Sunday, May 12, 2013

Manaiakalani Innovative Teachers Academy 2013 Project

Manaiakalani Innovative Teachers Academy Project
Research Question

What difference can I make when children at Year 5 level enter a 1:1 digital learning environment and what skills are developed over time?

What are you going to do? I will be using a semi structured interview process.  
I will be using a checklist to measure the skills the children currently have. I am going to this this in Google forms as I can compare responses made by the target group over time. I will be gathering data and analysing data each term. The same questions will be asked. Probing will be used to explore the children’s thinking.

How are you going to measure it?
As a teacher I will be analysing their responses and will be implementing their needs into my planning. An example could be modelling to the class inserting a photo onto the blog, or making a comment onto someone else’s blog. The Google class site (Time table tab-weekly planning) will be used as evidence.
Having a day / week’s focus on a specific need.
The evidence will definitely be on the student blogs-hyperlinking the blogs into my analysis
Also taking screenshots of their progress, using the Teacher Dashboard.
Filming lessons which focus on needs
Interviewing students at the end of every term, to compare whether differences have been made
Using Google Forms (checklist type questions) to compare student responses over time.

Loading... Response Summary Click here to see the responses

Background Information:
In Week 3 of term 1, I interviewed ten students who were new to using netbooks and to digital learning. Eight out of the ten students started at Panmure Bridge School since they were five year olds. Two of the students came from another school within the cluster. My aim of the interview was to investigate the prior E-Learning / Digital experience these students had last year, their roles and responsibilities if they had any, the management of the class blog, learning opportunities to give online feedback and the specific skills they had / needed to know to become successful digital learners at Year 5 level.

Nine questions were asked to these students.

1. What experience have you had with E-Learning in your class last year?
The results show that the class computers were mainly used for word processing, mainly typing of work that would go onto the class blog. Some of the work came from Written Language where students would type out and publish recounts and narratives onto their class blog. Study Ladder and Maths games were used in class. Writing was also saved onto the desktop of the class computer.

2. How often were the class computers used?
There was a mixed response to this question. In this class, the amount of computer time was inconsistent and would not be regular for these students. Three students said that they would go onto the class computers once  a week. Some of the responses were: 2 hours a week, sometimes when I finish my writing I would publish my work onto the class blog, every day for ten minutes, a few times a week.

3. Did you have any roles / responsibilities?
One of the students (Thomas) was the E-Learning monitor for his class last year. Thomas was asked by the Teacher  to help edit other students' work before it was published online. Thomas is a highly capable student, who has excellent leadership potential. Two of the students interviewed acknowledged Thomas' role. The rest of the group said that they did not have any roles or responsibilities with monitoring the class computers last year.

4. Who managed the class blog?
The class teacher was the person students saw who managed the class blog. It was the teacher who would decide what content would go up. Two of the interviewed students said the username and password was either given to Thomas to type in and create new posts or it was displayed up onto the wall for others to type in to access the blog. Students would type their work onto a new post which would have been created by Thomas or the by the Teacher. Two of the students who came from another school within the cluster said they had no experience with blogging in their class last year. It was the Teacher students believed did most of the work and decided the content on the work that goes up onto the blog.

5. Did you have any opportunities to give online feedback?
There was a mixed response to this question. Five out of the ten students were given opportunities to give online feedback. The online feedback entailed making comments on the class blog.  
Three out of the five students would go on individually to make blog comments, while the other two students would make comments in a small group. The other five out of ten students were not given opportunities to give online feedback.

6. How were the classroom computers used last year?
It was common for the classroom computers last year to be used for typing and drawing by the majority (6/10) of the group. Kid Pix was a common programme to use within the group. A minority of the group 3/10 students stated their classroom computers were used for gaming purposes. This would be either in the morning or during Maths time.

It appears that the E-Learning experiences varied amongst the students interviewed. Some of the students had greater time on the class computers and would be given opportunities to make online comments. The E-Learning programme mainly entailed typing, drawing and playing games. This was done independently where students were expected to complete task like activities. There was no evidence of the pedagogy: Learn, Create, Share. The ownership of the class blog was very much teacher directed.
 It was common that if students had finished their writing in their books they would go onto the class computers to type out their work onto a newly created post made by the teacher or by Thomas.  It was more of a selected group that would have this type experience. It was clearly evident that Thomas had greater opportunities to explore and learn new skills through his role as an E-Learning monitor.
There is a need for all students to be given the same experiences and opportunities to be digital learners at this year level.Valuable E-Learning experiences need to be taught to the whole class so that all students can take part in activities given.

The next set of questions were skill based questions. As the classroom teacher of this new group of students I wanted to examine: What technical skills these students would be bringing into the classroom.  
As I'm into my third year as a netbook teacher, I knew from my own teaching and experiences the desired skills that were needed to be a successful digital learner in Room 5.
I created a checklist so that I could tick off the skills the students could independently do on their own, without the support from others.

