Further musings on IWB’s…

Well it’s Sunday evening before first day of prac, and honestly I’m starting to get a bit nervous! I had an opportunity to meet my mentor teacher and the class I’ll be working with on Friday afternoon and it looks like I will have the good fortune to have access to a really wide range of digital resources! Digital resources in the classroom include an interactive whiteboard, two working computers for the children, 1 iPad, and a digital camera. They also have a computer lab right next door to the classroom with 10 working computers in there as well! It’s almost too much for me to think about.. ‘Where do I begin?’ I’ve been asking myself. First off, I’m going to have to learn have to navigate the interactive whiteboard properly before I can implement any effective lessons! Although, I’ve come across a lot of great IWB ideas including concept mapping, interactive game playing and creating presentations. More specifically for me, I will be teaching a science unit, so I found a bunch of great on-line resources that I will be utilizing such as:

Succeeding with Science: ( Changing States-Game)-Changing States has been specifically designed for use on whiteboards for pupils studying materials and their properties.

Metal Munchers (Education Services Australia, 2011): Metal Munchers is a great digital learning object to introduce the concept that different materials are made up of different properties! Students have to protect a spaceship from metal-munching aliens by identifying metals to feed to them. They are able to perform tests on a range of everyday materials to discover which are metals and which are non-metals. This resource was found on Scootle!

Interactive Whiteboard Games (PBS KIDS): I love the way this site is layed out.. SO EASY! Students will enjoy participating in these collaborative, fun and engaging experiences that are divided into age-appropriate themes!

Free Interactive Whiteboard Lessons with Embedded Assessments

Well, that should keep me busy for the first week, at least! I have a feeling that I’ve only just scratched the surface of what’s possible! A big thank-you to rachelkrogh and Cheyenne Sprange for their respective research and insights into IWB’s!

Until Next time,
Keep fit and have fun! ๐Ÿ™‚

Reading Rainbow!

Ahh, another favourite app I just found.. Reading Rainbow! I’m freaking out right now!

Growing up in Canada in the mid ’80’s to mid-90’s (in the days before satellite and digital television) watching North American tv shows meant you were pretty much guaranteed to have seen the children’s program ‘Reading Rainbow’ at some point in your childhood. Hosted on the popular American television network ‘PBS’(home of the beloved children’s favourite ‘Seasame Street’), Reading Rainbow was one the very first shows to encourage children to read. It worked for me!

It’s so exciting to see a reinvention of this wonderful children’s show being put into an app for today’s generation of kids (which includes my 6 year old son!). I can’t wait to start using it.

Here’s a retro clip of the introduction to this great show, which I remember so well.

Until next time, Stay cyber-safe!


More on the iPad…Oh, the app-ibilities!

I thought I would share a few great sites I found which outline and review some of the best educational apps there are out there for children ages 8 years and under.

Apple iTunes has dedicated a page to all it’s ‘Educational Apps’ and more, which you can find here: Apple in Education .

UK Newspaper ‘The Guardian/Observer’ reviews “The 50 best children’s apps for smartphones and tablets”

A few favourites that I’ve come across so far are:

Maily: An introduction into the world of e-mail and instant messaging, ‘Maily’ allows children a safe and easy way to create and send digital drawings, notes and messages and send them to family and friends.

Magic Piano : A virtual piano that warps into shapes, children are able to control the notes, rhythm and tempo of each piece while Magic Piano serves as their guide. They can also experiment with the sound of different instruments! This app is a great introduction to music comprehension!

Thanks to mrsgrimshaw for her insights on class-blogging, which gave me something extra to think about for practical experience!

That’s all for now! ๐Ÿ™‚

Topic of Interest # 2: Interactive Whiteboards

The second topic of interest that I’d like to blog about is the ever-popular Interactive Whiteboard. Already widely adopted in the U.K and growing in use across Australia, interactive whiteboards are changing the face of education as we knew it. I have yet to discover what technologies will be available at the school where I will be undergoing my prac, but I am hoping the school has at least one interactive whiteboard available in some area as it is such as brilliant educational tool for both teachers and students.

Throughout my research on this topic, I’ve come across even more educational benefits of the interactive whiteboard than I was expecting, including:

Makes it easier for teachers to integrate a variety of information into one lesson through digital media such as pictures, audio and video clips, graphs, maps and information from the internet.

