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.


Bobby Gange said...

Hmmm... not sure about that guy in the photo... looks shifty.

Anyway... the information Stephen Bose from SchoolKit presented to us at the school library last Thursday was quite insightful. I've been playing around with some of the ActivBooks that SchoolKit provides - courtesy of our demo account that Marita kindly set up - and I was quite impressed with the way they were able to allow teachers to teach content and seamlessly include ICT skills. Stephen's presentation highlighted these features - and more. I really do feel he was preaching to the converted, however.

All credit to Marita for organising the meeting. I share her frustration that not more people could make it. I think that if our school is to move forward in terms of the use of technology in learning, then we need to get more people on-board on this. There are so many teachers that I know would change the way they think about using ICTs in their lesson plans if they had only seen the presentation and were able to ask questions of Stephen.

Denis made some excellent points regarding (un)reliability of the hardware/network at the school and how teachers' attitudes towards technology hinges largely on that factor. I guess we live in hope that these things will be addressed soon and that we will have a network that inspires people to use the computers rather than discourage them.

Ideally, as Heath Borg pointed out, we need to have access to technology in our own classrooms - without the need to compete for resources in the library or the computer rooms. Until that time, however, we need to make do with what we've got (slow and unreliable it might be sometimes).

That's my $0.02 worth.

M.Thomson said...

Thanks for the comment Robert. Really we did have a good audience for the demo. It is hard to get people relieved and things always crop up, like the timing of Year 12 signout! So I am grateful that most of the AGQTP group made it as well as Denis.

And it does look really good!