Ideas for ensuring your students are “good digital citizens” and “safe” users of technology in your classroom.

How will you address their use of technology at home? What are your ideas, based on the policy documents.

Be aware of the students. Students becoming more withdrawn, sleepy, lonely, negative with unexpected changes in friendship groups can be signs of cyber bullying. Talk to them privately, say you are worried and want to help. Major concerns should be discussed with parents.

Obviously it’s better to address cyber bullying prior to it taking place. Make sure your students are not passive bystanders and feel safe standing up and speaking out against bullying when they see it.

Free presentations and brochures can also be booked or ordered to help students and parents deal with cyber bullying.

Students should also be made aware of the risks inherent in social media. Things like over-sharing of sensitive, embarrassing or private material. Not protecting personal details or being too trusting of online strangers. Again, keeping students informed on the risks is vital as a preventative measure, rather than censoring these websites, instead have them learn to use them in a responsible manner.

Making students aware of useful, free e-security software and safe practice is also important. How to recognise disreputable sites and scam emails are digital reading skills that need to be developed.

In terms of addressing ICT use at home, involving the parents is essential. Whether it is by sending brochures home or discussing issues in a parent-teacher meeting.

Some useful websites online safety:

http://www.cybersmart.gov.au

http://www.digizen.org/

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Web 2.0 ideas and resources

Post to your blog the ways are you considering using Web 2.0 or social media in your lesson plans. 

I’m considering several options:

  • A class instagram or twitter hashtag that everyone can post images/links to that relate to the topic. Particularly useful if they can relate the personal to their texts
  • Blogging seems a great, though hardly original tool, to get students engaged with creating their own personal space. I particularly like tumblr/wordpress for their clean, professional and easy-to-use pre-made blogging platforms.
  • In terms of collaborating with those outside the classroom for information exchange. Writing forums like http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/ and http://www.critiquecircle.com/ seem like great ways of getting outside feedback and recognition for student work. They also have guides and sections for grammar, genres, publishing etc.

How are you going to take advantage of the affordances of the participatory nature of Web 2.0 applications and address any potential difficulties?

 By having students join forums I would take advantage of resources outside the classroom in guides, FAQ’s and live feedback from experienced writers/editors. Forums posts and blogging would also afford a feeling of public exposure to give students pride in their work. Bringing all our content together under a single hashtag also affords a feeling of collaboration and legitimacy in the work we are doing. Students can share resources and ideas easily from home or school.

Potential difficulties come with joining any sort of online community. Harsh feedback or flaming on forums will be a potential issue and ideally I would be a moderator on the forum, though with major writing groups this isn’t very feasible. Monitoring student feedback threads would be important as well as making sure students understand good online etiquette prior to joining.

Sharing inappropriate/cyberbullying material via the class hashtag is also an issue and would again need to be addressed prior to the lessons.

References

Hew, K.F. & Cheung, W.S. (2012) Use of Web 2.0 Technologies in K-12 and Higher Education: The Search for Evidence-based Practice, Educational Research Review. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.edurev.2012.08.001

Secondary English Digital Materials

https://www.gutenberg.org/

Free e-books no longer under copyright. Useful for study of classics.

http://www.englishforeveryone.org/

A lot of language construction worksheets useful for revising problem areas. I used this regularly for my ESL classes.

http://www.memrise.com/

Revision tool. Can make course of key words/quotes for students to study. Also available as an app.

http://writeordie.com/

Fun speed writing game that’s free to use on the website. Useful for writers block and brainstorming.

http://download.cnet.com/Dark-Room/3000-2079_4-10562359.html

Free, downloadable writing software. It’s full screen and provides a distraction free environment for those who might have trouble writing on cluttered desktops.

http://download.cnet.com/StayFocusd/3000-33362_4-75219653.html

Browser extension that restricts time/access on SNS and other distracting websites. Students are so overwhelmed by distractions online that this could be useful if they need help avoiding temptation.

Module 6: Internet Based Resources

From the five potential problems listed on pp 214-216 in Roblyer, which may have the most impact on your classroom and students and why? How will you ensure you address these concerns in your lesson planning in your assignment and in the future?

Whilst inappropriate material and privacy are major issues I think making student’s aware of copyright issues is vital to their future academic success and is something that is under-addressed at a secondary level. Ethical use of ICT and plagiarism (not necessarily text) becomes even more of an issue with the increasing amount of easily accessed, hard to trace and often multi-modal material. The sheer wealth of online resources will undoubtedly continue to impact classrooms in the future.

In terms of the assignment I would make students aware of the importance of copyright and the risks of breaking it. Having students write a research journal or blog, where they note down websites and material, might be a good way of ensuring they are employing good research practices whilst developing their awareness of what is appropriate use.

What are you able to access at your school or institution – or not? Does this work? What does this mean for an educational institution where many students have internet capable smart phones? Does this mean restrictions should be relaxed and better supervision should be utilised?

