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June 2006

Wikibooks

15

June

Many of us are familiar with Wikipedia, but how many are aware of the full scope of projects emerging under the banner of Wikimedia Foundation. One especially interesting project is Wikibooks - a free collaborative publishing site for textbooks. Imagine how popular you’ll be if you can reduce the cost of textbooks in your school .. well maybe not with the sales reps from the suppliers.


Instructables

15

June

Instructables seems to be a useful site for all manner of D&T project - what seems interesting is the unpacking of the “design and making” process that such a site requires. The site also serves as a great repertoire expansion for teachers and students looking for hands-on projects - it all about MAKING STUFF - and as such addresses many of the T&E outcomes…. but isn’t limited to that - its focus is on collaboration and ideally innovative teachers will be looking to offer their students opportunities to work in cross-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary modalities… really working at integrated learning in contexts that are not arbitrarily segregated or limited by faculty/learning area administrative divisions as teachers we sometimes forget that knowledge isn’t compartmentalised simply becasue we mark out KLAs - rather all knowledge and experience is integrated as part of the individual - we deal with the world with the totality of our knowledge and experience not just the bits that fit in our subject area. More resourceful, resilient, solution-focused, independent learners will emerge from a system that embraces that awareness….

Making things is part of being human. Whether you make bikes, kites, food, clothing, protocols for biology research, or hack consumer electronics, a good way to show “How-To” is critical. Instructables is a simple and fast way to share projects with a mixture of images, text, ingredient lists, CAD files, and more. Show your colleagues how to operate a machine, show your friends how to build a kayak, show the world how to make cool stuff. Instructables leads the way in Open Source development for “Stuff”. from http://www.instructables.com/


Enthusing teachers to use ICT

13

June

We are worrying about reluctant readers and reluctant learners, yet we have so many reluctant teachers when it comes to computing! Kim responded to a comment I made about getting teachers online (excuse the pun) in my post about blogging.

I have no answers there Kim sorry, but I am sure it frustrates many more members of this blog. I have worked on a few principles at my current school;

  • If I excite the kids, then they will ask the teachers to do it using ICT, forcing the teachers to learn.
  • I will endeavour to enthuse the teachers by showing them examples of what they can do in the classroom using skills they already have.
  • Encouraged ATAs (Aboriginal Teaching Assistants) to attend ICT lessons.

And where has that left me? 500 excited kids, a few more teachers and ATAs starting to use ICT more effectively. Yet, teachers come into my room, suprised to see Johnny sitting at my feet being a perfect boy enaged in his work (on the SMARTBoard) and they don’t use the SMARTBoard outside my lesson.

Another important thing I have learned in the last year or so is, mountains can’t be moved without support, if the management is not actively supporting, encouraging and expecting ICT to be used effectively there is only so far that an indivual teacher can go. I am sure that is something you have already worked, but even though I had heard this so many times, I didn’t believe it until I tried and tried…

However, I keep trying, I keep seeing the class teacher after having their class and share what we have done, explain to them that this generation wants to publish not to view, that they want to be part of the web. I encourage the kids to email me, to talk to their teachers about the technology, to use the jargen and share their knowledge.


Rainforest Maths website

12

June

Many of you may know this website already, but in case not I wanted to share the Australian Rainforest Maths website by Jenny Eather. It has some of the best online interactive activities I have seen for kindy through to upper primary. Each year level includes the seven mathematics outcomes. One of the strategies promoted in the First Steps Mathematics course is giving students a variety of different learning opportunities to match each aspect. In particular using online activities to provide instantaneous feedback to the child as to whether they have the key understanding or not - if not the child can quickly try another strategy. This is one of the most under-rated bonuses of using interactive activities. It frees up the teacher to provide more guided feedback to students in need of specific assistance. The activities are easily aligned with the key understandings and could also be used as supplemental diagnostic tasks.

The website states that it contains:

“Over 800 interactive mathematics activities for Kindergarten to Year 6 covering the math strands of Number, Number Systems, Operations & Calculations, Strategies & Processes, Patterns & Algebra, Measurement, Space & Geometry, Chance & Probability, Data Analysis and Money.”

Paul


Visual Examples

11

June

Quite a few of you may have been to the BBC Motion Gallery and downloaded a few movies as I did for my Media class. However one day a staff member asked if I knew where there were some clips on Rugby scrums and tackling techniques. I showed him this motion gallery and when we put tackle in the search form and chose the sport category it came up with hundreds of short clips taken from high quality commercial footage. When you choose to preview a particular clip it also has related search choices on the side. He was able to build up a sequence of clips for his students to watch in Keynote. That was just one use and you can literally search for anything and get short clips. Students could use it as a great resource to make their presentations better. I think that it definately is a great visual tool for showing students things in context.
Steve


