Digital Literacy

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In my role as a Digital Learning Facilitator, I am asked by teachers to support them in various ways; in the planning stages, in class tech support or for small lesson sessions. I love doing all of those and am excited when a teacher steps into a discomfort zone to try something new. Along the way, I try and encourage students (and teachers) to think of audience and  copyright when creating. Two of my favourite websites are Pixabay and  Pexels  which enable students to use copyright free images. I also encourage students to create their own images.

What I didn’t consider was that I was actually walking down the path of teaching digital literacy and that I still had quite a ways to go until I read this great article.

https://www.literacyworldwide.org/blog/literacy-daily/2016/02/03/knowing-the-difference-between-digital-skills-and-digital-literacies-and-teaching-both 

Time for me to add to my skill set and promote more digital literacy.

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Thinking and Walking: A Path to Creativity

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For the last year I have been able to walk to work. Initially I started walking for my physical and mental health. There is a real benefit to having a mental space between work and home, especially when you interact with many people in a day. I know my family have noticed.

What I didn’t realise was how creative this time would be. I find solutions to challenges, new ways of tackling lessons and new ideas popping into my head all within a fifteen minute walk. I’m not saying it happens all the time, sometimes it’s just a beautiful walk and that is a blessing too.

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This reflection made me realise that I expect my students to think creatively whilst sitting down. This got me wondering if they moved around would they be more creative too? So, I am going to test this idea by getting the students to walk when brainstorming ideas. Whatever the outcome, it will be fun.

This lead me to wonder if there had been any research on this and I found a study by Dr. Marily Oppezzo and Daniel Schwartz, a professor at Stanford Graduate School of Education, that may explain why.

Are you already doing this? I would love to hear about it.

WA and the USA connect through Edmodo

Another global classroom success organised through the power of Twitter and connected through the simplicity of Edmodo!

It has been our privilege to connect this term grade one and two students from  Dalkeith Primary School in Perth and Windsor Primary School in Arlington Heights, Chicago. As our American friends school year draws to a close, I thought I would share a snapshot from an activity we did and wish them a fabulous summer break.

The students and I have learned so much about life at both schools. We have enjoyed learning through shared mini movies, pdf’s and comments made by the children and teachers at both schools.  We have also shared pictures and movies about life at our school.

Today we read Stand Tall, Molly Lou Mellon by Patty Lovell and David Catrow. We chose this story because it is an American book. Molly Lou Melon is also an awesome character and her story is one that everyone should read.
Windsor School are reading books by Australian author, Mem Fox. We know how fabulous those stories are because we have them in our library at school.
Both schools did story corners and you can see an small selection of ours below

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Believe you are making a difference.

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Looking for inspiration I plugged ‘inspiration’ into Pixabay and saw this image. I resonated with me as I started the year feeling a little jaded. I have been on a remarkable journey over the last two years and have tried to share my enthusiasm with others through blog posts, Twitter and presenting at conferences. Have you ever felt like your message wasn’t being heard? Yeh, me too.

Now on the first term holidays, my brain has time to reflect and I realise I’m feeling energised again. I have to believe that it makes a difference even if I don’t hear about it. I read recently that you get back the energy you put out so I’m putting it out there and hoping for the best.

This last term I had a fantastic experience collaborating with a classroom teacher and art teacher on a narrative + manga + anime project. I tweeted about it. The kids seemed to really enjoy it and I know we did.  Their pride in their achievements at the Sevensation Film Festival held on the last day of term was wonderful to witness. Their parents were pretty impressed too.

I went to a great ICT PD day run by Adrian Torrese (@Adriant_Torrese) and re-connected with my tribe (thanks Amie @AmieMeyer4 ) and to really top things off I’ve made connections with other teachers for #globalclassroom projects next term. My thanks to Kathleen Corley (@KathleenCorley) and Nicole Burrows (@Nicburrows) for their enthusiasm and collaboration. I love Twitter for making connections and gobal classrooms are my passion.

I believe I can make a difference or I wouldn’t be a teacher. I will spend my time showing others I believe they are making a difference.

 

3 Things I Learned This Year.

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What I learned from 2013

  • Be brave!

Submitting my first submission to present at the Slide2Learn Conference early this year was one of the scariest things I’ve done for a long time.  It required me to step up and challenge myself and present to adults and also put myself out there by saying how much Twitter had changed me as an educator. I enjoyed the experience so much that I agreed to co-present with @mgraffin at the state ECAWA conference in the October holidays. Another fun day. I am also hoping to present next year, hopefully they will accept my submission.

  • Be global

I was thrilled to be selected as a #globalclassroom Lead Teacher this year. I was an enthusiastic participant in several amazing online global projects and I know my students thoroughly enjoyed them as well. I am  passionate about global education and how it can provide so many opportunities for students to engage with their learning, connect with other students and provide an authentic audience. Skype and Twitter were pivotal to the success of these activities.

  • Be flexible

I started the year by adding some comfortable furniture to the library in the hope that the teachers and students would see the space differently. I have been encouraging teachers to consider flexible learning spaces in their classrooms and I am excited that several classes are planning changes for 2014. I look forward to blogging about it.

This time of the year for us southerners is exhausting. End of school year coinciding with Christmas is always a challenging time but I’m glad I’ve taken the time to give thanks for the lessons I’ve learned this year and hope to build on them next year. Thank you to everyone that shared in my learning this year. I appreciate every opportunity I was given.  2014 looks exciting!

