Paperless Classrooms – Can it be done?

Earlier today I was reading a list of ways to be ‘green’ in the classroom. One of these mentioned using email to send students worksheets or information, rather than print outs. While considering this, I decided to see if this could go a step further. It turns out, it can!

Students can use a program such as Onenote or Evernote to create a practically paperless environment. These are great tools which create notebooks that students can embed their notes images, webpages and tables in, as well as many other items. Students can take photos of work completed on dry erase boards and embed them into their  notebook, or add images drawn in paint or directly into the program to illustrate mathematics concepts or formulas.

Students could also create ‘research journals’ and attach their notes, research and completed work into the notebook, while attaching links to the research for future access.

I can think of literally dozens more ideas for this tool and tools like it, and it’s an idea I’m very excited to integrate into my own classroom in the future. While classrooms may not become completely paperless, using this approach is sure to cut down on excessive paper while allow students to create more dynamic records of their work, research and ideas.

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Prac is Coming!

Like many of my peers, I am preparing for my upcoming prac. Kate shared some great tips for surviving prac, all of which will be extremely useful.

For me, my biggest concern is successfully integrating ICTs in my lessons for my class. I want to be using ICTs because they help students learn, instead of for the sake of meeting my prac requirements. I found a brilliant resource to assist with this, which you can view here.  Although a lot of these ideas are simple substitution for existing ideas, there are also some great ideas that can augment or transform learning.

I fully intend to use these on prac, and I hope they assist someone else as well!

QR Codes

I’m always on the look out for interesting new ways to incorporate ICTs into the classroom, so I was very excited to learn of this one. Introducing the Quick Response or QR code – you might have seen them on books or other products before. They look something like the above image.

Basically, they can be scanned through an app on an iPad or similar device, and automatically open a link specific to that QR code. A more in-depth explanation can be found here.

Their educational uses are limitless. Teachers can create an information treasure hunts with each QR code giving a clue to finding the next one and information about the topic,or add a way to find out more information about a given topic quickly. In fact, this website has a list of 40 ways to use QR codes in the classroom.
I’m very excited to try using these codes on my next prac!

Collaboration across the World

Thanks to the internet, communication with others around the world is much faster and far more convenient than in previous years. Teachers all around the world are taking advantage of this, and are making connections with other teachers and classes all around the world. The only equipment required is a computer, webcam and a microphone.The opportunities that this presents are numerous – students can share ideas, collaborate on projects and learn about other cultures without ever leaving the classroom. You can read more about some ways that the internet can be utilised in this way here.

Another use for this technology is for virtual excursions. The Sydney Living Museums offer excursions to schools from all over the country.

As time goes on, more and more uses for this technology are sure to emerge.

Pedagogy in the Classroom

Earlier today, I read a post by one of my peers at ICT + Classroom? which discussed the importance of pedagogy in the classroom. I wholeheartedly agree that a great pedagogy shapes the way our students learn. I have to wonder though, how is it that we select a great pedagogy? There are so many to choose from and different pedagogies suit different teachers. I decided to browse online, and I found quite a few!

One of these was the Accelerated Literacy Pedagogy – this is a pedagogy aimed at improving literacy knowledge, skills and understandings. It is often used in areas with many Indigenous peoples and students.

Here’s a list of several more pedagogies that can be used in the classroom, as well as some hints about how to use them.

As  a future educator, I will definitely ensure that I have researched different approaches to be sure I can provide well-rounded education to students.

Are all ICTs okay for schools?

This evening, I read a post by my fellow student on their blog Whiteboard Whispers, which talked about mobile phones in the classroom. 

It got me thinking about whether there are some ICTs that should be kept out of the classroom. For example, mobile phones have long been banned from many classrooms, but recently some teachers have begun using them as educational tools.

Conversely, iPads have been heralded as great educational tools, but they are all too easy to be misused and used as activities for free time, rather than as learning tools.

In my opinion, all ICTs have the potential to be an excellent teaching tool, provided they are used in the correct manner, and all ICTs have to potential to be simple diversions or ‘fun’ activities for free time in the classroom.

