Things have been so busy, but I can not believe that it is almost half way through week three and this is the first opportunity I have had to sit down and write a blog post reflection on my Prac so far!
As all the other students would know, prac is a busy time for us all and we go home absolutely exhausted, So what very little time I have had in the late afternoons and evenings have been spent “recovering” from the full on days!
So far, I am having a wonderful time. My students are just gorgeous, my teacher is unbelievably wonderful and helpful. It has been such a great experience to finally have an opportunity to see what it is really like in the school setting and it has only re-assured me that my career choice and the path I am on is the right one for me.
I was so lucky last week that at my school, right near our class room there was two koalas in a tree. It was amazing, for me and the students. Untill then I haven’t seen a koala outside of a zoo before, so it was a bit special. The perks of being at a tiny little rural school!
My lessons have been going really well so far. I still have a little bit of fine tuning I would like to do before I finish up at the end of the week, but over all I would say they have been fairly successful. As this is such a tiny school the ICT resources have been on the restricted side so I will endeavour to try to find a more creative and innovative way to incorporate them into my teaching and learning by the end of the week.
I really hope that my fellow EDC3100 students are having an equally enjoyable time out on prac. Only three days to go and onto assignment three writing.
I have just finished the last of the final weeks learning path for EDC3100 and it is a little sad to be at a point where I wont be learning any more from this subject (Prac aside) or working with David the lecturer. I have learnt so much and have really enjoyed this subject.
The last section of this weeks learning path was designed to get us thinking about the future in education and in ICTs or technology. The idea of a teacher-less education was mentioned and I honestly think that the way I am currently learning might be as far as that can go. That is studying a uni degree online. I think this can be integrated into higher level primary or high school to an extent, but the students would have to be responsible for their own learning, in that they would actually have to sit down and study willingly as there would be no teacher present to keep them on task. This is why I think this type of education would not be suitable for the younger level primary. Just to be clear, what I mean by studying online and linked to teacher-less education is that there is still a teacher involved in planning what is learnt and how it is learned but it is one teacher to up to several hundred students and for most of the learning the teacher doesn’t have direct content with the students, just recorded lectures or presentations and conversations which meets students needs through email or forums.
My preparations for prac are slowly progressing. I have recently found out that on the public holiday my mentor is attending a mediation day which I am able to attend so I was not required to do a make up day after all. In the next 2 weeks of mid semester break I plan to prepare more for my prac including gathering resources and familiarizing myself with many documents etc but unfortunately I am moving house in the next week and I am also studying a year one subject which continues lectures throughout my time on prac so I am hoping to get ahead with that subject so that I don’t have to do that while I am out. I also have some final checking over for the last assignment for that subject and also some editing for the part B of EDC3100’s final assignment which is almost finished just a little tweaking to do. So busy busy at this end of the computer.
I really hope the best for my fellow students on the last of semester 2, their assignment 3 and for their prac! Good luck everyone.
I do hope to continue blogging over the prac period and hope others do as well so I can see how everyone else is going as well.
During this weeks learning path we have had to opportunity to view what prior students had to say after completing their Prac.
The first question was “What was the most important or useful thing you learned about integrating ICTs while on Professional Experience?”.
There were quite a few responses but the main points were:
- Have a back up plan
- Ensure students know how to use the ICT prior to the lesson
- Students love ICTs and the interactivity of them, and it engages the students in topics that don’t interest them
- Plan and pre-test, view, check and make sure you know everything is working prior to the lesson
- Be flexible and don’t over cram your lesson, allow time for students to practice what has been taught.
My personal favorites:
- technology is not always reliable and so I need to be flexible, and able to adjust to the need to change the lesson at the last minute if the technology doesn’t work. The lesson should not revolve around the technology. The technology should support the lesson.
- The most important and useful thing I learned while on professional experience was that learning is occurring while children were having fun with the content.
Next question “What do you wish you had known about integrating ICTs before going on Professional Experience?”
- That ICTs and time are limited but both are major factors in teaching intergrating ICTs
- Knowing which programs are and are not allowed or blocked by EQ.
- How to better deal with technical malfunctions
- What students already knew and how familiar they were with ITCs
- That the pre-service teachers had more knowledge of IWBs or ICTS themselves
And finally “has your Professional Experience changed your views on the role of ICTs in learning and teaching? If so, how?”
- To see the students more motivated and interested to learn with the many visual aspects of ICT and being able to particpate.
- Knowing how important it is to be up to date and how it can influence a lesson and the student’s learning.
- ICTs truly engages and motivates students to learn and discover new knowledge.
- ICT are magnificent tools in the classroom they are able to aid in group work activities and are really flexible when it comes to different ability levels in the classroom. With many online programs for example I was able to adjust the difficulty levels to cater for the need of individual or groups of students.
- No matter what setting you are in, it is possible to use ICTs but this should never be done simply for the sake of it. We should only use them if it will enhance student learning.
