Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Using SchoolKit in the Classroom

Back at ACEC in Cairns there were two sessions I attended which made reference to using SchoolKit software. One of these was by Pauline Joyce from St. Dominic's School, Perth. In Teaching and Learning Principles for Technology Rich Classrooms she describes her success with the "just in time" help of CathEdNet (My Classes) and edClasses. First setting her students one session modules from edClasses Joyce then required them to peer teach what they had learned. In the process she observed how they learned, what difficulties arose and ways of overcoming these. The emphasis of this classroom experience is on good pedagogy and a willingness on the part of the teacher to take risks and continue to learn.

The second session I want to mention is Games Students Play by Joan Gordon of Xavier College in Kew, Victoria. In fact I had completely forgotten that this session had included a reference to SchoolKit, although I clearly remembered the terrific activities described. Gordon's Year 9 boys played games, studied genre (both fiction and game) and read and wrote stories. They also used their knowledge to write detailed reviews of their games. Amongst all this they used a couple of different Activebooks from edClasses related to character study and plotting.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Our other Blogs and Wikis

Have you started a blog for school or know of someone else in the Diocese who has? It would be good to have a look at what others are doing and might give some the push they need to go public.

The K-12 Teacher Librarian group has just started a wiki aimed at developing resources and a discussion space for readers advising - the art (or maybe science) of assisting others in discovering their own reading preferences. We have just started at Read On.

At Patrician Brothers' Library we have had a blog going since 2004 just for putting up quick links for current assignments. It has had the odd name change but is now called Latest Links. It certainly makes life easier when teachers want to direct their classes to specific sites, and is often handy for repeat assignments in the following year. A bit of updating and off they go.

This year we started a book review blog called Book Bites. Most of the reviews here are mine, but we have had a few boys who have contributed and we would love more. It is also a good place to link to other book sites of interest to our students, especially ones which showcase young people's responses.

So come on, who else has a blog or wiki to show us?

Sunday, November 05, 2006

K12Online and Real Classroom Experiences

For those of us who didn't quite make it to the K12Online Conference, don't despair. There is a lot to investigate at your leisure. To start with, John Pearce (that intrepid educator from Geelong) has a step by step report of his journey into the world of Web 2.0 with his middle primary class. It's elementary kids - Working Web 2.0 with grades 3 - 4 will give you a very realistic view of the difficulties and joys of using these tools in school, including those involved with trying to spread the word outside your classroom, like training other staff. The presentation (with slides, John's narration and links to a range of useful sites) is linked directly here.

Other sites worth a look:

Edugator has good practical information on getting started with podcasting.

The New Web Listen to Chris Betcher and Michael Cridland talk about using Web 2.0 and especially podcasting with students. See the results at Michael’s Year6/7 Blog and Chris’ high school Intro to Business class at The Podbiz Project.

PHOTO: John Pearce leading a podcasting workshop at the Interactive Whiteboard Conference at St. Bernadette’s Castle Hill earlier this year.