Create a Webquest!

Well, I have just finished the creation of my first Web Quest activity. What a challenge! I am super impressed with some of the other examples I checked out, however, the amount of time it took me to prepare my Web Quest was very demanding. In saying this, I can really see the benefits and advantages of a student based inquiry model. There are so many great online resources – games, activities, videos –  as well as an abundance of downloadable worksheets prepared for any year level and a wide variety of topics. I will certainly be trying to tap into these and hopefully become more proficient at creating better web quests.  Here’s a link to Questgarden, the site used to create my webquest.

Work That Matters!

Interesting site that David commented on and tagged in ‘Best content in ICT’s and pedagogy’. I viewed another source the other day, a YouTube video titled ‘Learning for tomorrow – Flipped Learning‘, that seemed to echo a lot of what the author of this blog says regarding the need for content, tasks, lessons and assessment to go beyond the traditional teaching approach that is constrained and shaped by the classroom and set curriculum. Instead, if we want students to engage and enjoy, then the content; method of delivery; task activities; and assessment, needs to be based on things that matter to our digitally rich and savvy 21st century students. If we as educators are preparing students today for jobs and careers that don’t even exist at the moment, then perhaps we need to let go and allow those who are more adventurous, creative and willingly alternate, develop their own ways to demonstrate their understanding and knowledge, albeit foreign new and even uncomfortable for the educator. In this YouTube clip, the teacher allows, even encourages students to produce their alternate forms of assessment. Students do not have to complete his set assessment, as long as they can demonstrate in other ways their learning. This is still to some extent connecting assessment to a mark on a report. What about the following quote that comes from this Mind/Shift website. How brave are you????

‘What if we let our students do work that they actually cared about and wanted to create, not for a grade but because of its potential contribution to and effect on the world?”   Will Richardson

Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy

In preparing my assignment 2 Unit of Work, I came across this version of ‘Bloom’s Taxonomy’. It expands on the original (Bloom, 1956) and ‘revised’ version (Anderson and Krathwohl, 2001), who changed the order of the top two thinking skills and added verbs to describe the stages. Churches (2007), added digital verb expressions to the verbs as well as a brief description of digital tools and terms that match the various levels of Bloom’s, appropriate for the 21st century context. (See the diagram below), however, for a more detailed explanation click on this link. Terms like uploading, sharing, hacking, gaming, social bookmarking, twittering, tagging and blogging are explained and connected to varying levels of Bloom’s.

Mind map of Bloom's Revised Digital Taxonomy

 

Writer’s Block!

One thing I personally find challenging is thinking of a starting concept or sentence when faced with a writing task. I know I am not alone and many primary school aged children also find it challenging to ‘get started’ with their piece of writing. However, here is a great little site, Story Starters, from Scholastic that provides a number of sentence or topic starters. It is quite a fun little link that allows students to choose the theme of the writing piece – Scrambler, Fantasy, Adventure or Sci-fi – then pull a lever that randomly provides a sentence made up or four segments. If the student is not happy with the sentence they can press another button to randomly provide another segment for the sentence. When I pulled the lever on the scrambler theme, I got “Write a postcard from a greedy flamingo who wins the lottery!” Students could really have some fun with this and get the creative juices flowing. Why not give it a go yourself?

iPad use with ESL students

I was interested to follow up on the link Jess included in here recent blog post that spoke about the benefits or not of using iPads in the classroom. As I explored this link further, there was a blog post of an interview with Deborah Komatsu, a speech pathologist using iPads in her work with ESL (Spanish speaking) students. Deborah comments on some of the apps she finds useful and provides a list of more than a dozen links for those interested in more information about the apps and their application in a speech therapy context within primary school settings. Her work is predominantly in a strongly Spanish speaking student and home population. One such app is ‘Futaba’, professionally useful but also appealing to students because it is a game. As she says; “In addition to Speech and Language activities, I use the app for Fluency, Voice, AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication). I also use various app as Speech Pathology tools, such as apps to record language samples and calculate age.”

 

“Flipping the Classroom”

I had heard the term ‘Flipping’ used over the course of my studies, but only recently bothered to look into what  it means and how it can benefit teaching in the classroom. Flipping is basically changing the approach to teaching so that students can access the direct instruction related to a topic/subject, which is posted to a web page or blog, in their own time and at their own pace, allowing more time during formal class schedules for the teacher and students to work more constructively on the application of that knowledge. This means that students who are typically struggling to keep up with content delivery in the classroom, as well as advanced students who are looking for more, can both be catered for and not miss out on teaching aimed at them. Have a look at this link for more information and explanation. Well worth considering! 

Great Charting Tools

One of the challenges these days, in such and ICT rich environment, is to sift through all the available resources and find those that are user friendly, functional, engaging and provide quality results when utilised. In the area of creating charts or graphs to record and represent data, I was pleased to come across Joe Wright‘s post that helped with this sifting process. On his post he makes the link to a great website – Educational Technology and Mobile learning. On this site the author highlights a handful of software programs that makes the process of choosing, creating and publishing charts and graphs simple. In the process of preparing my Mathematics Unit of Work for Year 4, I will incorporate this site and encourage students to utilise one of the recommended programs for their assessment.