Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The writing process and a Year 9 Student - A Students Reflection

This is Megan's reflection of the Writing Process using digital tools.

What did you like about the tools for writing?

  • I really liked using poppet it was really easy to use and it was easy to organise the way you wanted it to be and you could move the text boxes around wherever you wanted to. 
  • Wordle was very useful just because it was a different and cool way to show what words you had used too much. 
  • The speech selection was also good because it would speed up it's talking when there wasn't enough commas and full stops. 
  • Book creator was a good app to use once you got the hang of it to set out your work. 
  • Write about this was a good app to decide what to write about it had good pictures to use if you wanted to and it was just good in general because I'm pretty sure it had topics.

What barriers or problems did you find with the tools?

  • With dictanote I found it very awkward to use because it did not fully understand my voice and I feel like if you were to use this in the classroom that the computer would go physco trying to understand what you were saying. 
  • Book creator was a little bit fiddly at the start learning how to use it and putting the text in the right place was a bit annoying.

What did you like about Write About This?

It was a a good app to get an idea of what you were going to write about. I think I got one of my pictures in the book from there.

What barriers/issues/problems can you see with using Write About This at home/school?

It looked like it was made for little kids, the app could be designed for older kids and teenagers.

What did you like about Popplet?

It was handy to show your ideas clearly and you could customise it sort of.

What barriers/issues/problems can you see with using Popplet at home/school?

I don't know I thought it was a good app overall and I would use it and I'm sure that other kids would use it in class

What did you like about Googles Docs/Track Changes?

I already use it at school so I am used to it now, I like it because it has the search thing at the side of the screen that you can get images and just normal google search. It's good so you know what you have fixed and you can go back and and change it back again.

What barriers/issues/problems can you see with using Google Docs/Track Changes at home/school?

Not having internet and having other apps and program's already like Word and Pages. You would have to know how to track changes in add ons and not many people know how to use it.

What did you like about Wordle?

I liked wordle because it all you have to do is copy and paste all your writing in and it makes the words you use most the boldest. It's quite a good tool because then you can compare your changes with the first time you did it.

What barriers/issues/problems can you see with using Wordle at home/school?

No internet. On the iPad it doesn't like using it because I tried and it didn't work. Wordle is a Web Based Java program the equivalent on an iPad may be Word Collage 

What did you like about Speak Selection - iPad reading your text aloud?

I liked it because it would speed up speaking when there wasn't enough commas and full stops.

What barriers/issues/problems can you see with using Speak Selection at home/school?

It had a Horrible voice which made it a bit frustrating but you could have it set to your voice maybe.

What did you like about Book Creator?

It was a good way to set out your work. Once you knew how to use it, it was quite good.

What barriers/issues/problems can you see with using Book Creator?

Not knowing how to use it. It took a while to figure out to change the font and change the size of the words. It was just quite fiddly in general.

What other tools or digital opportunities would you like to see at school?

Getting to use more apps in school to help our learning. I think that the teachers need some training about new apps to help kids in the classroom.

Anything else you would like to share about the day?

It was a good use of my work day.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Creating personal knowledge from existing knowledge - Understanding the How

Agency, Collaboration, Connectedness and Ubiquity are all catch words in the New Zealand education sector.

But do we truly understand these terms as educators. Along with two of my colleagues we attempted to gain a greater understanding of Agency as we were about to present to a cluster of schools at a teacher only day.

Having mentioned these terms in workshops in the past we were quite surprised to discover that between the 3 of us our understanding of Agency was not very consistent or well formed in our heads.

So we looked to existing knowledge to help us clarify our understanding. After turning to Art Costa, Derek Wenmoth and numerous other papers and articles we started to form a greater understanding of agency especially when we had to think about teaching others about it. By collaborating together on the presentation and bouncing our ideas and thoughts about agency, a greater clarification occurred for ourselves. The ability to connect with others thinking at anytime ensured our learning could occur when we were ready, as we all needed to first process some aspects of the new knowledge before we could move on.
Keywords from Art Costa's Video
The personal knowledge of agency that I have gained through this collaborative approach of synthesising existing knowledge has enabled me to understand agency and also see a much bigger picture when it comes to Modern Learning Practise.

What we need to focus on as educators in this new and exiting time is not the Why or What aspects of technology in the classroom, as these are focussed on continuously and often lead to the digital tools being used as consumptive or as substitutes for traditional tools.
Instead we need to focus and unpack the How. Looking at Agency, Ubiquity, Collaboration and Connectedness. By focussing on the "How" we can use the digital tools to ensure personalised learning, creativity and sharing are embedded in our practise. 

So the next time you open a Google Doc for your learners, start to think "this is not a word processing tool", instead see Google Docs as an opportunity to increase collaboration, give learners agency, connect them outside the classroom and allow them to learn anywhere and anytime.