These are all great things to keep in mind when preparing myself for prac. I get a little worried/scared about prac from time to time as other students have expressed as well, including Aspen at MY JOURNEY- LEARNING AND TEACHING USING ICTS who said “So as prac becomes closer and closer I seem to become a little more and more scared” And TYAHNIE WILSON states ” I find I have the jitters” in her post Placement Jitters.
All I can say is preparation, preparation, preparation. These statements from previous students is so valuable and should be used to learn from and aid our own preparation.
Wow, we are already finished week nine! To be honest, I have really enjoyed learning about interactive whiteboards (IWB’s) I have never used one and I actually don’t think I have even seen one being used. So it was great to learn about it a little especially in preparation for my time on prac when I am sure that not only it will be used quite a bit in my presence but I suspect I will be required to use it quite a bit myself. So having a chance to familiarize myself and learn even just a few features I believe will prove to be very valuable.
I have found learning about some of the statistics in IWB’s interesting; such as what features teachers use the most and the least and what most teachers find important when choosing how they will use their IWB’s. I think this will be useful to me when I need to start deciding on what learning objects I might use in one of my lessons.
I also found it very useful to learn about some common problems and ways to troubleshoot while using an IWB. I guess when you are starting out writing lessons for a real class for the first time, it would be easy to overlook the things that might go wrong or might be really time-consuming such as setting up accounts etc. In these cases it might be wise to have a back up plan for when things go horribly wrong!
I hope everyone else enjoyed this weeks learning path as much as I did.
This week we are exploring Interactive White Boards (IWB) in the learning path.
At my prac placement the class uses a Promethean whiteboard. In preparation for this wonderful experience I have downloaded the software to start learning how to use it and begun to explore the Promethean Planet community.
When searching for and exploring some of the features of the Promethean IWB I came across this site ActivTips which includes some videos of great tips for using this type of IWB. I found it very useful and it is worthwhile checking it out!
One feature which I explored in more detail is the Activ tip 115- Action moving objects which is explained at the above Activ tips link. It is used to create a button which can be clicked to move an object (image) in a direction across a page. One flipchart which uses it well is Rocket Race. It is a single page flipchart and can be used in a class setting where you divide the class into 3 groups. You then ask a question or provide a task and when a group provides a correct answer or completes the task the button is pressed to move that groups rocket ahead. The first team to shoot off the page wins! There are several other flipcharts that have a similar concept with different themes, such as a shark attack.
I think it would enhance students learning by creating a fun competitive but cooperative environment in a lesson.
I can’t wait to get out on prac and start to put this new exciting tool to use!
As per my recent posts, I have learned a lot of valuable skills and information to assist me when I enter the teaching scene and for prac this week.
At the beginning of the week, I finally received the good news that a wonderful tiny, rural school has offered to host me for my prac. The little school has 2 mixed level classes including a prep to 3 and a 4 to 7 class. I will be in the early education class and I am so excited to be able to gain some hands on experience with not only school students but an opportunity to learn how to differentiate as a way for catering for a vast range of ages and abilities.
I have attempted to make a start on assignment 3 to put me in the best possible position for prac, I am trying to reduce the amount of study I need to be doing outside of my prac during those 3 weeks, So I need to complete an assignment and weekly learning requirements for another subject as well as make good progress on assignment 3 for ICT and pedagogy all within the next 4 weeks.
I must admit though I have pretty much been pumping out assignments for the last few weeks now and by this point I am starting to loose enthusiasm. I am hoping this will turn around soon.
I am wondering how other students are feeling about their studies at this point in the semester?
This week we were required to work through the four modules on Connect.ed, which touched on many things including safety and cyber bullying. I felt like I already knew a lot of the foundation information but it really helped me to use that information as a teacher to guide my students and incorporate it into my curriculum and teaching. I quite liked the way Tessa from tessamiller10 Expanding horizons through digital exploration put it, “we need to explicitly teach these concepts to children, we also need to continuously reinforce it when engaging with technology through everyday teaching.” This not only helps students to really gain a deeper understanding of the concepts but also I believe it would help them to relate their learning to real life experiences.
I did find some of the new terminology and also some of the statistics both interesting and alarming, just like in Postman’s 5 things we need to know about technology that for every advantage a new technology offers, there is always a corresponding disadvantage. The disadvantage may exceed in importance the advantage, or the advantage may well be worth the cost. I believe that with all the advantages that the internet brings it is worth it, however it isn’t without a corresponding disadvantage in that children of younger ages are more vulnerable and exposed to bullying and “phishing” and “Lurking” I think it was referred to by strangers. Young children are growing up faster and faster as the years go on, I don’t think they need any more responsibility to be pushed onto them then what they already have, however with powerful tools like the internet brings greater responsibilities.
I really liked the idea of the Cybersmart Detectives activity and allowing students to interact with and have access to police officers, which is such a wonderful positive experience to have with such a creditable reference. This type of activity would be very rewarding on so many levels and I believe would really stick with the students for a long time after the activity was over.