So this is the end…

The semester has flown by, the innovations have been great and the learning plentiful! Deciding on the title of this blog made me think, is this just the end of this unit, or the end of my blogging life?? I came to the conclusion that this may be the last blog as an educator for a while however I do not believe that this will be my last! The power of blogging has become apparent to me over the weeks. My one eye view was expanded when I realised how easily I had the world at my hands with the power of such tools as twitter. Asking for advice and comments from international educators that share the same objective of improving education was mind boggling to say the least.

The innovations I have become an ‘expert’ in over the weeks will not be left behind, one day (if not everyday) I will revisit all of these and integrate them into my classroom. Being life long learners involves being up-to-date with the world and technology. In answering the question (asked in the WebQuest) I believe it must be approached in a constructive way. My own experience with peers/family and friends is that people can become easily frustrated with technology when things don’t seem to go their way. The frustration often leads to neglect for technology and an un-willingness attitude to give it a go.

The most effective way to dissolve this digital divide can be done through the following ways:

Training- just as our weekly presenters explained each innovation and ‘taught’ us how to use it. Those who know how to use a particular piece of technology must share it with peers. Personal Development days would be appropriate for teachers in schools.

Wiki pages/resources- there is no easier way to learn than to have something explained in layman terms. Being able to read about an new innovation in a context that is relevant to the audience will clear any ambiguity that the learner has. A clear and concise wiki page is a perfect example of this.

Having experienced learning about new innovations via these two methods I know that it does work. There is the need to raise awareness to fellow peers of the power that technology can have in the classroom to enhance students learning.

Until next time…
Matt

Stupid-boards? Boring-boards? NO, SMART-Boards!

Well the title speaks for it self! Interactive White Boards (IWB) is an increasingly powerful tool and a necessity in any classroom these days. Having used a Smartboard earlier this year on prac I learnt just a few of the capabilities of the board. My teachers in my classroom had very little use with the board although it was in the classroom, therefore there was not much encouragement for me to utilise it. However taking initiative toward the end of my prac I decided to download and create interactive lessons which were a blast with my students and even more so my teachers!

The board was a great motivator for students and really complimented their learning. After a presentation from Denise on the use of IWB in the classroom it confirmed what I had thought and I learnt many more tips and tools of the trade. Christina and Louise alluded to the gallery that is included with Notebook software and some interactive lessons that I did not know were freely available.

In summary of IWB I feel that these should be a part of every classroom, they should be used in a way that compliments the teaching style of the teacher. It is vital that technology is integrated as often as possible to our students as they are being raised in a world that advances daily at a rapid rate.

Turning Point, Search Engines

Although missing the presentation for these two topics, I have heard from others how great they were! My research into these is brief and I have only just scratched at the surface I’m sure. From what I have seen on the net and on the wiki pages these innovations seem to have a significant place in the classroom. The idea of having clickers to gauge immediate responses from students seems un-comprehensible and would like to see this in action.

I have never really thought about any other search engines apart from Google since it become ‘my search engine’. On reflection back to my first experience of the net and using Altavista back in the day seems crazy to think how powerful and ‘good’ I thought it was. After exploring Zoey Bot I feel confident that this would be an appropriate tool for students to use with research in the classroom. The information is accurate and clearly presented and formatted in a way that is clear to read and comprehend. I am glad to have learnt of this innovation.

Google, Google, Google

Is there anything they haven’t thought of?

My hat goes off to Google, it never ceases to amaze me! First just its power as a search engine, then came images, all of a sudden I was viewing my house from space and before I know it I can now edit a document with someone on the other side of the world at the same time.

Jess and Rachel walked us through a great presentation on Google Groups and Google Docs. I was immediately impressed with the ‘user-friendliness’ of Google Groups. I can see the education value of this with older students as a way of communication on ideas topics, even as a controlled social medium. The ability for someone to be the ‘owner’ of the group has meant that I would use this in my class, having control at all times I feel is important.

Google Docs are impressive to say the least. Rachel’s demonstration with the one document that we all edited at the same was good to see the power however I did note one issue with someone continuously changing something that was correct and making it incorrect.

My final thoughts are that I would use Google Groups with older students and fellow teachers as a way to communicate ideas/thoughts/information. Google Docs would be used either as a way to mark students work or to create a presentation, or select one of the great templates available from Google Docs.

What do you have install for us next Google?

Google Earth

Well that concludes the end of another week of expert presenters. Wayd & Geoff presented in today’s class Google Earth. When Google Earth first came about many years a go I remember playing for hours in awe of this new technology. As with all new novelties this soon became boring and I ‘swept it under the mat’ so to speak! Only a few weeks a go with the release of street view I did the same thing checked out all the important places to me, home, work, and international icons.

Today was a chance for me to revisit this application from Google. Wayd & Geoff presented some interesting features of the application such as visiting landmarks and basic navigation. Their point about the educative value was valid and I concur that it is an extremely valuable tool in a class. It could be compared to an ‘interactive atlas’.

