Visit to my Prac school

I spent today visiting the class I will be doing professional experience with. My mentor is lovely, which is a huge relief!! That was one of my main concerns. It’s quite a small school which is very different to the school I went to growing up, but it’s nice to see how varying schools can be.

The class has 25 children, a few with ESL and oral language delays, and a few that have trouble maintaining attention but nothing huge!!

In terms of the ICTs available we have access to an IWB at all times and 5 computers which apparently aren’t too reliably. So I am slightly limited, but I guess this just means I have to be a little more creative.

The teacher has quite a lot of experience and uses the C2C as a guide, but changes it to suit her class and adds other ideas that she thing will work better, which sounds great to me. Using the C2C as a base, then incorporating your own ideas and perhaps some on scootle and the learning place.

Today we did quite a bit of literacy, a small amount of mathematics, music lesson, PE lesson and free activities.

The children were quite restless and seemed very tired, I suspect because the end of term is drawing to a near.

I’m definitely much more relaxed than I was feeling and definitely not so scared. 🙂

Sad to have finished all of the learning paths

When I first began EDC3100 I had major worries and apprehensions about this course and how I could possibly pass it being so technologically illiterate.

I just want to say that this course has been such a journey. The scaffolding and support provided by David has allowed me to grow as a person and will ultimately help be to be a better teacher. My whole attitude towards ICTs has changed, and I must say that as I finish the last of the learning paths, I feel quite sad.
I feel that I have developed some sort of “internet” relationship with many of my ‘faceless’ peers, with whom I interact via the discussion forums and blog posts, and I hope that if we each continue blogging we will continue following each other and continue to support each other as we grow our PLN and follow our learning journey.

First-Order and Second-Order change

I thought this weeks learning path about challenging our thinking and promoting change was very inspirational!

First-order change. This type of change works within existing schemata, rules, or ways of doing things. You do more or less of what you’ve done before. You do it slightly differently, but stick to the same rules.

2. Second-order change. This type of change is where your schema fundamentally change. You reconceptualise the rules or ways of doing things. Of changing how you see the problem.

When looking for further information on first and second order change in education, I cam across this article, which discusses teachers pedagogical beliefs in terms of technology integration. I also found an article that I would love to read, called ‘Addressing first- and second-order barriers to change: Strategies for technology integration’ written by Peggy A. Ertmer. This is so relevant to what we are learning, but I cant seem to find a copy without having to purchase it.

In the learning path, David wrote, “you’re probably being limited by thoughts of first-order change. i.e. you are probably thinking about doing the same sort of planning you always do, but just adding ICTs into the mix.” So true, how did he know? 😉

David then raised a really valuable point, whilst out on prac, some of us will be teaching same grade level with the Australian curriculum. Chances are that we will be teaching similar content descriptors/ units in each KLA. David made the following suggestions:

• Why not collaborate on the design of ICT rich lessons amongst you all? At the very least share your ideas and critique each other’s plans to develop better lessons?
• At the very least, share your lesson plans (or your ideas for them) via your blog so others can critique and comment?
• Why not set up a collaborative project between your classrooms?

These are such wonderful ideas. I am hoping to put a post on the forums and see if anyone else in interested in collaborating with me.

My growing PLN

I am sooo excited because my PLN is growing! In a recent post, I mentioned a blog I have been following as part of my PLN and some apps they suggested in terms of promoting critical thinking. They obviously received a notification, because the author wrote a comment on my post thanking me and suggesting a few other resources they like 🙂 ahhh, the simple things in life.

Tyahnie Wilson has included some great diagrams in her post that show how the networks of teachers has expanded so dramatically in the 21st Century.

Through my PLN, I have also come across the following blogs recently:

* http://playinginprep.wordpress.com/
* http://www.playbasedlearning.com.au/
* http://childhood101.com/
* http://www.squigglemum.com/
* http://www.flightsofwhimsy-ece.com/
* http://designingearlychildhoodeducationau.blogspot.com.au/

Scared of Prac

So as prac becomes closer and closer I seem to become a little more and more scared 😦 But it appears I’m not the only one, tannielittle and Tyahnie Wilson, have also shared their nerves in their blogs.

The main reason that I am so nervous is that I received 12 exemptions, and as a result this is my first prac! What worries me most is that being a 3rd year student, the teachers will expect me to be quite knowledgeable and confident at know what I’m doing when I’m not. My plan- fake it til I make it!! Fellow blogger at, the adventures of a tech minded teacher, has provided some hints for those of us who are lacking experience- thanks!!

To help me further prepare for professional experience, I thought I’d do a bit of research on resources that may be helpful and other students experiences whilst out on prac. Some of the links I found include:

* bee bots
* another students experience managing resources
* smart exchange
* another students experience
* another students experience

How are IWBs being used?

maher et al (2012, p. 154) states, “it is not just the IWB that makes a difference to student learning outcomes. Rather it is how the board is used pedagogically, and the digital resources selected, which are important.” To me, this sentence summarises all of what we have learned this semester. That there is no point implementing ICTs if they are not being effectively used to enhance student learning. The learning path contains a link of interesting ideas of how to use IWB to enhance learning.

The article delves into what ICTs and being used by teachers and how often, how ICTs influence teacher planning, and the factors influencing their use of ICTs. After reading this, I think it’s really important to look at the reservations of other teachers and use this to improve your own willingness and ability. Look at the factors stopping teacher from using ICTs, such as time or lack of training, and plan around this. Work out time management strategies that will allow you to have enough time to plan for ICT rich learning experiences. However, I also realise this is also easier said than done.

Emily Perriman, wrote a blog on how ICTs have been used to transform the environment at her work in an early learning centre. Emily describes the benefits of ICT in terms of reducing the teachers work load and maximising efficiency, whilst engaging the students.

Kristen Tivinan also wrote a blog on the positives and negatives of using ICTs with children.

Features of an IMB

It took me a few days to find out that the IWB used by my mentor is a Hitchai startboard. I have searched for days and days but can not find how to download the appropriate software so that I can continue with the week 9 learning path. So I have decided to download the smart board software, as I figure it may not help me on this prac, but I still may need to know how to use it on future pracs 🙂

We are then asked to find a flipchart???!! What is a flipchart??!! I have joined the smart board community and done a search and it has come up with different interactive games etc. to the age I will be teaching. I then realised that these were interactive games shared by others but not necessarily specific for a smart board and weren’t really flip charts. I have now found a flip chart for prep age on rhyming words.

After having a play with my flipchart, I discovered that the smart software includes measurement tools, i.e.. a protractor, ruler and compass. These tools can be altered to change their size, be rotated and moved around the screen to meet the students needs. Having access to these tools during a numeracy lesson, would allow the teacher to demonstrate and model how they are used so the whole class can see, allow students to practice what they have learned using the IWB before completing the task individually. I also found a resource on the smart board community that supports these tools. This resource asks students to classify angles using the protractor tool.

The challenges over the last week or so were starting to get me a bit down. Just when I was becoming more confident with the concept of ICTs the universe throws it back in my face and takes away that little bit of confidence I had developed. However, as I continued progressing through the learning path, David mentioned that many students were coming across these problems that he referred to as “ICT gotchas”. This made me feel a lot better, few, it’s not just me! however, it did raise an important point, these are issues that we will come across when using ICTs on prac and in our classrooms. So, I am now working on making a troubleshooting checklist to help me prevent these ICT gotchas occurring too often 🙂