At the school I taught at, all email servers were blocked which hindered my ability to transfer work between colleagues, home and the school. Most educational flash games were also inaccessible. The firewall certainly works in blocking recreational games, private emails and most inappropriate content but ends up ‘throwing the baby out with the bathwater.’ Furthermore, despite the amount of government censorship and the school’s firewalls, google image search will still find occasional inappropriate material.

Teachers should have more control of what is and isn’t accessible on an individual classroom basis. Blanket firewalls can’t possibly cater to schools with kids of varying ages and educational needs. It also is ineffective as students will be able to access inappropriate content and SNS apps through their smart phones. Better supervision is probably the best approach to limiting inappropriate smart phone use, as I think a complete ban would negate the potential benefits of the devices in the classroom.

References

Roblyer, M., &  Doering, A.  (2014). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching: International Edition. 6th Edition, Pearson.

Instructional Software Examples for the English Classroom

Drill & Practice: http://www.memrise.com/course/43290/advanced-english-for-native-speakers/

I’ve been using this site/app for the last few years to improve my Korean vocabulary and it seems like it could just as easily be used for more advanced English vocabulary or I could even create my own courses based on difficult vocabulary in class texts. Students would be able to revise words on their phone and compete on a leaderboard with the rest of the class.

Tutorial: http://creativewriting.wikia.com/wiki/Creative_Writing_Wiki

A wiki site for learning the basics of writing creatively with sections for grammar, process and structuring. It would be a useful resource to give students as they attempt their own pieces.

Simulations: http://movingpackets.net/2014/02/18/bens-super-realistic-typewriter-simulator/

It was hard to think of a simulator appropriate for English but it’s interesting to appreciate how difficult typing used to be, even with the typewriter’s ‘brokenness’ set to 0.

Instructional Games: https://sites.google.com/site/gameonlearning/la-high-school-games

A list of game websites that are mainly devoted to vocabulary and grammar. Free rice was my favorite though it really only tests knowledge of synonyms.

Write or Die/WordWars is another fun game that involves stream-of-consciousness writing within a time limit. If your WPM goes to low the screen changes color and sirens go off.

Problem Solving: It was hard to find anything for English. Maybe riddles games like this one: http://www.iriddler.com/riddles/puzzles/whatisit.htm might be fun to get students to practice comprehension and critical thinking.

Ideas for Assessment 2

I am looking at the following outcomes as they seem to have the most potential when combined with technology.

“responds to and composes texts for understanding, interpretation, critical analysis, imaginative expression and pleasure” EN4-1A

“effectively uses a widening range of processes, skills, strategies and knowledge for responding to and composing texts in different media and technologies” EN4-2A

These are both stage 4 outcomes for objective A. I’m considering a variety of writing software such as Write or Die, WriteMonkey and Dark Room if I choose to do the first outcome.

For the second outcome I’d be looking at using multimodal creation software such as http://www.scholastic.com/graphix/createcomic.htm, which seems like a lot of fun. Students can practice skills in story structure, layout and writing whilst using graphics to compliment their work. They could then try telling the same story in narrative form and reflect on the differences between the two. Which is more effective? Is there less information in the digital text?

Skype could be used to contact a willing graphic novelist for a brief Q&A on the skills and strategies that go into creating such texts.

The digital publishing aspect of the work will also be more engaging for the students (Roblyer & Doering, p.275)

The curriculum I will be using is the English K-10 Syllabus:

http://syllabus.bos.nsw.edu.au/english/english-k10/content/901/

Technology is mentioned in the Syllabus’ Rationale: “…become imaginative and confident users of a range of electronic and digital technologies and understand and reflect on the ongoing impact of these technologies on society.”

References

NSW K-10 English Syllabus (2012). Retrieved from: http://syllabus.bos.nsw.edu.au/english/english-k10/

How do we know if the use of technology is effective for learning?

My thoughts about the issues raised in this article and how they might impact on my first assignment and its aims.

The aims:

This assignment will enable you to demonstrate:

o Your understanding of theoretical and practical frameworks for technologies for learning;
o Your understanding of technology use in the classroom relating technology use to curriculum outcomes;
o The ability to contrast the capabilities and affordances of a range of classroom technologies; and
o Awareness of ethical, safety and classroom management issues relating to technology use in the classroom.

  • It seems like it’s important to justify the use of computing in the activity. It shouldn’t be just using computers for the sake of it. In terms of curriculum outcomes it addresses the need for creativity, imagination, reflecting on the importance of structure and the creation of a multimodal text relevant to the modern context.
  • Instead of using computers in a way that only replaces a classroom activity (domestication), such as word processing. Computers will afford students to be content producers and create texts they were previously unable to such as edited videos.
  • The activity will also allow the students to use mobile phones (after checking with the school) to film, again introducing relevant tech to the classroom (the issue being that personal life has far more tech than the average classroom)
  • I would frame the use of computers and mobiles as important modern life tools, rather than educational ones.

References

Bigum, C. (2012). Schools and Computers: Tales of a Digital Romance. In L. Rowan & C. Bigum (Eds.), Transformative Approaches to New Technologies and Student Diversity in Futures Oriented Classrooms. Springer, Netherlands.