Comparing Apps to Apps

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Matthew Jones talks about the benefits of using ipads and apps such as Play School art maker to foster productive student-centered learning. This is because it allows students to create meaning in an interactively through play. Although this shifts to student-centered learning it is vital that the teacher still interacting and providing guidance. It is also important that students retell the stories they create with the app to help scaffold the learning and construction of narrative.

After having a crack at the Play School art maker, it seemed like this could be a helpful app for constructing story and connecting visual text and spoken language. One activity I did with a partner was, she made a story with the app then played it for me and i had to narrate the story.

The Puppet Pals app is a similar app in which you choose a collection of character, place them in a location and build a story with them: moving them around; and growing and shrinking them. then you can record the story to watch later. It’s a good app that’s simple to use, and is very similar to the art maker in how it can be used. A more advanced app is Toontastic which gives you the ability to create your own characters and will be more engaging and fun for older students while also achieving the same aims.

Reference:

Jones, M. (2012), ipads and kindergarten- students literacy development, SCAN, 31(4), 31-40.

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Let the Children Play with IWB

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Interactive whiteboards (IWB) can be an effective way of enhancing learning in the classroom. However it has been identified that it can be used to solidify teacher based learning and were not being used interactively. This is problematic because it is a powerful way to motivate students (and teachers) when used interactivly (Higgins, Beauchamp & Miller. 2007).

To look at how to engage students in this way I designed a brief IWB activity based on the Shaun Tan book (which has been adapted into a short film) “The Lost Thing.”

The activity addressed NSW outcome EN2-10C which involves thinking interpretively about texts. The task is as follows:

1. An image from the book is displayed.

lost thing 1

2. Student is invited up the front and asked to identify part of the image that represents a mood by moving one of the circles over it.

3. They will then be asked to communicate the reason and an explanation for their selection.

4. The class will then be asked to engage in agreeing or disagreeing and providing reasons why.

5. Rinse and repeat…

lost thing 2

Reference:

Higgins, S., G. Beauchamp, and D. Miller (2007), Reviewing the literature on interactive whiteboards, Learning, Media and technology, 32(3), 213-225.

Two ‘Blogs’ with a ‘Scoop’ on the Side

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In this age of new literacy, the internet can be a valuable tool for educators to share ideas and pool resources. Blogs are an effective way of people publish ideas that can then be further commented on and explored in the classroom.

One blog a class can use to model their blog off of is Fabulous 5S. This blog is helpful as it shows how class photos, videos uploaded to various sites (Vimeo and Animoto) and upoloaded audio of band performances (on soundcloud) can be incorporated into a blog.

Another great blog to look to as a model is 3/4C @ The Juntion. This is because they show the potential to improve the look of a blog with backgrounds and font choice. They also have a page where they have used a sock puppet app to create content for the blog.

The Scoop It website is also a valuable tool for collecting resources pertaining to particular subjects. As an example I created a Scoop.it site about teaching maths equations to primary school students. It can be seen here.

Edited to change teacher resource blogs to class blogs to use as models.

Blog If You Feel Like A Classroom Without a Roof

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Reading Kim Pericles’ article on “Happily Blogging @ Belmore South” shows three advantages to exploring the blogging environment in the classroom:

1. A blog can be crafted to connect with any key learning areas (KLAs). Being interactive where students can make them and comment on each others, mean they can be a powerful tool in engaging students with KLA and shows that “learning does not stop at the door of the classroom.”

2. A blog can give students a purpose to their work, where they are working towards publishing their assignments or classroom activities. It also can give their work an audience, from parents and classmates to the 13 000 visitors from around the world to Belmore South blog.

3. Blogging can be a connecting tool in the classroom that can be tapped into daily. This is done by looking for comments and engaging with them as well as looking at classmate’s blogs.

From reading this, I can’t help but think about how exploring blog creation with a class can not only feel rewarding but broadens the learning environment outside the classroom walls and roof.

The Brave New Literacy World

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It is hard to define new literacies. It covers digital media that is relatively new and quickly transforming. Acknowledging this evolutionary nature is crucial in understanding it. It is important to understand what is new about the literacy type and what is the same. For example, wikipedia in many senses is the same as a conventional encyclopaedia; however its construction and collaborative nature of information is what’s new. (Houtman, 2013).

New literacy is not just new technology, like the internet, but also encompasses a new ethos. Social networking and youtube has given birth to an enviroment where people are empowered to be content creaters for a mass audience that also has commercial benefit to buisness. This shows how broadly new literacies can be understood. (Lankshear & Knobel 2012).

We are approaching a paradigm where students may be able to take more of a leadership role within the classroom (Houtman, 2013). This is because not all teachers will be able to keep up with the ever changing landscape of new media. Students who are growing up with these changes, may have more of a grip on the environment. Rather than being scared of an antiquated knowledge of literacy, teachers can use this as an opportunity to empower students as leaders and knowledge providers in the classroom; in the same way that mash-up videos on youtube are empowering media consumers to become content creators.

This does not mean that there is not a role for teachers to help students deconstruct meaning in understanding new literacy. The below “The Media Show” episode about Greenwashing is a great example of how new media can be taught to a class. It looks at how, through advertisements, companies can present an image about themselves that may not reflect reality. It shows how comedy and puppets can be used on a medium like youtube to convey meaning to large group of people (over 12,000 in this case). It also shows how even ads you watch on TV can be understood and analysed as literacies. Perhaps show the class some of those advertisements and ask them what they think before showing them “The Media Show” episode. Watch the episode below and give your ideas on how it could be used in the classroom, or post any videos that can also be helpful to explore new literacies!

Readings

Houtman, E. (2013). New literacies, learning, and libraries: How can frameworks from other fields help us think about the issues? In the Library with the Lead Pipe.  Retrieved from http://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2013/new-literacies-learning-and-libraries-how-can-frameworks-from-other-fields-help-us-think-about-the-issues/ Accessed February 14th, 2014

Lankshear, C., & Knobel, M. (2012). ‘New’literacies: technologies and values. Teknokultura. Revista de Cultura Digital y Movimientos Sociales, 9(1), 45-71.  Retrieved from http://everydayliteracies.net/files/RemixTeknokulturaEnglish.pdf Accessed February, 2014