Book ‘Em Danno

May 22, 2014

hawaiiHere is a reflection on the Irish education system and the impact of ICT as a disruptive force which can potentially be positive but which teachers can also find challenging and need support in order to fully take advantage of its potential (IRISH TIMES ARTICLE). Nothing new here in one way, but at the same time a different perspective on the same issues we all face.

My kids can zip and zap through technology and outdo me in two seconds when it comes to downloading, resetting, changing preferences etc. At the same time, while quick to click, they have no patience or real skills when it comes to reading, scanning or analyzing what might be useful to click on: they are banned from my computer because otherwise it would be jammed, blocked and probably virus ridden.

When it comes to school, tasks set for homework do not necessarily help … “Find information about ….” with no guidance and no training as to how or where to find the information (apart from presumably googling it), evaluate or summarize it, are false friends in that they encourage kids to expose themselves to technology without any guidance as to how to dress appropriately. Maybe it will come naturally, they will learn it all by themselves, through the process of surfing itself as Sugata Mitra claims (Google or Wikipedia the name 🙂 or try www.hole-in-the-wall.com). Kids learn to read with help and they certainly develop both their reading skills and interest in reading with further encouragement from educators and family: I don’t think technology can be all that different but I am increasingly suspicious that it will be the next generation of educators who will really know how to involve their students with and through technology.

As an avid fan of Hawaii 5.0 my son wants to learn how to surf … real surfing, not virtual. I might just throw him out to sea with a board and see how he fares. Probably works for some but I suspect training and couching will also be useful. I’d hate to see him catch a virus or even go viral without thinking about it first.

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Thanks for all the phishing

September 19, 2013

Hi all and welcome back to a new teaching year after the summer. For those of you who may be slightly paranoid about internet security the Economist has an in-dept survey on the issue and an interesting debate about whether or not security agencies should be allowed pervert the flow of information as it were. If you don’t want to read the complete article scroll down to the fun section on Panoramic paranoia where the newspaper gives some tips on being really safe electronically (ie keep your mobile safe from interference by switching it off, taking out the battery and storing it in the fridge when not in use).

This blog is, of course, about technology and teaching but maybe the security issues remain the same. At what point should we shut technology out and store it in the fridge just in case it corrupts our classrooms? My daughter has just started secondary school and has been told that all mobile devices have to be turned off and locked away during school hours. A recent talk by a work-mate encouraged me to get my teenagers to take our their mobile phones and use them creatively in class last night. There is always a back door when it comes to technology. The trick may not be finding it but using it productively, creatively and in a way that stimulates the teaching and learning process. Technology is not an automatic virus. It can be, but in education that probably depends on the teacher.

That has always been the intention of this blog: learning about and using technology in the best pedagogical way possible. I have just re-read the aims of this blog stated in the WHY section and I hope to some extent they have been fulfilled.

Time moves on and technologically things change ever quicker than time does. After nearly 300 posts I think this blog may have reached an end. Three years is a long time in the history of internet. Things have moved on. I may return here or on a new blog when I have found a new angle: at the moment I feel that it is time for an upgrade, and they always take time to de-bug.

Meanwhile thanks for all the phising! Let me leave you with one final clip which does what we try to do every class: put a humanistic layer on intelligence, artificial or not.


Telling tales

June 6, 2013

Child and teacher-friendly site with stories from all around the world. Great stuff!

www.worldstories.org.uk/


Babel fish

December 10, 2012

This is wonderful. Finally, a magazine for people interested in language and with David Crystal as a consultant. The first issue can be downloaded free from the website but I am certainly going to sign up for future issues.

http://www.babelzine.com/


Treasure trove

October 22, 2012

A colleague, who in turn had been shown by a student, led me to this site recently. Not sure why I had never come across it before as it is an incredible resource for games and material which can be either printed or used on an IWB in class. My kids have also used it for fun and practice at home. Well worth checking out.

http://www.eslgamesplus.com/


The crux of the matter

June 4, 2012

Here is something to have fun with in class. http://www.cruxbot.com/ summarizes webpages. Find a page with a lot of text, cruxbot it and see what happens. An interesting tool to explore in terms of reading and writing skills, particularly at higher levels.


Read on

May 31, 2011

Here is a site I have just found again. Beautiful online stories for kids. Not many to choose from but those that are available are worth leafing through. http://www.storytimeforme.com/