The End Of One Chapter Is The Beginning Of Another, Shifting Focus From EduBlogs To Wikispaces

It has been some time since I last had a good opportunity to blog, the last post was when the blogs had to get turned in for assessment and I’ve found myself having an insane time outside the world of the web to putting my thoughts to paper, for a better use of a term. Being a 2nd year student at Warrnambool, I have had to put the hard yards in to keep on top of the assessments that have just gone and the ones that are quickly approaching, which personally for me is a hard task since time management still isn’t my strongest suit, which I regret as it did put me behind with this blog.

Although the assessments have been upon me, I would like to highlight one such assessment that we had to prepare for over the last fortnight in regards to science. If you have read my previous post titled “Mind Numbing and Tedious, Changing Education Paradigms Across The Field”, you will have worked out by now that I am very much a practical learner then a theorist. So to find out that I once again had the opportunity to get back into the classroom and teach again was a breath of fresh air, as I did enjoy the extensive experience I got from my last block of rounds. Although I only got 2 hours instead of 2 weeks was a shame but we all can’t get what we want. I was also looking forward to the challenge of interacting with grade 5/6 students, since I had preps on rounds and that we had to teach a science lesson, even reminiscing about it brings an excited smile to my face. Through the 2 hours that we had to teach, I noticed that the concept of teaching a prep is very similar when it comes to teaching a grade 6, this is not to say that the students I had were acting like preps or are as smart as preps, but however by tweaking my vocabulary just slightly, I can address them as if I was addressing the preps that I was teaching on my rounds, which I am amused about and thought that It would be a good thing to share.

The final part of this blog is to address the upcoming task of putting together a wiki page of some description that addresses a certain criteria. Now I am one for a challenge but by going into it head on now, after working with the blog, I feel slightly more confident with how I need to go about producing it, as this blog started to fall away from me as the submission date approached. The title of this post may be a bit misleading but I don’t plan to completely ignore this blog, as it is still a fantastic source, but after completing the first module of this unit, I feel that I need to focus more of my attention on the wiki.

The next few weeks will be interesting and I’m hoping to fill you in on how they go

Until next time!

Jarryd


EST430 Sample Slideshow on PhotoPeach

When week 6 came by, we were asked to look into the world of slideshows. Prior to this topic, the only slideshow that I was aware of was the ones that our lecturers would show us through Microsoft PowerPoint. After this topic however I have had to covers pulled from my eyes and have found a few useful tools to create a photo slideshow, such as Photostory for offline and PhotoPeach for online. The embedded slideshow above was created using PhotoPeach, so I it will be the focus of this post.

In past posts, I have mentioned that the website that I was using for that week were fairly easy and straight forward to use, after using PhotoPeach though, I have discovered that you can make the easy easier. On the home page there are 4 main buttons you want to access. Firstly is the My Shows tab, which lets you view all of the slideshows that you have created.

The next tab is the Explore tab, which as the title says, allows you to explore the site to see what other users have made.

There is a good potential that PhotoPeach has for an educational purpose. I feel that it would be aimed at the middle years of primary school (grade 3 up) but below this could have a go as well. PhotoPeach even has a link to an education part of the site, which goes through how it can be used within the classroom. Like Audioboo, I feel that PhotoPeach can be a great resource for a teacher to use since the limit of what the students can produce is to what their imagination holds.

http://photopeach.com/education
Here is the link to the education aspect of PhotoPeach

The third tab is the Creators tab, which allows you to view the top creators on PhotoPeach, as determined by PhotoPeach.

Finally, the most important tab is the Upload Photos Tab, which is where you go to set up your slideshow. First a upload file box appears,

The site will then upload your pictures and display them on a grid, at this step you are able to arrange the pictures in any way you want

Finally the last step is to add a title, music and captions if desired, then once you hit finish the slideshow will be uploaded and can be viewed.

When Blogs Speak Back! Using Audio To Bring The Net To Life!

EST430 Blog Recording On Audio (mp3)

So After 5 weeks, those who have been keeping up made it to Audio…Although I am now 2 weeks off the pace it feels good to be where the real fun begins! In the audio piece above, I have given a very very very brief view of Audioboo which I have used a little bit and absolutely love! I also have used Audacity in the past and have found that it is a very straight forward program to use if you just want to record and not do any of the fancier stuff that audacity has to offer (such as cutting audio or mashing different audios together).

Since I have used Audioboo to provide the voice over at the top, I will speak about that for this particular post. Audioboo is a website that is set up to record voice messages online. These messages are then saved to the database and then showen online (similar to how YouTube works when uploading videos). You can view these audio files on your profile as well. Although I have now just realised this, Audioboo could be perceived as an audio version of YouTube. The formats of the sites are different but the concept behind them is similar. The way Audioboo is set up is very simple. It has a search option at the top and various tabs for what you need.

