Continuing to learn…

December 12, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Posted in Conferences, Education | Leave a comment
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As a teacher, it is so important that we continue to learn and be willing to learn! Along with this is that we have to do what Ardis Cochrane suggested at the International Conference on eLearning Futures 2011 a couple of weeks ago. She suggested that:

teachers need to be respected as learners

This is so important for those who are involved in eLearning in some way – particularly promoting it with teachers in your school or organisation. Some teachers are nervous when it comes to using ICT and they need to be given time, space and support to learn how and when to use it appropriately.

Of course the experts also need to be continually learning, so I thought I would share a couple of the ways I try to continually learn.

  • As you can see, I go to conferences. To be honest I’ve only been to one this year. It was good, but conferences can be quite expensive so might not always be possible to attend. Conferences of course are great for networking.
  • Blogs – I read blogs, and quite a few of them. I follow blogs of academics, teachers and educational technologists. Using the RSS feeds and an RSS reader such as Google Reader it’s not too difficult to keep up with blogs. I also use an iPad app called Flipboard where I can read the blogs a bit like a magazine. It’s a good, enjoyable way to find out what’s going on in the educational world.
  • Twitter – this is probably the key way I find out things that are going on. I don’t follow just anybody. Again, I pick teachers, principals, academics and so on that relate to the topics I am interested in (education, eLearning etc). Twitter, like conferences is great for networking. I’ve ‘met’ quite a few people on Twitter that I chat to and they give me advice/suggestions etc that are very valuable. (I wrote a blog about Twitter some time ago…)

I hope this is useful to someone. I’ve also been doing some extra-mural study and just completed my Postgraduate Diploma in Education. Next year I am hoping to complete my Master of Education (eLearning). The learning continues!

As much as possible don’t keep your learning to yourself! It needs to be shared with others!

As Steve Wheeler said at the conference:

Knowledge is like love. You can give it away and still get to keep it.

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Monday mention – 12 December 2011

December 12, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Posted in Education, Monday Mentions | Leave a comment
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I haven’t done a Monday Mention for awhile, and hopefully I’ll get back into it.

Today I just wanted to share a blog that I read this morning. It focuses on the state of New Zealand education. It’s a good read from Principals, teachers and Boards.

From the Leading and Learning blog: Something all principals ought to have written to their students parents

 

Pedagogy – what is this thing?

December 8, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Posted in Education | Leave a comment
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Ever since I started my teacher training back in 2000, I’ve wondered what this pedagogy word really was. Everyone I was studying with appeared to have a good understanding of this word, but I didn’t. I was too shy to say so, and just kept on as if nothing was wrong.

Over the past 2 years I’ve been studying towards my PGDipEd while teaching. And this word that get’s bandied around by teachers, academics and the like, kept coming up. It wasn’t until I had to write something about pedagogy in an assignment that I actually stopped and asked my online class and lecturer what this word actually means. I had Googled it (like any studious person) and had come up with a range of definitions! After reading quite a few I decided on a definition:

Pedagogy is the art and science of teaching

I had a few responses from my online class, but was still a bit unsure. Actually I still am unsure!

Last week I attended an eLearning Futures conference and this word pedagogy was thrown around some more. Interestingly, most people attending this conference were from tertiary institutions. The reason I say this is interesting is that my Dad (also a teacher) pointed out to me that the ‘ped’ actually relates to a child! Pedagogy is about teaching children.

The Online Etymology Dictionary states that a Pedagogue is a teacher of children. Pedagogy relates to teaching children. So many people seem to mention pedagogy when they are referring to teaching adults!

I still don’t have a good definition of this word. I’m going to stick with mine for now and add a little bit:

Pedagogy is the art and science of teaching children.

I would really like to know how many people use this term without really understanding what it means. I have asked others what they think it means and I’ve struggled to get a good, straight, clear answer. Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments. I would love to hear from you to help expand my understanding of this well used educational term!

Is technology leaving kids behind?

October 5, 2011 at 10:21 am | Posted in Education | Leave a comment
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I have just read this post (Is education technology doomed?) on Edudemic.com. In it, it suggests that by pushing the barriers in education with using technology we may be leaving kids behind. Kids from families that cannot afford high-end computers/tablets/mobile phones and connections to the internet. In essence, this is true. These families are disadvantaged. However, I think, instead of seeing this as a problem that means educating kids in this way is not a good idea (I don’t believe that is what the post was saying, but it could be read into it), we need to look at ways to overcome this problem so that we can continue to bring our education systems/practices into the world of today.

A couple of years ago, I bought an old computer for about $12. This included the monitor, keyboard, mouse and CPU. It was definitely not a high-spec computer. It wouldn’t run the latest version of windows on it. It wasn’t fast and it didn’t have a large hard-disk. I installed Ubuntu Linux on it, and it ran like a dream. How much did Ubuntu cost? Nothing. What came with it? A stack of different programs to do pretty much anything you wanted! And I could download many more free programs.

Why am I writing about this? I’m wanting to get across the idea that perhaps schools need to re-evaluate what technology they use. No, not everyone can buy the latest computer with the most up-to-date software on it. But, I could do just as much on the computer that cost me $12 as I could on my $1000 desktop PC. The physical machine wasn’t as flash, but it worked, and worked well. If schools could consider these types of options (and I know this is happening already), then technology can become more accessible to those who cannot afford it.

As for the internet. Well, the cheapest dial-up plans I know of in New Zealand are about $10 a month. Not too difficult for most to scrape up. Yes, I know not everyone will be able to, but many can. I also no that dial-up is not great for watching videos etc online, however a lot of other things can be done. Remember also, that if you’ve never had the internet before, then dial-up is a lot faster than nothing! I spent many years on a dial-up connection quite happily. It’s hard to go back, but to move forward from no connection, dial-up is fine.

The cheapest broadband plan I know of in NZ is about $25 a month. Again, quite a few people will be able to find this in their budget.

So, my suggestion is that schools think about their clientele – their students and families. What can they access? What can they afford? Come up with a plan or strategy that will benefit those families where they are now. Perhaps you decide as a school to use open source (or free) software only. Perhaps you partner with computer firms to get good deals for your school and students? Perhaps you buy a few cheap computers with Linux installed and loan them to families?

Don’t give up on technology because not everyone has access. Work with your Board and community to find a way forward for all involved.

Angry Birds & Education – it doesn’t have to be about Math!

October 4, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Posted in Education | Leave a comment
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This is going to be short and sweet. Angry Birds is often discussed in terms of mathematics and projectile motion, however in this blog post Dan Meyer takes a different view. This post is well worth a read if you want some good, quick and simple tips about teaching and instructional design.

Check it out: Five Lessons On Teaching From Angry Birds That Have Nothing Whatsoever To Do With Parabolas

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