Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Electronic Portfolios

These are some of the key themes that I found out on the educational benefits of Electronic Portfolios. Check out my Wordle.



Through doing further reading on E-Learning and Electronic Portfolio's there are more terms that could be added to this Wordle. Unfortunately one of the pitfalls with Wordle, you cannot update it after it has been made.
Electronic Portfolios fit under the read / write web (Roder & Hunt, 2008). This would enable members of the public e.g. family and the wider community to read the information and to write in the form of comments to the author of the portfolio. Sharing, participation and collaboration are strongly linked to Electronic Portfolios.
According to Shamburg (2009) "Digital technologies have given us unprecedented abilities to create media and content to express ourselves to various and wide audiences" (p.8).
Electronic Portfolios encourage anyone to be a writer and a contributor with the sharing of knowledge and ideas. Anyone can be a creator.
The integration of curriculum areas link extremely well to Electronic Portfolios. Any area of the curriculum can be integrated into Electronic Portfolios. A variety of mediums can be used such as audio, video and text (Shamburg 2009). Podcasts and Video can be uploaded and reflected upon. A number of platforms can be used in creating an Electronic Portfolio. These are some of the platforms: Blogger, Mahara, Moodle, Google Sites, My Portfolio and Knowledge Net.

References:

Roder, J., & Hunt, A.N. (2008). The curriculum of the future: Exploring the educational potential of new developments in web-based digital tools. In C.M. Rubie-Davis, & C. Rawlinson (Eds.), Challenging thinking about teacher learning. New York: Nova Science Publishers.

Shamburg, C. (2009). Student powered podcasting. Teaching for 21st Century literacy (pp.5-18). Washington, DC: ISTE

Saturday, May 15, 2010

My Experiences with Podcasting

Check out the movie I have made on how I use Podcasting in my classroom.


video

This is an example of a student podcast, that was made last year by one of my students.
This podcast is based on a Poetry unit and the children learned the structure of Haiku Poems. There's nothing like seeing / hearing something in action made by the children.


video

When implementing podcasting in a whole class setting, there needs to be a lot of training done around managing noise level of children, especially those who are not recording.
I think that's one of the pitfalls. This can easily be addressed. I use a traffic light system to highlight the appropriate noise level for when I am recording children. This is a visual aid which sets expectations for noise level in the classroom.
If you have a very young class it maybe the teacher that is editing the podcast at the end before it is uploaded onto a Blog or Wiki. Making podcasts can be quite a time consuming process, however it can be extremely rewarding in a number of ways. Children can get to listen to themselves speak and can critique their own performance. Podcasting can help build confidence for children around speaking clearly, loudly and with expression. From my own experience, Podcasting provides motivation and engagement for students. It can be integrated into all of the curriculum areas and links to the Ministry of Education's Key Competencies: "Managing Self", "Relating to Others", "Using language, Symbols and Text", "Participating and Contributing", and "Thinking".

References:

Ministry of Education, (2007) The New Zealand Curriculum, Wellington: Learning Media

Saturday, May 8, 2010

How private are we?

Yesterday I attended the Manaiakalani Lead Teachers' Meeting (E-Learning Cluster Meeting). The first discussion we had was on the topic of privacy. In our decile 1 school settings we are very fortunate to have parents that give their permission for their child's images and work to go up onto a public blog which can be accessed by any one 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The children are known by their first name. Other schools of a higher decile are not so lucky as parents refuse for their child's identity and work to be displayed on the Internet. Therefore principals make the decision for students work to be kept under a private domain within the school.
Yet the exposure of childrens' identities and images, could be occurring outside of school hours, no matter what socio economic position you are in. Due to social networking sites such as Face Book, parents could easily upload pictures of their children or post videos of their child onto this site, under their name.
Depending on their facebook settings it is not too hard for members of the public to access these images. What makes things worse is the fact that the child's first and last name are there or if the child's first name is there, it is not too hard to make the connection between the first and last name.
Besides the images, parents can easily write wall posts on these areas: milestones that the child achieves and behaviour as to how well their child behaved on a particular day. The wall posts can easily be used as an area for venting, especially if the child misbehaves or does something bad or embarrasing. The child doesn't have much of a say as to whether they want their private lives exposed to the rest of the world or to a small group of friends in a positive or negative way.

The questions lie what's worse: Putting childrens' work and images onto a class blog celebrating their progress in a positive way, where the children are reflective practitioners
or Parents uploading their child's images, videos outside of school hours where the child's reputation can be perceived as either positive or negative

What are your thoughts on this subject?
I am keen to get your feedback on this subject, so please leave a comment.

This You Tube clip discusses how children these days have an individual dossier, from the time that they are born right through until death. However, the individual dossier could live on after death, through tributes and activities the person has been involved in.