The Browse tab gives you options in how you search for audio,

The channels tab gives a list of popular and featured channels that the site has to offer.

The next 3 tabs are to do with the user. My profile is what it says; it allows you to view your profile and the Audioboos that you have created.

The Settings tab allows you to change and play with the settings

and the Messages tab is where you can send Audio messages to people that you are friends with on the site.

There is also a help tab for those who need the extra bit of help navigating there way around.

In terms of its educational purpose, I feel that Audioboo could potentially have a really big role in the classroom if it is utilised and used properly. When recording, a separate window comes up that gives you the option to either upload a file or record a new one. If you do record, the window changes to one that has a record button and a duration clock.

I feel that even as young as prep could use a site like this with help from a teacher to get them to this point. There are a lot of things that students could do with a site like this, or a program like Audacity, such as create an audio book. It would also have most students engaged and willing to play around and try something potentially a bit different from what they have been doing previously. It is also a good change up from writing, which students again would appreciate. All up I feel that there is a lot of potential in Audioboo in the classroom and would am very anxious to hopefully have the chance to use it once my time comes to teach!

Socially Bookmarking The Web, Using Diigo Educationally.

Although it has been a while since my last post, I figured that I would continue to play my game of blogging catch up since the first assessment is upon us. This leg of the catch up brings me to our week 4 topic of social bookmarking through the site Diigo.

To summarise what I believe it is, the idea of social bookmarking is to manage the wealth of sites that you want to use in one place, that doesn’t turn your favourite’s folder into a short novel. Further more, since it is stored on a website, it is possible to access these links if you are away from your original PC, which saves you the trouble of having to remember the URL of the site. Since I have been looking through Diigo, I have concluded that it is a very user friendly bookmarking site to use. It has a good layout that is easy to navigate. The 4 main tabs that you will use are at the top of the screen and are not hard to find. My Library is where all of the links that you have shared appear. My Network is where the links of the people you follow will appear. My Groups is where the groups you are in appear, these groups are a great place to share links with people that have similar tastes and interests to you and is a great way to expand your knowledge. Finally the Community tab shows a series of bookmarks that are ‘Hot’ at the present moment, which is again a great place to try and broaden your horizons.

With websites such as Diigo at our disposal, if there was a way for it to be incorporated into a classroom I feel that it should be jumped on as quickly as possible. There are many ways that this could be used in a classroom, even if it is simply used as an aid for the teacher, the potentially to be used as a classroom tool is huge. If the students had net books to use during class, instead of the teacher telling the students that there are x-amount of sites that they could use, they could easily direct them to Diigo and show the students all the sites they can choose from to do with their topic. This could save and great deal of time and get the students doing more work instead of stuffing around on websites that don’t have any relevance to what they should be doing. The teacher could also have a group set up for the students to add sites that they find useful and want to reuse at a later point.

With the age of technology well and truly in motion, to have access to sites such as Diigo will save a considerable amount of time within the classroom and I feel that teachers should attempt to get these sites into their classrooms as soon as possible.

Mind Numbing And Tedious, Changing Education Paradigms Across The Field

Ok ladies and gentlemen, a while ago, I came across a fantastic video by Sir Ken Robinson, who is one of today’s top educators which discussed the idea that we need to change the current education paradigms within schooling. If you haven’t seen this video, it will be embedded into this post. My purpose of this post is to address some things that I have noticed within my university experience over the last few weeks and how I feel that there is a link between what I have noticed and what points Sir Ken Robinson brings up in this video. (And seriously, you need to watch the video, it is really good).

So as any uni student does, I make sure I attend as many classes as I can, make sure that I do all of the prior work beforehand and make sure that I stay up with each weeks topic. Recently though I have been seeing things from a new perspective, I am not sure why this is or how it happened, but it’s one of those life mysteries. I digress, I first noticed this about 5 days ago when I was sitting in my ESM210 tutorial. I sat there just looking around the classroom at the mannerisms of my peers and listening to what sort of things they were talking about. What I had discovered is that what I was witnessing is an evolved and more sophisticated version of both a primary and secondary classroom. The term ‘Pre-Service Teacher’ has been used a lot this semester and though it is correct that in the flesh, we all are pre-service teachers, do we think that though? Do we sit there in class and subconsciously believe that we are pre-service teachers or still just students? It is hard to judge since I can’t read minds, however from the small data that I gathered, I feel that there are a lot of us that still believe that we are just students and I will own up now and say that I am one of those many people. I again witnessed this in my next two tutorials for EES240 and EEE208, that there were similar vibes to what I witnessed the first time and I wasn’t the only one that noticed. Speaking to a few different people in each of the classes, when I bought up the question, or made a statement concerning this point they put their 2 cents in and told me what they thought. When I asked why they felt this, they would respond that they would lose interest in the work as time dragged on, which brings me to my next point.

