Copiers Beware!

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.

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Why ICTs?

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.

Five Things We Need to Know About Technological Change – Second Idea

Following on from your comments about low-income students, I believe schools or teachers do need to consider the level of access some students may have. I work in a low socioeconomic school where some families do struggle to pay the (low really) textbook fee, and not all students have a internet connected, printing capable computer to use for their assignments. Another consideration is EAL/D students with language barriers and setting up a new home in Australia.

Lisa Connolly

The second idea that Postman talked about was difficult for me to, well I don’t want to say understand, maybe apply from my own teaching. I couldn’t really think of a teaching experience, so again I had to discuss my own personal experience, this time when I was in primary school. My household only consisted of myself and my mother. Initially, she was a stay-at-home mum until I was in grade 6, where she started work as a teacher aide. We weren’t exactly poor, but we didn’t have a lot of luxuries. In school, we were sometimes given tasks/assignments that we had to do on the computer, but I could never afford a computer at home! I would have to go to the library (paying $2 for every half hour, plus printing) and try to scramble in as much work as I could in a small amount of time…

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Meeting Autism Head-on

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.

Programmed vs Creative

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.

Critical Reflection

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.

 

Reflecting on Thinking

We have been asked to reflect on: “Can you think of any examples of courses you’ve taken in your university study where ICTs have been used to transform (to think differently) your learning experience?”

I have been challenged to think about my identity, pedagogy, and philosophy, though still not sure how to explain this. I have been challenged in the use of ICTs through the construction of tasks using ICT because the learning was new or unfamiliar. All my subjects have been accessed through ICT, portfolio begun, web sites opened, avenues for communication (forums, blackboard collaborate, wiki, facebook) used. I would not know or use most of these technologies without them being an aspect of my degree.

I would not be studying were it not for the availability of ICT and I recognise that learning to use it will be an ongoing affair – a love/hate relationship, well maybe not hate. Transformation has come in the form of access to so much more technology than when I was at school (in the 1970s) and speedy access to information not available before or too time consuming to find. ICTs has opened up possibilities of going where I haven’t been before, and that is scary as well as exciting.

About

I am a child of the 60’s (so yes very mature) fulfilling a long awaited goal of becoming a teacher (officially). I have been studying the primary/middle school specialization online since semester 3 2012. Having the opportunity of studying online has allowed me to continue working. I have been working in a local high school as a teacher aide in learning support and special education since 2003. After supporting my 2 daughters throughout their schooling until they finished senior, I decided it was now my turn! I am happily married and, as I said, have 2 daughters.

Studying and working has been a challenge but I have learnt so much. During my studies I have been introduced to a lot of technology that I mostly knew nothing about and some that has been consolidated.  I am eager to learn how to enhance/improve children’s learning as well as my own.