The Six C’s of Motivation – A Response

I have just read Emma’s blog on the article ‘The Six C’s of Motivation’ and i have to agree with both the article and Emma in saying that tasks in which children are given the opportunity to take control and ownership over what they are doing are more likely to enhance motivation, interest and student willingness to participate. The kinds of tasks mentioned in the article also build independent thinkers and decision makers who exhibit leadership skills essential to child development.

Like Emma, i particularly liked the format of the article. The headings made it particularly easy to follow and understand!

the thinker (Self Portrait 3/26/07) by nobleIgnoble.

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Can Technology Drive Change in Professional Development? A Response

In her post ‘Can Technology Drive Change in Professional Development’ Robyn refers to the article of the same name by Dave Nagel published in ‘The Journal’ to argue that it is vital for teachers to continue to learn and improve upon their professional practice. I whole-heartedly agree with both the article itself and Robyn’s response to it. As the article points out, 40-50% of all new teachers abandon the teaching profession within the first five years (scary stuff!) and ongoing sustainable professional development may hold the key to partially alleviating this problem.

The article itself refers to the report, “Empowering Teachers: A Professional and Collaborative Approach” (part of SETDA’s ongoing Class of 2020: Action Plan for Education series), which focuses on technology used to facilitate professional development and highlights innovative approaches to ongoing teacher and administrator development in K-12 schools, including the use of online communities, portals, and coaching programs.

 

Clearly technology is open up new doors for the professional development of teachers!

 

Whilst in the past teacher training involved ‘one-shot workshops’ technological advances mean that teaching training can ‘move toward a model of ongoing sustainable professional development’.

 

                                           my tree at dusk by joiseyshowaa.  

 

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Beliefs and computers

Whilst researching the use of ICT on the net I was lucky enough to stumble upon the article ‘The impact of primary school teachers beliefs on the classroom use of computers’ (Hermans, J. Tondeur, J., Van Braak, J. & Valcke, M., 2008).

 

The article refers to a study on the effects of teachers’ educational beliefs on the classroom use of computers in Belgium primary schools.  In this study, evidence was found supporting the notion that a teacher’s belief about the practice of teaching plays a significant role in determining their likelihood of incorporating the use of computers into the classroom. For example, teachers with constructivist beliefs were found more likely to be users of ICT. Other factors found to have an influence over computer usage were gender, computer experience and general computer attitudes.

 

Whilst the report states that the results of the study are ‘alarming,’ I myself was not surprised to read that teacher beliefs were found to be at least as important as technology-related teacher characteristics such as computer experience and general computer attitudes in effecting classroom use of computers.

 

Teaching is not Rocket Science by shareski.

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Microsoft School of the Future – A Response

I have to admit to being slightly amused at Kathryn’s response to the youtube clip ‘Microsoft school of the future’. This is not to say however that i do not completely agree with her claims. Whilst i too am all for the use of technology in the classroom, this clip really scared me and brought to light the negative implications of a technologically driven environment. As Kathryn pointed out, the students exhibited a severe lack of social interaction. They were more interested in working independently on their own personal laptops than interacting and engaging with their peers. Considering that i view education as playing an important role in helping students develop much needed social skills for their future this really disturbed me.

Teacher training

This is a podcast i created on the importance of in-service training in relation to the use of technology in the classroom. Simply click on the link below.

Teacher Training

Reference

Wilson. E. (2004). SmartBoard in the classroom opens a world of promise. Retrieved November 2, 2008 from Sydney Morning Herald, http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/04/05/1081017089222.html

Discussion groups, a constructivist approach – A Response

I have just read Meaghan’s response to the article ‘Making use of online discussion groups’ (published in the Australian Educational Computing Journal) and like Meaghan i agreed with many of the articles claims. I have witnessed first-hand the difficulties experienced by some students in getting their voice heard in group discussions and can now see how the asynchronous nature of online discussions would support the learning of these students. Like Meaghan pointed out, it would enable them to reflect on what is being discussed, organise their own thinking and then respond thoughtfully in their own time.

