Archive | August, 2009

Review of the day

31 Aug

To what extent has today met my expectations?

Today was a good lesson. I thought the video was really great for helping me to understand the main ideas of the lesson. I was able to evaluate and see the relevance of my own ideas about learning and teaching compared to my peers and listening to what Panos had to say. What i was let down about was that we did not get our results for our first assignment, but i kind of half expected them not to be ready. I hope we get them back friday.

What concerns do i have?

I have no concerns, just want more work and time on this topic of learning and teaching to see what way is the most effective to teach.

What have i achieved?

An understanding of effective teaching and learning practices. With examples.

What could have been improved?

Nothing.

What have i learn’t about myself, the group?

That i have alot to say on the subject and im really interested in this topic and alot of the class seems this way.

Issues (for friday):

NONE 🙂

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Alternative assignment

25 Aug

I felt the alternative assignment was great!

It was really easy to write and talk about technology. It allowed me to become more aware of technology within my school and see where i could use technology myself. I also have other assignments due when the old assignment was planned to be due so im relieved to get that over and done with as fast as possible.

I loved the idea 🙂 and i felt i learn’t alot from it

Review of the day: 24/8/09

25 Aug

To what extent has today met my expectations?

Today my group presented to the class. I found that the slide show and presentation went alot better than what I had orginally planned.  We had hardly any time to plan out the whole presentation together, so it was very individualised. What i did find was that i learnt alot from hearing what other members in my group contributed. I also felt the talk about Teaching Experience realy useful and there were alot of comments from all members of the class. It was also great to hear what technology is being used within schools, as i felt my school did not involve as much as i had hoped due to costs.

What concerns do i have?

My concerns are that i do not have all the notes from my groups presentation, as we were busy presenting. I hope i do not miss out on these and gain them from someone, somehow. Another concern is that i have not added enough to my assignment, even though Panos has checked my work and informed me of what i can do.

What have i achieved?

I have achieved a great understanding of Vygotsky’s theory, social constructivism, as this was part of my presentaton. I have also achieved a better understanding of the technology that is within other schools.

What could have been improved?

Nothing. I thought our group did great for the time we had. We could have spent more time together organising and working together, but we could not as we had teaching experience.

What have i learn’t about myself, the group?

I learn’t that my group worked well together in the time we had. Having our own sections was a great idea and we got things done really fast and effectiely. I learn’t for myself that i can think quickly off my feet and getting up in front of others and talking about things you hardly understand actually allows you to learn better. I also learn’t that others gained alot of great use and advice of technology on their sections, and for that im jealous :).

Issues (for friday):

NONE 🙂

Question three: You, your colleague and technology:

18 Aug

Question three:

You, your colleague and technology:

One thing I noticed when talking to teachers, within my staffroom, about using technology, was that all of them found technology to be a really wonderful tool for enhancing children’s learning. I selected three different ‘types’ of teachers to ask about their usage of technology, within their teaching and planning. I wanted to get a variety of opinions, and not just from full time teachers.

The first teacher I spoke to was actually a 3rd year student teacher who has been on placement as I have been also. I have developed a great relationship with this student teacher, and I feel she is capable of talking to me about technology. After talking with her I found she had a positive attitude towards technology and was also able to compare the school we have been positioned at now, to others she has been placed at.  She talked about the difficulty, for her, during her placement to involve technology within the teaching, as we are only given one hour slot in the computer room a week.  She would love to use more technology within her classroom, if only given the means to. I agree with this student teacher completely, as I have felt, during my placement that I have little resources to use to teacher my children that involve technology. She talked about her past placement, where each classroom had a set of laptops that could access the internet. We discussed how each school varies according to decile and parents income and that you need to teach with what you are given. When I asked this student teacher why she believes technology can be effective within the classroom, her responses where that the information we use today, within technology, is far more informative than the past. Having technology used within the classroom allows us as teachers to become more informative and as a result of this allow the children’s learning to be enhanced by the content they are being taught and also with what resources they are using. I agree with this student teachers views and believe technology has allowed us to access more information, and so easily. What I have thought about after talking with this teacher is that technology cannot just be used within the classroom, because it is technology. It has to be the tool for children to learn skills or other subjects.