As I indicate in the title, I have been feeling lately that the classes we are doing are becoming mind numbing and tedious, this is not to say that everyone feels this, because clearly it is incorrect to make assumptions for an overall group and again, I am only basing any of this on my personal views and a what I have been told from a few other individuals, but the consensus of these people is that they are leaving classes feeling mind dead, not actually knowing what just happened, what was said and why it is relevant. None of these people have any learning difficulties or hate the course they are enrolled in, it is just how these classes are operated that is killing them mentally. My feeling for this is because the structure of these units suit a theoretical learner more then a practical learner, which isn’t a bad thing, theory is a big part of teaching and without it we may as well walk into a classroom now and teach, but I feel that the balance between practicality and theoretical is to heavy on one side. I might sound a bit biased since I consider myself to be more of a practical learner, but we were introduced to a theoretical world in primary school, we were overloaded with theory at high school, now at university the overload we had in high school gets loaded on more. Not to say there is no practical learning, our teaching rounds are a perfect example where it is all about applying the theory to a practical setting, but I struggle to see any main practical aspects when we are in tutes. If the current trend in education is to try and make learning more engaging to the student, and we are being trained to follow a certain model that incorporates this, then why do the paradigms that are associated with uni not considered in a similar way? Is it because we are meant to be professional about university, we are meant to be adults and to have put the title of ‘student’ behind us? In a sense this is true, we shouldn’t be acting like we did in prep when we are at uni, but we are still entitled to be engaged in our work and there should be a place in our learning that does become more practical in order to compliment the theory that we are studying.

I want to just finally say that I am not having ago at this course or unit, I am not having ago at any lecturers or teachers and I am not saying that the course content is terrible, because the course content is actually quite interesting once you get into it as there are some really key aspects of teaching that we need to no. what I am concerned is how this information is being taught to us. Being the fact this is university, it should have a different feel and identity to that of high school and before that, primary school, but what I have witnessed over the last week is that it doesn’t have that feel. Class finishes and you see people get out of the room as quick as possible. You see people look half asleep. People walk out feeling mind numb, not sure why what they had just learnt was so tedious. People still having the same conversations that they began at the start of the class and spending the next 2 hours talking about it. The teacher losing control of the class as the attention of each student lessens as the class continues. Each classroom is a 2 way street, we owe it to ourselves and our peers to give the desired respect and attention to whoever is teaching us this vital information for our future careers, however said teacher also owes it to us to engage with the practical learners within their class as well as the theoretical learners, not just one or the other.

This is just a small observation I noticed during the week and what I have to say about it. Again please watch the attached video so you will have a better understanding on what started me to think like this.

Jarryd

If Only It Could Read Aswell. My Quick Review Of Google Reader

Right, so in my little game of blogging catch up, I have reached Google Reader, which is the RSS that we are working with throughout our course. This is so we can keep track of all the blogs associated with this unit in one convenient location.

All in all, I really like Google Reader.

Google Reader is very simple to use, even the most technological handicapped could navigate their way around. It has a good layout that works well with the screen. In the tab at the top of the browser, it indicates how many unread posts you have, which keeps you on top of any new posts added to your subscriptions blog. It uses good language that is easy to understand and it is very suer friendly, it even shows you a graph representation of your subscriptions and the stats that have come from your feed.

As I said above, I feel that it has a very good use on today’s world and I enjoy using it purely due to the simplicity it has. And that is my very quick review of Google Reader

Jarryd

Edublogs In The Primary Classroom. Could It Work?

Posting at this point in time indicates that I’m slightly behind the pack in terms of the week-by-week breakdown of this unit, however it’s better to be late then never.

Week 2 of EST430 introduced a lot of us into the strange world of blogging through the site we are on now, Edublogs. To me, the idea of blogging as a personal agenda is something I would have done in the early 2000’s when MySpace was the next big thing in social networking. Saying this however, once I got my first post out of the way I had the urge to blog whatever I could. I feel that blogging is becoming a smaller and smaller entity with Facebook and twitter being the big “go too” places for internet users to express their ideas for the world to see, being that people have either one or both of these networks, or even any other network, they don’t feel the need to have something as diverse as a blog. I have seen evidence of this even with the people I live with, some of them laugh when I tell them I’m updating this blog, others look at me blankly with no idea what I’m even talking about. With todays technological age and everyone being online at any time of the day, I fell that people just don’t have the attention span to sit down and commit their ideas to a blog, hence the reason I feel that blogs are slowly being “killed off”

That’s just my small opinion on the matter, now for the slightly more “teacher” view of this post.

As the title of this post suggests, I am curious to see what others think about using a blog for classroom use at the primary level.

