Friday, August 21, 2009
I am a firm believer in being up front and honest. So honestly, I have never felt so out of the loop. I thought I was well up with technology. I have a new lap top, flick mobile phone with internet access and 5 megapixel camera, I am a frequent visitor to facebook, msn and hotmail. I used to think ignorance was bliss, but then I realised everything I was missing out on. Skype, Blogs, Voice thread, Wiki, Google earth, Interactive whiteboards, google reader, etc. are all ICT's that I was a stranger to. The truth is these technologies are what connects people all over the world. Tools designed by us, used by us , for us. I have never been one to conform just because everyone else was. It took me over a year to join facebook because I didn't want to be 'just going with the crowd'. But after joining I realised all the advantages of such a system, I could plaster my own thoughts, photos, likes, dislikes, connect with friends, make new ones and ultimately put my self out into the world in a different kind of way. Technology has allowed us to put ourselves up on a stage to be judge. I believe if anything a student can gain great confidence in themselves and their learning ability when these ICT's are used effectively. By incorporating various learning techniques whether it be through music or youtube clips a student is being encouraged into an atmosphere of higher learning. An atmosphere that is engaging, and they are therefore introduced into an environment that is a product of their ever technological advancing society. They are engaging in a society created for them and by them. WE are the web. Students are the future leaders, why teach them in out dated practices when they rely on new and fast ways of communicating with the world around them. The world is ours to explore or as the saying goes, 'the world is our oyster.'
An ICT connecting you to the world and gaining feedback about your images and videos. Well when I set up my account first thing I thought was how useful this would be for an art student. Getting comments from people all over the world. People who see things differently to those who you associate with in your daily routine, people who are less biased. Students could be opened to greater learning experiences not offered directly in a class room.
I just downloaded a piece of music of Incompetech called Happy Alley, it was a small pop piece. I think it could how been used in a power point, a youtube clip, even a class reflection. Music has a beautiful way of positioning its audience. How do you want your students to feel? Play them a heavy metal band at 9 o'clock in the morning and you will certainly wake them up. Play them a soft piece of music and chances are you will put them to sleep. Truth is music is quite an adequate learning tool. Pieces of information can be triggered by remembering a certain beat. This may not work for every student but if incorporated correctly with other techniques it is sure to reach a greater number of students.
WebQuests challenge students to think out side of the box; to think far beyond themselves. Evidently, webquests are asking them to create some order in a situation that is certainly lacking it. The webquests about terrorism and Antartic Ice are not issues resolved completely but instead explored. A group of students can not be given this task at the start of the week and be expected to research plausible solutions by the weeks closure. Decent theories do not happen over night, they are achieved through higher research. This is exactly what webquests are designed for, looking for the right answer where there are a hundred possibilities. I personally think that most students prefer problems that don't have a clear or easy answer. Tasks are more interesting and engaging when they challenge a student. When the solution is right in front of our nose it is difficult to find, but when there are many possiblities we seem to sift through them until the ideal solution prevails.
First subject google earth would be fantastic for is Geography. I study geography in high school and to this day i still don't know where half the places are. A sad realisation yes but one that I am willing to admit. Sometimes it is not enough to talk about cities around the world but instead view them yourself. Google earth also establishes accomodation, dining, public sites like gardens all of which are useful for tourists. Google Earth connects students to the world while they are sitting at their own computer.
With such technology at your finger tips, whats stopping anyone from learning? I downloaded Jan Andrews and Jennifer Cayley's, 'The power of folktales in children's lives.' The amount of enthusiasm during the broadcast was unbelievable, which is vital especially when discussing stories. Stories are supposed to be gripping, evoking emotion and this is exactly what this broadcast embodied. The broadcast actually went for over 58 minutes, obviously a teacher would not play the whole broadcast, as a student would lose interest straight away. The ideal aspect of this broadcast is that a story is told right at the beginning of the recording. Instead of discussing the issue of folktales in children's lives straight away, they first give an example of a tale. First step to engaging students, evoke emotion, interest and then build upon it.
At high school maths was a subject I was good at. It was also the subject I found most boring and struggled to maintain focus in. I knew I wasn't alone in this department. The amount of disruptions created by other students was no surprise. It wasn't until I had a quick look at youtube that I stumbled across the clips about maths made easy. These clips were not just reducing maths down into a simple understanding but actually making it more enduring. Seeing a person use illustrated fingers to calculate times tables is a method that I have never seen before. I think this kind of learning would genuinely encourage students with in this subject. Say a student is too embarressed to approach a teacher and tell them that they struggle with multiplications then clips like this would certainly be an advantage. Simple out lets for students to build up their self esteem in a subject. Knowledge is a powerful tool and without it students may shy away from asking for help. As technology continues to advance, I honestly believe that education is also following in its path. Traditional practices are out the window and are being replaced with systems designed not only to reinforce what a student is learning within the classroom but also what they are learning in their own time. It is one thing to engage them within a class environment but to do so outside of the classroom is an amazing accomplishment.