Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Small things sometimes amaze me!

cc licensed ( BY NC ) flickr photo shared by Cristiano de Jesus

Don't ask me where I found this tool but I was searching through my Diigo bookmarks the other day and stumbled upon TinyEye Labs  They describe themselves as:
The TinEye labs is our technology playground for image search and recognition. Here you will be able to experiment and play with various implementations and features of our image search technologies.
I don't know why but I was just inclined to click on the link in my bookmarks and have a play.  I am glad that I did.  It seems to be a very powerful tool.  You simply select 'search' and it allows you to search Creative Commons images on Flickr via colour.  You can search up to five colours and put percentage amounts on each colour.

I can some endless possibilities from this tool ranging from Visual Arts colour choices / proportions to even Mathematics when looking at percentages or concepts as such.  I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas.  

Why do we bother with this technology stuff?


 There is a lot of resistance to change in teaching as I am of the pesonal opinon that we are all control freaks in our own ways.  I know that I certainly am and like things to be done in certain ways.  In my previous blog post, I outlined what I have learnt throughout this term and how the journey in my 1-1 environment has been going so far.  As I am sitting here on a pupil free day, I guess the questions that many of my peers in the staff room is 'Why are we bothering with using technology in our classrooms?  Can't we achieve quality educational outcomes without the bother?  Is there any computer stuff on NAPLAN?  Why bother then?'

My journey with ICT in my class has been ongoing process that is constantly evolving and changing.  My answer to all of these questions come back to this key message: We need to educate 21st century kids using 21st century methods for the 21st century.  If we do not do this, my opinion is that we are failing to give kids the skill set that they need to function as a productive member of society now and in the future.  That certainly is a mouthful but I truly belive that this is to be the case.  Our Digial Natives deserve the best learning experiences that can be delivered and they don't know any different.

This does not mean that I think we should 'chuck away' all of the old methods.  As a 33 year old man, I was educated in an environment that was not very technology rich.  I remember the first time that I saw an old 'Overhead Projector' and my teacher pulled out an OHT and projected it up onto the big screen.  As a 7 year old, this was the most amazing thing that I had ever seen.  I remember 'ROTE' learning number facts etc and this whilst it was a boring experience, I still learnt.  But was I an active participant in my learning?  The answer to that question is 'sort of'.  I had some fantastic teachers who inspired me but I was a passive recipent of information and reliant upon the person at the front of the room providing me with the 'stuff' I needed to survive and thrive in the world that I lived in.

So why do I bother?  I bother because I feel that I have a responsibility to the students to prepare them for the world that they live in.  I feel that technology enhances the learning experiences of students and motivates them to question / reflect / investigate their environment.  The reluctant students in my class seem to engage better in their learning by using technology.  If technology wasn't integrated across all key learning areas, I am positive that they would not attempt to participate in the classroom environment at all.  I am sure that they would disengage and look for avenues to vent their frustrations.

Technology helps engage and empower all students (even the reluctant ones!) and we need to look after our 21st century learners to the best of our abilities.

Feel free to add a comment.

Writing Book Reviews For Wikipedia...

cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Konrad Summers

I have a confession to make - I am a Star Trek junkie.  I love reading the books from The Next Generation, Deep Space 9 and Voyager.  I am not a huge fan of the original series but don't mind the movies.  Many a year ago, my parents used to run a chicken shop called 'Chick-n-Video'.  It had a chicken shop on one side and a video shop on the other side.  We owned the chicken side of the shop but were always allowed to take whatever videos that we wanted at any time.  My brother discovered The Next Generation videos and it went from there.  We later found that they had books and I became totally obsessed with it from there.

The other night, I was reading one of my favourite Star Trek novels and was wondering where it fit in the series.  So what did I do? I pulled out my phone and web searched.  The first link that it went to was Wikipedia.  As I was reading this review, I started to think about how this knowledge came about.  Of course I know that somebody created that entry who was obviously passionate about the book.  It was basically a review of the book.  

Then suddenly a light bulb went off in my head - why couldn't my kids who always have to do literature reviews share these reviews on the greatest online community of all time: Wikipedia.  Whilst I wouldn't encourage them to create their own Wikipedia accounts, I would love to share them with the world through my personal account.  

Wow...real life space projects

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by NASA Goddard Photo and Video

The other day a really good link came across my Twitter stream.  I am not sure exactly who I got it from and I apolgise for that but it looked really good.  Zooniverse - Real Science Online is a collobrative and creative online space where students can be registered to create and be involved with online real life projects that help shape the world that they live in.  I am looking forward to the opportunities that this project may present to my students later on in the year.  I will keep you updated