So it’s coming to the end of the semester, and the end of EDC3100. I have definitely learnt a lot from this course, it has been very very informative. Even just the book about how to use an interactive white board, I really didn’t understand how they worked at all, but I get it now, they use stylises or touch, no actual white board markers are used – which is very valuable information as you can imagine hahaha. I have learnt what classifies an item as an ICT, which I really did not understand before, but now I know. This course has benefited my education as a pre-service teacher a lot. I understand that ICT can be implemented into numerous classroom lessons with ease, and it can benefit the learning of a student such a large amount. It has been hard, and pretty hearty assessments, but it is definitely one of the most valuable classes I have ever taken in the lead up to my career as an educator.
Courtney posed the question “[Does] anyone else feel they have no social life while at University?” in her blog post at the beginning of the semester. I completely agree. Maybe in my first year I was a bit more relaxed about actual study and was more focused on the social side of university life, but right now in my third year, there is pretty much no social life. If I do end up needing to talk to someone though, it is definitely through either Facebook, texting, or email 95% of the time. I also agree with Courtney in the fact that I do use ICT a lot more than I comprehended before starting this course, I notice it a lot more every day, thinking about where a shop is at the local plaza… I either google it before arriving or use their electronic maps based at numerous intervals in the centre; there’s no more social interaction in that regard anymore. Although, yes most of my ICT use is for university study, so I suppose that makes it slightly more ok that most of our lives are based in front of a computer. That’s what future generations are going to be like anyway, so we need to be up to date on what technologies are available to be able to educate students. That may require an excessive amount of time researching everything and playing around learning how to use the new technologies available to make us better teachers in the long run.
I just used the following link as a reference in an assignment (which has passed the due date so no worry of cheating). The Get Skilled: Get Active YouTube playlist presented by the NSW PDHPE Curriculum appears to be an extremely useful ICT resource when educating students on HPE, it educates students on the different ways muscles and bones move when using both locomotor and non-locomotor skills, and object control skills. This is an imperative aspect of pretty much every HPE year level. It teaches students exactly how they should position their body to get the best result for: leaping, hopping, catching, kicking, and many more. Yes it is an ICT where students just sit and watch the video, the videos were also first produced about 15 years ago, but I believe they are still very valuable. They are short and to the point, and cover exactly what is needed when educating students on muscle/bone movements and demonstrations.
Last Kickstarter post, I promise. So there’s this really cool circuit based item that can be used for young children (with adult supervision of course). It’s called Squishy Circuit. It implements your own homemade Play-Doh to attach to a simple 2-cord battery pack and uses those little LED lights to show how it’s connecting. The trick is, the Play-Doh made with salt is super conductive, whereas the Play-Doh made with no salt, but sugar instead pretty much cancels out any conduction. The way they’ve done it in their videos (available on the link from before) is the non-conducting doh is white, and all the other colours are conductive. A super simple way to educate young children on science at an early age. So you can essentially make your own by just going to the local electronics store and home made Play-Doh, but if you don’t have that time, a pre-packaged set up of everything you need (including micro-processors – so music machines). Their non-Kickstarter website: https://squishycircuits.com/
Okay while I’m already on about Kickstarter, this isn’t an ICT, but I think it could be useful for students who have been diagnosed with some form of sensory overload or attention deficit, you get the idea. So the thing is the Fidget Cube. I want to buy one for myself as I have anxiety and am sure it would be great in stressful situations, but I believe it would be great in some school settings. Bulk supplies are available, 80 for $850 so just over $10 each, which I think is pretty reasonable.
Even if you haven’t looked at either links, just keep in mind when you run your own classroom to look at Kickstarter every once in a while as they have some really great resources.
So I’m a big fan of Kickstarter. I really like a lot of things on the site, but most commonly I enjoy the new technology section as I feel it is where all the young and extra creative inventors are as they may not have deadlines that need to be made, so their creativity really just runs wild. That’s what Kickstarter is all about anyway. So I have been on there recently and even though I’m doing early childhood ages, the following device seems interesting as at least an upper primary item. The MODI is: “a modular kit for your DIY IoT and robotic creations.” There are numerous little connectors that can even connect trough a wireless network. You can make music play with one of its connectors as there is a speaker connector, there’s a dial connector, there is obviously software that goes along with it and you can control whatever your heart desires without the trouble of needing advanced knowledge on technology (which could be instilled during education, but perhaps not at an upper primary level). There are loads of different things to connect with. I don’t have any exact examples of where you could implement them into a classroom but I am sure that they would be valuable at least in Science… and obviously accounts for ICT general capabilities… Ok well I don’t think I did a great job of explaining it, but I don’t know how to do a better job, so here is their start up video.
