Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Maslow reading

WOW! What an incredible article to read. Why, you might ask? It is the first article I have read that has incorporated Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs into such a real world sense. Kunc points out real issues in the school system and the inclusion of all students being a right not something we should have to prove academically or physically.

I will endeavour to try that all my students are ready to learn by setting the benchmark high and giving them as much assistance and guidance as they ask for or might be observed to be needed after previous attempts have failed.

Learning Engagement Theory Article

Hmmm, what kinds of learning experiences could I design that fulfil this approach is what was asked of us on this particular article and one example that jumps straight to mind is my classes last terms project of an Underwater World.

RELATE: All the students had visited the tourist attraction over the holidays and had enjoyed learning about different things on their visit so our task began- how would we re-create such a learning environment in our classroom?

CREATE: The ideas came thick and fast from the students- we needed a touch pool for the starfish and crabs, we needed animals, we needed a cafe... It was incredible to experience such a variety of answers and enthusiasm from such young minds. We set to task designing maps/plans of where things could go and how we would re-create them. We had to consider various elements- room size and structure and what resources we had but nothing slowed them down. It took us all many weeks to re-create our fascinating learning environment but we did and we did successfully while working together, deciding, problem solving, imaging and creating.

Assessments became dioramas, social skills, as well as links to numeracy and literacy through signage and the cafe, plus being interviewed by me (who happens to work at UWW http://www.underwaterworld.com.au/ which was not known by the students until they had started to create).

DONATE: The community involvement aspect was not huge on their behalf- inviting mum, dad or an important adult figure in their life in for a visit. They did learn about Underwater Worlds role in the community though and had various thoughts on it yet chose not to act greatly on those.

Success was achieved during this unit of work as all the students remained engaged and on task while working as a team and gaining a more in depth knowledge of their world around them.


Kearsley, G., & Shneiderman, B. (1999). Engagement Theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning. Retrieved July 18th, 2009, from http://home.sprynet.com/~gkearsley/engage.htm

Online interactive learning style quizzes

Different learning styles can be catered for in many ways and how wonderful would it be to start the new year with new students to get them to do some of these online quizzes.

http://www.ncrtec.org/capacity/profile/profwww.htm http://www.engr.ncsu.edu/learningstyles/ilsweb.html

Rather than only being equipped with previous teachers reports and comments on your new learners you could watch how they interact with others and technology plus you could both find out more about them and their learning style.

Of course they would have to have basic reading skills to complete the task so not sure if I would implement such a strategy in Prep or grade 1 but what a way to find out whom your students are.

I also enjoyed revisiting the Multiple Intelligences sites which I know more as the Smart Pizza theory. I was introduced to it during my early childhood years of study at TAFE and in the day care environment to boost self-esteem and confidence because we are all smart in at least one way or another!


P.S. The Thinkers Keys website is great for encouraging out of the box thinking. I use it when I am working at Vacation Care.

De Bono's 6 Thinking Hats

Hi again, I wasn’t thinking positively about this course to start with and constantly questioning myself with why am I doing this? Why would I want to hamper my student’s development of skills by locking them inside and making them sit through endless hours of ‘computer’ time when we could be outside investigating and exploring our environment, designing and creating new experiences and letting them be the leaders of their learning. Plus we have limited computer access and very limited internet access anyway. But maybe I was wearing the wrong hat. I needed a new perspective.

I think we all know about Edward De Bono’s 6 Thinking Hats but in case you have forgotten I will remind you of their purpose. The hats are used as a tool to guide the thinking process and can be put on a student’s head either metaphorically or physically. The changing of hats allows the students to switch their way of thinking so they can see the situation from a variety of viewpoints. The outcomes that are hoped to be achieved by doing this are to think about situations more objectively and to develop a greater understanding. Guess which hat I had been wearing? If you guessed black and thinking continual negative thoughts- you would be right.

So I decided after my negativities were being pointed out to me yet again that I needed to switch hats and look at this course from a new perspective and WOW what a way to look at things!
Red hat on and I started to think about my feelings and emotions related to this course. Am I being negative because this is a new learning environment to me? Am I scared and unsure of my capabilities?
Yellow hat on and I start to think about the good points. Could doing this course open my mind up to new learning tools and the possibility of a new learning environment? Will it assist my students and in particular a certain group of students learning styles?
Green hat on and I start thinking about the creative elements this course could bring to a classroom. How? What can it do? What will it allow us to try?
White hat on and I have to start considering information and facts. What information do I need? How do I get that information?
And finally blue hat on and I need to start organising all these thoughts. What have I done so far? What do I have to do next? What conclusions have I reached and what have I learnt? I have a lot to learn to inform my learners and from now on in I am going to do my best to wear a variety of hats and not just one certain colour.


Brady, L. (2006). Collabrative Learning In Action. Frenchs Forest, NSW, Australia: Pearson Education Australia

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A real awakening

Hi again,

I seem to of not lost this page yet and even managed to get a few followers!! How very exciting!! I am going to start off by talking (?) about my previous technology experiences- It really wasn't that long ago when I was learning how to type on a typewriter in school (ok maybe it was a few years ago but it doesn't seem that long ago) and that the only really inexpensive way to communicate to overseas family and friends was to write letters and actually post them in a mailbox. Now we sms each other, chat on msn and via facebook. They really do seem just around the corner rather than thousands of kms away. I wonder what will be happening communication wise in a few more years time.

And with that thought in mind I turned to my younger cousins and friends and asked them about their day at school. Yes they had had a fun day, yes it was greatly interesting, nah couldn't remember much about what they had learnt. So how does your teacher teach you in class- oh we watch her on tv. What? On tv? Yeah she says we watch loads of tv and so the only way we might learn is if she is on tv so she pre-recorded the lesson and just helped us out while it was on. AND it gets better the other had watched her lesson via podcast on her ipod!! This is a local high school that people I know attend. How am I as a futures orientated teacher going to be able to do all of this??

I had prac the next day so I discussed this with my classroom teacher plus our lecturers input of us getting our digital licences as an extra way to be noticed and hired when we graduate although it is quickly becoming an essential requirement of the job. My teacher is now looking into gaining her digital licence and is open to the discussions we are now having in regards to us both learning about this new world.

What can we do in the classroom we ask ourselves? The students are young and interested in technology. They love listening to cds and watching dvds. They love playing interactive games on the smartboard and on our in room computers so lets go with that we decide.

My first lesson was a shapes games which I set up on the smartboard. I pre-drew the shapes (no mean feat for a beginner) and got them to guess the shape from the clues given then trace their finger (in a colour or design of their choosing) around the shape so that their peers could see the shape. Everyone appeared to enjoy the experience except one little fellow who was having difficulty with the task so he coloured in the shape instead. Afterwards the classroom teacher and I discussed it and I got him to complete the activity on paper (I chose several students so he wasn't singled out) so we could find out if he was unsure of the technology element of moving his finger on a smartboard or if he had trouble with understanding the directions. It was the directions so really I was the only one unsure of the smartboard so from now on I am determined to use the smartboard for as many teachable moments as I can so I can gain the confidence my little ones already have!!


Saturday, July 18, 2009

My first ever blog post!!

WOW!! How very exciting but very daunting at the same time to be doing this. It is like a whole new very different world to be engaged in. So far I think packing up and moving to another country was easier but hopefully over time and as I become more confident this will all become easier.