I think that one day when I eventually have my own class that Google Earth will be one of the first tools that I will ensure is on my students computers. The power that it has be able to assist with SOSE will be unbelievable!

Second Life, too much like real life?

After a great presentation from Hayley and Jess on Second Life, I now begin to wonder if Second Life is too much like real life. Is it all a little bit scary that we can go and grab a coffee with people over the world at an American University? So my question is where do we draw the line? Do we continue to push the boundaries and create a platform that allows us to have the world at our keyboards and mice?

Place in Education.

Does the virtual world have a place for our students? I think it does, just where that place is has not yet been clearly defined. A program like Second Life however I do not think has the place in a classroom from what I’ve experienced. Although I am unable to judge without seeing Teen Life. The interaction between students and the educational ‘excursions’ that students can venture on do have potential.

Twitter-ific

My presentation with Kate on Thursday on twitter went extremely well.

Initially when asked by Lina to research twitter I was more than gladly to, as firstly I had never heard of it. On closer inspection though I almost immediately became reluctant of this decision and wish I had of opted for something easy like google earth which I am more familiar with. Now however I am glad that I did stick it out! Not only have I learnt about something new, but it is slowly beginning to grow on me.

Our aim for our presentation on Thursday was to give a brief introduction on twitter and its potential in the classroom. I thought it was important to provide an honest opinion as I was not trying to sell twitter, but merely be an ‘expert’ on it. I felt that by the end of the session the class had a fairly un-bais view on twitter and were able to make a decision if they would be interested in using after. The feedback from the class was overwhelming and appreciated.

Thursdays session was not possible without the help of Sue and her post which can be found here. Sue without your help I think Kate and I would be tweeting to each other and no one else! Also an extended thanks to Sues network that followed me and responded during the presentation to my tweets.

A request…

As promised during my presentation I know would invite anyone in my network to add my peers who have recently created their own twitter account. Please add:

@mferrinda (myself) @kateabbott @raquirk @jess_colgan @haylzvg @linapell @louisevdp @geoffclarke @christinaly @Wayda

Thanks to all for your help and cooperation!

The countdown begins…

7 days and counting to the presentation of my innovation to the class! The confidence is high and preparation is getting there. The journey so far with twitter has been positive, and expanding my network day by day.

The response to my last post was a shock to me, thanks Lina, Denise, Sue, Sarah, John and Ines for the comments! I had no idea that I would receive international interest from a blog written by me just a student in Western Australia. The power of this tool is becoming more apparent.

The purpose of writing today is a shout out to all people who have had any experience with twitter! I want to know what YOU think of it in terms of using it with students:

1. The GOOD

2. The BAD

3. The UGLY

Reading through John’s wiki (http://projectingpassionately.pbwiki.com/) has shown me an excellent example as how web 2.0 can be put into action.

Lina, Denise, Sue, Sarah, John and Ines – I’m still building up my network and learning how to use twitter. Can you ask your networks if they can share their thoughts on twitter with me and also add me to their twitter network? My twitter is mferrinda . Any feedback that I can receive will help me to best educate my fellow peers while also demonstrating how powerful these tools can be for learning.

Thanks in advance!

Blogs!? Now I get it…

The introduction to blogging by Sue opened my perspective to a world I had not yet known existed. I knew minor details about blogs and blogging however I did not understand the extent to how widely it is used internationally. The idea of writing your own personal ideas, beliefs and opinions for the world to see was still sinking in. Having this door opened to me during Sue’s presentation allowed me to appreciate how powerful this tool can be. The example shown to us with the blog that Sue had written especially for our unit demonstrated how international educators are interested in what’s happening in a university in Perth, Australia.

So where to from here with blogging for me?

Well I think everything deserves a decent go before it can be judged, and the use of it in this unit will be an excellent way to gauge my thoughts on the whole process.

I do recommend those unsure or sitting on the wall with blogging to jump off and set up a blog site and see what happens. There’s always no harm in trying!

blogs…so what…


Hi my name is Matt and as of now I am a blogger, before this moment blogs have never really been my thing. Occasionally I may read other peoples blogs however I have never had any interest to express my own ideals for the world to read. I am in my second year of teaching and enjoying it thoroughly. Working part time at the airport keeps me fairly busy. I enjoy having a good time with my mates and heading out on the weekend. I have a passion for cars and traveling which I try to incorporate in my life as often as I can.

The purpose of a blog to me is several different things. Firstly apart from the need to blog as part of assessment for this unit, for me it is primarily a way for any individual to freely express their own ideas, feelings and opinions. Giving people this freedom allows for open discussion in the form of commenting on a blog and asking simply why, or how. Self expression of ideas, thoughts and opinions in our world with ever changing societal problems is extremely important. Although on the other hand blogs can be used as a means to express own personal problems and feelings from superficial levels to in depth secrets and facts.