Reflection

The Technology Integration course is at an end. It is time to reflect back over the time spent in the class and consider how much has been learned and what I’ll be taking away from the course and implementing both in to my professional life here at work and social and professional life outside of ISM.

My initial aims, aspirations and expected outcomes for this course were documented at the outset several weeks ago. It is interesting to revisit my thoughts from back then:

‘Essentially I would like to become more confident in my use of technology. I would then like to be able to transfer my new found confidence, skills andknowledge into the classroom to the benefit of my students. Increasingly students are entering High School with IT skills that are far advanced of my own. This is not in itself a problem but I would like to be able to keep pace to a certain extent!’

I also considered in more detail as to how my improved IT skills might enable me to become a better teacher.

‘I believe very strongly in collaborative learning. I would like to develop my own IT skills that would allow me to enable, encourage and provide greater opportunities for students to learn together, in school and out of school. I forsee improved IT skills relating to wikis as being one way in which this can be achieved. I also believe that a more streamlined blog and one that incorporates student interaction would improve collaborative learning and ultimately ehance the educational experience for students under my care.’

I certainly believe that I am a more confident user of technology now and undoubtedly my use of technology in the classroom has been enhanced through this course. For example, our Standard Level Grade 12 class are going to be taking part in an interactive survey after Xmas, the results of which will provide enourmously important real life data that will enable the topic of Normal Distribution to be taught in a much more meaningful way. There is no doubt in my mind that I would not have thought to teach this unit of work utilising this technology had it not been for the course. Equally, I believe that through this technique the students will have a much more in depth understanding of this topic that ordinarily is considered one of the most complex in the course.

Additionally, the podcast provided students with a homework and as a result great discussion came about. Solutions to a recent quiz were provided for students in a screen cast and since then, I have used screen casts in other ways to the benefit of students learning. Previously I used the IWB screen casting software but through this course have been introduced to much better technology that I and the students have since used.

The Pecha Kuchas were entertaining and a method through which I am hoping to review topics towards the end of the course. I also believe that it lends itself wonderfully to alternative assessment strategies and this is something I will certianly be exploring in the future.

I have maintained a school blog now for several years; however, as a result of this course, I am going to start and manage a professional blog, separate from school and students, that I will update with posts and relevant information on a regular basis. I firmly believe that in the not too distant future it will become the norm and expectation that applicants for jobs will be required to submit their professional blog or website as part of the process. I feel much more equipped to initiate this myself now as a result of the course.

The flipped classroom technique that was examined during the course and I have written about in another blog post, is a wonderfully new way to approach students learning. I have since tried it on several occasions with classes with a great degree of success and will be continuing with this educational approach from time to time.

Above all, I feel more technologically adept than I was a few weeks ago, and I believe my teaching, my classroom and my students will benefit from practices that I have already and will be employing as a direct result of the course.

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Deadlines

I remember being at university – seeing as how it wasn’t that long ago – and working upon Mathematics assignments and then later, on educational essays of some sort. The Mathematics assignments were great and I really do miss them. It was possible to spend hours and hours in the library on just 1 small part of 1 problem and get nowhere with it other than to eliminate incorrect pathways and possibilities. Then, an hour would go by with several brainwaves and massive progress would be suddenly made amid much fist pumping, whooping and sshhhing librarians. Accept the lows and cherish the highs – the mathematical lean times made the breakthroughs all the better. Continue reading

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Pecha Kucha

A Saturday morning – early – spent listening to 18 Pecha Kuchas. It may not sound like the best way to spend the first part of the weekend, but it was surprisingly interesting and enjoyable. The slides everyone put together were very professional and the talks that went with them were well rehearsed and admirably timed considering it was our first effort. Continue reading

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Sometimes I just want to sit, listen and work….

One of my professional goals this year is to develop better strategies to differentiate learning materials, resources and activities for students in my classroom. It is hard work but I feel as though I am experiencing success with students demonstrating high levels of engagement with a variety of tasks most lessons. Increased technological integration into learning plans has played a vital part in providing choice and differentiated activities. Continue reading

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To Grade or not to Grade

I reminded my students yesterday in one of my classes that they had a test at the end of the week. The usual moans and groans followed, after all, who likes a test. But then I listened further to what they had to say….

One student has 5 different assessments this week in different subjects. She also has a meeting scheduled regarding her Extended Essay. At the weekend she was in school all Saturday working on the GIN conference. She says she rarely gets to bed before midnight, often after 2am and occasionally has sleepless workfilled nights. Other students had similar stories: 4 or 5 assessments, play practice every evening, sports practice every evening, 3 or 4 hours sleep every night. It is ridiculous how hard these students work. Continue reading

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Memories….

The Tech in Education course is a couple of weeks old and students have just been granted access to Youtube; things are changing!
Having just replied to an email from an old university friend whom I also taught with in my first school back in the UK over 12 years ago, it made me reflect upon my classroom now and the one I had back then. Continue reading

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Youtube Access

A hectic week draws near to the weekend – a weekend full of rugby action from Down Under, as well as the usual preparation of lessons for the following week. With students now having access to Youtube on site, there is going to be a resultant shift in my thinking towards planning my lessons. Already in 1 Maths class this week I was able to provide students with a range of different learning activities some of which involved putting on headphones and watching instructional videos on mathematical concepts. Continue reading

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Flipped Classroom

The HS Math Dept had the benefit of Ringo’s wisdom and expertise today as he joined us for lunch – catered for very kindly by Yogi – and gave us the low down on the ‘flipped classroom’ technique that is changing the way some people are going about teaching and learning. Essentially, the student learns at home via video or other methods and arrives in class with new found knowledge and skills that are then extended upon in class. Continue reading

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Podcasting

So, rising before 7am on a Saturday morning and heading to work is not necessarily the way I’d begin an ideal weekend, but the 6 hours spent at the school learning about and producing a podcast were useful and even entertaining at times. The gameshow podcast theme based upon a famous mathematical scenario actually worked out pretty well, thanks mostly to the undeniable chemistry on air masterfully acieved by the supreme acting talents of Carey and Pam as they played the parts of husband and wife. My bit part role as the gameshow presenter introduced the Monty Hall problem whereby the couple in question had to decide upon which of 3 doors the prize (a racing car) lay behind. The other 2 doors hid a rooster. The Mathematics behind the problem continues to stump strong mathematicians and yet sometimes the solution can be immediately seen and understood by children or supposed Math drop-outs. Either way, it never fails to encourage discussion.

See for yourself in this explanation of the Monty Hall problem – sadly not the one that we put together by taken from Youtube…..

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Web 2.0

Does Web 2.0 Change Teaching and Learning? If so, how?

The internet is a relatively new invention and yet in the short time it has been around it has dramatically changed the world and the way many people live. In the last couple of years I have been lucky enough to travel to Africa and watch in awe as hippos, lions and elephants live side by side. I have been to Everest Base Camp on the Tibetan side of the enourmous mountain and have been to the shores of the Dead Sea. On each of these occasions, amazingly, I was able to connect to the internet on my phone. I was able to keep up to date with the latest news around the world and just as importantly, the results of my football team in the UK. Continue reading

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