The Checklist entailed these questions:
Can you independently without the support from others:

Sign into your Google Account  (6)
Open a Google Document (3)
File your work under: Reading, Writing, Maths, Inquiry (2)
Share work with others (0)
Use Google Spreadsheets (0)
Use Google Draw (0)
Use Google Presentations (0)
Insert / embed presentations onto your blog (0)
Log onto your blog (2)
Fill out the post requirements (0)
Create a new blog post (1)
Insert a photograph onto your blog post (2)
Insert a movie onto your blog post   (0)
Insert a photograph from Picasa  (0)
Download a photograph and upload it onto your blog  (0)
Use a webcam to make a movie   (0)
Take a screenshot and upload it onto your blog   (0)
Comment to others on their blogs  (7)
Write reflections on your learning   (1)
Make a copy of a Google Document and label it correctly  (0)
Click on Hyper links which take you to websites   (0)
Use Web 2.0 applications such as Popplet, Lucid Charts  (0)
Access the class site   (0)
Use Google Search Engines   (6)
Put content from the web into your own words   (1)
Locate your own individual blog at home / anywhere  (1)
Visited the class blog   (6)
Check your emails   (0)
Watched You Tube videos   (8)
Embed You Tube videos into your own work  (0)
Search for Google images and save them correctly   (1)
Do you know what it means to be a Cyber Smart Learner   (2)
Do you know how to care for your Netbook   (3)
None of the above   (0)

The common skills that the children were familiar with are: Signing into a Google Account, Opening a Google Account, visiting the class blog, and watching you tube videos.
One of the contributing factors as to why students were able to sign into a Google Account was that the accounts were set up last year. The entire class worked with me in logging into their Google Accounts and Creating a Google Document. They were then shown how to file their work under the files: Reading, Writing, Maths and Inquiry. Eight out of ten students were able to access and watch You Tube videos independently. This is quite alarming and this could be down to a number of variables such as: the older siblings have You Tube accounts, parents and guardians watch you tube videos, peer pressure, trends etc. Seven students were able to make comments independently. It is interesting as five out of ten students were able to make blog comments in class, yet seven students claim they are able to comment independently without support. Two out of those seven students might have computers at home which they can go on to reinforce online commenting.

The common needs of this group are:
Using Google Applications - Spreadsheets, Presentations, Draw, Sharing work with others,
Blogging: Logging into a blog, Creating new posts, filling out the required areas, inserting photographs, inserting movies, inserting Picasa and Internet images onto the blog, taking screenshots,
Using Web 2.0 Applications:

The ten students who have entered into my classroom have minimal technical skills. This is to be expected as you don't know what you don't know. The checklist areas are new terminology for the students and they may never have come across it. The majority of the students can access their Google Accounts. This was due to me taking a Manaiakalani Release Day last year and working with the class to ensure that the students were able to log into their accounts. During the lesson the students were shown how to create a Google Document and how to file it.

Where to from here?

On Friday April 12th, I decided to interview my Year 6 students who were taught as Year 5 students by me last year. I wanted to examine the prior knowledge and skills of these students before they got their netbooks and what skills they needed to become a really successful netbook learners in Room 5. I also wanted them to identify what we / I could do better with equipping the students to be digital learners in Year 4 so that it would also be a smooth transition for them when they reach Year 5. I also wanted them to make suggestion on what they would like to know / learn on their netbook.

Five questions were asked to these students:

When you got your netbook last year was there anything you knew what to do?
Only about three of the students answered this question.
Some of the students within the group were able to get onto the internet.  Most of the Year 6's had experiences using the software programme called Comic Life to create posters on topics. One of the students was able to get onto the internet and to do research. She was familiar with using the website Wikipaedia.

Did you learn this at home / school?

It was a mixed response from the group.
Half of the group were able to learn these skills at home, as they had computers at home while the other half of the group learnt the skills at school. When prompted about the skills that were taught to them at school, members of the group learnt to save work onto the hard drive and server, as well being taught to Comic Life at school.

What things do you need to know to be really successful netbook learners in Room 5? What do you need to know?

There were four common themes that were identified by these students on what they thought they needed to know to become really successful netbook learners.
These themes fitted under:

Google Apps
Web 2.0 applications
Cyber Safety

Google Apps consisted of:- learning how to get onto Google Drive, using Google Presentations, Google Draw, knowing where to go to get the documents, make copies, accessing the class site, knowing how to log into Google Apps to access email, sharing work with others so you can give each other feedback.

Blogging: Logging into the blog, how to create new blog posts, editing, title, label posts, publish posts. Taking screenshots and uploading them onto a blog, using Picasa images and learning how to rotate pictures so that they can easily be uploaded onto the blog, learning about about embedding codes under HTML and changing sizing if needed.

Web 2.0: Learning to use Popplet and Wordle were the two examples given. Learning how to share and accessing the embed code, so that it can be copied and inserted under the HTML tab in the blog post.

Cyber Safety: Understanding the legalities of age to join sites such as You Tube, Face Book. Learning about legalities of downloading music, movies, installing games and using images (Creative Commons). Understanding who owns the email addresses: the student or the school.

What could we do better?
Teaching us about the legalities sooner, rather than waiting for the need to arise. Teacher to track history more often. Understanding the legal ages for joining such sites as: Facebook, You Tube, Pinterest, Twitter, etc. More awareness around being a safe digital learner.

Sharing of knowledge-student mentors.
Students sharing their knowledge to new people on the computers. Sharing our individual blogs and showing our work to people. Telling them how to do it, how to publish work, telling them not to go on inappropriate sites. To make an orientation video for new users to Netbooks and Chrome books.

What would you like to know / learn using your netbook?
The students interviewed would like to use Comic Life and Kid Pix equivalents on their netbooks. The students would like to explore the Chrome Store more. To learn to use the Webcam more and to use apps that promote the use of the webcam more.


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