Monday, October 15, 2012

Voice thread

I was directed to voicethread via a link on the Week Two blendkit webinar. From there I found this great blog showing how it can be utilised with 5-6 year olds.

Check out Primary Perspectives

The thing that I really get inspired by is the potential for home and school interactions. Deb and her Year 1-2's involve parents  and  grandparents in the learning and discussion, and then utilise the information and discussion into the classroom programme.

In the primary school years it is especially important in my opinion to be creating blended learning activities that encourage participation  by the teacher, children and the children's families.

As a parent I am excited by the shift from one child with his/her computer playing video games or viewing information in an isolated environment to utilising the technology available to provide a forum for interaction that is not constrained by the school day when most parents are busy at work.

I can also see how voicethread is a useful tool for sharing learning, providing a record of learning and a presentation of learning. Evidence of learning does not need to be assessment sheets or tests in all instances.

After a few minutes of playing around...

Obviously this is a very rough sample on the free version of voicethread. For classroom use with multiple contributors an upgrade purcahse would be most beneficial.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

The Role of the Educator

Sourced from Blendkit2012  linkypoo

"Atelier Learning
John Seely Brown (2006) draws inspiration for his atelier model of learning from artists and architects and describes learning as “enculturation into a practice”. An art studio is generally an open space where students create their paintings, sculptures, and other art forms in full view of fellow artists. The “master” is then able to observe the activities of all students and can draw attention to innovative approaches. Students are not limited to learning based solely on the expertise of the instructor. The activities of all students can serve to guide, direct, and influence each individuals work. Blogs are particularly amenable to the atelier model of learning. For example, a class on creative writing – where each students posts their work in their own blog – permits the educator to highlight (and comment on) exceptional instances of writing. Students are able to read each other’s work and gain insight from both instructor and their fellow students.
Network Administrator
Clarence Fisher (n.d.), blogger and classroom teacher, suggests a model of “teacher as network administrator”: Just as our mind is a continuously evolving set of connections between concepts, so our students and their learning can become placed at the centre of a personal learning network which they construct with our help. Helping students to gain the skills they require to construct these networks for learning, evaluating their effectiveness, and working within a fluid structure is a massive change in how the dynamics of classrooms are usually structured.
In Fisher’s model, a primary task of the educator is to assist learners in forming connections and creating learning networks. As learners encounter new information sources, they are encouraged to critically evaluate the source’s suitability as part of a holistic and diversified learning network. Gaps in the learning network are addressed by both learner (self-directed by active participation in the network and through self-reflection) and educator (through evaluating, with the learner, the nature and quality of the learning network (external) and how key concepts are related and understood (conceptual)).
Concierge Learning
Curtis Bonk (2007) presents a model where the educator is a concierge directing learners to resources or learning opportunities that they may not be aware of. The concierge serves to provide a form of soft guidance – at times incorporating traditional lectures and in other instances permitting learners to explore on their own. He states: “We need to push students into the many learning possibilities that are ripe for them now. Concierges sometimes show you things you did not know were available or possible. Teachers as concierges can do the same things. We need to have quick access to such resources, of course, but as this occurs increasingly around the planet, so too will we sense a shift from prescribed learning checkboxes toward more learner designed programs of study. Now the Web of Learning offers this chance to explore and allow teachers to be their tour guides.”
Curatorial Learning
Curatorial Learning (Siemens, 2007) acknowledges the autonomy of learners, yet understands the frustration of exploring unknown territories without a map. A curator is an expert learner. Instead of dispensing knowledge, he creates spaces in which knowledge can be created, explored, and connected. While curators understand their field very well, they don’t adhere to traditional in-class teacher-centric power structures. A curator balances the freedom of individual learners with the thoughtful interpretation of the subject being explored. While learners are free to explore, they encounter displays, concepts, and artifacts representative of the discipline. Their freedom to explore is unbounded. But when they engage with subject matter, the key concepts of a discipline are transparently reflected through the curatorial actions of the teacher."

I am drawn especially to the concepts of concierge and curator. I am well aware through home educating that introducing kids to resources, concepts and knowledge in an area they are interested in is more often that not enough for them to engage in creative and motivated learning. Being a curator appeals as I teach younger children who need to be guided in their exposure to a range of topics. Curating enables them to access things they would otherwise not find and also, importantly, limits inappropriate content.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Blended Learning k12 - 6 Models


Clear, concise, relevant for younger students. Perfect, loving this course already.

Back with Random Thoughts #blendkit2012

So, I haven't blogged for 18 months, but I am resurrecting the ole blog as I take part in an online course on blended learning.

I have been interested in the rise of interactive ICT, from blogs to social media, skype, googledocs...everytime I nosey around online I find more exciting possibilities for changing up the way I perceive my role as a teacher, both at home within the family and in the classroom.

