Greetings fellow educators of the 21st century. Please read for meaning and not just to look for typos.
The world has changed. So should we. At least, in my opinion and the Ministry of Education's and renowned educational experts from around the world. Let me begin by reiterating what it states in my profile - I am not a particularly skilled user of ICT. Like a laboratory rat, if something changes slightly, I am lost in the maze. Changing computers, rooms, a shift in temperature, Meddlers walking past my room, the presence of a room full of my peers are all more than enough to throw me off my track. Most of the time I can't remember passwords, recall urls or navigate back to where I want to be. However, I know that the tools available to us help engage children and allow them to perform powerful, complex and exciting functions that 20th Century method and technologies do not.
In Room 9 we either are using, or hope to use blogs, wikis, chatrooms, the LMS, mobile phones, skype, podcasts, forums, vi casts, skypecasts, digital cameras, webcams, the interweb and whatever else crops up that may be of interest or use.
You are reading this on our class blog, controlled and moderated by me on a daily basis [most of the time], and allowing ongoing communication, feedback, support and encouragement, whether the kids are at school or not.
I post topic starters, clues, hints, and hope to entice them into learning and sharing skills, attitudes and feedback.
This is a freely available tool open to all the horrors of the net. By being part of the real world they can learn to fend for themselves rather than being protected from real or imagined demons lurking behind every corner.
They interact with their peers and teachers - including other teachers I met on conferences - and children around the world - potentially.
We are currently setting up an arrangement with Pitt Island school to compare and contrast our lifestyles, with a view to incorporating the information into our "Hamiltron, City of the Future" inquiry. To do this, we need to use "skype", a free tool for making international calls over the internet. With the use of broadband internet, a web cam, microphone and speakers, we can see, hear and interact with the children on Pitt Island - easy peasy - hopefully.
For those of you who doubt the relevance of these tools, consider the success of Point England school in Auckland who have raised literacy levels, increased student engagement, attendance, enthusiasm and parental involvement using podcasting. In fact, they have gone from low levels of success to being world famous! It is inspirational.
[-search this blog for access to previous posts about Point England's "KPE" podcasting on iTunes and feedback from Dorothy, who is a blimmin' legend.]
i have found the blog on its own has enthused children who normally would be reluctant writers. They write their entries on their own blogs then feverishly seek out feedback from others. They are learning to give quality feedback and monitor each others' posts for appropriateness of content. It is not difficult for them or me. In fact, it is fun! We all love it.
Why don't you try it too? We will help you.
btw - none of them will read this post as it is too long. [to prove me wrong, kids, post a comment saying " Mr Woody, we can read you know..."]
other 'things' of use:
online bookmarking - save your favourites to the "delicious" site and have them available wherever you are - rather than at just the computer you saved them at.
Skype - an easy download for free international calls, webcamming, chat, skypecasting
Flickr is a site for free and easy sharing of photographs and images. It is a social networking tool with heaps of potential for engaging children and teaching about photography and giving meaningful feedback - also for encouraging appropriate "netiquette".
wikis ["What I Know Is"] - a way of sharing information via the net - it is something which others can add to. e.g. wikipedia which i edited to add relevant information to for a project we started in Term One.
Also there are heaps of free tutorials online that you can direct kids to or use yourself. Webmonkey is useful. I found free tutorials to learn how to use "Flash" there. Macromedia Flash is a great tool for animating. It is widely used on the web and is something advanced students can tackle as extension work.
This is something i just whipped up last night to show you the capabilities of I.C.T. in the classroom...
[just kidding - the author is credited within]
Have fun - laugh at yourself - give the kids a chance to run with the tools available.
Mr Woody 8>) [p.s. that's a smiley]