Exploring free technology for teachers

Whilst browsing Facebook I came across a link to an interesting article in one of the groups I have joined. Firstly, the Facebook group is called, Free technology for teachers and I think it is well worth joining so check it out. Anyway, the article, Ten popular Ed tech tools that were updated this summer introduces us to ten popular technology services that we could be utilising. There is a summary to describe each and a link to assist if you wish to explore any that may appeal. I did just that and found what appears to be a very new tool and it is ThingLink. Basically Thinglink allows you to create an interactive video and it all looks rather easy! Basically, you can turn those YouTube videos into interactive images by adding in pinmarks. I urge you to check it out and they have even provided a video to give an example of the tools capabilities. 


Periodic table categorising iPad apps

Whilst browsing through twitter I found a great resource developed by Mark Anderson. It is a periodic table of iPad apps. Instantly I thought this was a brilliant idea, especially for those of us who are new to apps. It is very helpful in that the periodic table matches apps to a particular category. Categories include creativity, demonstrating, collaboration, teaching, computing, learning, numeracy and literacy. I really like the categories he has provided and think this will greatly assist me when setting up my iPad for the first time. I noticed he does mention how he used Photoshop to create this so he can use it as a poster. I really like this idea and think I could do something similar down the track and add extra categories. When I am finally a teacher and working in a school I believe all staff could contribute to the periodic table to truly make it relevant to the context and share effective apps. It would be a resource that could continually be built upon.

I should mention his idea was inspired by Sean Junkins who originally created a periodic table of iPad apps and his version can be found here on his blog.

Getting ready for reading: Play and ICTs

Mrsmckinty has posted an interesting article and worth a read especially if you are an Early childhood student.  I was particularly intrigued about the author’s views on the child needing to reach sensory-motor integration benchmarks before being ready to read. I have never thought about this need prior and it really gave me a different perspective.

The article also highlights the importance of play which I am a strong believer in. I know of parents with 3 – 4 year olds who are actually using Reading eggs or flash cards before the child is even commencing school. We as a society are creating a culture where we are expecting children to be able to read at a much earlier age and therefore ICTs are being used more and more to be able to do this. The research offered in this article argues play-based opportunities would be more effective for preparing them so they can be ready to learn how to read.

The article certainly has influenced my thoughts. I think once a child has reached that stage in their life where they are biologically ready to learn how to read then I think ICTs can be beneficial. In saying this I leave myself questioning, what would the harm be if a child was exposed to sensory-motor activities frequently but also spent time using programs such as Reading eggs before they had reached this stage? What are your thoughts?


Piaget and his notion of schema

One of our activities this week was to fill in the blanks for the paragraph below.

The questions that p________ face as they raise ch________ from in_________ to adult are not easy to an _________. Both f______ and m________ can become concerned when health problems such as co_________ arise anytime after the e____ stage to later life. Experts recommend that young ch____ should have plenty of s________ and nutritious food for healthy growth. B___ and g____ should not share the same b______ or even be in the same r______. They may be afraid of the d_____.

This was my attempt:

The questions that people face as they raise children from infant to adult are not easy to an individual. Both females and males can become concerned when health problems such as colds arise any time after the early stage to later life. Experts recommend that young children should have plenty of sensible and nutritious food for healthy growth. Boys and girls should not share the same bedroom or even be in the same room. They may be afraid of the dark.

This was the original:

The questions that poultrymen face as they raise chickens from incubators to adult are not easy to answer. Both farmers and merchants can become concerned when health problems such as coccidiosis arise anytime after the egg stage to later life. Experts recommend that young chicks should have plenty of sunshine and nutritious food for healthy growth.Bantees and geese should not share the same barnyard or even be in the same roost. They may be afraid of the dark.

As you can see I was not close at all and by the look of responses from other students on the forum they were not close either. The activity was rather interesting as it illustrated that we bring pre-conceived ideas based on our life experiences. This is what Piaget refers to in his notion of schema. My experiences are surrounded by children as I have my own children and I have spent quite a few years working with children so my ideas for filling in the blanks tended to focus on children. Therefore it became apparent even though I feel I am open to learning new things I am limited by my own schemata and I also need to be mindful of this especially when learning new things.

I was interested to see further responses from people with different backgrounds but most people I know have had children of their own or work with children. Then I thought of my sister who is a mother and currently pregnant but she lives and works on a chook farm!!! I wonder how her response will vary from mine? I am waiting for her reply, will keep you updated.

Blogging for the first time

As part of my university degree in a Bachelor of Education I am doing a unit on ICT and pedagogy. I am required to set up a blog and I can tell you it feels really good to be exploring something new and I am rather excited.  I found it easy to add a tab to tell you all about me but then it came time to write my first post. What do you say then? I sat here for a while, went away and then came back to it and I was still stuck. Then I thought why not Google and get some advice on how to start. I found this great article if you are struggling too. Google is such a fantastic tool for searching for things like that and it goes to show just how effective and transforming ICTs are in our daily lives.

Anyway, I hope you will join me in my journey as I learn and share more about ICTs. Feel free to leave any comments.