the ramblings of a 21st century pre-service teacher

Using ICT's in the classroom


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Saying goodbye to the hugest semester so far

Goodbye 261/365 by Skley, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License   by  Skley 

And breathe….

I finally submitted my last assignment of the semester. Yes I pulled an all-nighter to get it in but it was worth it. I can only cross my fingers that it’s enough for me to pass. This semester I completed EDC3100 ICT & Pedagogy, SPE3005 Managing Challenging Behaviours and EDU5325 Child Abuse & Neglect: Intervention, Prevention & Protection. I can honestly say the last of the three has been the heaviest and hardest subject I have ever completed. If I pass I shall be incredibly proud of myself. Considering my mark for Assignment 1, I only need 21/60 for a pass. However I’m not a pass kind of person. I put 110% effort into my assignments and strive for the best marks I can. I sometimes wish I wasn’t like this but that’s me.

Exhausted as I am. I am now off to enjoy a few weeks rest before semester 2 creeps up on me!

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A reflection on EDC3100

too much information, too little knowled by Will Lion, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License   by  Will Lion
EDC3100
I have, to a point, thoroughly enjoyed this subject! I have learnt so much useful information that is both applicable to me in my degree, my future as a teacher, and also my role now as a teacher aide. Being a self confessed ‘organised freak’ I have also loved the layout of the StudyDesk. It’s very user friendly. I do have one complaint about it though, more of a suggestion for improvement than a complaint I suppose. There really needs to be a search function so that you can search the entire StudyDesk. For example, yesterday I was looking for the TPACK information and it took me forever to locate it. Anyway, just a suggestion.
I have found David (Hi David) to be a great lecturer from the perspective of an online student. He has time for us, listens, makes suggestions and scaffolds our learning very well. I also found Assignments 1 and 2 to be well scaffolded for us. I am not however finding Assignment 3 to be quite as clear. I feel I am more confused by the examples (especially Part D) than helped by them. Maybe it’s just me, maybe it’s the fact that it’s the end of semester and I’m exhausted.
Despite enjoying this subject I have found it to be an extremely heavy workload, with 3 assessments and a minimum of 30 blog posts (that’s a minimum of 3000 words in total just for the blogs!). I did this subject alongside SPE3005 and EDU5325 (another huge subject) so it’s been a busy semester, especially if you take into account the 25 hours per week I work, the 2 teenagers and a husband (pretty much the same as 3 kids) who also require my time. I’m ready for the break!
Overall I feel EDC3100 is a great, useful subject that I will take a lot away from. Thanks for a great semester everyone!
Just to add…thanks for introducing me to blogging David, I think I’ll keep it going 🙂


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Amost at the end…

Well we’re almost at the end of what I can only describe as the biggest semester yet! I’m glad to see for some, like Kerry, the end is already here and she can take a well deserved break. I myself have a few more words for Assignment 3 and a HUGE assignment to finish for EDU5325 before I can take a break. I have enjoyed a quick cup of tea after work (whilst writing this brief blog) and now it’s time to get this assignment finished.

To all of you still with me, working away at your assignment…you can do it!


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A funky (and very useful) feature within Keynote

Whilst on prac I learnt about and used a very funky feature within Keynote. This feature was especially useful to me as my host school didn’t have interactive whiteboards, only data projectors. The feature includes a pointer and selection of coloured pens to annotate the slides throughout your presentation. I had the students interact with the slides on my iPad (they were identifying the geometric features of 3D shapes) and this could be seen by the class on the whiteboard (my iPad was connected to the data projector).

When in play mode of your keynote presentation (as below), hold your finger somewhere towards the top right of the screen.

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A selection of pens will appear at the bottom of the screen. These will only be visible to you on the iPad, not to the class on the main screen.

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The item on the far left is a laser style pointer and can be used to indicate areas you want the students to look at, as seen below (remember, the students don’t see the panel at the bottom).

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You can also use the pens to make annotations. I asked students to come up and identify features of the cube.

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This way of interacting with the presentation wasn’t as effective as using an interactive whiteboard. However, in the absence of an IWB it was the next best thing. Aspects that made it difficult to use for me were mainly the fact that to be connected to the data projector I had to position myself at the side of the classroom, whilst I wasn’t the students to focus on the whiteboard at the front.


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Reflecting on Professional Experience

Wow! I can’t believe three weeks are over. The time has flown by and I have loved every minute of it.

I have learnt so much and gained much confidence in my abilities as a teacher. I didn’t have the opportunity to implement as much ICT as I would have liked as resources were very limited in this area. However, I had many great opportunities in other areas.

One such learning experience for me was that the school has a big focus on Dr Marzano’s Art and Science of Teaching Framework. One focus of the framework is short, sharp explicit teaching episodes, lasting no more than 15-20 minutes before breaking off into small group differentiated activities. It was interesting to be a part of this, see it implemented in the classroom, and have the opportunity to plan and teach within the framework.

Another interesting learning experience for me was the practice of using paddle pop sticks with student names on to choose students at random to answer questions, as opposed to having them put their hands up in the traditional way. If students are unsure of the answer they can’t just pass they have to try other avenues such as asking a friend to help them, referred to as ‘phone a friend.’ You can read more about the method in this article. I’m not yet convinced that this is the way forward, I noticed the less confident students often became quite anxious when this method was being used.

Overall I have had a fantastic prac experience and am very grateful to the school and my fantastic mentors for taking me under their wing.


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Preparing for my 3rd and final week of professional experience.

Macro Monday : Teacher: Explore October by R Joanne, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License   by  R Joanne 

Much like Danielle, I am feeling mixed emotions going into my final week of prac for EDC3100. I have had a fantastic experience with two fantastic mentors who have given me opportunities to put into practice the things I have learnt, and have taught me much more. They have made me feel welcome from day one and treated me like any other colleague. They have encouraged me to believe in myself and as such I feel I have proven to myself I can do this, I can be a great teacher!

Although in some ways I will be happy to end my prac and return to my usual routines (a little more sleep for one!), I will also be sad to leave. I’ll be sad to say goodbye to my class of 24 gorgeous Year 1 students who have helped me learn so much. I’ll be sad to say goodbye to my mentors and all the other great staff, and I’ll be sad to leave the teaching behind and return to my usual job.

My usual job is as a TA in a primary school. You may think that would be an easy job to transition back into, however I really struggle when returning from prac. I struggle to leave the responsibilities of planning, teaching and nurturing a class, to return to working with small groups of children on work others have planned. Don’t get me wrong, I love the children I work with, and have great colleagues, I just feel like I’ve maybe outgrown my position as a TA. I’m ready to step up to be a teacher! I’d be interested to hear if any other TA’s feel this way after prac.

I hope everyone has a great final week!


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Should we untertake more professional experience on our journey to becoming teachers?

Classroom View Toward Computers by venspired, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License   by  venspired 

YES!

The recent blog posts of Emma and Gemma have echoed my own thoughts. Whilst there is much important learning we do through lectures and classroom (or computer in my case) based subjects, I feel the most important learning of all and the most valuable experience comes from professional experience. Achieving great grades at uni doesn’t necessarily transfer to knowing what you’re doing in the classroom. Transferring the knowledge we have gained from uni to the classroom takes practice. What better way is there to practice than to undertake more professional experience? Professional experience immerses us in the environment we have chosen for our careers, it gives us a true idea of how teaching and learning works.

In her post Emma talks about an apprenticeship based education for teachers. Pop along and vote in her poll. It will be interesting to see the results. It seems so far that everyone is in agreement. Perhaps it’s time for an overhaul of education degrees!