Reference:
Digitalnatives (August 13, 2008) Digital Dossier (Video file) Retrieved from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79IYZVYIVLA

Monday, May 3, 2010

Setting the purpose

Over the weekend I read a number of readings about how ICT / E-Learning needs to have a clear purpose and that the use of technologies should link to sound theory and pedagogy. This got me thinking about the school blogs and making it clear to staff why we have them. We have had new staff members come in and have been shown the technical aspects, but have not had it explained to them the purpose as to why we have blogging at school. Today I did a presentation at the staff meeting as to why we have class blogs. This led to my next proposal to the staff around sharing their class blogs at school assembly. My vision is having a time slot in assembly called "Blog of the Week", celebrating childrens' work. A lot of great work goes up on the blogs, but the next steps are to share them in the assembly and to comment / reflect on the pieces of work on a regular basis. It is a matter of sharing the love of learning with others and in the process leaving our Digital Footprint, so that our blogs become highly recognized by the global community. Here is my presentation that I presented to the staff today called: Setting the purpose and Celebrating our classes work.


video

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Assignment 2

I have decided to focus my proposal on E-Portfolios. At the moment, my school uses a clear file to store artifacts which include one off assessments and snap shots of students work. These clear files go home twice a year June and December. In my team, the content samples are decided by the syndicate leader and not by the child. It is a mandatory, generic process. These portfolios are very much teacher driven and lack the ongoing aspect of reflection by the child, parents and teacher. These portfolio's are kept for a year during the time in which the child is in your classroom, but then the portfolio goes home at the end of the year and as teachers we never view that childs' portfolio again. Where the actual portfolio ends up at home is another question as to whether it is kept over a period of time or thrown out. This can be a waste of teacher time, money and resources e.g. photocopying, coloured copying, if the portfolio is be thrown out in the rubbish. The following year a new portfolio is created and goes through the same cycle.

I believe these portfolios are not an ongoing record of progress over time and I feel that E-Portfolios have so much potential in students' learning. They can be used as a record of individual assessment and reflection throughout time. Also E-Portfolio's enables students to have more ownership as to the content that is displayed on them and the layout of their individual portfolio.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Reflecting on the Readings in whether ICT raises student achievement

From the reading I have done, there is very little research and data gathered in whether Computers in the classroom raise student achievement.
Kirkpatrick & Cuban's (1998) article on Computers make kids smarter-right? critiques the flaws in the research on this subject and the mistakes researchers make with lack of aim /purpose, data gathering and effectiveness statements.
The effectiveness statements from a lot of studies lack credibility and are of little use, unless there is elaboration on the childrens' ages, the subject, the software used, the kinds of outcomes that were sought, and how the study was done (Kirkpatrick & Cuban 1998). Over the years, I have been doing university study on this subject e.g. computers, technologies, pod casting, digital story telling etc, I have noticed that a lot of research articles that appear on the databases do not cover these aspects.

* Type of study being conducted: Qualitative or Quantitative
* The aim / focus as to why the research is being conducted
* Name of the school
* Sample size
* Participants - age, year group and number required
* Methodology
* Groupings:- experimental, control, random
* Data Gathering e.g. interviews, test, survey, (frequency of this process)
* Findings / Results
* Data Analysis
* Summary
* Evaluation / Conclusion

Kirkpatrick & Cuban (1998) highlights that a lot of material on the use of technologies in the classroom do not have a clear focus / purpose on what the technology is used for, why it is used and how it relates to the learning.
Another area research falls down is when standardized tests are used for comparing student progress before and after the computer technologies are implemented (Kirpatrick & Cuban). This type of assessment does not measure what the computer has taught the students. This type of assessment is like comparing apples with bananas. There are so many other influences which may determine whether one group performs better than the other group.

One of the interesting aspects I found out from Kirkpatrick & Cuban's article was how magazines, newspapers and policy briefs are very selective in which studies they cite and sometimes ignore the research findings. It makes me wonder whether to believe everything I read on this subject if the content is biased and not research driven. A lot of misinterpretations can easily occur, without the full facts. It makes us all gullible to misled information.

Another article I've read was Schacter and Fagnano (1999) on Does Computer Technology Improve Student Learning and Achievement? How, When, and under what Conditions? In this article a range of software programmes were reviewed that fitted under Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL), Intelligent Tutoring systems.
The results from the implementation of these software programmes enabled these areas to be explored further inquiry learning, reflection, collaboration, co-operative learning, design and creativity. Learning improved more so than traditional classroom teaching methods. This was through ensuring computer technologies are designed according to different educational and psychological theories and principles.
I believe the key to this success was making sure that the technology integrated with what the students were currently learning.
Schacter & Fagnano (1999) argue meaningful learning computer technologies need to be designed to align with sound learning theory and pedagogy.

So overall as educators we need to have a clear purpose as to why we are using a particular technology to enhance student learning and we also need to relate it back to sound learning theory and pedagogy.

Kirkpatrick, H,. & Cuban (1998) Computers make kids smarter. Techno Quarterly, (7) 2

Schacter, J., & Fagnano, C. (1999). Does computer technology improve student learning and achievement? How, when, and under what conditions? Journal of Educational Computing Research, 20(4), 329-343.