Monthly Archives: December 2011

Tēnā koe and welcome

This being my first blog post here, I think perhaps a tiny explanation is in order…

I am using this blog to up-skill my ICT.

Why?

Because my daughter has a school blog (and if I want to be a teacher with a modern skill set, knowing how to blog is up there with knowing how to write on the interactive whiteboard…) and because ICT has been crucial in my own learning to date and will be a feature of my/your/everyone’s future classroom.

This year I got to choose several elective content papers before I complete my teaching qualification. There were a number of content papers to choose from for my final year, some focussing on science, one on ESOL teaching, several on literacy topics, another on music…you get the idea. I mulled my options for some time. I spoke to my tight-knit group of study-buddies (whom I affectionately think of as ‘Team Awesome’). I wavered between what I really liked, what I thought would look good on a CV, what I thought I could improve…

Eventually, it became clear that I was really drawn to the technology paper (this is in terms of the New Zealand Curriculum technology strand) and the ICT paper (theory and practice of using ICT in the classroom).

After finalising my choices, I thought how unusual it was that after 3 years of learning online (I’ve completed three years of university study without ever having to go to My University) that I would choose a course devoted to ICT.

And it’s because, deep down inside, I not sure I think of my study as ICT-enhanced learning. Sure, I feel enabled – but not ‘enhanced’…

Case in point: at the end of last year, I had to edit my whole year’s worth of practical professional development into a PowerPoint, in order to get some peer feedback, not a grade – just feedback. On campus, they were giving 20 minute presentations in person, alongside a PowerPoint, the peer feedback from which would help them revise their final professional reports for submission. Off campus, we weren’t sure. Yes, we wanted peer feedback too, but we were going to get it based on whatever digital info we could get uploaded, without the presentation in person to help get our personal practical learning across.

There was a sense of challenge that as an off-campus student I could possibly present something close to what was expected from the on-campus students. I wouldn’t show just a PowerPoint if I was in class, so why settle for just showing one online? A couple of tutors had been experimenting with Adobe Presenter throughout the second semester, and that was the type of professional presentation I wanted to give. So I started researching how I could do it, for free.

It took extra time and effort to do it but it was a fantastic learning experience – I found the best way to imbed video and audio into my PowerPoint slides and then looked into how I could get it to my peers for review as it maxed out My University upload limit. Eventually I chose AuthorStream, which is a web-based slide share site (and had the biggest upload limit I could find. My presentation was several hundred MB’s in size).

Anyway, thanks to my presentation, I got some great peer feedback which helped me edit my report (which then got an excellent grade). Overall, that experience of deciding to ‘do ICT, but do it better’ was the highlight of my year. The experience totally affirms my decision to take a whole paper dedicated to learning how to teach with and about ICT in the era of e-learning communities.

Have you seen or used any ICT in a way which you thought really enhanced a teaching or learning experience?