Module 2

Embraced by Words
Photo Credit: Robbert van der Steeg via Compfight

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn about blogs.
  • Create your own blog and add your learning reflections in Module 1.
  • Add your details and blog URL to the list of Blogs.
  • Find out more about the educational use of blogs.
  • Learn how teachers use Twitter in the classroom.
  • Create a blog entry about your learning experiences in this module.

This Module was a fun one to complete. Our staff created their own professional blogs on the first day of the school year. So far we have used them to record our Professional Action Research and share external Professional Learning.
2 of the Action Research projects focussed on using blogs as online tools to publish work and develop collaboration. It’s been fabulous to watch other teachers embrace the new learnings of their colleagues and exhibit a willingness to incorporate this tool into their teaching practice.

On Monday we held a parent information session to help skill them to engage with our classroom blogs. We had a great turn out of over 20 parents with only one week advance notice! Working with the some of the new parents joining our community in 2014 highlighted that some parents are not going to be active participants on our blogs due to their lack of English. That day I had received an email subscription from the Teacher Challenge on Edublogs with a link to creating a Google Translator widget.  A couple of minutes later and it was added to my class blog.  Now everyone will be able to access the blog in their preferred language.

As for an educational purpose for Google Translator, our students learn Chinese (Mandarin) as their Language Other Than English. One of the simplest ways this could be utilised in a classroom is writing a sentence in English and translating into Chinese and vice versa or alternatively having to explain what a blog post written in English was written about after it has been translated into Chinese.  For some students being able to identify the specific characters that have been learnt will be how they show success and those that have more of a knowledge of Chinese characters would then have an opportunity to showcase their knowledge.

A class blog was something I first started last year as part of the community 4GPS.  This year we first trialled a 5/6 level blog before setting up individual class blogs.  After this step, the community I share with Jacqueline and Elisabetta quickly showed us they were ready for individual blogs and so we are challenging ourselves with maintaining this as it is what they are ready for.

It has been a privilege to watch the growth in students as they have an authentic purpose and audience for their writing, commenting and published work on the blog.  Watching a student check spelling, find alternative vocabulary, write scripts for screencasts, share their knowledge and skills with other classmates and complete “classwork” at home in their own time has demonstrated some of the improvements that blogging has provided.

The Student Blogging Challenge has been a great opportunity to facilitate the set up of a blog and Quadblogging has the potential to set up global connections (hoping for a more active quad this time around!). I’m sure there are other great resources available that I could use.  Do you know of any you could share?

Twitter.

I was first really encouraged to sign up to Twitter when I attended a brilliant day with Alan November.  He opened my eyes to the amazing knowledge that is shared every minute of every day.  As a learner first and foremost, it helps me live out my life-long learning.  There are days I can consume the knowledge out there and other days I feel I am able to contribute.  Feel free to follow me and I’ll follow you back! (Just ignore the horribly out of date profile pic!)

 

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Module 1

The Web2.0 course is the perfect opportunity for me to begin to realise the power of the blog I created at the start of the year.   In my new role as Learning & Teaching Leader one of the tools I introduced to staff was setting up a personal teacher blog.  So far this year our teaching staff have been using their blogs to reflect on the journey undertaken in their Professional Action Research Team.  I’ve loved being able to read the weekly reflections of each teacher and responding as often as I can to their posts.  However when it comes to my blog here, well it certainly could be put to better use.
A group of us are taking advantage of a weekly 30 minute Techie Brekkie session to work together through the Web2.0 course.  At first it seemed an interesting concept: face to face meeting to work through an online course however the discussions based on the material presented has been powerful.  Hopefully I can capture some of that conversation in my reflections.
Learning Objectives:

  • Get an overview of Web 2.0 through YouTube.
  • Visit a site for teachers to see a list of Web 2.0 tools with links to tutorial.
  • Get started with Google Apps for Education.
  • Join Google Plus.
  • Learn about Google Plus and Google Hangouts.
Web2.0 tools are a familiar concept to me.  I’ve used some when I’ve seen the need and been aware of a tool that suits my purpose.  I have used Google Forms to collect data, vimeo to showcase photos of student work, Animoto to create a timelapse of garden photos, Scribd to share documents and Wallwisher (now Padlet) to collect feedback from students.  Whilst I have used some tools, the YouTube clips opened up valuable discussion about the changes that occurred in the movement of Web1.0 to Web2.0.  We talked not only about the positive of having information freely accessible  and readily available but also about some of the pitfalls.
The conclusion I had already reached and has only been strengthened with the information in the YouTube clips is that the skills developed through blogging are going to be some of the skills our students need to be participating in the online world.
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