Thursday, November 17, 2011

Excited about learning

As a parent of  2 school age children I always find it interesting how they view their learning and school. My eldest likes structure, she likes to know what is happening when, what the expectations are and how she can improve, she will say that "I love school and learning". When she has a test she looks forward to it to see what she has learnt, needless to say her teachers like her input in the classroom and she isn't a know it all! Next year she will start high school, I think she will be fine.

My middle daughter always gets the diligence award, and always tries her best, however she goes to school for: hip hop, art and sport. She is a quiet member of the class but always tries her best. Her comments on school are "It's boring", her teacher is great, works hard and has her students best interest at heart. But this daughter needed a different way to learn.
So something had to change for her and guess what, she is excited about school for the first time. We took a look at the Discovery School this week and she loved it. She told her Learning Adviser 'I have always wanted to learn about the Bermuda Triangle'. On the way home she was completely excited about planning her project of her choice and this is what she wants to do:
Create a website about Christmas around the world. With information on different cultures and how they celebrate Christmas. What food they have and what traditions are important. She wants to try making a Christmas item of food from another culture, review some Christmas movies, create a fundraiser to get food for Womens Refuge 'because they might need help over Christmas time', maybe skype some students in another country. Her ideas are endless and the work will come with putting it together and following through when the excitement wears off.

So what of the Bermuda Triangle...'I can do that next year, Christmas is soon!'
Wow how exciting is that!
Here is a link to the Discovery School

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Schools of the Future...what my Year 9s think

I recently asked my Year 9 girls to complete a piece of formal writing about what schools in the future would look like. Here is a summary:
·         Large open space classrooms with lots of natural light – so students can move around and learn
·         All students will have Ipads/tablets – that way you only have to take one thing to school,and you can find      
       all the answers quicker
·         No uniforms  - the ties choke you and the school shoes are uncomfortable
·         Giant touch screen Ipads for whiteboards
·         Schools should be bigger with more students and people
·         Lots of trips to learn about new cultures
·         School hours 10-2 only 4 days long
·         Hologram teachers so they can teach from different places
·         No more books, laptops instead
·         More fitness classes because of all the technology
·         No moving from class to class all the time
·         Learning should be ‘fun, convenient and exciting’ everyday would be different
·         Veggie garden and plants
·         We shouldn't be sitting writing lines about pasta -we should be taking part in a professional restaurant –   
      we would store this in our brain better.
·         Projects instead of boring stuff
·         The world has lots of amazing technology why don’t schools? Schools will have all the technology.

    Monday, November 7, 2011

    Taking the Ego out of teaching!

    It seems to me there is a bit of fear around the use of web 2.0, social media and technology in the classroom, still. I think we need to 'let go' a bit in the classroom. We need to be letting students use the tools they have to learn; to discover the answers. When we acknowledge that we don't know it all and that we can learn just as much from the students, a more relevant type of learning takes place. One where discovery is encourage and deeper learning can take place. A lot of teachers are embracing a new way of teaching/learning and this was very evident at the Ulearn conference. I keep going back to my notes (which are on Google Docs and on my smart phone!) and questioning 'Why?' and then asking 'How?'. 
    It is an exciting time to be back at school!

    Tool of the day!
    Skype in the classroom over 18000 teachers online making connections and blazing the trail.