to IWB or not.

Higgins, S., G. Beauchamp and D, Miller (2007) co-wrote an article examining literature on interactive whiteboards (IWB).  A number of benefits of using the IWB’s were listed, and having been on professional experience, I can agree to a number of benefits identified and also respect the disadvantages acknowledged as well. IWB’s are an excellent tool for whole-class teaching, as all students are able to view the content easily due to the size of the screen. Higgins, Beauchamp and Miller (2007) explain that IWB’s allow teachers to present a variety of representations and aspects of display more generally and ultimately are able to meet the needs of a wider range of learners. Having taught in kindergarten recently, I became quite reliant on the IWB for my lessons as the larger images on the screen were more engaging and consequently had an effect on behavior of my students in the classroom. During literacy lessons, I was able to show students digital versions of the stories we were studying in class, and could easily ask students to come to the board to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the concept being taught. Higgins et al (2007) also mention that an IWB makes it easier for teachers to incorporate and use a range of multimedia resources, such as written text, pictures, videos, etc. I used the IWB for handwriting lessons, unit of inquiry lessons, literacy lessons and many other activities. For unit of inquiry, we could jointly construct written text about our experiment as well as add photos we had taken on our Ipad during the course of the experiment to document the process. However, the article does highlight some disadvantages of introducing an IWB into the classroom, which I believe are completely valid.  IWBs can be more expensive to purchase than other display technologies, they are difficult to maintain and present many difficulties when out of use (Higgins, et al 2007). During my professional experience after having three weeks of becoming accustomed to using the IWB for my lessons, the board malfunctioned and was out of use from then onwards. I had to go back to using a whiteboard, and found it extremely difficult as planning grew in size and previous lessons were saved on the IWB, whereas the normal whiteboard lessons could not save. Saying that, it takes a little bit of time to revert back to “the old ways”, and then it was not so much of a drama. Overall, having an IWB in the classroom is a great tool to have for lessons and engaging the students. However, we need to make sure we are effective in how we manage our planning and lessons when technology decides to malfunction.

 

 

Higgins, S., G. Beauchamp, and D. Miller (2007), Reviewing the literature on interactive whiteboards, Learning, Media and technology32(3), 213-225.

 

 

 

 

 

Toontastic

Toontastic encourages students to tell a story using a scaffold for sequencing a story; setup, conflict, challenge, climax and resolution. This app is engaging and easy to navigate and supports students’ meaning making by having them develop oral storytelling skills to support literacy learning.

A large amount of scaffolding is inherent in this application, ie. The characters are already appropriate to the setting. One could then discuss what characteristics make them specific to the setting.

We would recommend after students have played and explored the app, students work in groups to write a script before creating their final story, to encourage turn taking and ensure that the story sequence is logical. 

Key ideas from: iPads and Kindergarten: students’ literacy development, Matthew Jones

  •      Schools need to embrace new technologies, such as iPads, and use this resource to enhance meaning making in early        childhood literacy
  •       Incorporates ‘child initiated play’ into literacy learning
  •       Effective alternative to text based literacy learning practices, specifically in contexts of low SES and high ESL student
  •       Oral language is critical and will have an impact on reading comprehension
  •       Young children have an invisible backpack filled with a wide range of multiliterate practices
  •       Literacy development is a social and cultural practice
  •       “Making texts talk means learning to speak a texts thematic patterns” [Lemke, 1989, cited in Jones, M. 2012, p.55] In other words, students learn about language structure by actively creating texts.
  •       iPads provide explicit scaffolding
  •       Increases engagement and motivation

 

Jones, M. (2012), ipads and kindergarten- students literacy development, SCAN, 31(4), 31-40.

Happy Blogging Bloggers!

What blogs would you choose to show your students a model blog?

What constitutes a “good” blog?

  • Should be clear
  • Should be concise
  • Should include a wide range of interactive resources; pictures, videos etc.
  • Should be updated regularly
  • Should have a blogging community to share ideas with
  • etc

I have chosen;

1. The Avery Bunch     http://mravery.edublogs.org/

This blog was created by a year 6 teacher in the United States. I was immediately drawn to this blog because of its simple and clear layout and navigation. The blog contains information for the 6th grade students as well as resources for the teacher (Mr. Avery) in regards to his own teaching and learning development.  There is a wide range of post types; ‘making maths fun’, daily news, the teaching and learning cycle and school happenings. What is also really great about this blog is that it attracts a lot of other bloggers who seem very comfortable to comment and try out Mr. Avery’s ideas at home or even in their own schools.  The blog is supported by a range of videos and photos to show fellow bloggers what the 6th graders have been up to during the week as well.  Furthermore the blog offers guidelines to the 6th grade bloggers, reminding them of blog etiquette such as addressing their teacher as  “Dear Mr. Avery”, to  ensure that their blog really represents the 6th grade class appropriately.  Mr. Avery reminds his students how important it is to not disclose their personal details on the blog, and to only blog about relevant topics.

 

2. 3/4c @ the Junction    http://tjps34c.edublogs.org/

Similarly, this year 3/4 blog fits the same criteria. This blog is cheerfully bright and colourful with a vast array of videos and photos of what the year 3/4s have been up to. The headings are concise and give a direct explanation of what has been happening during the week.  What I found very useful was the use of videos on the class’ blog to show what they had been up to in drama.  Similar to the “guidelines” mentioned in the previous blog, this year 3/4 class discusses the values their school models themselves on, and has shown how they have incorporated those values in their learning experiences. The blog has a huge variety of tags as well, which makes it a lot easier to organize their blog topics. Tags are key, and something that I definitely need reminding of. Another positive feature about this blog is the student involvement; the blog includes videos created by the students who provide information about their blog and about how the school year is going. Involvement of teachers, students and other students around the world is key in the blogging world. This blog also provides us with links to other year groups’ blogs, which in turn really works on building the blogging community even more.