Ipads in the classroom

One of my favourite blogs to read on ipads in the classroom is Mr P’s ICT Blog – ipads in the classroom.  I am always inspired as to how he makes learning fun with the use of ipads and I follow the apps he is using rather than trailing through the thousands of apps that are now available.  In his recent post, he gives these 12  ipad lessons for Christmas – all of which can be used across the curriculum, adapting them to suit learner needs and ages.

One suggestion is to use the emoji keyboard on the ipad  to write a story or song, a fun engaging activity for all ages.  How to set your keyboard to use emoji and ideas for use in the classroom.

 

Tildee

Tildee is a fabulous tutorial creating tool that I came across on Larry Ferlazzo’s blog site. Larry used David Mearns Tildee, The Plight of Too Many Pooches as an example of how Tildee can be used as an educational tool.  It is very easy to use for example, insert a video and then take screenshots of scenes in the video and attach questions.  Especially great for ESL and special needs learners.   Larry has so many amazing tools I can’t keep up with, but this is one I have definitely checked out and used. You can create your own tildee really easily – I have just created one on the Industrial Revolution.

 

Refining Flickr searches

There is no doubt about the usefulness of Flickr for image sharing. A couple of tools that can assist the user (and may not be as commonly known as Flickr itself) are flickr-storm and flickrCC.  I was going to write a post about each of these but since they have already been done, I’ll conveniently provide the links here.

ICT Guy has done all the hard work for me (thanks!) with images of how the site works so visit his post at A perfect flickr storm.

What I particularly like about flickr-storm is the fact that you can search for images within the licencing category you are after. Just under the ‘keyword search box’ there is an advanced button. When you click on this  a drop-down box will appear just to the right of the search box, and you can then select what type of licensed images you want.

A Joyful Jubiliant Learning has posted a helpful post about the meaning of the different creative commons licencing terms and it is here that I came across flickrCC.

FlickrCC is a site published by Peter Shanks (an Information Technology Teacher at Bathurst TAFE, Sydney, Australia) to help search for free, Creative Commons licensed Flickr images.  Thanks Peter!

Edu 2.0

Edu. 2.0  is an incredible free resource centre for teaching, learning and has a 10,000 plus bank of educational resources.   It provides networking and collaboration in a secure online community.    Teachers can contribute lessons, keep track of assignments, grades, participate in groups and forums.  Plus:

  • Students can create porfolio’s of their best work
  • Conduct surveys with your students
  • Create blogs
  • Games and quizzes
  • Create and share lesson plans
  • Create custom feeds for classes

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Free technology resources for teachers

Centralised locations for resources saves teachers time and energy in locating suitable material for specific subject areas.  Another innovation for k-12 educators initiated by Richard Byrne  is his proposed FreeTech4Teachers site. If you go to the site you can register your interest in its launch.  Richard’s blog Free Technology for Teachers hosts a rich supply of k-12 resources and ideas for integrating them into education and will form the basis for the new site.    Additionally, it proposes to host a multi-media sharing component similar to “teacher tube” but with file sharing options.

Edutagger

Edutagger (created by Mark Schumann) is a new kid on the social bookmarking block for K-12 learners and educators for the storing and sharing of web links.  Del.icio.us works for many educators and there is talk of creating an import facility from it into edutagger.     Once you register to become an edutagger, you will have access to submit links.      Users will be able to tag links.  The most popular tags will reside on the front page.  The aim of edutagger is to provide a means for learners and educators to benefit from the many quality resources in a central location.

Blogging for learning

Blogging offers so many opportunites for learners of all ages.  After reading Anne Mirtschin’s 20 reasons why students should blog any educator would be convinced to introduce it into the classroom.  It improves literacy skills,  develops deeper thinking and because it has a wider audience than the traditional teacher-student exchange, promotes self-esteem and confidence plus a whole host of other learning.    Hopefully more and more schools will take it on board across the curriculum.

Ipods for Learning

Ipods are the new learning tool in higher education: downloaded lectures, storing files, learning languages and a whole array of other uses are described in Ipods for learning and teaching.

I read an article which described how a teacher downloaded lesson files to help students of lesser abilities to prepare for tests. The students felt less self-conscious listening to their lessons on ipods and their test scores increased considerably.

This brings up the issue of digital divide: not all students own an ipod.  Who provides the ipods for educational purposes? Whereas most higher education students are likely to own an ipod, this is not the case with all school students.   Similarly, some students will have computers at home and others will not.  This imbalance is an issue that needs to be addressed for equity of learning.

Making Changes

I recently came across an article by Dale Spender “What’s a good education” (about embracing technology in schools).  Although this article was written in 2002, it refers to bringing education up to 21st century standards.   Why are some schools lagging behind 21st century standards and others embracing it?  I think the answer is that where school leadership is strong and supportive and where teachers are embracing change themselves, it will spread through the school.

Consider  the ICT culture in your school.  What is the attitude towards ICT integration – is it supportive or reticent?  If ICT is to be successful in schools there needs to be a strong commitment in the values, beliefs and norms towards it.  There is no denying the way that computers are transforming the work and lifestyles of people in society today.     In order to fully integrate ICT in schools, this may require some major mindset changes towards learning and teaching.    A key factor to promote change is a strong culture supporting the necessary implementation and changes it will bring about.  Without this, changes in the classroom will not occur.    However, despite external government policy expectations, in reality, is ICT being fully embraced?   

Despite an overall belief by teachers that ICT is beneficial for learning, there remains a degree of uncertainty (in its application) which can only be diffused by teachers being given the opportunity to realise the potential it has for enhancing learning and obstacles related to implementation minimised.  In order for practice to meet policy, change includes a paradigm shift in learning and teaching practices; teaching via ICT is not suited to the traditional didactic form of delivery.     A pedagogical overhaul is required to facilitate ICT integration; school policies need to reflect new demands of learning. 

Today’s Generation X and Y communicate, learn, access information differently (to previous generations) and multi task (listen to music, surfing the net and doing their homework!).   Without school-based changes, ICT will not be fully embraced or utilised.  The school curriculum needs to drive the technology, not that technology is used as an add-on to existing curricula.  Across the board new changes need to include learning outcomes reflecting ICT integration and ICT competencies need to be linked to educational outcomes.    If primary measuring tools remain unchanged, teachers will resist ICT.   To not adapt to change, is inhibiting the potential of learners today and not fully equipping them for the future society.  

We are faced with living in a continuously changing society and just like other areas of our lives have been revolutionised by technology, education needs to be at the forefront of change to enable schools to deliver the highest possible standards to the knowledge generation.   Change in schools will not occur overnight but overcoming the culture shock is a step in the right direction.  Hooray to all those teachers who are already blogging, wiki-ing and twittering!