Catering to digital natives

The twenty-first century truly is the digital age. We have a digital device for nearly anything we can think of. We have Kindles for reading, watches that track our pulse and heart-rate, technology that allows us to control our televisions or computers with the wave of our hand.

Amidst all of this technology we have a whole generation of students who are being raising with this as the norm and are becoming literate with these ICTs as a natural part of life. As teachers, we  have the added challenge of updating our pedagogy and ICT literacy to cater to this  new, more technologically literate generation.

My fellow student Lily put it best when she said ‘In some instances they (students) are usurping adult knowledge of the internet and technology.’

But how can we keep up? This website has some great ideas for incorporating new technologies, including writing stories on Twitter and creating viral videos. To keep up, I constantly research new technologies, websites and devices and read other’s opinions on their educational merit. What are some other ways that we can keep up with new technology?

Assignment One – Finished and complete!

After four weeks of work, my online artefact is finally complete! I’ve developed a website with several resources which was created to demonstrate to parents why my future classroom will use ICTs to teach students. Hopefully my assignment reflects the time and effort I put into creating it!

In my artefact, I chose to include creations from Powtoon, Bubbl.us and Piktochart, which was great as I developed my knowledge of  the effective use of each of these programs.

So here it is! My finished and complete artefact!

And just for good luck: http://prplppleata.wix.com/ictseducation

Good luck to everyone who is still working on their assignments!

Reflecting on Week Three

Friday morning and I’m finally finished the week’s content! There’s so much to do! Blogging, learning paths, assignments, tutorials and lectures take so much time that it’s hard to fit anything else in!

We’ve learnt about RAT – a framework that along with SAMR is used for assessing how ICT is being used. I can definitely see myself using this on prac and in the future as an educator to assess my use of ICT.

Then there’s Dragonbox, a game for teaching students about algebra in a fun and engaging way. This fabulous game is incredibly fun and slightly addictive – I found myself spending over an hour playing it, and gaining quite a bit of knowledge in the process!

We also explored Scootle – a website with a large compilation of resources for teaching in schools. This is invaluable! I’m so glad that we are able to access this as pre-service teachers.

Finally, there was a section about copyright. I was horrified to find myself clueless about some of the laws and regulations in Australia, and so I immediately set out to learn about how I can ensure that I am using resources legally.

What have you learnt this week?

Dragonbox. (2013). Dragonbox. Retrieved 20 March 2015 from http://www.dragonboxapp.com/

SMARTboards in Education

Walk into any classroom in Australia and you’ll find many things in common. Desks, chairs and whiteboards can be found in every classroom, along with the usual pens and paper. In the centre of every room, you can usually find a SMARTboard, an interactive whiteboard which connects to a computer and allows students to interact with the content via a touch screen interface. But sadly, in many classroom this valuable resource is underused. SMARTboards are an incredibly useful tool that can change the way that information is presented to our students.

But how precisely can they be used?

This website recommends using SMARTboards to take notes, brainstorm, play educational games and display data of many kinds – visuals, audio, videos and text to name a few. Another website uses the boards to save student work without taking up space, create bright and visual displays, research on the internet in a way that the whole class can participate, and to ‘flip’ the classroom, an innovative teaching technique which involves the teacher creating a digital ‘lesson’ where learners review the lesson at home, before coming to school and working on problems and practical tasks relating to the lesson.

I personally have used SMARTboards to compile student ideas, create interactive powerpoints, display videos, and create stories that have input from the whole class.

There are many other ways to use these boards in the classroom, and with a little creativity and ingenuity can become a essential part of any classroom.

Professional Learning Board. (n.d.) Using smart boards in the classroom. Retrieved 20 March 2015 from https://k12teacherstaffdevelopment.com/tlb/using-smart-boards-in-the-classroom/

Concordia Online Education. (2013). Teacher’s Guide: How to use the smart board in the clashttp://education.cu-portland.edu/blog/educator-tips/teacher-s-guide-how-to-use-a-smartboard-in-the-classroom/sroom. Retrieved 20 March 2015 from