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Recent Comments
  • Melanie: Thank you Kim! I will definitely check out this link and see the developments for higher education on the SLED.
  • Kim Flintoff: We have been using Second Life in a range of situations. Built a Wound Care Clinic with Curtin University for training nurses about wound care and the relationship between hand-washing and infection in a...
  • Melanie: Hello Paul, I am wondering, have continued to utilize SecondLife? Do you find that it has better user-friendly features? Do you find that your courses are easier to teach in this format? Is the VLC classroom a...
  • Melanie: We may agree to disagree on the instant gratification society term, however when you look at new social network devices that are connected to mobile devices – there is an urgency that is attached to those...
  • Kim Flintoff: "instant gratification society" - I'm not sure I'm part of that society. Educational institutions do not make decisions - people do. Which people in educational institutions will cling dearly to email? Email...
  • Melanie: I agree that email is outdated in most settings. However, many educational institutions will cling dearly to email due to the aspect of "waiting before sending." Email is still a resource and an appropriate tool...
  • Maryjane: This is incredible and we need to spread it to school districts. It was posted two years ago and I've not seen new policies or classroom innovations happen since then. People are afraid of what the kids might do....
  • Suzanne: I cannot help but think that this trend, while reflecting archetypal youth rejection of all things "adult," is also related to the digital immigrant/digital native thing. The young are very flexible, very willing...
  • Maryjane: This made me laugh outloud. School districts are still discussing whether they'll give access to students for email; do all their business by email instead of walking next door and talking to someone; and wonder...
  • Nick Smith: This video was exactly what I needed/wanted to hear. As a student working towards being a teacher, I find it great to not only revolutionize teaching, but to re-invent it all together. One woman mentioned...
  • Scott Merrick: Hey there, feel free to unpublish this comment--it's more or less for your own info: This is to let you know that Digital Chalkie has been nominated for Blog-o-the-Month at the Blogger's Hut on Second Life...
  • Laura Seabrook: I have one other question, which I can't find answer to on the Murku wiki (no doubt the answer is right there and I keep missing it) - where/how does one get it?
  • Laura Seabrook: Murku looks really interesting (and I shall definitely try it), though the examples could do with some improvement, as per my comments above. Positioning can be important - see the Blambot article at...
  • Kim Flintoff: Murku is designed to facilitate the construction of comics based on content in a Second Life TM, ie SL, environment. Murku will be of interest to those who have always dreamt of creating their own comics but...
  • Laura Seabrook: Actually there was a typo in my previous comment. I meant to write wouldn't be, not would as far as being the first to do an SL comic. I discovered Plywood shortly after starting my own, which can be found...
  • Kim Flintoff: Hi Laura, The example in the article wasn't intended to be a highly refined product - it literally took me 60 seconds to create with some random images grabbed from my hard drive. The points you make about...
  • Laura Seabrook: I started doing Second Life comics late in 2007 ( though I didn't use Comic Life - rather I drew bits, used screenshots and put it together using PaintShopPro and Fireworks (for speech balloons etc). I knew...
  • michael chalk: Great stuff Paul .. lots of good points here. You are right about the ABC - they're really leading the charge into the new era of digital participation aren't they! My favourite thing they do is the way they...
  • Ken Allan: Kia ora Kim! I don't think it is anything to do with HOW we communicate. It is more to do with how kids see email. It is simply to do with the age-old feature of youngsters avoiding ANYTHING that is associated...
  • Aaron Fisher: This is very cool! It is amazing how those principles from long ago are relevant today, just in different forms. Students do learn better by doing, no matter the subject. We teachers need to do a better job...
  • Julie Carney: Thanks for this post, and for posters like Paul who have linked and commented on resources for educators to use. As is the case with most things, it seems the right combination of educator/program/developer...
  • Debbie: I, too am upset that this website has been taken off-line. My special education students loved it, and I knew I could always find an activity geared their levels and abilities. I hope that it will soon be running...
  • Andrew Westerman: Each LO costs $20 000. So, if 20 students use that learning object for 0.1 of an hour (6 minutes), that's 2 student / hours @ $10 000 per hour. If 2000 students use that LO for 0.2 of an hour (12...
  • Cathy Nash: Learning Objects are one of the tools in a good teacher's toolbox. It is simplistic to lay them aside as past it. A poor teacher can make a pencil look dull and a great teacher may just achieve great things...
  • Suzanne: I am so upset that this site has been removed, however I fully understand why. My Year One children and my pre-primary children loved using the site and it catered for all ability levels in my class. i do hope...
  • Julie: I am sorry that Rainbow Maths has been forced off the web. My daughter loved it so it is missed. Any idea when Jenny may put it back on the web with added security measures to prevent it being copied etc?
  • Jen Zupp: I totally agree with Jenny's reason to take it off. I have spent thousands of hours keeping my website up which is pretty much a directory of quality websites I find online. If I had created a masterpiece like...
  • Kristy Dickson: I agree with Paul, $20 000, $80 000, or whatever they cost, kids are losing interest. I think they have their place for a bit of drill and practice occasionally, but I wouldn't pay for them. Motivation and...
  • Ingrid: I'm distraught that rain forest maths is not available. My 3/4 kids loved it. My kids loved it and it is so easy to cater for their abilities with the different levels. Anyone know if there's a chance it will be up...
  • Azam Ali: my kids love this site, they come on rainforest to learn. Anyone trying to stop kids education is playing with our future. Shame on people who are greedy for money and dont care for the future.
  • Bryn Jones: Channel 4 in the UK has £50million to develop new media content. Ewan McIntosh has some role in it as Digital Commissioner for Scotland. Jobs open now! http://www.4ip.org.uk/
  • Thomas Goodwin: Paul Reid has pointed educators in the right direction (create and collaborate) however he started from an incorrect premise; The Learning Federation's Digital Resources are completely different from the...
  • Patricia Corby: Phew, what a terrific wealth of useful info here! Thanks Paul. In reference to this comment "They need to move from static to dynamic in form" as an overall comment it is relevant but being fair some are...
  • Paul Reid: If everyone's Math is correct the Teaching & Learning Federation pays $20k for jpeg pictures Learning Objects! eg these ones shown here http://www.thelearningfederati on.edu.au/for_teachers/what...
  • Janice Millard: its not fair that my class can't go on rain forest maths because of other people copying we were going to do a test on it but it was closed down my class was very upset not very happy!