Blended learning is where a portion of the traditional face-to-face instruction is replaced by web-based online learning. I learn online as my primary medium of instruction most of the time these days. I am involved in distance learning through Massey University. If I want to know what that actor has been in I go to IMDB. As an adult I can usually manage the pitfalls of the internet...too much apartment therapy, not enough journal searches...hmmm...well, maybe not always.

However, as it pertains to educating the next generation, it would be foolish to say to our children, "Here's the internet, go learn what you need/want to know." and leave them to it without guidance and forethought. We would be equally as foolish to deny that our children are growing up in a different learning culture than we did. TThat is why I am keen to learn more about blended learning and how I can apply it to topics of study in the Primary (Elementary) classroom.

There is evidence at tertiary level of the success of blended learning approaches, where students have better outcomes from blended learning courses than face-to-face alone, or purely online. We still need the human factor, however the advantage of 24 hour access, the ability to connect with experts or each other over distance and time, and the range of modalities really just add so much scope and possibility to the whole learning process.

I plan to hunt around to see if I can find research and examples of blended learning at the pimary school level (ages 6-11) as ths is my area of expertise in education. I think my main priority is not to try and think that i have to come up with some super dooper amazing blended course right off the bat. Utilising the things I am familiar with and taking them to a different level or from a different perspective is my aim for this course.

Note to self:
"Blended learning is not simply adding an online component to a face-to-face course. Technology in a course should be used wisely – to facilitate student learning. Technology should not be used just to show off technology. Excellent opportunities exist for teachers to make learning interactive, dynamic, and fun when used properly. The technology aspect of a lesson should be like a good baseball umpire – it (like the umpire) is good if it (he) goes unnoticed.

“Since the intent of blended learning is to enhance learning by combining the best of both worlds…elements of the outline that appear to lend themselves to self-study online should be highlighted. Such elements tend to include easy-to-interpret, straightforward information that is relatively easy for the (student) to accurately grasp on his/her own.” (Troha, 2003) Students should be able to perform required tasks online with little or no prompting by the instructor. Of course, teachers should guide their students along, but when a student can accomplish a task online with limited assistance, that student encounters a learning experience that is deeper and more rewarding." LINK TO SOURCE

Finally, the whole blended learning/flipped classroom type approach just makes me so excited, because there is so much potential for learner driven study, inquiry learning, self regulation and fun!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

TV or not TV...that is the question

"Consider what a child misses during the 15, 000 hours (from birth to age seventeen) he spends in front of the TV screen. He is not working in the garage with his father, or in the garden with his mother. He is not doing homework, or reading, or collecting stamps. He is not cleaning his room, washing the supper dishes, or cutting the lawn. He is not listening to a discussion about community politics among his parents and their friends. He is not playing baseball or going fishing, or painting pictures. Exactly what does television offer that is so valuable it can replace these activities that transform an impulsive, self-absorbed child into a critically thinking adult?"
— Paul Copperman

We went TV free two summers back and it was great!! We never got round to it last summer and now with winter kicking in we use the TV more often. This quote has reminded me of all the things that TV watching steals. Mindful media consumption is my aim for this winter and TV free again next summer.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Homeschool Wobbles continue...

Homeschool wobbles are universal. I found this encouraging post today.

My biggest wobles at the moment are based on finances and my own selfishness.

It is a big sacrifice to homeschool. Our potential income is more than halved - I have more earning power than J.

There is little kudos for home educating. When I was a classroom teacher I got paid, I got feedback on my job performanceand I got lots of presents at the end of each year.

As a homeschool mum I get concern and questions which, however well intentioned, feed into my insecurities.

However when it all comes down to it, I am convinced that the kiddoes are being truly educated and THAT is what it is all about. J and I have no interest in our kids being well -schooled...we want them to gain an education.

Maybe it really isn't all that complicated...

If you have a garden and a library you have everything you need. - Cicero

Check and check...phew!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Thankfulness and Forgetfulnes

"The things we hate about ourselves aren't more real than the things we like about ourselves." Ellen Goodman.
Church on Sunday had me thinking about God's forgiveness and FORGETFULNESS. He chooses to forget about our sins, our failings, the ways in which we fall short.
Psalm 103:12 "As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us."
Reading A Holy Experience's Ann Voskamp's amazing first chapter of her book, "One Thousand Gifts" has me thinking about thankfulness as a way out of self-condemnation.
Considering the year ahead has me excited about another year of opportunity with my fabulous family. I am thankful to have the privilege of spending most of my days with my children, to see them learning and growing into the amazing people they have been created to be...being thankful helps me to see past my own shortcomings and to focus on

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Our Biggest Boy is 9

O9, You are such a blessing in our family. It is a privilege to see you growing up into a thoughtful and kind young man. You are heaps of fun and fill our days with interesting tidbits of information. It was great that you could share your birthday with two good friends and your brothers and sister. xx


"But...I need sunscream so I don't get burned."