Thursday, 26 July 2012

If I ask nicely enough.....

Prezi is one of my favourite tools that I have used when I am presenting information. I think that this video sums up my thoughts on the whole notion of Death by PowerPoint.

A tool that I have used with a lot of success in the past for my own presentations is Prezi. For those who don’t know, Prezi is a cloud based presentation software that opens up a new world between whiteboards and slides. The zoomable canvas makes it fun to explore ideas and connections between them. The result: visually captivating presentations that lead your audience down a path of discovery.
Before this tool was blocked by my employee for students, I used to use it in class in a number of different ways. Here is a Prezi that one of my students created. Please note: I realise that there are spelling mistakes and grammar mistakes. I wanted to share an authentic example with you.

The possibilities for the use of Prezi by our students are almost endless. Kids really enjoy creating and engaging with Prezi. I realise that I am barking up the wrong tree here, but I would love it if somebody in a position of power could somehow help us educators on the ground get the tools that we need to help our students engage in the learning process. I realise that this is policy but I would love it if every time I discover a new tool, I don’t have to check if the students can if the students can access it and that it gets through our systems filters. I am all for safety and keeping my kids out of the way of harm but a bit of common sense must be bought into our lives and that of the students under our direction.

Monday, 23 July 2012

eLearning for the sake of eLearning

It has been a very long time between posts. I was reflecting the other day about a statement that I make to my kids all the time. The statement is “It is not about the bling bling but it is about the learning sting” My kids do some amazing things and I am constantly in awe of what they do. At the start of their journeys with me, they get caught up in things looking pretty and nice. After a while, a lighbulb flicks and they realise that it is about the best tool for the job. My learners are constantly empowered to use eLearning to enhance their lives for the better, not just because it is ‘fancy and pretty.’ They also know that if they come to me and say “Can we do a PowerPoint presentation?” that they will feel my wrath and I will get annoyed.

But my concern is this – if teachers are just ‘digitising stuff’ to meet curriculum requirements, why are they bothering. If they are not changing their pedagogy and embracing the place of eLearning and just ‘doing computer stuff because’ why do they bother? If they go to the ‘computer lab’ because ‘every other class does’ why do they bother? If they find every excuse to not use eLearning and it is ‘to hard’ because ‘I don’t know how to do this and don’t want to know’ why do they bother.

eLearning is not easy. It is messy and sometimes can fall on its face. Students are empowered when teachers use eLearning along their journey and it puts the student at the centre of the learning journey. I have a concern that teachers are just doing eLearning tasks to meet curriculum requirements and do not ‘truly believe’ we are going to never get anywhere.

Kind of a pointless post but I felt I just need to ramble a bit.