Facebook

I have found this great blog post about using facebook in education http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2012/06/ultimate-guide-to-use-of-facebook-in.html I strongly recommend taking a look as it relates directly to what we are learning in EDC3100 at the moment.

All information below is extracted directly from the link listed above.

Benefits you may harvest from your effective use of Facebook with your students :

•Relaxed, friendly and inviting atmosphere which encourages students participation and engagement
•Students feel comfortable learning through Facebook because most of them use it everyday
•Facebook can promote collaboration and social interchange between participants
•Students get engaged about their learning outside the classroom

Here are some of the ways you can use Facebook for educational purposes :

  • Create a group for your class and strengthen the communication between you and your students. Check this handout to learn how to create your class group on Facebook.
  • Schedule events for the entire class  .
  • Use message utility in Facebook to message your students about unexpected absences, rescheduling of exams…etc.,
  • Share multimedia content like videos, photos, clips and more with your entire class .
  • Post class notes for students to review in case they were absent
  • Try to involve students who are normally shy in the classroom
  • Facilitate classroom connections through letting students know each other more. This is particularly helpful in large classes.
  • Use Facebook to send reminders, announcements, upcoming due dates or any other classroom news.
  • Sharing online content with students such as interesting websites, blogs, wikis, and more
  • Add educational applications to your Facebook group. Scroll down for a list of such applications.
  • Encourage students to post content of their own such as videos, images, news stories and other media that relate back to their lessons.
  • Look for other classrooms online that are willing to collaborate on educational projects, assignments and discussions.
  • Use the events section to remind students of the upcoming field trips

Facebook Groups for Teachers and Educators

Educators using facebook : This is one of my favourites. Join this to keep in track of what other educators are sharing and talking about.
Facebook for educators : This is where you can learn about how to use Facebook with your students
Education : This is also another great group for educators and teachers
Educators network : this is for teachers who teach young learners
Have fun teaching : This is an excellent resource for teachers
Teachers- sharing ideas and resources for the classroom :  This group is for primary and secondary teachers and is full of great resources.

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Google Docs and Forms

Google Docs is a freeware web-based office suite offered by Google within its Google Drive service. It allows teachers and students to create and edit documents online while collaborating in real-time with other users in which documents can be shared, opened, and edited by multiple users simultaneously. Google Docs combines the features of Writely and Spreadsheets with a presentation program incorporating technology imported through the web interfaces via email. Documents can be tagged and archived for organizational purposes.

Kelly Jordan demonstrated how she used Google Docs with her grade 2 students in a lesson about dinosaurs which can be viewed via this link. She states “I set up a Google Doc with a series of questions about the dinosaur Cretaceous Period. Students worked on different computers to answer these questions using an information website. Their job was to find a question, locate the answer on the website and type in the answer on the Google Doc.”

She found the following benefits from this activity-

– Students learnt new technology skills to navigate and operate Google Docs.

– It is a great way to demonstrate research skills and strategies.

– Students worked on their own computers but collaborated together.

– It is an authentic method of teaching students about not believing everything you read on the internet.

– Students transfer their knowledge in various subject areas.

– Students experience the power of collaboration and it allows them to break down geographical barriers.

Google Forms has been added to the Google Docs suite. Google Forms is a tool that allows collecting information from users via a personalized survey or quiz. The information is then collected and automatically connected to a spreadsheet with the same name. The spreadsheet is populated with the survey and quiz responses.

“Comet2011” on this website suggests incorporating Google Forms into the classroom by allowing students to create their own questionnaire about a unit of work. This has the benefit of extending or strengthening their understanding of creating effective questions. Students can then complete other students quizzes to boost their understanding again.

Reference- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Docs

Toolbelt Theory

There are many reasons for using ICTs in my teaching mentioned in “The Toolbelt and Universal Design – Education For Everyone.” article. For example using ICT’s to record information so that they are able to remember and refer to later on, the ability to choose the appropriate ICT to allow students to use “just” the help they need and to know how to use those different tools.

Socol mentions many ICTs in his paper including:
-Telephone -Television -Typewriter -Computer -Speech-generating device
-Reading Pen -Click-Speak -Firefox -WYNN -Read-and-Write-Gold
-Audio books -WordTalk -MP3 -IPhone -Blackberry
-Google -Text message -Email -Firefox spellcheck
The links he provided were useful to me as I was able to gain a better understanding as to what some of them where that I had never heard of before.

