Classroom Practicality

Hello fellow travellers!

I write to you from amidst my university rounds. I’ve been placed in a local public school in Melbourne were I am learning about teaching Grade 3.

1st fail: Now as I am a passionate ICT (student) teacher, I was bursting at the seams to try one of the many tools I’d discovered with the Grade 3’s. Much to my dismay, when it came to a perfect opportunity to try Popplet, I was failed by technology. Not by the tool itself, mind you, but by the fact that the Adobe Flash Reader that is required to run Popplet wasn’t updated to the most recent version and therefore, Popplet wouldn’t work.

2nd fail: After attending a staff meeting, I discovered that while the technology in the school wasn’t the most reliable (when is it ever?), many teachers avoided the topic of ICT like the plague. Just to clear the air, the school has a lot of younger teachers working there, so ICT is not a new concept to them. They just don’t like it. This upset me tremendously!

What I am curious to know from all my readers, is do we place enough importance on the role technology plays in our learning?

I know from a class last semester that one of my fellow co-students was insulted by her year 10 students during her rounds because she didn’t know how to use PowerPoint. I want to know, how did she manage to get to 4th year university and never learn how to use PowerPoint?

Do you think this is something that should be happening to our students?

After being half way through this journey, do you think that technology is given enough ‘play’ time in schools?

Logging off,

Miss K

Quirky Quizlet

Dear travelers,

I may have logged off, but it wasn’t for long. I am just bursting at the seams to show with you a site called:

I titled this post ‘Quirky Quizlet‘ because it simply is quirky! This site is constantly growing every day and is a well used website for flashcards. I know we’ve all had a least one time in our life where we’ve spent hours writing out flashcards but I don’t know many who still use this method. After all, who has time to write out so many cards? Quizlet breaks that barrier… and makes it fun and interactive. I know what you’re thinking – flashcards? Fun?

As a student myself, memorising information is a primary key to passing my higher education studies. For our students however, the key is the understanding of information and the process of  learning, rather than the information obtained. This is where Quizlet steps in. Not only does it help those students who are visual learners but it makes the whole process easy and engaging. Look at the video below of what Quizlet is all about:

Tour of Quizlet.com from Phil Freo on Vimeo.

As you can see in the video above, there are a number of different modes to be explored in your classroom. There are even references to using the games on your Interactive Whiteboard and why wouldn’t you? Quizlet is a great way to make studying interactive and at the pace of the students.

Check out these links below for a little more on what Quizlet can offer:

Quizlet for Teachers

How Teachers Can Use Quizlet

The Best of… Quizlet Activities (video showing Quizlet being used in a French lesson)

Tackling Timelines

Secret find for today is…

 

Confused yet? Want to take a guess?

It’s an interactive website on timelines.

Now we all know that timelines can be messy. Timetoast is there to fix exactly that (and make it fun as well). Now think of all that time spent with students drawing, ruling, scribbling a timeline that in the end looks like a toddler just discovered a pencil… Want to change that? Timetoast is a creative and interactive website that allows you to create timelines and the share them. They even have an ’embed’ option for those of you who have a class blog or website.

Let me show you an example. Here is a timeline I found on Timetoast that is the ‘History of the Internet’.

 

 

Like what you see? Then take a little stroll over to Timetoast and I’m sure you will see that being a (free) service to save you time and eye-strain it is a fantastic add to that Diigo collection I know you’ve all started!

Logging off,

Miss K

 

Discovering Diigo

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have been working my way around the social bookmarking site called Diigo. For those of you who haven’t heard of Diigo before, pop over to Jack’s blog for a quick run down of the advantages to the website. On top of Jack’s blog, have a quick read of Derek Bruff’s ‘Social Bookmarking with Diigo‘ post about how he implements Diigo into his classroom. While I thought about writing a post of information about how Diigo runs with the disadvantages and the advantages, after a little Google search, I found plenty of sites and blogs currently already offering just that! So instead of filling your head full of all the same information (as wonderfully provided by Jack and Derek), I thought I’d talk to you about how I use it.

I had Diigo for about six months before I really started getting my head around everything that it offers. Straight up, all I used it for was screen-captures and the occasional bookmark that I often never went back to. What I did discover recently, was Diigo Groups. Now, as tech-savvy as I am, even I found it hard to get my head around what Groups were available to join. My little treasure is the Discovery Educator Network.

This group has 1550 members and is a public group for anyone to join. It contains some fantastic finds by other educators that they share to use as you see fit, and includes some wonderful ideas you didn’t even think of!

I also use it to keep track of all my internet sites instead of using my browser. This saves me an unmeasurable amount of time as I am constantly moving between my PC, my laptop and the university computers. Being able to log into Diigo via the website, it has my Library of links all saved and waiting for me to view (of course, tagging them also helps to find them quickly).

Thirdly, and finally, I use Diigo for collaboration. A number of my overseas friends are on Diigo and we often use it to discuss articles or websites that we stumble across. This final point I think would be the most significant in regards to a classroom setting. Not only can students who are working in groups or pairs able to share information with each other (including notes and highlighted text) but they are also able to collaborate as a class group should you require it.

Diigo on my scale? 4/5 May take a little while to get your head around all the amazing features it offers, but well worth the discovery!

That’s it for now,

Miss K