Australian Curriculum in Queensland — assessment and reporting advice and guidelines

I’m sure some of you have come across this before, but to be honest I hadn’t even looked at the QCAA website until this course, so this is new information for me. I am also betting some of you have just gone straight to the standard elaborations and not looked around. Well I have found this document very valuable, not only in ICT, but in all subjects. The document is “Australian Curriculum in Queensland — assessment and reporting advice and guidelines”. This one I linked is for ICT prep-2 but they are there for every subject and every year level. They are full of valuable information including recommended hours per year to spend on that designated topic, which just seems so important to people beginning their career in education and are unsure on how to manage their time. So it’s on QCAA under specific curriculum links (not standard elaborations) and includes in the title ACiQ – Australian Curriculum in Queensland. The documents have plenty of figures and flow charts that demonstrate what you are meant to be doing with students over the length of a unit, what key elements need to be hit (not the subject matter but more how to teach it). I have found it very useful in my last assessment where I had to justify why my unit plan was valid and reliable, different to this subjects last assessment. It seriously is so helful. Go check it out!

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Professional Experience is Looming.

So I just opened the Professional Experience Booklet (the link will open the PDF) for the first time. I am so scared. Haha… I’ve never completed a prac with this university before, I’ve also never completed a prac in a school before, only ever in an early learning centre (x2) and a kindergarten. After reading that on your first day there you are meant to be able to teach a third (A THIRD!?!?!) of the lessons in the classroom, I am just petrified. Obviously they will not all be ICT based as by the end you are meant to teach 2/3 every day and I have a feeling my mentor will not be that well equipped with ICT lesson plans. Still… I have only once been in a prep classroom so I could make observations for an assignment, and even then it was only a couple of hours. I do not feel that I have had enough pracs or enough training to be able to teach a whole classroom of 19 students on my first full day visit to an actual classroom (heck, I’ve only just figured out some clothing choices that seem appropriate teacher wear). I really am scared. Also, I have crippling anxiety along with anxiety attacks which is why I changed to online study in the first place, so yeah that added bonus will be good in front of the unfamiliar classroom.
On the other hand, continuing reading that same page it dictates that you are to also observe a year 4-6 classroom one lesson each week (as I am in the Early Childhood part of BEDU), which I am looking forward to, I only wish I could do a bit more observing in the main classroom too… I feel like I’ve been thrown in the deep end a bit.
In preparation to prac, I’m quite worried about how much ICT my mentor will actually use. In my previous experiences the early learning centre used literally none, the only time I saw anything electrical – other than a CD at nap time – was when at 6.30pm a few parents still hadn’t picked their children up (even though the centre is meant to close at 6pm) and they brought out an old tv set with a video machine to play a movie for the children because staff was dwindling. Also, remembering back to that quiz we had in the first couple of weeks about “Is this an ICT” I don’t think the analogue television even counted as a form of ICT, right? In the kindergarten, the only ICT used was a tablet and students were limited to a small handful of minutes per week; there was also a special occasion and there was a YouTube video played of like some form of dance performed in lederhosen. So as you can see, the area that I live in has so far not been very promising in the way of ICT use for educating children. I am a bit worried this prac will be a little wasted on non ICT lesson plans presented by the teacher. I will just have to make sure to implement plenty of lessons that include ICT use to make up for it if necessary. Seriously nerve wracked though.

As instructed in a week 4 learning book, we are to have a read of this blog post or original article. I am responding in majority to the blog post. How many people, how many educators, must the information have to have gone past before being used in an instructional video? Surely there would have been someone on their education team able to notice that it was not an appropriate educational video as it would end up confusing children an incredible amount. I’m not saying this for all educational videos, but just for the Decimals: choosing a number to represent place value, when it’s something that takes longer than a 1 minute and 6 second long video to teach, maybe leave it up to the educators. The comments on the blog post are closed, so I can’t ‘skim’ them, and the link that is accessible through the learning book, the research paper, isn’t opening for me, I don’t know if it’s just me or everyone, so sorry I don’t have a response for that. Seriously though, the quote from the original article:

I think frankly, the best way to do it is you put stuff out there and you see how people react to it; and we have exercises on our site too, so we see whether they’re able to see how they react to it anecdotally.  – Sal Khan, Harvard’s EdCast. 