I feel some teachers may need to relearn how to learn. Some teachers who are stuck in their ways may not get that the world is changing quite rapidly and that there are new more efficient ways of doing things. If they don’t continually learn they will get left behind and consequently their students will pay the price for that as they will not gain current skills and “Because we can not afford to send our students out without the toolbelts they need to function in their future world” –Socol.

After reading Jonah’s post “Do Teachers Need to Relearn How to Learn?” http://salsichteach.edublogs.org/2012/01/02/do-teachers-need-to-relearn-how-to-learn/ I tend to agree with him that without being given the opportunity to attend some Professional Development, teachers can’t learn anything new- including ICTs. But… in most cases, I tend to believe that this is not because they do not know how to learn independently but because they are lazy or they lack the initiative. I know this is a harsh statement (I want to stress that I said most cases and not all) but Jonah was right in what he said that “Information is literally at their fingertips, they just need to know how to access it.”- Jonah. I think for some teachers they see that they don’t know how do perform a certain ICT related task, so instead of figuring out how to, they just put it in the “can’t be bothered” basket.
I think that this course expecting us to learn how to use numerous different technologies without explicitly teaching us how to use the tool is acceptable. I feel that we are university students and we need to use our initiative and play a role in our own learning. “The teacher can lead a student to truth, but only the learner to find that truth.” –Plato.

This continues on with my opinion on whether schools should be making allowances for the struggling ICT using teacher. You are employed to do your job, which is to facilitate student learning. It is your responsibility to remain current and master the skills required to prepare the students with an education that enables them to think creatively and sympathise ideas from divergent areas and with the best preparation for a new era of global competitiveness.

Therefore I think I have demonstrated in the paragraphs above that I have a growth mindset about ICTs and I cannot wait to learn how to incorporate them into my teaching and put all my knowledge into practice during my Prac and when I become a teacher.

Theorists I’ve Seen Before

Throughout my studies as a pre-service educator so far, I have came across many different theorists. Many of whom I agree with and can relate to and a few maybe not so much. Two theorists who have stuck with me include Lipman and Plato.

Children have an amazing ability to wonder and I believe we should encourage this ability through our teaching to amplify enthusiasm by transforming the classroom into a community of inquiry. Lipman advocated this concept through his theory of philosophy for children. He believed that open-ended dialogue was a really important part of the learning process and in this community of inquiry, the teacher is simply a facilitator and to give the students the opportunity to explore their thoughts and interests by asking questions and thinking for themselves. “He defines philosophical discussions as a process whereby we clarify meanings, uncover assumptions, analyse concepts, consider reasoning and investigate ideas” (Davey Chester, 2009, Slide 8). Plato questioned using certain dialectic or dialogical methods with children, because he thought that it would encourage them to be in particularly adversarial or disagreeable. Lipman was adamant that it was a process rather than a discipline and that if we teach children how to engage in a community of inquiry that it would actually have the opposite effect to what Plato considered would happen if we do philosophy with children. (Davey Chesters, 2009, Slide 7) I feel that this high quality reflective thinking assists the individuals in expanding the connections between concepts and issues of importance to them and as a result it enhances talents, passions and interests which are fundamental in lighting the fire of curiosity in students to inspire learning.

I have difficulty relating to and fully understanding Plato’s theory of Forms, according to which the world we know through the senses is only an imitation of the pure, eternal, and unchanging world of the Forms. (http://www.iep.utm.edu/plato/) You can also read more relating this theory in Plato’s Allegory of the cave. (http://www.math.nus.edu.sg/~matlmc/Allegory_cave.pdf)  Plato was profoundly influenced by Socrates who argued ideas are already within each person’s mind. The teacher’s task is to draw ideas out of student’s minds by asking them probing and challenging questions that cause them to think critically, deeply and reflectively about their beliefs requiring critical examination of beliefs, opinions and tradition. I feel to an extent the teacher’s role is to guide the student to make connections between concepts they already know but I disagree that all knowledge is already in the mind waiting to be drawn out by the teacher.