Reflecting on Assignment 2

After receiving my result from Assignment 2 I felt such a feeling of disappointment. By far the worst result I have ever had and not from a lack effort. I had, in fact, put a great deal of time and effort into this assignment. The area I lost my marks was an area that in previous courses I had nailed completely. I drew on two assignments I had completed in the past (and that I had received full marks for that area) to guide and assist me with Assignment 2. I was devastated to see that in this course I had failed that section. I’m sure the marker was justified in giving me the mark I received – obviously I have missed something. In time I will go back and see just what that was – although my feedback was quite sparse and I fear I won’t be able to work out exactly what I missed.

I was able to get over my initial devastation of such a low mark by drawing on my fellow students, many who are in the same boat as me. Fellow blogger Leesa also shared her disappointment and I noticed others that had responded, such as Lynn and Melissa, giving support to Leesa. This has helped me a great deal to realise this one mark does not reflect on me as a future teacher but could in fact be a combination of a particularly hard course, hard markers, my lack of understanding in an area and an opportunity to learn (the content and also how to deal with my future students who may go through these same feelings).



Teaching Videos – great resource

Fellow blogger Leesa posted a great resource to her blog during the week: 100 Best You Tube Videos for Teachers. I’m posting this on my blog so others can benefit from this great resource but also so that I have quick access to this in the future. There are videos about classroom management, subject areas (such as science and history) and ICT, to name a few. This is a fantastic resource that I will be using regularly, to get ideas and for inspiration. I have also found Teaching Channel and Alexander Street to be very useful.

Limited ICT during prac?

I’ve been reading people’s blogs in the lead up to the start of professional experience and I can feel the excitement and nerves everyone is going through. I’ve also been keeping an eye on the facebook group and it seems a mixed bag of responses. Some people are doing prac at schools with an abundance of ICT available while others will have a very limited amount. I completed my prac last month and was in the later group – very limited ICT available to me. I had to rely on my creativity and PKM when thinking of ICT experiences for my class (as well as a very supportive and imaginative mentor). I ended up bringing in my own iPad, 3 digital cameras (thanks to my daughters) and laptop. I was very lucky though – I had a class of 12 that I was able to split into two to ensure everyone was able to join in the activities. I was also able to use my mentors iPad. Some of the activities I was able to do despite the limited ICT included:

  • taking photos and creating a digital story (downloading the photos onto my laptop and printing using the office printer)
  • splitting the class into two and using the computer lab (only 8 out of 20 computers work) to create avatars (Voki’s so that students could practice speaking English and edit their own work)
  • using an iPad app to monitor the PM2.5 levels (air pollution)
  • using my laptop to make a Skype call to my mentors previous school in Hawaii
  • students using my digital cameras to record students giving presentations that they were able to watch later on
  • students using my digital camera to create a skit
  • connecting my iPad to the digital projector to project onto the whiteboard

I understand that my circumstances may be very different to others (small class in a safe environment – meaning that the students respected my belongings and used them appropriately). If any of my ideas can inspire others that are in the same situation of having limited ICT resources then this blog post will have been worth it.

Like fellow blogger Leesa, I wish those starting prac on Monday all the best and good luck.  I’ll be keeping an eye out to read how you are going.

Theories, Models & Frameworks – Part 2 of 2

This was a great activity to do as it not only refreshed my memory of all the different theories, models and frameworks we have been introduced to this semester but also made me realise that there are some that I really like and some that I know I will never use. It really is a case of pulling the good bits out of frameworks that work for you and that serve the purpose that you require. For my assignment I have drawn from the Social Constructivist  theory as well as Connectivism. I’ve also used  TPACK, TIP, PKM and Blooms to guide my planning. I feel the combination of all of these has helped me plan learning experiences appropriate to my specific context.