As suggested in one of the weekly books from a while ago, we were to test out the Cyber Smart Kids: Cyber Safety Quiz. I assisted my friend with his assignment on cyber safety at the beginning of the semester by finding sights for him. Before even looking at the course book that presented this, I had tested it out. I got him to add it to his assignment as a valuable resource for cyber safety in primary school. Since it has been a couple of months I gave it another go. Just what I though, I’m cyber smart! haha. I did get two questions wrong. Those two questions you are allowed to go back to at the end of the test and attempt the page again. I think that is a great encouragement for children as it’s not just “you’re wrong so you only get this percentage” it instead gives the chance for learning what the answer should be by correcting themselves and in the end receive a score of 100 percent, which is something everyone always wants to receive. Obviously since I had a friend add it to their assignment previously, I definitely believe it is a valuable resource when educating or testing students on cyber safety.
This 3D Printer, which is still in the Kick-Starter phase, looks amazing. It is relatively cheap, averaging $100 a machine and is compatible with many smartphones. This appears to be a great implementation in many classrooms. It is only small so will only create small items, approximately 2 inches in length, but it will teach students the amazing new technology of 3D printing. It is probably best that it is small as you need to buy the ‘ink’ replacements just as you would for every 3D printer available. You are able to use a design created by OLO, one created and shared by another person, or even create your own (as long as you download a 3D creation software). As it is so small, it is light weight and portable, an advantage in classrooms.
My first day of Professional Experience was not great. Really really not great. OH! But I was wrong from last week, there are iPads, 6 for the school, I am not allowed to download anything and my mentor said I most likely wont find anything useful to use on them so there’s no point looking at them. She allows 40 minutes of computer use per week, only using the same software and nothing extra, and 30 minutes of iPad, dedicated purely to math, she has an interactive whiteboard but only uses it as a projector, nothing interactive about it. I spent hours, more than 30 minutes in the morning, all big lunch and over an hour after school trying to suggest ways I could implement ICT into a lesson plan… she came back with ‘What I normally do is google images for students to copy at art time or google a YouTube clip if I really need to.’ I am SO deflated. I actually really tried to be persuasive, which is crazy difficult for me, but I really tried, and I got nowhere. I have asked my liaison for advice on the matter. So much more, but I do not need to go into every detail.
I am so much more stressed now than I ever was before.
Oh and did I mention that my mentor is the mother of a guy I went to school with. The guy hated me beyond belief because I assisted in getting his best friend expelled. So there is no doubt that when my mentor goes home tonight to talk to her son about the crazy coincidence that I am her pre-service teacher, he will express his dislike for me, and she will not see me the same again. I am SO STRESSED right now. Honestly had a panic attack as soon as I got in my car to go home. Great first professional experience back after taking a year off. Just great.
I really like what Kelly has addressed in her blog post. Cyber safety and cyber smart children. All of her links are valuable, but I especially like the last link she presented from the QLD government‘s Cybersafety in Queensland state schools. It provides links for information on varying ages, information for parents, information for students, and social media tips and how to report on social media (which hopefully won’t be used until high school). This whole page is an extremely relevant tool to keep for educators when they need to present their students with information to warn against incorrect ICT usage.
So I have deliberated about making a blog post about this, but I feel it is something I need to get off my chest. Any of you on the Facebook page (by the way I really hope you are on the Facebook page because it is super useful) for this course will probably have already seen it. So I emailed my prac teacher in the last week of school about what ICT is available in the classroom, she didn’t respond so I have been looking on the school’s website. Turns out they only have a small number of desktops in the classroom with one lab that hosts 26 desktops which has to be shared by the whole school. It states that there is an interactive whiteboard in every classroom. I had never thought that the school would be this low on technology. It is quite distressing especially since it is an ICT based prac (why is it an ICT based prac? Why not a behaviour management prac??? I honestly feel ICT can be implemented through lesson plans on a non-prac subject). I know that I am not going to be penalised for having limited resources, I just have to be creative, but it seems much more difficult than it needs to be. I do understand that when we are educators we may have limited resources, but we wont be marked on prac and judged for the resources we use when we are real, qualified teachers. I feel like this prac is much more difficult than it needs to be, why has the prac office not considered these as requirements when finding us positions? I really really feel that the university has messed up in making an entire prac an ICT based unit.
Also – because my mentor teacher from the school hasn’t emailed back, I haven’t been able to complete Part B before prac because I do not know the context of the classroom other than the ICT information on the website. I feel like an assessment piece supposed to be completed before prac should NOT rely on another person responding to your contact… I mean it’s not like I can just turn up at the school before prac without first being invited by the teacher, so by depending on someone else’s response, it does not seem fair. I think this course needs to be redesigned. Also, no I don’t blame any of the lecturers or tutors for this course, I blame the university designing a prac around ICT and the prac office for not considering ICT when finding our places.