Pedagogy or technology? – Elluminate session 24/6/10

I did enjoy Jenny Sargeant’s presentation. I find it frustrating that some teachers still ‘do’ the obligatory library research assignment on the internet, so that they can tick off that they have used technology in their teaching! 

We have a laptop program at our College, with half of our year 7-9 classes having laptops and the other half not. There are plenty of computer labs and trolleys that classes can and do use. Happily, over the past couple of years, I have noticed a real shift in the mind-set of staff and students in the laptop program. They are now much more discerning as to the appropriate use of technology, and often choose not to use their computer for a particualr task, as opposed to the other classes (staff and students) who still  feel they can’t possibly do any constructive work unless thay have access to a computer!

Technology is now being more and more used  as ‘a sub-set of our existing pedagogy’, as Jenny described it. Use of technology for the ‘wow factor’ is being replaced by use of it to provide the best way of getting the message across. Less and less is the content being lost behind the technology.

Having said that, there is a continuing need for staff and students to be reminded that they should be considering the purpose of the task and then the best way of achieving that purpose, and as Jenny said, we need to ensure the appropriate skills are being taught along the way to support an approach where technology is incorporated in learning. Hopefully we are all working towards this.

Week 7 : Research tools

I have discovered lots of new things this week – so busy ‘playing’ that I forgot to write the post! The Google Search poster with the Free Research tools for Kids showed me  a range of Search Engines that I was not familiar with at all. I can see this actual page as a good place to start the year 7 and 8 students off with their research. The range of links covers a variety of needs and they are a lot easier for junior students than Google. I was also unaware of the Google Custom Search. The opportunity to direct students to a specific range of sites, while still giving them the opportunity to search and select is a great feature. It makes it both safer for the students and would save the time that is wasted when students ‘Google’ and get too many results to know how to deal with effectively.

The issue of Plagiarism has and will always be of concern to teachers and TLs. Our Year 8 Research project referred to in my previous post requires the students to make notes in their own words. We check their work folder regularly, and the notes are part of the mark, yet we do still sometimes get great notes in the folder and slabs of text in the actual project! What can I say??  Maybe the knowledge that there are so many easy ways to track down phrases from their project will make them think twice now. I found the links provided very interesting and have bookmarked for further reference.

Week 7 Elluminate – Jon Hurford

I ‘attended’ the Elluminate presentation on 6 June and have scrolled through bits again. I always find there is such a lot happening, with listening to the presenter, watching the screen and reading the comments that I need to revisit. This session was mostly reinforcement to me, rather than new information. We have a well-establisehd Research program that has been running for some years now, which puts into practice what Jon was talking about.  Over a period of 10 lessons, studenst are guided through the research process via a project of their own choosing. As per Jon’s presentation, students are required to define their topic (by deciding on 4 aspects of the topic to research), locate a variety of resources, select the information that is appropriate to their needs, organise the information into a logical format, present the project (as they choose to, eg: booklet, powerpoint, poster, model)and evaluate the process. This unit is part of the English curriculum and involves team teaching to reinfoce the research process. Students are required to submit the completed project, and also their work folder which should show evidence of planning, note-taking, a weekly log record, and a bibliography. the whole unit is quite a rich assessment task. It was great to have the validity of our program reinforced.