October 3, 2013 by Mrs Hurley
I am feeling a little small and insignificant today. In my chatting with other educators at last night’s Teach Meet (Thanks @charte – had a great time!) I mentioned that I had only attended one other Teach Meet before. Thinking about it, I would never had heard of Teach Meet in the first place had I not joined Twitter a few months ago. I can’t actually remember when I joined, I think it was the Easter holidays this year. Does anyone know how I can find out? I’m curious.
Anyway, it got me to thinking. I saw a lot of teachers last night who had given up their own time on their holidays to further their knowledge in Education. Although last night’s crowd was mostly younger (Margo said it, not me!) surely a lot of attendees would have kids and families at home? Yet they still make the time and effort to travel – some even from the country! – to listen to a bunch of other teachers talking and learning from their peers.
Many teachers are constantly making the efforts to improve their teaching and to improve the education, knowledge and lives of the students that they teach. When I first joined Twitter, I couldn’t and still can’t believe the amount of teachers and educators on Twitter who are so willing to share and engage in meaningful conversations.
Having a Twitter account is like having your own school and who you follow is like choosing your staff. Your Twitter feed is like listening to conversations in the staffroom. I just love that you get to choose which ones to tune into and participate in!
But what of teachers who aren’t on Twitter? Or connected in any other way? How important is it to be a connected educator? Tom Whitby has written extensively on the subject. One such post can be found here. He explains himself much better than I do, so I highly recommend you head over and have a read!
How are you connected? What are the benefits for you personally? What are the benefits for your classroom?
Category General Stuff | Tags: collaboration,connected,google apps,teachmeet,twitter | 6 Comments
August 25, 2013 by Mrs Hurley
Last week, I used Google Docs in the classroom for the first time. We used a template given to us at a recent PD to create a character profile and I had the students in their reading groups purely so the collaborative groups were smaller and easier to manage.
Here are a couple of things I learnt from this experience;
1. Collaboration needs to be explicitly taught! No matter how much I emphasised the ‘you cannot change, delete or contradict somebody else’s contribution’ rule, I had full-on arguments coming from some kids who just couldn’t agree! Negotiate was definitely not a word they knew.
2. A lot of technology knowledge in students is assumed. In general, people tend to believe that because the students I teach have grown up with computers, that they know everything about technology. From chatting to my students, it appears that the only things they use their school netbooks or home computers and other devices for is social media. Oh, and Maths games when they’re really bored on the weekend.
3. Nothing is explicit enough in my room. Unrelated to technology and the use of Google Docs but I’ve really noticed how helpless my students are when they need to think for themselves. Actually, this needs a whole post to itself.
Other than providing more opportunities to practise these skills (collaboration itself and new technologies), I am unsure as to how to teach these skills to my students. Am I throwing them into the deep end? Am I introducing too much at once?
What difficulties have you experienced when introducing new technologies/apps/websites in your classroom? How did you overcome these difficulties?
Category Tech Stuff | Tags: collaboration,docs,google,learning,student,student learning,technology | 4 Comments