Maybe if they had actually responded to the comment made on the original article, and considered what was said before uploading another confusing video that could harm children’s education, they wouldn’t have ended up with a blog post dedicated to the outrage people are showing for the quality of their educational videos, as evident by the numerous comments on the original article. I hope that none of the people on Khan’s education team were actually personally educating children at that time.

I know this blog post was a little harsh, but I really think that the education of children needs to be taken seriously, as the saying goes, children’s brains are link a sponge and whatever information you give them, they take in, they don’t know that it’s wrong until it’s too late. Makes sure you are teaching them valuable information that will assist in the long run, not hinder.

I made a quiz!

So I was reading the end of the week 6 learning book, and noticed the information on quizzes. Though it said something about it’s not great to overdose on them at university level, I thought I’d try making one. It’s a new learning experience for me, and it seemed pretty interesting… so I made one! I just found the first quiz generator that google supplied, I hope it is adequate. The quiz is three questions long, so not much, and it’s based on the Technologies curriculum in the Australian Curriculum. It’s just a bit of fun, so give it a go! Oh, and don’t cheat! Oh gosh I hope it works. If it doesn’t, someone please let me know. Comment on this blog on how you went with your score! Here is the quiz link: http://goo.gl/sfOKlk

In response to Kristie’s post

In week 5’s books (yes I’m way behind, but I’m catching up slowly, I’ve been focusing on a 50% assignment without much consideration for anything else) we were asked to view and have a response for Kristie’s blog post. I agree with her groups statement that “the focus of ICT should be on the pedagogy, not the technology”. I feel in addition to her comments, perhaps it would be beneficial in the future for the Australian Curriculum to not only incorporate the ‘technology’ curriculum and strands, but actually just make that a part of each curriculum’s learning needs rather than having a curriculum completely based on technology. For example, The Arts curriculum, Music strand, making a learning need be for children to be able to adequately use a software that children can create music on, like GarageBand for Apple or a similar product on varied operating systems. Given that this is a relatively basic software it would be appropriate that its use was focused to foundation to grade 2 year levels, maybe even to grade 4. A content descriptor they currently have is: “Create compositions and perform music to communicate ideas to an audience (ACAMUM082)” Pretty much just using that but adding the use of ICT to create that composition would be valuable.

Looking at Kristen’s blog post: https://kristen5347.wordpress.com/2016/08/11/i-feel-so-lost/ I can completely relate, except for in the opposite way (she had trouble going from Ipads to tablets, I’m the other way around). Though I am not in a hired professional setting yet, I feel the way she does so much about every day technology. My sister and brother are extremely experienced with the company Apple, they always have the new phones and laptops – oh sorry, macbooks – ever since the first one came out they have been crazed fans, always excited about the new features, but I have always had trouble. I was probably 13 when my sister first showed me her Iphone, trying to teach me to simply ‘swipe to unlock’ seemed way more difficult than it needed to be, what happened to the simple turn on/off button on the keypads. Since that time I have used an Ipod, I got one for my birthday one year and picked up the basics, press this button to play this song, never figured out how to put movies on it or anything, but seriously, it has been sitting in my bedside table longer than I care to admit. I have learnt how to use an Ipad in recent years though, my brother’s partner had the first version ever released, then handed it to my brother, then my dad, then my mum, and now that pretty much everyone else has had a go on it I have it, so it is useful as I can look up new apps I can use with children when I am running my own classroom, but that machine is years old, I mean how many newer versions have there been since? Well my mum recently got the newest Ipad, and I normally if there’s a problem with the PC I can help her fix it, but when it comes to her new Ipad, I just say ‘nope, I have no idea’ because I really don’t. So even though I have grown up with these technologies around me, I’m still don’t understand them well, and trust me it’s not from lack of trying, so if there is anyone else out there reading this blog feeling the same, just remember you’re not alone, technology can escape people of any age, I’m 21.

