Reflections

•April 22, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Screencast Tutorial Video: Despite experiencing a few technological difficulties, my experience of this has alerted me to ways in which this can be used in assessment.  I am actually going to get my students to produce such tutorial videos, partly because it is a different form of assessment, but mainly because the next topic area we will be studying lends itself to the use of such technology.  As a teacher of IB, I am constantly considering student retention and ways in which I can get them to review material.  Getting them to provide tutorial videos on such topics as ‘how to calculate financial ratios’, will also provide them with a useful tool to review before their final IB exams.

Pecha Kucha: I appreciated the applause and the acknowledgement that my timing was quite precise.  Believe it or not, this wasn’t because I had been preparing over and over again (well not for this actual presentation).  It was because I know the topic inside out.  I believe that I could repeat the performance and my timing would be just as good.  That may be a little arrogant, but too be honest, the time between the slides could have been longer or shorter. I know enough about the topic to add information or to remove some.  If timing is the issue, then points made should be kept short and concise so that you can end and move onto the next point at any time.  Despite this, I found the format of the presentation and the ‘rules’ quite refreshing.  When I get my students to present, one of the main criticisms that I have is that they put too much information onto the slides and secondly they do not present, they read.  I feel the nature of Pecha Kucha may enable them to develop their presentation skills.  Another advantage relates to timing, you cannot simply ‘waffle on’, everyone has the same amount of time.

Podcasting: The process of completing a podcast has actually been useful, not least for the fact that I am now aware of the amount of time it can actually take to edit work.  I now know how to, although I feel this is probably one of the technologies that I am least likely to use.

Collaborative Project:  This certainly has provided us with ‘food for thought’.  Our idea was to combine the skills of students from IB Business and Management and IB Film to produce a film.  Students will not only be developing common skills, but will also see how the skills learnt in the classroom relate to a real situation.  Students will be developing transferable skills, and to be successful, collaboration through the use of new technologies would be essential.  Initially, this was simply an idea for a project, although we are now considering the possibilities of its implementation……

Blogging:  I actually said enough about my views and indecisions relating to the implementation of blogs within my other blogs, so I won’t ‘waffle on’ here.  Suffice to say that I am still undecided about whether to use this with my students.  I still feel unconvinced that this would be a useful tool for my students.  I feel that it may have more use with short term projects.

I mentioned in my initial aims that these tools may assist me in differentiation – I still believe this and also that enabling students to use such tools could have many benefits throughout other areas of their education and future careers.

Throughout these evaluations, I haven’t suggested how I might use these tools away from work.  To be honest, I’m not sure that I will, although you never know.  At least now I understand how to use them!

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JAILED for CHEATING – 15 years!?!?

•April 15, 2009 • 2 Comments

The attached articles were forwarded to me by a colleague with whom I had recently been discussing plagiarism.  It makes for an interesting read…….

China

Egypt

It’s a crime!!!

•April 8, 2009 • 3 Comments

 

On more than one occasions throughout the current academic year, I have had to speak to students about referencing their work.  Whether we like it or not, kids may not always understand the implications of their actions, especially if ‘everyone is doing it’.  When you can buy fake DVD’s and CD’s in the mall quite openly, it’s not a surprise why such attitudes exist.  Perhaps the problems that we experience in schools stem from this.  Perhaps students simply need educating in the reasons why it is not acceptable in addition to being shown how to reference material accurately.  I’m intrigued about how referencing is taught to students.  I only remember being told that it is something that I ‘have to do’, otherwise I would fail the paper.  To be honest, to date, I have not spent class time discussing this with students – although it is something that I am intending to devote time to during the first week of the next academic year.  I’d be interested to hear how other educators teach this topic to students.  Do you focus on why this is done, on how to reference or both?

Comments Please….

•April 7, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Ok – so I’ve experienced it as a student and I have to say my opinion of blogging and using it as an assessment tool for students has changed several times since we started this course.  My initial idea was to use a blog as a tool for reflection.  I would insist on several posts/reflections throughout each quarter based on students understanding of topics covered.  The intention being that student’s would actually think about their learning and not just the grade achieved.  The assessment criteria would require them to set targets for improvement.  My thoughts being that this will not only encourage reflection but also encourage students to seek assistance as some may simply be unaware of what they actually need to do to improve their work.  Obviously I need to give this more thought, but would also value other opinions.  Have you used blogging with your class or do you intend to utilize this resource?  If so, how?

Oops: Aims…..

