Reflecting on Prac

My placement this year really reaffirmed to me just how important ICTs are in the school environment, not just in delivering lessons but also as a tool used to support and manage classroom behaviour. In a previous post I mentioned how this placement really taught me how to use technology as a tool for behaviour management and this is something that I will definitely translate into my future teaching experiences.

During my placement I was able to interract and collaborate with some other pre-service teachers from other universities, which was really wonderful as they were all very supporting and lovely people. However, it was an experience that definitely made me more aware of just how well designed the USQ course is for Education, being designed in such a way that provides me with many fantastic opportunities to gain real life experiences in school settings.

Teacherless Classrooms

This week’s learning path examined the idea of future classrooms being teacherless. The following video looks a little at this issue, and I found the point made about educating Africa to be particularly interesting.

Although I’m not of the opinion that classrooms in the future will be teacherless I do find it a good point to mention technology’s role in educating places in the world where teachers are not prepared to go – like Africa. As was mentioned in this video, Google were apparently very interested in this concept of a teacherless classroom because of this reason.

In an article  the idea that there will be teacherless classrooms in the future is examined as being an inevitability, where teachers will have less of a role in the education of their students.

It’s an interesting topic of discussion, however I myself find it hard to imagine an education system that does not require such a reliance on teaching staff. Although technology is advancing and the future of education will inevitably change, I believe it will be the pedagogical practices that will be adjusted, not the roles of teachers.

Creative Writing – Technology for the Classroom

Looking through some apps that integrate creative writing, I have stumbled across a really interesting site that lists a few great tools that can be used to inspire students to enhance their creative writing skills.

One app that has particularly caught my attention is called ‘Writing Challenge‘ which challenges students in an engaging and fun way, with students given a writing prompt and a count down clock. The objective of this task is for students to integrate the prompt into their writing before the clock’s time runs out, at that point a new prompt will be provided and students will need to incorporate this next prompt and so on…

I really love the idea of this as it is a creative, fun and challenging activity that would engage students who are particularly interested in writing. Not only that, but it would enhance not only student writing skills but also their creativity, being put on the spot and needing to imagine scenarios as required.

ICT as a Tool for Managing Behaviour

My prac placement this year saw me develop and expand my knowledge in behaviour management when I was given a rather challenging English class to teach. Like Nicole, previously I had been given more cooperative and well behaved classes to teach and although this year’s placement was challenging at times I found the experience to be very beneficial.

My experiences with this class enabled me to appreciate the use of ICTs as a tool to manage behaviour, and I have dot pointed the different strategies that I have so far learnt regarding the use of technology in this way;

  • Having an initial activity projected up onto the board was an effective tool in ‘setting up the lesson’ as students came into the class with an activity to complete straight away without any transitional period where they were not occupied or busy completing work. This was effective throughout the whole lesson, as I found that if I was writing the next activity on the board students were  more likely to muck up due to not being occupied.
  • Showing small, short video clips relevant to the task helped to maintain student engagement on the topic. I found that engaging students was particularly challenging with this class, but they reacted well to videos and I made a point to incorporate these when I could, particularly Friday afternoons when I had them.
  • Playing music was also an effective tool when students were busy at a task, particularly as it allowed those students who had finished early to have their attention directed towards what was being played.

There are some sources that I have found that explore this issue a little further and provide some interesting strategies of taking advantage of ICTs as a tool of behaviour management. One such site can be found here and lists a number of Ipad Apps designed to help manage classroom behaviour.

One such app explored is Class Dojo, which is a tool that can be accessed and used by both teachers and students to monitor and reward good behaviour. The following clip explains the benefits to students.

 

 

Literacy Planet

Although my prac placement didn’t fully appreciate the potential that IWBs could offer student learning, one of the classes I was able to teach spent one lesson each week in the library completing Literacy Planet activities. This is an internet-based learning tool that allows students to complete tasks (assigned by their teacher) that build spelling, vocabulary, reading fluency and comprehension skills in a fun, engaging platform. Teachers are able to monitor student progress and compare the progress of other students, not only within the class, but the school. This site offers more information about Literacy Planet and the benefits that it provides school students of a variety of ages.

Some Thoughts on Staff Attitudes – IWBs

During my prac placement it was disappointing to experience the attitude of teaching staff of the use of IWBs within the classroom. Although my placement did have access to one of these whiteboards it wasn’t seen as a useful technology for high school learners among teaching staff, to the point where no one was really interested in even learning of its potential or functions. After asking whether I was able to integrate it into my lesson planning I was further told that there was only one member of staff in all the school that actually knew how to work it, and the attitude he expressed to me was much the same – that it was something more relevant towards younger students within a primary context. However, looking online I have found a number of factual, substantiated reports that support this technological integration within the high school context. One such report, devised by Professor Sandy Schuck and Dr Matthew Kearney, looks at how high schools are integrating technology through IWBs into the classroom as an effective teaching tool (click here to learn more). Not only this, but there are also a range of resources that provide some interesting learning opportunities targeted at high school learners here .

I found it a real shame that this was the perception of staff within my particular context and the lack of information/training that is obviously being provided to learn and develop knowledge based around this particular ICT.

 

Digital Footprint

After finishing this week’s work book I’m really interested (and a little wary) at the impact that my digital presence has on my privacy. I currently rely most heavily on Facebook as a social media and the Take This Lollipop project was a bit of a horror to watch!

I never knew about Exif data until this week and although I find it really interesting it’s something to definitely be mindful of in future. The following video demonstrates how easy it is to use Exif data to locate the exact location of a photograph, provided they have been taken on an appropriate camera. I have mixed feelings about this to be honest, and wouldn’t really feel comfortable knowing that I was uploading images onto my Facebook account or any other sharing site, using an image that had Exif data – I think this feeling is particularly resulting from the Take this Lollipop video!