Ali Minogue's Web 2.0 course reflections

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Final Course Reflection

July28

Children grow into the intellectual life around them’.

(Vygotsky, 1978)

 

 eLearning with the iLE@RN Model

The information rich world in which our students live is astounding. Of course with this comes the need to guide students’ learning journeys and approach to the online world. The iLE@RN Model therefore is highly pertinent.

I strongly agree that it is essential for students to understand that, as stated in the module notes, the use of Web 2 tools is not about disseminating topic content, but rather about creating new understandings through the consideration of existing understandings. While this is the kind of thinking we teach our students to engage in inside the classroom, the importance of extending this to the online world is paramount.

I often wonder if the removal of walls and geographic boundaries in turn removes restrictions students so often impose on themselves in regards to an unwillingness to take risks in their thinking and learning. With greater freedom to collaborate and express their understandings, will students be more willing to engage in the use of higher-order cognitive skills?

 

Bloom’s Revised Digital Taxonomy

In simple terms, the revised taxonomy had two distinctions. First it includes ‘creating’ as the highest of all thinking types (creating is not explicitly a part of the original Bloom’s Taxonomy). ‘Creating’ is invaluable to have as a prompt when I do my planning as it reminds me to include it in my statements of learning intentions.

The other difference is that in the revised version the words are verbs all ending in ‘ing’. This puts an emphasis on the doing or the thinking itself. While it might appear a small change it creates profound consequences for my teaching.

 

Final thoughts

Integrating Web 2.0 tools into teaching and learning strongly reinforces my goals and enhances my teaching methods. Web 2.0 tools encourage students to be curious and responsible risk takers as well as develop other dispositions that underpin deep thinking and life-long learning. It promotes both differentiation as well as collaboration. In a school such as ours which has open planning and where five classes share the same very large learning space, Web 2.0 tools can be readily integrated and supports and enhances the school’s learning goals.

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Module 10

July28

With all that we know about the importance of collaborative learning, the use of Wikis as a virtual classroom where students can communicate and respond to each others’ thoughts and ideas is a wonderful educational tool. I love the idea of this “second classroom – one that (is) always open”. I would imagine that with freedom to make posts that are unrelated to the material learned at school, educators would be reinforcing the important understanding that learning happens everywhere and is embedded into everything children do and everything they are interested in.

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Module 9

July21

Of those explored in Module 9, the networking tool I feel would be valuable to students is Second Life. With only an awareness of the existence of Second Life, I thoroughly enjoyed watching the two videos that provided numerous possibilities for its use in education. I am certain that students would appreciate its explorative nature.

With regards to its professional use in education, Twitter is a wonderful site for connecting with others in the field as well as those with whom you work. I am beginning to learn of its possibilities in supporting student learning. This site has also led to some interesting reads for me: http://twitterforeducation.wikispaces.com/Educational+Uses+of+Twitter

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Module 8

July21

Learning about RSS at this stage in the course was extraordinarily effective as my growing awareness of the vastness of the internet had begun to overwhelm me. I very much enjoyed setting up RSS feeds on Feedly and look forward to finding educationalists with interesting ideas and staying connected.

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Module 7

July21

Being a graduate teacher and part of a wonderfully collaborative level teaching team, I watch in admiration (and with terrible jealousy!) when my colleagues pull out resources from their personal banks ideal for the new learning we are planning for our students. As such I am constantly on the lookout for teaching and learning websites so that I can build my own bank of resources. I really look forward to being able to give back by sharing resources and links with my colleagues as well as the global community.

Bookmarking websites such as Delicious and Diigo will enable me to organise and maintain links that I find interesting and useful. The knowledge that I am able to network and collaborate with other educators around the world is very exciting, particularly given I am new to the profession. That I may be able to find like-minded educators and search through their links is incredible.

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Module 6

May19

The group of students I have is at present attempting to make text to self connections prior to reading. Even when having prompts that lead them to think deeply about the title and skim the text prior to reading, I consistently see them gravitate to the illustrations to make their connections. This reminds me of the power of visual literacy.

I am reminded of another example of the power of imagery when last week reading to my students Shel Silverstein’s, ‘The Giving Tree’. While the book was to be used as a springboard for inference (and worked as such magnificently) it was its illustrations that most powerfully enabled the students to infer.

Students can engage their imaginations from both the written word which was selected with great sensitivity or through the illustrations which also generate ideas and thought. In fact for many students it is the illustration that seemed to have really charged their imaginations and power to connect.

I am delighted to have learned about Picasa in Module 6 and hope to use the program to enable students to express their interpretations through a visual medium.

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Module 5

April28

Prezi is ‘about the visualisation of thoughts in motion’ (introductory video). What a beautiful statement. I adore the idea of being able to capture the momentum of the process of thought for my students when presenting information. I believe that Prezi enables the representation of information as a continuous movement of connected ideas. This is such an important concept for our students.

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Module 4

April16

I particularly enjoyed searching through the video sites for activity 4 as I often struggle to find good educational videos. I also had a great time making a short video on Animoto. I think it will be a great site to use when I am looking for a way to create something short and sharp to capture students’ interest.

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Module 3

April15

I am excited by the opportunities Google Docs provides. Its use extends the possibilities for collaboration, student learning and teacher-student communication more than I had imagined with the limited knowledge I had// prior to this module. I am thrilled by the impact that having work published online may have for students’ sense of ownership and independence. I think this would be extremely beneficial for my grade 3/4 students to help them understand the purpose of writing. Further, having just finished reading Lori D. Oczkus’, Reciprocal Teaching at Work, this module has inspired me to enhance the knowledge I have gained about reading comprehension.  For instance, the use of Google Docs would be a great way to support my 3/4 students develop comprehension strategies through collaboration and sharing ideas about text. I cannot wait to start using Google Docs with my 3/4 team and students!

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Module 2

April5

I am grateful for all that I have learned about the educational use of blogs in Module 2. Additional research has led me to search through several classroom, teacher and student blogs, leaving me feeling very inspired to create my own. I also cannot help but be excited about the role of blogs in strengthening family-school partnerships and lines of communication between classroom and home. What a remarkable way to enhance student learning, engagement and connectedness and at the same time create an ongoing dialogue between home and school.

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