My revised somewhere – apt for assessment task two

Obviously looking at assessment two, my optimal choice for ‘my somewhere’ is not appropriate, given that if I can choose a primary school setting, I pretty much must. So my preferred classroom in an early learning centre won’t work. So my new ‘somewhere’ is going to have to be in a year one class, though to be completely honest I’m not sure what year level I will be placed in, I don’t know how to find that information out, but it will be either prep, year one or year two, so I will choose the class in the middle and opt to make my place a year one classroom. It will be a standard classroom at a standard government endorsed school with a standard classroom size of 24 or so students. I will still maintain that the class will have tablets of some kind, preferably a minimum of one per pair of students, still an easi-scope as mentioned in an earlier blog post, and interactive whiteboard. I intend to use the English curriculum, the learning area will be language as I am most intimidated by that section, as if the child doesn’t understand that, they will have great difficulty with every aspect of education further on in their life. Link to the curriculum and relevant year level: http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/english/curriculum/f-10?layout=1#level1  I intend to use this curriculum despite one of the books in week four stating it was more difficult as “… it doesn’t make the distinction between constructing (declarative) and transforming (procedural) objectives.” Linked here: http://usqstudydesk.usq.edu.au/m2/mod/book/view.php?id=587101&chapterid=42240

Life Cycle Lesson Plan

Created by Melanie Lacey

Year Level: 4                  Curriculum: Science                       Learning Area: Biology / Life Cycles

Time: 45 minutes, 1 lesson

Australian Curriculum Content Descriptor: Science Understanding: Biological Science; Science as a Human Endeavour: Nature and Development of Science; Knowledge and Understanding: Digital Technologies.

Australian Curriculum Links: (ACSSU072); (ACSHE061); (ACTDIK007).

Prior Knowledge: Know how to use an Ipad. Basic understanding of the concept of a life cycle.

Learning Outcomes: More knowledgeable on life cycles, specifically butterflies. Understand the words: pupa, larvae and chrysalis. Know how to use the life cycle app.

Resources Needed: “Life Cycle of a Butterfly” video: https://youtu.be/O1S8WzwLPlM

Ipads with “A Life Cycle App” – can be downloaded here: http://www.ipadsforeducation.vic.edu.au/education-apps/apps/99-a-life-cycle-app

“Life Cycle of a Butterfly fill in the blanks” PowerPoint by Melanie Lacey: Life Cycle of a Butterfly fill in the blanks

Lesson:

Introduction <10 minutes: Everyone sitting at their desks, the teacher will play the entire class the “Life Cycle of a Butterfly” video. Before playing, the teacher should remind the students to pay close attention because the information they learn in the video will be needed at the end of the lesson.

Main 25 minutes: Make the Ipads available to the children, preferably one per child but can be paired or grouped depending on availability. Ask them to open “A Life Cycle App” and allow them to investigate the app as much as they would like, basically free time for use with the app, looking up anything that interests them. Alternatively, if the teacher has specific learning opportunities in mind they can list specific cycle names for the children to research. Have the children hand back the tablets and sit back at their desks.

Conclusion 10 minutes: Open the “Life Cycle of a Butterfly fill in the blanks” PowerPoint for the class to view. Ask the children to remember back to the video and have them raise their hands if they know what number ones answer is, then two etc. If wanting to extend the lesson, ask the children questions relating to the video like “How long do the pupa stay in the chrysalis? (15 days)” or “What happens to the egg shells once the larvae come out? (the larvae eat the shell)”.

A valuable resource

By the way, I was looking at Jay’s blogs, and this one has such a useful link, his blog: https://jaymedc3100.wordpress.com/2016/07/27/theory-overload/  the valuable link: http://www.instructionaldesign.org/about.html – scroll to the bottom of their page and click on a link like Theories to help you out when you want to learn some new ones or need a useful one for a current assignment.
I wish I had read this before making my last couple of blog posts as it would have helped me out finding something a bit more valuable to link to human information processing. But I will definitely be using it in the future. It’s a site that contains 50 different theories/concepts relating to learning information. It seems like a very valuable resource. Definitely favouriting that one.

Are digital technologies making us anti-social?

I got the one question quiz incorrect, they say it isn’t making us anti-social, though it is much more of a complex question than just that. I can understand that it seems similar, the photo of all the people looking at the newspaper on the street corner compared with all the people looking at their phones waiting for the subway. It just doesn’t seem as simple as that, when looking at the newspapers, you’re learning about the world, you are becoming more informed on your surroundings and you will have conversation topics to start in response to what you’ve read. Depending on what you’re doing on your phone, it may be making you anti-social. If you’re with a group of people and instead of being enthralled by their conversation, you are playing Candy Crush, you are limiting conversation you can present while also preventing the input of information from peers. However if you are looking at your phone and emailing people, looking up the news, or even looking up what even you can go to and actually be social at in the future then it is assisting in making you a social being. That’s what I believe anyway, that being social or anti-social is a matter of context and is not just determined by having a screen in front of you.