The second teacher I talked to about technology was my associate teacher. When I asked her if she used technology within her classroom she said yes, but she doesn’t think she uses it enough. She gave me some examples of how her class uses technology e.g. the computers within the suite, she uses the computer to demonstrate and model to the children and the children use the C.D player for reading and singing in the morning (I see this on a daily basis). We then talked about why she has incorporated technology into her teaching and why she believes technology can be effective when teaching children. She shared with me that technology can only be effective, in teaching, if it is taught to be, or used, as a tool to learn other subjects and ideas e.g. mathematics, reading. One example she gave me of using technology as a tool was when her class focused on virtues. In groups the class had to set up scenarios where the children were using their virtues and where then photographed. Though their focus was on virtues, the children were ‘on board’ because of the use of technology. I felt that my associate teacher had a positive attitude towards technology, but only if it was used as a means of learning, not for playing around. I agree with her completely and feel it is a waste of time incorporating technology into the classroom if children will not enhance their learning. My associate teacher also talked about how using technology in the classroom can creative a relatively familiar environment, for the children, as they are now surrounded by technology, at home and in the world today.  I also agree with her, as I believe children need to learn the skills to ‘survive’ in the world today and quite frankly the skills we need at the moment involve technology.

The last teacher I talked to (third) is a part time teacher within my school.  Originally when I had prepared to ask her if she used technology, when teaching children, I have to admit I was thinking she would not use much technology at all.  I was quite taken back when she responded to the questions. When I asked her if she used technology to teach children she responded “yes”. She gave me examples, such as the computers, within the computer suite, for her literacy group. Within this one hour slot she gets the children to use the reading programmes, where they can read along with the computer, write pieces of writing using power point or word, use the encyclopaedia tool to find information to read etc. She talked to me about using her computer, at home, and her school laptop, to plan for children, individuals or classes and she also uses the computer to create worksheets and complete assessment for children, as it is quick. When I asked this part time teacher about why she teaches using technology, she allowed me to see straight away she had a positive attitude towards technology, but only if it was used as a tool and not alone. She talked about how using computers act as a vehicle for teaching subjects in a different way. Some of her ideas about why technology can be effective when teaching was the speed of accessing information, and completing work children are set. She talked about work looking ‘professional’ through the use of computers e.g. straight and tidy worksheets, and that it seems to be more authentic. This part time teacher also talked about how children are excited when using technology, as it is different, and in a way this can be why children learn better through technological tools. It also relates to children’s lives and ‘the real world’ which we want the children within our school to survive and thrive in. Though this part time teacher had a lot of positive to say about technology, what she did quote, at the end of our discussion, was that technology is ‘not the be all and end all!’ We should use technology to ‘meet the goal- not as the goal’. I agree with her comments completely and believe technology is a tool for teaching not to be taught alone. I was really surprised, by this third teacher’s comment, as I truly did not expect her to use much technology, within her teaching, but after talking to her I can now see she uses it very and in an effective way.

Alternative assignment 1: Question: 4. The school of the future:

14 Aug

4.  The school of the future:

Over the last seven weeks, soon to be eight, the environment I have experienced from my school is an environment that is very inclusive, having a focus on including all children within the learning.  The school allowed me to develop this reasoning as I, everyday, saw a young autistic girl put within my class, like so many others, and put into the classroom environment. This also allowed me to see the environment of my classroom was also very inclusive, not just by having this young girl, but there are many different behaviours, some more difficult than others, from individual children, which can be seen as learning difficulties. Within the school and within my classroom I always saw this inclusive nature.  To improve the schools environment I would only want to see a more positive attitude from staff towards one another. Since being placed within this school there have been many surveys and meetings given by particular figures, which have in consequence, made teachers busy with work that is not what they are placed within a school to do. As a result this leads to teachers having negative views, and in some situations disrespecting other associates.  I believe if the workload was decreased they would enjoy their work within the school more and there would be a bigger focus on teaching than other matters. An improvement that I believe would allow children within my individual classroom to work better, and a way the environment of the classroom could be improved is having a more ideal classroom space. Our classroom is very small, the smallest in the school in fact. Walking around the room with the children positioned at their desks is a hard job.

