online blogging. She was under the impression that the children would be interested and responsive to the idea but was set back and demotivated when their response was less than interested. She found that though the majority of the children in her class were techno savvy, they has little to no idea what a ‘Blog’ was, let alone its purpose.

Rather than give them a lecture on what blogging was about and the correct etiquette, Angela allowed the students to explore the program themselves and see what they achieved. In the end the children were able to use the blog program but were treating it more as an IM software, using no grammatical aspects of writing. To solve the problem Angela sent out an email to her class outlining the simple rules and processes of using a blog and has had major success with the majority of her class.

I found it interesting to read through Angela’s Blogs as it gave me a sense of some of the more real situations teachers face when introducing new technologies to classes and the expectations that are often failed before they are met. I believe Angela has done a great job in getting her children motivated to use different programs and feel she has breached an important aspect of integrating technology in the curriculum.

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Reactionary – Interactive Software

After reading Emily’s Blog on Interactive Software, I strongly support her statements and the articles purpose.

Building Software Beats Using it discusses how it is proving to be more effective to let children build and design their own learning software on computers, than for them to complete a task made by someone else. This follows the idea that teaching should be active rather than passive, even though some would argue that participating in an already set computer task is “active”.

I agree with Emily when she states that students need to be educated in a way that maximises their learning, they need to be participating in interactive activities where they have opportunities to learn things for themselves. According to Idit Harel this has been backed up by three decades of research into children’s learning capacity regarding guessing right/wrong, ‘absorbing’ another individuals experiences or memorising facts – resulting in more positive results from children exploring their own learning eg; constructionist learning (children learn best when they use computers in a way that puts them in the active roles of designer and builder.)

Overall the article and Emily’s stance on the issue is very like-minded to my own and it is a an informative and relevant piece of reading.

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Reactionary – The 6 C’s of Motivation

Having just read Emma’s Post on the 6 C’s of Motivation I thought it would be a good read myself. As a child I was often bored in the mundane tasks of being given a sheet or text book and having to complete the set task to a very specific standard. From this, my teaching methods are generally more swayed towards student centered learning with my role as a teacher being a predominant guide than enforcer. The 6 C’s of Motivation have provided me with a literary text of why this method is useful and effective in todays classrooms.

I am in concurrence with Emma’s statement in her blog, that giving students tasks that allow them to have ownership as well as a sense of control only enhances their motivation and interest and their willingness to participate. This is the core idea of the article itself, and again as Emma noted, the text is rather brief but covers its content well.

There are of course downsides to this form of teaching strategy and it cannot be applied to all learning experiences, however the benefit of using it successfully if only occasionally, outweighs the risk in trying to make it work and not succeeding.

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Reactionary Post – Can Technology Drive Change in Professional Development?

Having just read Robyn’s Blog on how technology is now being used not just as a tool for student learning and assessment, but for teachers learning and assessment. Robyn claims that “…teachers should always be learning and improving their professional practice, due to the ever-changing nature of their students, the world they live in and the technological environment.” Which I think is a relevant and accurate description of what teachers should be doing for their own career.

The article itself that Robyn has based her posting on is a report from the State Educational Technology Directors Association highlighting the use of technology as a long term developmental tool, rather than a one step, credit based usage. The report touches on some major points including making teachers accountable when it comes to technology uses in their careers to further their students and their schoo, but more importantly, the increasing need for teacher support throughout their profression.

Overall, a well written response – Robyn mentions the majority of the key issues within the report, and I feel it is definately an article of value to todays education system.

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My Digital Story

Once again, being a MAC illiterate person I found this task quite trying. The program was a fairly basic set up, and ran very similarly to other movie producing programs I have used in the past. I managed to get a basic Mini-movie into place. It was frustrating personally for me to use and put together as I had no step by step instruction to follow to complete some aspects I would liked to have included, however considering it was the first time I ever opened the program, I feel I managed to put together something of meaning and semblence to my life.

https://online.uts.edu.au/@@0B26290C7889A3696BAA130642FB04F6/courses/1/021310/db/_1549716_1/Digital%20Story.mp4

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