Theory Purpose Application
CLEM Help understand how to learn about new ICT and how to use it to enhance student learning. If there are any new ICT to be used it might help your explorations.
TPACK A framework to ensure you integrate the three types of knowledge: technological, pedagogical and content, required by teachers to teach effectively. What do I know about the ICT I’m planning on using (TK)? What is the content I will be teaching and how will this be best taught (PCK)?
Backward Design Design effective learning experiences by working backwards: identify, determine, plan I will use a similar framework, TIP for my planning.
SAMAR Used to evaluate ICT being used in the classroom. How beneficial or worthwhile is the ICT I am planning to use. What is the purpose of using skype, Voki, iPad and word processing software?
TIP A guide that helps you plan and integrate ICT effectively and be able to deal with any issues. What do I want students to learn? How can I use ICT to enhance that learning? What ICT is available to me?
5E’s Breaks learning and teaching into a cycle of phases: engage, explore, explain, elaborate & evaluate to engage students and allow students to construct their own knowledge. Is there an opportunity to teach a mini unit? Does the school have the resources to conduct experiments or hands-on activities?
Connectivism Emphasises the role of social and cultural contexts in this rapidly changing digital world. How can I connect students with others (such as native English speakers)?
Bloom’s Taxonomy Helps to classify learning objectives: allows you to draw from different levels of Bloom’s. Do my learning objectives use appropriate levels of Bloom’s? Do my lesson plans require students to use HOT?
Postman’s 5 things To make us think critically of ICT integration. I will not be drawing on this theory to guide my planning
Toolbelt/ TEST Helps guide my decisions on what ‘tool’ is best used to achieve what I want to achieve. Task: Limited ICT available to me. Environment: Computer lab with more than half the computers not working, no ICT in the classroom. Skills: What experience/knowledge/ confidence/ creativity do I possess? Tools: What ICT can I utilise, have access to?
PKM A tool to help me organise, share, store, grow and understand knowledge. What resources can I draw on to give me ideas on integrating ICT when there is limited ICT available.  Has anyone in my PLN experienced lack of ICT on their pracs? What  ideas and suggestions can I get from my PLN?

Theories, Models & Frameworks – Part 1 of 2

Last week I set a goal for myself to finish Part B of Assignment 3. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to complete it as I just couldn’t get my head around all the theories, models and frameworks that we were requited to draw on to guide our planning. I know what will guide my planning, I just couldn’t remember the correct terminology that goes with what each one that I am using. It’s been a little bit of a framework/ model overload this semester – many new ones being introduced to the already long list of frameworks and models that have been introduced in past courses.

I was pleasantly suprised to see a Learning Path activity we are required to complete this week is directly related to what was holding me back. We have to complete a table that lists all the theories/ models and frameworks that have been introduced so far, adding the purpose and how it applies to our Assignment. Once completed this should should make completing Part B much easier for me. It was good to see fellow blogger Ruth has completed hers, giving me an idea as to what is required.

Connect.ed – Cybersafety

This week we were required to complete a set of four modules on the Connect.ed website that covered issues such as cyber safety, student use of ICT, our digital footprint and cyber bullying. I found the modules extremely interesting and particularly relevant. It was easy to navigate through the modules and included videos and simulations. I’ve bookmarked Connect.ed on Diigo as I will refer back to this website often.

It surprised me a little just how much students use and rely on social networking sites. Living in China for the past 3 1/2 years has made me lose touch with the reality of what occurs in Australian schools with regards to cyber use and at what age it occurs. As we plan our return to Australia this year I have been made aware of what will be in store for us and our daughters on our return. Thanks to Connect.ed and the Cybersmart website I have the resources to address important issues with my girls.

On completing the four modules, the thing that really stood out for me the most is the safety of our students and making sure they are equipped with the knowledge and strategies so they can be safe. Safe from bullying, safe from predators, safe from stalkers and hackers but most of all –  that they know what to do if they come across something that isn’t right and have the confidence to do something about it. To be Cybersmart. This is an issue that needs to involve students, parents, teachers, staff and the community. Which ever school I end up working at I would like to be personally involved with Cybersafety and ensuring students become Cybersmart.


Smartphones versus dumb phones

My just turned 13 year old daughter would absolutely die if she knew the phone she has has been labelled a ‘dumb phone’ in an article I was reading this week. It has been a bit of an ongoing problem in our family with Miss 13 pretty devastated that she and only one other student are the only ones in her school that don’t have a smartphone. I need my daughter to have a phone. As we live in China it’s not possible for her to pick up any phone to call me or her father. She needs to be able to call me if there is ever a problem. I just don’t see the need for her to have a smartphone despite everyone of her classmates having one. My reasons are many and I won’t go into them all, but the bottom line is, she is 13 and should be spending time hanging out with friends, playing sports, doing her school work. Not posting photos and checking Instagram every minute or trying to sign up to Facebook (which we don’t allow). The article mentions that a lot of parents don’t realise that  smartphones are like  mini laptops with access to the internet. That raises another issue of cyber safety. If she had a smartphone I can’t monitor what sites she visits.  Whenever I go out in public, people are so pre-occupied with their phones (my husband included) – checking emails, checking Facebook, checking all sorts of things. I still have a ‘dumb’ phone as I don’t need anything else. When I’m with my family or friends, I want to be with them completely. If I want to check my emails I can do this when I get home.  A video posted on Facebook (see below)  this week made me stop and think about how things have changed. I found this video quite sad as it is very true. This is not what I want my daughter to be doing – I want all of my daughters to be living their lives, to be physically active, to be present and to be socially active without relying on technology. If they can’t do all these things now they will never know how.