I have enjoyed this course and I feel that there have been some really beneficial activities that I have done within it. I feel that I have met my goals in terms of getting more ideas about the integration of technology into my classroom. I defiantly feel that I will be able to put these into practice next year, especially the use of a course wiki with my G.11 IB class. I have also found blogging to be very successful with my Writing Proficiency group. It was a pleasure to take part in this course, and I enjoyed working with a great group of colleagues on this.

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I have been working on an ESL and Science project, using the wetpaint wiki site to coordinate the collaboration. Although the topic of the collaboration was not entirely relevant to what I will be teaching next year, I was really happy to familiarize myself with using Wiki sites, which was one of my goals for this course. Also, it was great to hear the group’s ideas on the different types of projects that can be done, connecting schools and classrooms in different countries. It was also good to review the different ways of investigating whether websites are reliable or not.

 

 

In contrast to Freidman’s preposition that the world is flat, I have found an interesting article proposing that ‘the world is spiky’. As a Geography teacher I particularly like the way the indicators are represented on the world maps in this article:

 

 

http://creativeclass.com/rfcgdb/articles/other-2005-The%20World%20is%20Spiky.pdf

Using the language and concepts presented in from Thomas Freidman’s book ‘The World is Flat’ a number of projects have been developed where global collaboration takes place between classrooms around the world, based on the ’10 flatteners’ proposed by Freidman. I am interested in the way this concept applies to development and relationships between countries, as Friedman proposes in his Dell Theory of Conflict Prevention that countries that are interconnected due to their mutual roles in the global supply chain are less likely to go to war against each other. His preposition is that ultimately, globalization is a force for good. I believe that this concept can also be applied in the classroom, certainly if students in different countries and communicate with each other and are working together for a common goal, they are certainly much less likely to be in conflict with each other, and will be engaging in a worthwhile and valuable experience.

We have been working on the Pecha Kucha, a novel way of giving presentations with a rigorous set time limit of 20 seconds per slide and a limit of 10 slides in the presentation. I found the process of making the presentation very interesting, and the restrictions seem to promote creativity rather than stifle it. Of course, we can’t make all of our presentations in Pecha Kucha style, but we do need to be aware on how we use PowerPoint presentations in our classrooms, and how accessible and beneficial they are to student learning. I very much enjoyed this experience; and learnt a lot from the classes presentations.  However, I was a little disappointed with the delivery of my presentation, as one small mistake on a Pecha Kucha cannot be recovered as the slides automatically move from one to the other!

This was a practical session in which we worked in groups to produce a podcast on the use of IT in education. It was an enjoyable experience and it was satisfying to create a podcast from scratch in a few hours. We worked well as a team and spent time to plan the format of the podcast.  We then went to a quiet area to record the podcast. We did this in chunks, stopping after each key question in the discussion. Next came the editing part. The software Audacity was used for this. Once the podcast was downloaded to the PC from the digital sound recorder, we edited the podcast, and included music at the beginning and between the key questions. Finally, the podcast was uploaded online and is available at:

http://www.gcast.com/u/TechISM09/main?nr=1&&s=216212268

In this session, we discussed the strengths and weaknesses of using IT in the classroom, and it was great to hear the rest of the groups views on this. We also reviewed the rubrics for blogging. I am happy that my blogging on the WP blog also contributes to the course requirements. The second part of the session was more hands on, and we got to grips with using the Audacity software to create podcasts.

 

This was an interesting session, we were able to connect using skype with an edublogger from Korea. It was interesting to share views and interact using this medium, and the speaking was very thoughtful and had some interesting points to make about the use of technology in the classroom. What is coming more and more apparent to me is the importance of the way we actually use the tools available to us. I think that this is a really important focus, which should guide us when we integrate IT into the classroom.

I believe that web 2.0 has and will continue to change teaching and learning in a number of ways. As students continue to use newer technologies, they are able to connect with each other in so many mediums, rather than traditional face to face communication. Vast amounts of information can be accessed in seconds and teachers must encourage students to evaluate these sources of information. The process of carrying out research has also changed, as people increasingly use online sources rather than consult books and journals. New developments have also allowed more creativity and opportunities for collaboration in the classroom. Rather than the teacher as the sole authority on a topic, students can collaborate to complete wikis and comment on blogs. The time periods of the day in which education and learning traditionally take place has also been altered. The classroom can now also be a ‘virtual’ environment where students log in and participate in different parts of the world and at different times. In conclusion, the development in technology is exciting and a willingness to contribute and engage with these technologies is vital to ensure that we all get the most out of web 2.0.

Having attended two sessions of the Instructional Technologies course I now have more focus in terms of my aims for this course. Firstly, I want able to develop the use of student led collaborative note taking in class and create subject specific search engines for my IB Psychology and G.10 Geography class. I believe that this will be beneficial to students learning, and I hope that it will take on a life of its own as students add the websites they find to make a comprehensive search engine. Secondly, I want to develop my understanding of the technical terminology and the range of applications and features available to teachers and develop my ability to select the correct application for the task required. Thirdly, I want to know how to enhance the resources I already have such as PowerPoint presentations and collaborate with other teachers. I want to find new ways to use the blog I have already set up improve my own practice and ultimately, students learning experience. In conclusion, I believe that this course will allow me to reach these aims.