While developing my list of resources to use for Assignment 2’s unit plan I found a mind map that was easier than the last one I did. The original mind map I created was with Bubbl.us which I did not find very user friendly. Tonight I thought I would try a different one – Text2MindMap. It was a lot easier.
My unit plan is for a Year 4 class who will be creating a multi-modal text based on the events of the class, a type of newsletter. I would like to use Text2MindMap as a brainstorming and planning tool. Another resource I am considering is Storyboard That; also a planning tool to assist with the layout of the proposed text.
The benefits of using these and other ICTs will be seen in how the students’ interest will be engaged due to the topic being personally related to them, that is, their class, their projects, their special events. Their learning, and mine, will be enhanced as they are introduced to new mediums of planning, creating and publishing texts.
I have just participated in a leadership webinar presented by Ben Ingram, a Student Relationship Officer with USQ. Zoom room, another new technology which I thought would work similar to blackboard collaborate, but didn’t, was used. I was frustrated because I did not seem to be able to see the other participant’s responses, but then again I wasn’t sure I was supposed to see more! The content was interesting and a reminder to revisit and use some strategies for personal and professional development.
We looked at what kind of leader we thought we were and listened to a TED talk by Drew Dudley on how a small act can impact so profoundly on another. Understanding ourselves better and knowing what motivates or drives us as well as what irritates us, can assist us in being better leaders not only in our personal lives but in our profession as well.
We were encouraged to reflect (there’s that word again) using whatever medium we felt comfortable with such as journals, blogs, or discussions with others; what we are being encouraged to do in EDC 3100. He also encouraged us to generate a “Personal Leadership Plan” where we start with a goal. Ben shared about a SMART goal. I had been introduced to SMART goals when doing a Dyslexia and Significant Reading Difficulties course last year. SMART is an anagram for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. In generating goals, for whatever purpose, using this anagram will more likely result in success. I am thankful to Ben for reminding me about setting goals as it is something I struggle with and certainly something I can develop and strengthen to help students.
As Tracey Davis shared in her blog about sharing pictures etc. I too have had to rethink how I use these resources. Unfortunately, I only read about this just before having to submit my first assignment which resulted in me madly trying to find appropriate sources for my images, deleting and changing some when I thought I was done!! Previous to reading about how to attribute accordingly I had thought it was okay so long as you referenced the source of your material. Not happy Jan (this is showing my age using this saying..) I was thinking this morning about whether teachers in schools consider this area at all. I think a lot are ignorant (sounds harsh but talking about the official meaning of the word) about this whole copyright issue. We are telling students to do research – copy and pasting information/images – and letting them do it illegally. Sometimes they are told to keep a bibliography but that is just looking at the referencing side not the copyright side. I think this is a big problem we need to address as future teachers if we are to use and encourage students to use ICTs in learning and life.
There are so many reasons why we use ICTs in education. My focus is on a Year 5 class in a state school where there is access to a number of iPads, computer room (with enough computers for everybody), cameras, and an Interactive White Board (IWB).
There are varying academic levels within the class including a couple of special needs children (ASD, SLI), and children from different cultural backgrounds. By incorporating multimedia technologies I can meet the individual needs of my students.
Please have a look at my web-based artefact generated to inform parents about why I use ICTs.
Whilst listening to a video on how to meet the needs of Autistic students a Barry Grossman comments that a team approach is needed. It is not just one person’s or group’s responsibility (such as the Special Education Unit) to look after Autistic students; it is a team effort. Autism is becoming more and more prevalent with more emphasis on early diagnosis and the roll out of the Disability Act where educators are being called to account on how they are meeting the needs of students. All the stakeholders need to work together to explicitly teach social and communication skills and “emotional regulation” so that these students (don’t really like to use these, but couldn’t think of a better word for now) can learn life skills, live independently and have successful lives.
A list of adjustments that can be made is proposed by the Department of Education and Training (QLD) which incorporates suggestions, strategies and resources (including ICTs). In one of my tutorials/lectures it was said that if you provide a classroom that caters for Autistic Spectrum students it will benefit all students. Just as we are being asked to not be fearful of unfamiliar technology, Autistic students and their carers are asking society not to be afraid of people who are different.
After reading the blog by Tom Barrett called “What all flourishing environments need” I am worried that this is not happening near enough in schools. We get bogged down with the day to day policies and procedures, managing the behaviour of so many students, meeting the myriad of students’ needs for support or extension or inclusion and all the while trying to cover everything we are supposed to cover in the national curriculum. At times it feels we need to draw on superhuman strength to do all we do AND allow our students to be creative, innovative thinkers ready to tackle the world’s problems and expectations. I don’t want to be an educator that programmes little people to do what everybody else does but I want to be able to motivate young people to be critical thinkers and try things that are a bit different and untried. I realise that this starts with me first. I need to be critical and try different things, different strategies and to be more creative in how I learn and teach young people.
I have found reflection a difficult act to engage in effectively, not because I don’t want to, but because I find it difficult to stop long enough to see through the process. When I read the article “How to be Critical when reflecting on your teaching” I noted that reflection is not a passive action.
Critical reflection goes beyond mere reflection, which could be simply a review of actions in the light of accepted precepts, in that it requires the reflector to “deconstruct long-held habits of behaviour by looking beyond the behaviour itself to their own self-image and examining why they do what they do”. (Silverman & Casazza 2000: 239).
It requires a commitment to question and challenge the status quo to bring about improvement or excellence, not just for challenges sake.