Peer Feedback on Blog

The final element of the assessment had us forming groups to mark peer blogs, and provide feedback via a rubric. Whilst I looked forward to viewing my peers’ blogs, I felt vulnerable having anyone other than my tutor evaluate my blog. It was difficult to establish where this feeling came from.  Was it because I felt unqualified to mark a blog, therefore my peers were not qualified?  Was it because it is so subjective? What I like is not what someone else likes.  I finally adopted the view that additional feedback could only be conducive to improving my blog and that of my peers.

I opened the rubrics received from my peers with trepidation.  I was surprised to find myself grateful for their comments.  They enabled me to view my blog from a different perspective. Both peers were complimentary and offered suggestions on how they thought my blog could be improved.  I agreed with the suggestions and changed the formatting of text and images, and provided further reflection on how my thinking has changed during this unit.

Peer feedback proved invaluable in enabling deeper thinking, first with the analysis of my peers’ blogs and then the self-assessment of my own blog.  It is a skill I need to hone and be comfortable with so as to enhance and extend my students’ learning.

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Week 8 – Lifelong Learning

This week we explored lifelong learning.  What does this phrase mean to me?  How does it link with teaching in today’s digital world and, more importantly, how do I prepare my students for life beyond the classroom?

Lifelong Learning Wordle (Colville, 2014)

Lifelong Learning Wordle (Colville, 2014)

For me, lifelong learning goes beyond formal learning.  It encompasses personal growth throughout your life.  It is overcoming obstacles and embracing new challenges. It is increasing your knowledge and skills throughout your life.

From a teaching perspective, there has been a shift away from educational outcomes being restricted to formal schooling.  It is now concerned with ensuring students develop skills that enable them to engage in learning throughout their lifetime (Howell, 2012).  Access to the internet provides constant exposure to digital information in its many forms for the duration of your life, provided you are digitally fluent. It is critical to provide our students with technology enriched learning experiences that bridge any digital divide and increase digital fluency.

Prezi

GPP Prezi (Colville, 2014)

We also considered what it is to be a global citizen. Society is no longer restricted by boundaries with technology providing global access to information and products.  The power of the global citizen is harnessed by global organisations such as The Global Poverty Project, BandAid and The Earth Day Network.

Further information on Lifelong Learning can be found @
the Lifelong Learning Council Queensland and ACER.

Reference

Howell, J. (2012). Teaching with ICT: digital pedagogies for collaboration and            creativity. South Melbourne, Vic: Oxford University Press

Week 7 – Digital Blurring

SploderGIF

Angry Birds Sploder (Colville, 2014)

We explored digital blurring and how the activities we engage in online may spillover between our personal and professional lives.  We also looked at gaming and were tasked with creating an online game using Sploder.

Not being a gamer, I struggled to see how the skills students used playing online games at home could be beneficial in the classroom.  The creation of my Sploder, with the assistance of my children, quickly opened my mind to the potential of gaming in the classroom!

Sploder is the perfect starter program to use in the classroom.  Firstly, students do not need programming skills.  Secondly, it engages young students in using storytelling and problem solving skills to create and develop their games.  Students could also analyse and self-evaluate their completed games before turning to evaluate the games created by their peers.

Sploder’s mission statement (www.sploder.com/about.php) declares that game design uses the whole brain, from the artistic side to the analytic.  They believe that the world can be changed by creative people who use their mind to make the world better.  No doubt a clever marketing spin but it certainly supports what the inspirational Jane McGonigal says about gaming.

 Further information on Digital Blurring can be found @
the ABC and Oakleigh Consulting

Week 6 – Digital Fluency

We explored digital fluency this week, and the skills needed to participate in the digital world.  What does digital fluency mean? What skills do I and my students need to become confident users of digital technologies?

scratch

Scratch (Colville, 2014)

Despite considering myself to be digitally fluent, I found creating a Scratch animation challenging. The code writing was a source of frustration. Perseverance resulted in a “light bulb” moment that enabled me to see the potential of integrating Scratch in the classroom.

