Sunday, February 26, 2006

Challenge to kids

how would you like to use technology to enhance your learning at school?
i would like to hear your sensible, achieveable ideas, please.
[other teachers may read this too]

things to consider:
cell phones
forums/chat rooms

or anything else

your opinions are much appreciated

mr woody 8>)

did you know...?

teachers, parents - do you realise that students already think that email is for old people? [they all IM - instant message - each other.]
cds are a thing of the past. only mp3's will do.
the internet is a legitimate environment for kids to connect, form friendships, socialise, collaborate and learn. the world is open to them. when they are online, they are connected - not isolating themselves from the 'real' world. even gaming is a complex interactive social endeavour, for them. they don't play games in rigid isolation - they get together in a virtual world and plan things.
this i why we have to relinquish some control and let them lead the way. we can help them develop, if we listen. have you noticed that when they're online, they are totally engrossed in what they are doing??? pretty powerful learning tool, i reckon.

hasta entonces amigos

digital immigrants versus digital natives

saw/heard marc prensky talk at the 'learning at schools' conference last week. very cool.
many interesting ideas.
one revelatory message for me was to let the kids have/use/try out the available technology. reason being, as 'digital natives' [prensky] they are not afraid to experiment. they will pick something up, try it, go online to investigate it, collaborate with their friends to work it out - basically suss it out very quickly. most of 'us' are less able to work out how to use the available applications, software, hardware, etc.. by waiting until we have mastered it to let them have access, we are, at best, holding them back - at worst, denying them completely the 'vocabulary' and tools of their time. i have experienced this exact thing this year - we are trying to work out how to use online learning communities for discussion, topic or task posting, feedback, forums, etc.[we are investigating 'Elgg' - will also look at things like 'moodle'. met Jacira from cambridge middle school at conference and she is using moodle effectively in her class - will be investigating further] while we try to work out how to use it, they are missing out. these things are very powerful tools for engaging students. not only does it encourage collaboration, discussion, and so forth in a fun way, but it is advancing their use of ICT as well as being a literacy exercise. [okay - so they may not use correct punctuation, capitalisation, grammar, etc - but we must learn to differentiate between formal and informal situations and what is appropriate - e.g. when we use 'correct' spelling in txt, it is we who are 'wrong' and 'illiterate'.]
one of marc's challenges was to let kids use their cell phones in class - here we have a very powerful, up to the minute, mini computer that is connected to virtually [nice pun woody] anyone anywhere and we take it off them. why not let them use this 21st C tool to enhance their learning - and i hear you saying - "but how?" well, i wonder too - let's ask them.
marc has some suggestions for us on his blog. have a read.

ka kite apopo

Saturday, February 25, 2006

student choices

it seems obvious, but we seldom do it - allow students to have ownership of their 'projects' at school. by immersing ourselves in conversation with the children and actually listening to them, we may be able to find out what it is that they actually find engaging. once we ourselves have started to 'hear' the children, we might be able to help them come up with some meaningful questions, based on their interests or concerns about the world that they inhabit. these questions could then be used to develop inquiry-based learning experiences, driven by the need to solve a problem that is real to the students an dtheir world, rather than manufactured or directed by a teacher. quite frankly we teachers probably have very little idea of what is going on in the minds of the students most of the time. we also come from a different model of education that was designed to fit a different world. that world has changed and is changing more rapidly all time. we need to tune in to be able to engage them and help them become purposeful, powerful learners.
ask yourself - what is learning? what do/will 21st C kids need to know? or more appropriately, what do they need to know how to do? 20th C 'facts' they need less than 21st C attitudes, skills and understandings. let's put away our ego, relinquish some control and allow the children the opportunity to ask the questions they want to ask. let them own their education. teach them how to engage in it for themselves. they will still need us to model, guide, encourage, etc.
what do you think?

POint eNGLand PoD

Wow! Dorothy's Point England school podcasting on iTunes is fantastic!
The children are amazing - so professional.
The podcast is set up to sound like a radio station with jingle [vERy catchy!], intro, presenters and contributors enthusiastically reviewing NZ children's books. I was blown away...

"Pt England Primary School in Auckland, New Zealand, has an enthusiastic group of students producing a weekly podcast they call KPE - Korero Pt England."


There is also a new feature on iTunes to write reviews of the KPE podcasts.

Have a listen for yourself - there is a link via the link above.

Ka kite

Friday, February 24, 2006

Podcasting at school

I have only listened to one podcast - about learning spanish - and am hungry for more having met Dorothy from Point England school last night at the Learning at Schools conference in Rotorua. What a great lady! Her enthusiasm was infectious and her school's podcasts are reputed to be highly successful. I am going to 'google' Dorothy now to find the podcasts...

btw - does any one at Peachgrove want to have a go? I do!

Thursday, February 23, 2006


learning learning learning is fun, exciting, feverish!
is it at school? why? why not? how could it be?