Over the last fortnight, I have been giving this question some thought and sitting here today, I believe that the use of a blog at the primary level could not be used as a successful educational tool. As I stated in my post on Edmodo, I feel that, if used at the right year level, it could turn out to be a very successful and useful teaching aide. By looking at edublogs in a similar way, I found that the man reason that I fell it couldn’t be used in a classroom is because the idea of a blog is to sophisticated for the primary level. This is not to say that no primary student could ever get their head around the idea of blogging, I’m saying that for the purpose of classroom use it would be hard to manage and get students to be engaged in what they would be using the blogs for, which I want to link back to my point earlier about the attention span needed to get into a blog. After my first set of rounds earlier in the year, I could see that not a lot has changes since I sat in a primary classroom. There are certain aspects that students don’t finding interesting, so they try and entertain themselves. Eyes start to wonder, heads start to drop, hands are fidgeting. If students have trouble trying to engage in certain aspects of a classroom discussion, I find it hard to believe that they would find it easier to engage in discussion through a blog. Looking through the options that Edublogs provides, I don’t see anything that would grab the eye of a primary student. There isn’t any colour, there isn’t in lights or whistles, from the eyes of a student it looks very plain and boring and they would lose focus just as quickly as they would sitting in the classroom doing something they are not committed to do.

Although it was hard to put my reasoning into words, and I feel that I may have gone in a circle a bit, I would be interested to see what people think about the use of a blog in a primary classroom.

Until the next post

Jarryd

 

Edmodo: Education’s Facebook

Throughout the first week of this unit, we were all introduced to the social networking site called Edmodo. After signing up and setting up my profile, my first thoughts where that this is a teachers version of Facebook, but once I started playing around with the features I discovered that although they are similar, there is a great difference between the 2.

I feel that it isn’t a coincidence that Edmodo has a similar layout to Facebook, I couldn’t see a reason that you wouldn’t want to base a social networking site on the largest social networking site today, which boasts a very attractive user friendly interface with world wide connectivity, however Facebook couldn’t be used successfully in in a classroom as an educational tool, which is what makes Edmodo so appealing to teachers. I feel that what Edmodo has done is taken the Facebook model and stripped it back to the bare essentials of social networking. It has gotten rid of instant worldwide connectivity, through a chat function; it doesn’t have any ads or stupid groups and is not a place for people to post stupid comments that have no meaning about anything. Edmodo is a place for current teachers and the future teachers to engage in meaningful conversation, post ideas and theories and have the faith that they will have someone with knowledge of what they have said replying to their ideas.

I feel that for the use in a classroom, Edmodo could be a very successful teaching resource. I feel that you wouldn’t introduce Edmodo to the lower or middle years of primary school, as I don’t think they would get the intended purpose of using the site. With all the features that Edmodo has to offer, it could be used for students to post ideas or suggestions for what they want to learn in class, by using the poll function, the teacher could set up micro tests or post questions to test the students knowledge. By using the calendar function, the teacher can post key dates and have alerts be sent to the students when these dates are approaching, this goes the same with the Assignment function. The final benefit I see to using Edmodo as an educational tool is the benefit of the students being able to access it out of school hours, so if a student happens to miss a day, they are able to see what they have missed and come back the next day with some knowledge on what the class is doing.

As I said earlier, my first impression of Edmodo was that it is an Educational version of Facebook, but after using the site for about 2 weeks now, I have developed a better understanding of the capabilities of the site, and have developed my own ideas on how it could be potentially used within the classroom. In the technology era that we are currently living in, the need for social networking in the classroom is nearly as important for the need of social networking in our personal lives, and I feel that there will be a push to have more sites like Edmodo to be accessible for the use in a classroom.

Jarryd

Introduction

Hi Everyone!

My name is Jarryd Gahan and I’m a second year uni student studying my Bachelor of Education (Primary) at Deakin, Warrnambool. I am really enjoying this course so far and am glad that I picked this as my career! Although the course work is a major aspect of this course, I feel that the most benefit is applying what we are taught when we go out on our teaching rounds and i can’t wait to get back into the classroom later this semester!

The reason that I picked to study EST340 is to try and rekindle the passion for ICT that I had going through high school and to learn and develop my understandings with the technologies that are now available today as teaching resources. This unit also gives me the opportunity to collaborate with students from other campuses, which will give me many different perspectives and views on teaching and how technology can be used in the classroom.

On a personal level, I am a big fan of music. I feel that my taste in music should have me living in the 80’s and 90’s but I have been trying to broaden my musical scope of late and enjoying what I am listening to. I’m a huge Foo Fighters fan and can’t wait to see them on December 2 in Melbourne. I am also a gamer and a big sports fanatic, mostly in Cricket and AFL, following Victoria and Richmond respectively.

I am looking forward to sharing my thoughts with you all in the weeks to come and hopefully sharing knowledge on teaching in years to come when we all have our own classroom!

Jarryd

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