Scratch could be easily used by students who have already had exposure to gaming through simpler programs such as Sploder. The intricacies of Scratch provide a rich learning experience for students to become confident users of digital technologies.  Students can engage in critical thinking and use problem solving skills to create games. They could work in groups, using and improving their collaborative and communication skills, to develop story lines for their games. Integrating programs such as Scratch in the classroom enables students to be creative whilst developing the critical thinking skills required for life outside the classroom.

I am loving discovering new elements of the digital world and working out how they can be used in the classroom!

 Further information on Digital Fluency can be found @
ACER and The Guardian

Week 5 – Digital Information

Week 5 saw us creating a Pinterest site that represented the different types of digital information we encounter.   Although I had heard of Pinterest, I had not used it and, like Twitter, I did not understand its attraction.  Perhaps I need to be more open minded about the utility of social networking sites?

pinterest2

Pinterest (Colville, 2014)

I enjoyed searching for relevant and credible pins for my Pinterest site.  There is a wealth of information on Pinterest.  So much so that it would be easy to fall into the trap of pinning anything that looks remotely interesting without checking the credibility of the source.  Pinterest would be a useful resource in the classroom from an information perspective, and as a tool for creative exercises.  Pinterest provides an excellent opportunity for students to brainstorm, research and evaluate information whilst creating a visual representation of what they are learning.

The second, and most challenging, part of the activity was marking my peers’ sites with the use of a rubric. A lack of confidence, and a lack of knowledge regarding Pinterest, had me approaching this task with great reluctance.  I appreciate teachers mark work daily but I have a long way to go before this task becomes easier!

 Further information on Evaluating Websites can be found @
Charles Sturt University and Educational Technology

Week 4 – Participation & the Digital Divide – who misses out?

My, what a weekly task!  Creating an infographic depicting the digital divide was a steep learning curve for me.  I found Wordle easy and enjoyable to use but the actual design of the infographic proved challenging.  An infographic, by its very nature, is a visual representation of information, and should not be loaded down with a lot of text.  This aspect of the infographic proved to be my downfall repeatedly during the creation process.  It took many frustrating hours before I was satisfied that I had created an infographic and not a brochure.

infographic

Infographic (Colville, 2014)                                   Click to view full Infographic

The infographics posted by my peers were of a high standard.  The majority focused on the generic definition of the digital divide, being the gap between what can be afforded or not in relation to digital technologies.  A few including mine focused on specific areas of the divide such as Older Australians and Indigenous communities.  Whilst most used graphs and icons effectively, a few tended to be brochure-like with an abundance of text.

Although I found the creation of an infographic initially challenging, I believe using Wordles and creating infographics would be an entertaining and creative method for students to create striking visuals using the text they are learning.

Further information on the Digital Divide can be found @
International Business Times and Newsweek

Reference

Australian Government (Department of Health and Ageing). (2011). Older Australians and the internet: Bridging the digital divide. Retrieved from http://www.productiveageing.com.au/OlderAustralians

Week 3 – Digital Security

This week we focused on digital security and how to keep safe in the face of security issues such as scams, identity theft and cyberbullying. I chose to reflect on cyberbullying because as a parent of two young boys addicted to all things digital, this subject is close to my heart.

cyberbullying

Cyberbullying Poster (Colville, 2014)                  Click here to view poster

Cyberbullying is defined as the act of using technology to deliberately and repeatedly threaten, humiliate or intimidate someone (Australian Communications and Media Authority, 2010). As a parent, the thought of my children being victims of cyberbullying is distressing. Whilst I appreciate bullying has played a part in school life for decades, the move from playground to internet, enables bullying to take on another dimension where it can occur 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

As a teacher, in a digital world, it is my responsibility to educate children on being responsible and ethical digital users.  This includes lessons on understanding what cyberbullying is, and what is appropriate and inappropriate online behaviour.  Students need to be able to discern between real and fictional people, and how to protect themselves.  This is a frightening aspect of the digital world that cannot be ignored.

Further information on Digital Security can be found @
Open Colleges and Attorney’s General Department

Reference
Australian Communications and Media Authority [ACMA]. (2010). Cyber[smart:] say no to cyberbullying! Retrieved from: http://www.cybersmart.gov.au/Cyberbullying