Friday, September 23, 2005

Technology Outcomes and PowerPoint

PowerPoint is a powerful tool for creating high impact presentations. Technology outcome P. 3. 4. 1. requires students to independently select and use multimedia capabilities for presentations in various subject area. One assignment for grade 10 English students is to create an original multimedia presentation utilizing visual, audio and written material in order to convey the meaning of a poem. Students could easily create an effective and impacting presentation using PowerPoint. PowerPoint is designed to include, not only visual presentations, such as graphics and written text, but also to incorporate audio and hyperlink. The resulting presentation would draw upon learning from across the curriculum. Due to the graphic nature, balance, composition, line, texture and placement for directing eye contact all come into play. This pulls from both art and science. Language skills are necessary for spreading out content so it is not only relevant but also concise and structured. The possibilities are endless – no longer do film slide projectors and overhead projectors need to be coordinated and fiddled with during the presentation. PowerPoint is a powerfully inclusive program that can help teachers and students meet the SLOs for Communication and Information Technology.

Addressing Technology Integration

Good technology integration is when... a teacher can comfortably navigate PowerPoint during a lesson and the PP presentation is clear, not too fancy, contains key words and highlights key point. I personally like this approach because I find the visual helps me to stay focused and that if I am taking notes and I don’t know how to spell a word new to me, but is a key word for the lesson, I don’t need to worry, I can just copy it down. Where technology can go wrong is when the presenter is unfamiliar with the technology, the mouse is all over the place, the graphics are too distracting. It can be difficult to stay focused. I would suppose funding and allocation of available funds to be the greatest barrier to integrating technology in the classroom. Teachers, even with the right know-how, cannot utilize technology efficiently without the right tools.

On Thursday morning my partner and I had our first miniteach. We used PowerPoint, I found it easy to set up. One thing I really do appreiciate about PP is the last minute changes that can be made, very last minute. It is also a great tool for keeping you on task during the presentation. As the key points are present there is not very much straying off topic.
Also, the slides can be printed off into a convienent handout.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

My Very First Creative ICT Blog Entry Title

Wow, honestly where does one begin when starting up a public domained journal entry? Publication without the expertise of a publisher, or at the very least an editor, to ensure your words, grammer, syntax and other idocyncracies of the written English language are presented acceptably. What a challenge! Right, take a deep breath, relax and let the mind wander through the task at hand. Which is relaying my response to blogging in education.

My first experience of blogging was neither positive or negative. I passed over it as time consuming and dry. Of course this stems from the nature of the blogs I had come across, topics such as computer techie support and ideas. This was years ago however. Since then I have read blogs that revealed teenage angst and life confusion, gardening tips, politics, publishing, and many more subjects. I have begun to see blogs changing. Blogs are now used as resume enhancements, particularily in the creative arts. Wanna-be writers try to entice publishers to read their daily-column style blogs in hopes that a well timed submission will result in hardcopy publication, or at the very least a more noteworthy or paid on-line publication.

I have always met the idea of the blog with mixed thoughts. On more than one ocassion I have come across a personal blog that promotes ideas I found offensive, if not scary. This is a media which is not policed in the public domain. I hope that there are persons striving to remedy this. Freedom of (written) speech should only be as free as it does not infringe on the well being of others. Regardless, having said that, this entry is about blogging in education. I will assume then that we are speaking of schools where it is possible to police blogs. Students and staff should be held accountable to a standardized set of screwples - code of online conduct. Educational blogging needs to be above all be safe. Safety allows for trust, which in turns fosters an environment for sharing creatively, expression and analysis.

With this in mind, the blog could potientially be the greatest tool to reach the classroom, nay the educational community. This tool allows the quiet child to express themselves so their ideas, skills, mental attributes and knowledge penetrate the minds of their classmates and teachers revealing what might be missed in classroom only discussions. The class clown can still keep his humour, but he would be without the immediate gratification of class giggles, which just might allow him time for reflection and analysis. Inhibitions can be dropped so a greater sense of community can be gained. In the video suggested in this, our first module, one of the students discusses a professional mentor assisting with her writing. Phenomenal. Imagine the implications of educational/professional collaborations. Most obviously in journalistic or creative writing, but in any subject area.

As an administraton tool blogging surpasses notice boards and e-mail. Importantly, blogging is web based. There is significantly less threat of virus than when compared to email. Information is archived automatically and is easily accessible. Communication is fast, comments and responses are direct and accessible by many. And if used for homework assignments, there can be no excuse for work not handed in, short of mortality - of person or internet. (Dare I remind myself.)

One of the greatest attributes of blogging, from my point of view, as a parent with internet access, is that I can see what is going on in my childs education on a more direct level, I may even have the opportunity to participate more directly. I may be able to become active in my childs education in a more positive way than, "is your homework finished yet?" The teacher may post notes, which will help me determine how best to assist in homework assignments posted by the teacher. Of course not to be a hard case on my child, but so I may help, such as accomodating the evening schedule.

As a teacher, I could communicate in a more expidicious manner. I would know that there is no excuse that parents have not recieved the "hand-outs." Parents can no longer say, "I didn't receive it" or "my child didn't bring it home." I would be able to interact with my students on their level using their interests. Connecting with them in a way simply not possible in the classroom. I would hope to see some of the minds of my students more authentically, how they actually perceive the world and their surroundings without the insecurities that are most often present. I would hope to see the exterior facade disipate as the inner self has a safe mode of expression. And I would be able to interact with administrators effectively through blog communications, logging my activities and records, keeping track of goals, and other housekeeping tasks (using a secured password protected blog). At least that is some thought on usage possibilities.

Well, I believe I have shown to meet the objectives set out in Module 1 for the blogging experience, all-be-it a wee bit long. I am looking forward to adding entries in this blog, though a little less wordy.

I'm adding a nice quote I heard today, by an unknown source,
"Students will not care to know, until they know you care."