Personally i find that my own answers tend to be much more thought out and articulated when typed rather than spoken and can see this is as yet another advantage of online discussion. The fact that students responses can be archived for future reference is another plus.

The article itself mentions a number of issues with the use of online discussion boards and whilst Meaghan believes that these issues namely a lack of student participation can be addressed through constant implementation of the technology by the classroom teacher i feel that the issue runs a little deeper. For example, there is alway going to be a fear of criticism and ridicule in some students. After all It is one thing to submit work to your teacher but to have it viewed by your peers is something entirely different.  As a result i think the implementation of this technology really rests on the culture and climate of the individual classroom.

Should we be listening to the Natives? A Response

I have just read Kathryn’s blog on ‘Listen to the natives’ by Marc Prensky. Having read the article myself i agree with its claim that teachers need to keep up-to-date with today’s technology however like Kathryn i find Prensky to be a bit ‘over-the-top’ and ambitious when it comes to his visions of technology in the classroom.

As Kathryn successfully pointed out, technology has its limitations and whilst the article makes many valid points, it is ridiculous to believe that ‘technology should have a demanding influence of education’. This is not to say however that i don’t believe technology has a place in the classroom. In fact, i believe that it plays a critical role. However, I just believe that it should be usde in conjunction with pre-existing structures and methods rather than in lieu of. 

Who’s teaching who? A Response

Maree Skillen’s blog ‘Who’s teaching who?‘ really got be thinking about the difficulties experienced by some teachers when it comes to the use of ICT in the classroom.

Just thinking back to my own personally practicum experiences to date i can recall numerous instances when the tech-savy students were the ones doing the teaching when it came to the use of the Smart Board and other interactive technologies.

As a result i find myself agreeing with Maree’s claim that “paying for computers to be installed in schools is the east option…the hard work is in the professional development of teachers and updating of assessment techniques”. Teachers need professional development training in the use of ICT if they are to be expected to incorporate it into the day-to-day learning of the classroom.

Constructivist Learning of the future

Having studied the ideas and theories of John Dewey and Jean Piaget just last year I was aware of the notion of constructivist learning prior to the reading of ‘Building software beats using it’ by Idit Harel.

The article really got me thinking however about my own educational experiences and I came to realise that my most profound learning occurred when I actually created something, worked on a complex project and worked on something I was passionate about. This in turn supported the articles claim that it is only in the constructing of something that learning becomes truly meaningful for the learner.

Further more, I came to realise that today we can use the internet and web as a means of offering new opportunities for constructivist learning. Whilst the traditional means of using crayons, markers and finger paint are still valid and allow children to explore, express and exchange their creativity in wonderful ways. New technologies (such as the internet and web) have the potential to add a “powerful, fresh dimension to all learning.”

“With new digital tools, kids can design and build their own software rather than just use software someone else created. They can produce their own web pages filled with ideas and designs, develop their own digital activities and games for other kids on the Web, create their own animations and special effects and publish and share their own stories.”

In the article Harel really opened my mind to the “expanded toolbox” in the form of computers and net that children of today are privy too and it is my deepest hope that through the process of designing, constructing and interacting my future students will learn how to think creatively, collaborate effectively, and generate new ideas.

Students engaged in research by Extra Ketchup.

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Learning Through Games – A Response

Whilst exploring edublog i stumbled upon Sara’s blog on the use of games and online learning. In it she refers to the article “Does easy do it? children, games and learning” by Seymour Papert to argue that online games can engage students as well as help them in the development of various skills/techniques. Like Sara, i had originally failed to see the benefits of educational games in the classroom and simply viewed them as a distraction/hindrance to learning. Upon reading the article however, i can see that they enable students to discover, explore and find information by themselves resulting in not only a sense of ownership but responsibility. Many of the games available are also quite challenging and as a result help in the development of students higher order thinking skills.

bugdom by crimfants.

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