When I think about the ‘opportunities’ to integrate technology within the school I actually find it difficult to think about what could be added to their already well established technological resources. The school has a projector, used in assembly, so all children can see what is happening within classrooms around the school, or promote certain weeks e.g. book week, 40 hour famine etc. The school has an overhead projector, which they use to enlarge lyrics for singing, within assembly. The school has a computer room, with 30 computers, that all children can use once a week and at lunchtimes. The school’s library has a scanning check in and out system that every class has been ‘locked’ into. Every classroom environment has a functioning computer, all children have access to. Teachers, within their classrooms, have access to internet, planning and assessing programmes. The overall school has an intercom, to communicate with every single classroom to send across notices, or just talking to individual classrooms, this makes things a lot easier and faster to get in touch with students and teachers.  These are just some of the main technological resources used within the school to benefit teachers and learners. An opportunity that I do see could benefit the school and my individual classroom is having a smart board, in each class or in the computer room. As a teacher I can see it being used, within the computer room, as a guide to scaffold students learning, as they can follow the teacher as they show where to next, instead of sitting on the mat waiting until the teacher is finished explaining and showing what is expected. This could benefit learners as they would have more time for learning and getting on with the task at hand. Having the teacher model, using a smart board, allows scaffolding to occur, which is needed to allow children to succeed.  Within the classroom I could see the smart board as a scaffolding tool also, but it also allows children to be active participants in their learning and allows them to demonstrate to their peers what they know. The teacher is not just sitting on the mat ‘telling’ the children, but they are showing and allowing children to come up and demonstrate what they are learning. Using a smart board within the classroom allows the teacher to not be the ‘fountain of knowledge’. It allows the children to change places with the teacher, which can be a very effective way to get children to learn and also allows the teacher to become better at their job, teaching children in an effective way. Though a projector could be used within this situation, the computer room or classroom, having a smart board allows children to be able to write and manipulate work on the board, and as a result be more involved and active in their learning. Another opportunity that a projector may offer though is saving money on materials, such as paper and the photocopier. I cannot count the amount of photocopies I have used on this placement. Using a laptop, to connect to a projector, to show equations children can complete and copy is a lot more eco friendly, and when you think about it not too time consuming. Projecting worksheets up on the board will save a lot of money out of the school budget that could be spent on other effective resources. I believe using a projector instead of so many photocopies would allow a teacher to be a better role model, of protecting the earth e.g. trees, and promoting an eco friendly nature. I thought about an opportunity for blogs being placed within the school, as children have access to computers, but there are many students within my school with no access to the internet. As a result of this many students will not be able to assess the work online and as a result not complete the work needed to be done. I do not believe blogs would be the best technology to place within the school, it will just add pressure to parents, and that is not what a school desires to do. Like anything within technology if a projector, or a smart board are not used in a way to scaffold or develop learning, they are useless, this how I can evaluate now that a blog used within my school would be ineffective. I believe a teacher needs to learn how to use the technology in a way that will benefit learners and also use a technology, for individual work, that all children have access to. A teacher, to be successful in teaching, using these tools, has got to have a commitment to learn how to use them in effective way and constantly develop tasks that use the technologies effectively.

Alternative Assignment One2. The teaching environment and learning environment:

9 Aug

2. The teaching environment and learning environment:

Looking back to my primary school I always remember the, of course, friendly environment that was created through my peers, teachers, and principal.  I remember the school being considered very ‘up to date’ with technology aspects within the school, which allowed me to feel the environment of my school was very ‘open’ to new changes and developments. We had a single computer in many classrooms, we had a library scanner system, we had an over head projector used within assemblies to reflect the words of our songs, and we had an expertise computer Mac operator, Mr Sanders. When I think back to my childhood memories of school I seem to clearly remember the classroom. My classroom number was 13 and it was a very ‘modern’ classroom space. Our classroom had just been built and seemed to have the ‘best’ equipment within it, for example, grouped desks, no single wooden desks. It had lovely new carpet. There was an area for a mat space, quite large, from what I remember, and even a place within the class to have our book corner. One piece of equipment I will remember quite vividly is the Mac computer that was positioned in the front left corner, from the whiteboard, which seemed to be used more for gaming than other aspects of learning (Glider Pro). My teacher, Mrs H, seemed to have a large desk, but there was no computer, or laptop positioned on it. She would use the whiteboard, positioned on the mat, to demonstrate work that was to be completed within the classroom and the large whiteboard, at the front of the classroom, to complete handwriting, place the timetable up on the board etc. As I was a young child at the time, nine years old, to be honest I did not seem to know where Mrs H went to get resources, for teaching my peers and I, but I do know she had access to a photocopier that was positioned within the office, that I would sometimes nosily spot when on office duty. When I compare my past learning experiences with my primary schools environment, my classroom and the resources available to my teacher, to now, I can see there has been a small change to how schools implement technology into the classroom and I now see how effective it is used within schools. At the school I am placed at the environment seems to be very modern and inclusive, allowing all students to be included within learning. This has been successfully implemented within the school as there are rooms available for children with special needs e.g. the green and gold room and even technological equipment available to them. This is very different to my primary schools environment, as I cannot even remember these children within my past experience in primary school and especially not providing them with specific equipment to meet their needs. I think more schools today, alike to my placement school; have become more open to catering for disability students, especially as they are becoming more and more common in this world today. I also notice the school I am placed at has a computer room that every class can access. This computer room has over 30 computers within it, enough for every individual child. This is a dramatic change from my schooling years. Having this computer room allows the children to do writing, work through mathematical games, English games etc. I believe this room has been created for learning how to learn, using a computer, which is not how I saw computers at primary school. Computers in households are becoming more common so having this room shows children how to use them sensibly. Something else I have noticed within my placement school is the school assemblies, though they use over head projectors, they also use projectors that connect to the laptops. They are able to present slideshows, pictures of classes work and environments etc. It allows all children to view and see what is occurring within their school.  Within my classroom now I see similarities, such as; the class has a computer for children to access.  I still use, when teaching the children, the whiteboard, on the mat and in front of the classroom and my pupils use workbooks and pens, pencils to write down information. I believe it is still effective for children to learn with this process and materials and this is why we still teach children in this way.  What I do think has changed over time is the amount of confidence children have developed with technology as they use it every day of their lives e.g. cell phones, internet etc.  My associate teacher has a dramatic change of technological equipment and resources involved within her teaching from my past teacher Mrs H. She has been given, by the school, a laptop for her use. This helps her plan lessons, certain formats, creates resources for children and even allows her to access resources through the internet. My associate teacher uses the internet to allow her to view other teacher’s unit plans and activities, which she can take and use to adapt her lessons from. This is a radical change from the books and pieces of paper my past teacher, Mrs H, used to plan with. I think this has occurred as it is less time consuming for teachers to have lesson formats and unit formats that they do not have to constantly write out and having a computer allows mistakes through typing to easily be fixed. Having access to internet allows teachers to have the opportunity to understand what is occurring with their colleges and can learn from them, but it also can be a way for unwanted material to be accessed. Caution should be taken when using the internet, especially if children can access it. A similarity I see with my past teacher Mrs H and my associate teacher is the use of the photocopier. Though it may be printed activities, and not hand written work, my associate teacher still relies on this piece of technology. I believe this piece of equipment is very useful and I still see the purpose for using it. What I have started to notice is the amount of paper that goes through this machine and what it is doing to the environment, using all this paper. I am sure they will think of a cleaver way to solve this problem in the future, but for now I don’t know what I would do without it.  As time goes on things will constantly change, even now, in a few years technology develops even further. The question we have to ask ourselves, as teachers, if these changes are implemented within the school environment, classroom and teaching and planning will it be beneficial for learners or will it destroy the ‘real’ learning that must occur.

