Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Knowledge Building

Earlier this month I went down to Wanaka to attend and present my initial findings from my first year trialing Knowledge Forum and Knowledge Building at the Knowledge Building Symposium. There are a number of us from across various curriculum levels that are part of the TRLI project. It was brilliant to be with like minded people and to hear their experiences.

This is a link to a Prezi on my findings.

My Reflection

The Knowledge Building ideas and principles I found very easy to integrate into my teaching, I think for the most parts elements were already there. I did focus on the: 'community of learners' and 'knowledge belong to the community', 'all ideas are improvable'. These areas were easy for the students to grasp and gave us a platform to launch from.

Using the Basic Mode in Knowledge Forum was more complicated, not as pretty and students did struggle at times to engage initially. However as we jumped into the use of it, students managed to understand and get to grips with what was happening. They did like the fact they could go into clusters based on their interest and deepen their understanding of their chosen topic. 

Student essays I found managed to reach a high level based on the understanding and discussion they had. It enabled them more readily to reach a more abstract (SOLO) level of understanding and link more clearly to the directors intention.

Overall I have enjoyed the process and am looking forward to next year.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The NZ E teachers - A sense of community

As I sit (eating spicy wedges) at Queenstown Airport I am reflecting on what an amazing community I am a part of and how they inspire me to improve as a teacher and try new ways. I have just spent the past 4 days (including my weekend!) learning, sharing and refocusing.

So what is it all about. 

After about 3 years of teaching (a few years ago now) I was lucky enough to be given a VC (Video Conferencing) class. I had 3 F2F students and the rest were at the other end of the country. I taught one lesson a week on the VC and then helped the students through their work via Google Sites and what ever web 2.0 tools fitted the situation. This was through Otagonet. The Otagonet community of E-teachers  were and are a brilliant group of teachers: supportive, challenging and yet all focused on the same goal. Through Otagonet I met other teachers from throughout the VLN who are just as great as the Otagonet people

This experience led me to become involved in further study my MA in Teaching which then connected me to a TLRI trial on Knowledge Building and using Knowledge Forum. We have just had our first symposium this week and what a great learning experience. Reporting and hearing about how teachers are using Knowledge Building Principles and  their experiences with Knowledge Forum. 

What I really appreciated at the end of the day was not just the learning and developing of ideas but the laughter and fun we have all had over the past 4 days. I got to meet my VPLD online mentor  for the first time f2f, which was just great. This sense of community that for most of the year is online, but for a couple of days here and there when we get to meet up, I really value. I always feel rejuvenated and have the knowledge that what I am doing in the classroom with technology is on the right track. 

It was great to see those who were in Wanaka these past few days- just AWESOME.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Ulearn12 - Jason Ohler

Ulearn 2012 was another fantastic conference despite some technical difficulties. I will over the next few posts write about what I found interesting, and how I am implementing what I have learned. 

Jason Ohler talked about: Opening  a door  for students to follow their passion and achieve their best. Make the students the problem finders.

This struck a cord with me and when I returned to school I showed my class a 'youtube' clip on augmented reality. The task was to come up with all the problems something like'Google Glasses' could cause, then what are the solutions. The students got a real kick out of creating problems and solutions for something that is not yet 'real'. They presented their work either via video or paper based. 

I also appreciate the comment he made: "Dont give an 'A' for something moving on the screen - it has to be the content". We need to move beyond the 'wow' factor to the keeping the focus on content.