Celebrating Innovation in our school

Like my previous post, I am celebrating the wonderful opportunities that are being offered at our school for the students by imaginative and innovative teachers.
This week’s profile is on our Year Six and Indonesian teacher, Andrina.
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Andrina was the first teacher at our school to get a class blog and has been using it daily for the last two years. I thought it might be useful to ask Andrina a few questions about her blog in the hope that it might inspire others to do the same.

1. What lead you to creating the blog for the class?
I knew about blogs. I knew that teachers at Margaret River Primary had a class blog. I had briefly looked at it. I really didnt understand what one was or how a blog worked but I wanted to investigate them. So I signed up for a blog for me and my daughter when she was sick one day. We just played around with the look of it and then tried to figure out how to use the dashboard. I just started out with posting my stars of the day and celebrating what we did in class. The more I used the blog the ways I could see that it could be used.
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2. What is the most positive aspect of the class blog?
The most positive thing is the interaction I get with students outside the class. There are a number of students who visit the blog everyday and comment everyday. It has fuelled their enthusiasm for learning and I think it has had a positive effect on their class work They now come to class prepared because they have watched the maths video I have posted. They also do the revision work which prepares them for tests.
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3. How has it changed your teaching practise?
It has changed my teaching practice because
3.1 I can set work for students to do before a class in preparation for a new topic.
3.2 I can revise work on a daily basis by setting a quiz or interactive game.
3.3 If I am away I can still set work for the students to do.
3.4 I have a more organised way to keep my websites in categories and therefore I use them more often.
3.5 I am now developing pages of work which the students will be able to refer to either as an independent learner or as remedial work for children who may need some more work on decimals for example. These pages have information, video and links to interactive games.
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4. How has it changed the student’s learning?
I think that it has made some students more responsible and engaged in their learning. Some realise the benefit of coming to class with some idea of what we are doing and have embraced it.

5. What do you think could be improved?
I won’t know how it can be improved until I find another reason to use it. If you know what I mean. It seems I find out something new that can be done and then I find a way to use it.
One thing I need to do is to come up with more fun activities to draw the students to the blog everyday. I have used rebus puzzles but I need to find some other puzzles and maybe have a different type each term to keep it fresh.

6. Is it difficult to create and maintain?
It wasn’t difficult to start and it has just developed slowly. And like anything the more that you use it the easier it becomes. I usually spent between 10-30 minutes a day depending on what I am doing. If I am looking for new information it takes longer but I should be getting to the stage that I should be able to reblog posts. I find it enjoyable so I don’t mind the time it takes i also have seen the benefit for some students so I am happy to spend the time providing them with extra work. It is easier than finding activities, photocopying and marking them.

A snapshot of our week in the Computer Lab.

I love my job 🙂

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Pre Primary creating homes in Tux Paint after we discussed different homes around the world.

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Year 5 playing the Free Rice game as part of our Food Security unit.
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An example of our Peace Cinquains in Year 4 which will be included in our Peace Crane Project. and will be sent to our school friends in Smolenskoye, Siberia.

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An example of one peace drawing for the reverse side of the Peace Crane.

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Playing a Saving energy game as part of our environment unit in Year 1 after watching a YouTube clip about saving energy and discussing ways we could help at home and at school.

Having a go at global projects.

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It is amazing how a small leap of faith can result in opportunities that were inconceivable before.My Year 4 ICT class is doing a unit on peace and I recently joined the Peace Crane Project to provide the students with an opportunity to celebrate International Peace Day on September 21st. When signing up to the project it asked if you wanted to be part of a classroom exchange. I ticked the box as I’m always happy to make connections. Within 24 hours I had received an email from a teacher in Siberia, asking if we wanted to exchange with them. When I replied that we would love to (Siberia! How exciting!) she asked whether we would be open to extra exchanges like swapping drawings, having a Skype session (we are only 2 and a half hours apart time wise) and generally learn about each other’s environments. What a thrill! Isn’t this what peace is about? To learn and understand each other. These children will never see the world the same again. The students are learning about biomes with their classroom teacher and when I showed them where the school was they were able to identify that the region was tundra.

I am so excited to be part of this experience and it all started by looking for a way to participate in a global project.
If you want to try a global project, you can go to The Global Classroom Project 2013-2014. This is a fabulous community to be part of with great projects.

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Global Classroom Gratitude

I had to write and say how thrilled and honoured I was to be nominated as a Global Classroom Lead Teacher 2012-2013. I think I fall into the category of ‘most improved’ as I haven’t run any projects myself but have been an enthusiastic participator. Previous posts have outlined the fabulous projects I have been lucky enough to participate in.

Where I like to think I have made a bit of a difference is in the promotion area. I am talking about global classrooms and the power of Twitter to transform our classrooms whenever I can. I truly hope that if I keep talking about it and participating, more people will become involved and our children will truly become citizens of the globe.

I would also like to say how nice it is to receive recognition. Teachers often work in environments where recognition doesn’t come along very often. We happily save for posterity any letters of gratitude we receive and I know I have an thank you email pinned up on my board at school. These small reminders keep us going.

Below is the list of this year’s nominations. I hope you celebrate the achievements too and are inspired to join the community and participate in the next wave of projects.
Global Classroom Project Leaders 2012-2013

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