Alternative Assignment One Question one: Me, and technology: After a classroom/teaching experience, think:

7 Aug

Alternative Assignment One

Question one:

Me, and technology: After a classroom/teaching experience, think:

Within my classroom, I have to admit there is little technology that is used to teach and demonstrate to children. The basic technology within my school seems to be one computer per classroom, a computer room, used once a week by my class, and one television that is booked by individual classrooms. Because of this limited selection, I wanted to incorporate and use a different technology within my teaching to see how effective and engaging it would be, to do this I had to think what I could present to the children through technology, that would be meaningful and have a purpose, I decided to use my personal laptop within a lesson.  Though it seems to be a very simple idea I have never seen it used before and I wanted to try it for myself.  The lesson that I presented to the children, using my laptop, was art. Our focus, for art, was to express, show, a figure expressing a certain emotion. To demonstrate examples to the children of how this can be expressed I used examples of artists works e.g. Van Gogh, Frida Kahlo etc. that were portraits of themselves. To show the examples of these artists’ works I made a brief slideshow of their paintings. On each slide, of my presentation, was an example of the artists work. When I came to each slide I asked the children what the figure, in the work, was feeling and how we knew this? What features expressed certain emotions? I had about 5 different paintings in my show and the works all expressed different facial features, and allowed children to see a range of emotions and talk about them. The rest of the lesson was demonstrating the size, orientation and details in the work, which did not involve any technological resources. Though I only used a very basic form of technology within my lesson, I believe it was still effective. It was new to the children, so they were excited about what they were looking at. The children were able to see a range of artworks and figures and get a better understanding of what was expected of them, within their work.  I believe that using the laptop, within the lesson, improved the children’s learning as they were involved and interested, but I have to admit it is alike to just using different posters of the artists works, but it’s just in a different form. Using posters would have still shown the idea of the lesson to the children and they would still have seen the purpose of the lesson.  What I think would improve my lesson would be using a projector, that connects to my laptop. I noticed many children had to kneel up to see my laptop, on the mat or ask me to tilt my screen so they could see. Using a projector allows the artists work to be enlarged and ensures that all children can see the work that is being shown. I think that though I tried to use a piece of technology within my lesson, my laptop, I did not think of the difficulties that could occur, for example not all students being able to see. Other ways I could improve my lesson could be involving a smart board, as it would be an effective way to have shown the slideshow. Children could have participated more within the lesson, as they could have come up individually and circled the features, on the figures face, that demonstrated the emotion they were feeling e.g. the wrinkles on the figures head, the mouth, turned up or down etc. Getting the children more involved in the lesson allows them to be active learners and demonstrate a better understanding of how they can see different emotions shown in figures.