I just wanted to say that now that EDC3100 is over, and I am almost finished the semester, I am really looking forward to a break. After a hectic few weeks that culminated in me losing my job, and crashing my car in the same week, I am ready for some serious downtime.
I do want to say how much I enjoyed this course when I was able to engage with it fully, and how helpful it has been. I will be going back through and saving some things from the studydesk in my break, as well as finally completing the digital citizenship.
I also enjoyed blogging when I made time for it, and have decided to continue to utilize this space. I am determined to make time to blog about my university and teaching experiences, and share some of the great articles I find. There are so many great things I could blog about right now, and with holidays coming up, I have the perfect opportunity. I would also like to say thank-you to David who has worked very hard to create an engaging and brilliant course, and has opened my eyes a lot, and taught me even more. Thank-you.
Until next time,
While considering digital citizenship earlier and being safe, I have just come across another article posted by one of my new favourite websites, Edutopia. This one is a blog post titled 4 Digital Safety Tips for Summer Break. While this part of the world is rugging up for the start of winter, these safety tips are great for remembering all year round, especially for some of us who are still relatively new to much of the online world.
The acronym R.E.S.T. can help us remember some important digital safety tips.
R. Remain cautious
E. Express positivity
S. Stay Active
T. Tell someone.
Have a lot look at the article for further information on staying safe online. Another great blog to add to my always-growing collection of teacher resources.
I wanted to share this interesting article I found on Edutopia the other day – All Kids can code. It is interesting to read how the schools changed their curriculum to a coding curriculum. What attracted my attention however, and I think could relate to using ICT effectively in any school or classroom are the key factors for success that are mentioned in the article. These factors are: agile teachers, community involvement, free and easily accessible curriculum, and weekly professional development.
The critical thinking skills students learn and develop, and the opportunities they have to create, design, make and explore when using ICTs should not be forsaken by teachers who may not be confident with using ICTs themselves. We need to keep moving forward so that we can prepare our students for the real world.
I was reading through some other student’s blogs today and I came across Saranna’s blog about Digital Citizenship and getting connected. I realised I haven’t yet gone online to do this, but only got as far as registering. After reading Saranna’s blog, I am actually keen to get it done over my semester holidays.
I had similar thoughts, and often read articles about people who were scammed out of money or something similar, and wonder what they were thinking. I used to think so many people have no common sense, but after spending time with both my parents and trying to help them get connected and on social media, I realised that some people really are completely unaware as to how the internet works. And that I need to familiarise myself more with it so that I can teach my children, my students and others I may help on how to be cybersafe.
I also want to thank Saranna for posting the link to NSW Digital Citizenship website. This has so many useful tools for teachers, parents and students about how to be safe, responsible and and positive online. If you haven’t already taken a look, bookmark it as a useful teaching resource to add to your ever-expanding portfolio.
While I am reflecting on and writing about my experiences on prac, I thought I should talk about my ICT experiences. This is ICT and Pedagogy after all. I was reading another student’s blog and was interested in looking at the ICTs she used for behaviour management. The students I had were quite good actually, and there was a school-wide behaviour system in place already that I was encouraged to use, and actually liked. But I would never have thought about apps that assist with behaviour management, so I will be storing these for future reference.
ICTs I did use while I was on prac however included the following:
- Powerpoint presentations
- Who wants to be a millionaire quizzes
- Google Earth to learn about maps in Geography, and Day/Night in Science
- Youtube clips for learning about and writing weather reports
- Maths activities before school and during rotations
- Watching short videos
- Creating ads for our class “shop”
I also used my own iPad and the school’s Swivl to film myself teaching, to watch and give myself feedback during my reflections. I really want to buy one now, they are excellent. Check out what a Swivl is here.
I am sure there were other ICTs used, but these were my main ones that I could think of.
I am not sure how it worked for some of you in larger, metropolitan schools, but I was curious how moderation works in a small school. Well, lucky for me, I got to experience it first-hand. One afternoon we all sped off right on the bell to another small local school in the nearby town about 15 mins away. My mentor and I met with some year 1 teachers at the other school for a moderation session of year 1 English.
Despite using different assessment, the schools have similar goals and criteria in place. Each teacher was able to explain briefly their assessment, and pass around an assessment they believed was an A standard, C standard, and then if they had any, a D/E standard. Other teachers would review and either discuss if they agree with the marks, or why they have a different opinion. Teachers also had the opportunity to pass around assessment that they were unsure of, and get other opinions of if it was a B or an A for example.
It was a great environment to be in with teachers working together, and to see different assessment. If you ever have an opportunity to sit in on a session like this on prac or elsewhere, I recommend you join.
While I was on prac, I learnt a lot about the school’s focus on literacy and reading. They had a program in place for the whole school that was so successful, they are in the running for an award.
The program relies heavily on reading comprehension strategies of Sheena Cameron. If you haven’t heard of these, I would strongly recommend you look at her website – sheenacameron.com. There is also a great book for teachers called Teaching Reading Comprehension Strategies: a practical classroom guide which you can read more about and purchase here.
In the school, each fortnight is dedicated to a particular reading strategy and is practised in modelled reading, guided reading and shared reading. The school also combined classes once a week, and the older children read to the younger children, and vice versa.
It was very interesting learning about different focus strategies, and after putting them into practice daily for 3 weeks, not only my own reading, but how I model and guide children in reading has dramatically changed for the better. I look forward to learning even more and implementing Sheena Cameron strategies when I read to my children at home, and eventually in my own classroom. I definitely encourage you all to check it out.