•March 29, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I wrote the information below at the beginnning of the course – I left it on the course profile page:

I teach IB Business and Management. This all appears a little confusing at present. However, i hope to become more familiar with blogging and other such tools to utilse not only in the classroom, but in my personal life. I believe these tools may assist with differentiation and hopefully accessibility. I already have some ideas of implementing such skills with my students. At present, time and awareness are arguably the two factors that have prevented me from utilising such tools previously. Hopefully, this will change as a result of accessing this course!

Armour in my Repertoire!

•March 22, 2009 • 3 Comments

 

I think that it would be difficult to argue that web 2.0 doesn’t change teaching and learning to some extent.  The plethora of tools available that are constantly being updated can have many positive aspects on both teaching and learning.  Each school that I have worked in has been aware of the need to train both students and teachers in the use of ICT and I have little doubt that this will continue.  From a personal point of view, I find all the new tools and techniques interesting, but it can also be overwhelming – which strategy would be the best to use?  Can I use it confidently and feel assured that it will meet the desired purpose?  Is it safe?  Will it infringe on copyright laws? 

 

I have recently been considering the use of blogging in my classes next year – encouraging students to reflect on their learning – although I would imagine I would have to attach some form of grade scheme to this, as I feel students will not contribute on a voluntary basis. I am also concerned that the novelty may wear off and it becomes more of a chore for students than a method for them to improve and share their learning experiences.

 

I do feel that the tools available assist students and teachers.  In business we have purchased an online textbook and provide this to students through the school portal page.  Students find this information useful and due to the wireless access to the web throughout school, they can access this easily within the classroom.  As an IB teacher, I make full use of the online forum on the OCC website.  The forum has suggestions for effective teaching and learning from other business and management IB teachers throughout the world.  Although I probably take the access to this site for granted now – I remember how useful it was when I first started teaching IB.  The ability to share information and ideas proved invaluable.  There are also ‘green issues’ to consider, we have teacher drop boxes already, but how long will it be before all assignments submitted are paperless?  I already post assignments and key information on the school portal page and have little doubt that students access this and find it valuable.   This further emphasizes the many roles of a teacher especially that of a facilitator. 

 

However, I believe that the time when schools become redundant and all courses are accessed online is still in the distant future.  Having undertaken online courses and after having discussions with other people, I would much prefer to learn in a classroom environment.  It’s more personal and has emotion attached to it. I know that online learning can have feedback and this can actually be instantaneous – this was further suggested in one of the Pecha Kucha presentations recently completed by a teacher.  It was suggested that the teacher concerned can be in communication with students at any time.  Is this healthy?  Surely there is an issue of work/life balance here.  One of my students recently suggested that all teachers should have a ‘blackberry’ so that students can communicate with them whenever they are doing their homework.  Frightening!  I also am fully aware that students use Facebook to complete their work – sharing ideas with friends.  In a recent conversations that I had with students relating to “how the class council can communicate information more effectively’ – Facebook was the suggested and preferred communication tool. 

 

I also appreciate the issues of plagiarism and confidentiality, but also feel that students learn an awful lot from each other – web 2.0 clearly has enabled this.  I can also appreciate the ease at which students can view information and take onboard a point mentioned in one of our previous discussion sessions.  It was suggested that perhaps it is just as important for students to learn how to access information as it is to actually learn it.  Suggesting that students don’t feel the need to retain lots of information – the ‘favorites’ section on their web page will do this for them.  I can see the argument behind this, but I also feel that this will not aid student’s retention and may result in hours of ‘cramming’ before exams.  It may also catch them out in the workplace if they are required to provide an immediate response.

 

These may simply represent a few of the considerations that I have had.  I am keen to push forward with the idea of using more of the tools that fall under the apparent web 2.0 banner.  But I am also anxious about the impact may not be all that is desired.  I see these tools as ‘armour in my repertoire’ that I can use to assist in student learning and retention.  However, I also believe that a teacher has many more roles other than just a facilitator; roles that web 2.0 cannot (at the minute) compete with.   I guess this leads on to another term I have become familiar with – teacher 2.0.  It’s the same game, but with new, ever changing tools.  Teacher 2.0 is perhaps a teacher that can utilize these new tools and is capable of adapting to the needs of students and the changes in technology.

This is AWESOME!

•February 24, 2009 • 7 Comments

Just a thought…. I was looking through the titles that people use for their posts. This had an impact on the posts that i chose to read.  For example ‘this is how we do’ appealed more to me than ‘blogging assessment’.  I guess it’s like a newspaper headline, if it doesn’t immediately attract you – would you read it?