Encourages more interactive engagement with students through visual, audio and hands-on stimulation

Cater more effectively for students with special needs, such as the visually or hearing impaired and students with physical of intellectual disabilities(i.e, using drag and drop exercises with graphics instead of text to test learning and assessment.

Promotes group-work and inquiry-based learning by collaborating on word-processor documents, mind-maps and digital stories.

Ability to record, save and print lessons already given for future use.

View and search internet sites for spontaneous information

A complete run-down of all the benefits and potential disadvantages (i.e., cost) of the interactive whiteboard can be found here.

I also found some really interesting case-study research done on the topic of pedagogy and interactive whiteboards here.

More on this topic to come soon…to much information for one post!

Thanks to Maree Power, for further ideas about the benefits of interactive whiteboards!

Until next time,
Happy Blogging ๐Ÿ™‚

Topic of Interest #1: iPads as an educational tool …

After being asked to blog about a few topics of interest this week, the very first thing that came to mind was the iPad. Everyone knows about it and if you don’t, well..you’ve been living under a rock or something. My son was recently given one from his Dad to help bridge the gap between them in between visits. Predominantly intended as a means to Skype, my son can also take pictures and videos of things that he gets up to (such as soccer games, etc.), play games (Minecraft is a favourite), listen to music, and read e-books.
The educational potential of the ipad is pretty much limitless and the great part is, kids love it and I feel confident enough to assume that most adults love it too.( I have to admit that I was a bit jealous when my son received one before me!). A large population of the children that attend the after-school are program where I work have one and look forward to the time of the day when we allow them to use them. It’s so social too! There’s always a crowd of children around the ones that have one, and it’s fun to observe them interacting with each other as they play, write, draw, take pictures and all the rest of the endless activities that you can do with this little machine.

So I know I love it, and I know that most kids and adults love it… Now I’m going to take it to the next level and try and work it into the classroom, just as so many other educators already are!
First, let’s take a look at some examples…

Teach lessons with Video Mirroring: With the aid of an interactive whiteboard, you can plug in your ipad with a video output cable and show web pages, photos, videos and more on the big screen!

Assists students with special needs: The ease of the touch screen features benefits students with physical disabilities: Zoom function helps students with poor eye-sight, caption words from a video for those hard of hearing and translate lessons into any language with the Voice Over feature. It’s also great for younger children who haven’t mastered their eye-hand co-ordination yet, and can even assist in developing this.

Assessment tool: I saw this in action a few weeks ago when our after-school care service underwent an assessment. The assessment officers both had an iPad which they carried around and took observations and pictures, filled in forms and immediately submitted information. Too easy! See more information about iPads as assessment tools here.

Integrating this into the Early Childhood Environment

The iPad is great for younger kids for a number of reasons. First of all, it’s versatility allows the teacher to adjust the information being taught to meet the varying stages of cognitive development in younger children. Because of it’s toy-like appeal, it engages children in learning and because of it’s small size and portability, it literally puts the learning process in the palm of their hands! This means children take control of their own learning and become more autonomous. The endless variety of educational apps can be utilized across all areas of learning and development. Miss Dray and Kirstie Willadsen gve some more good examples and ideas of early childhood ict benefits.

I’m looking forward to putting the amazing learning potential of the ipad into practice very soon!

Ciao for now! ๐Ÿ™‚

ICT’s in the Early childhood Context: Exploring the possibilities…

This week we were asked to “focus on the important things”, to help us think a little clearer about the specific type of ICT’s we’d like to try integrating into our teaching. With my teaching context being Early Childhood (and my Prac placement being Year 1), I have been doing a lot of research into this area and have come up with a list of some specific ICT’s that I believe would work well in early learning environments across the K-3 age group. I’m including a lit of these as well as some great resources that have been shared by other fellow EDC 3100 Early Childhood students.

Here is my list of Early Childhood ICT Resources that I find interesting and believe would be helpful in the learning environment:

Geography: Primap– A digital map creator that helps students visualize the natural features of the earth’s surface. Also great for presentations!

All About World Geography! (Sheppard Software)

Maths: IXL– “IXL is completely aligned to the Australian national curriculum, providing comprehensive coverage of each learning objective.”

English: Easy-Speak Microphones – This resource was shared previously with fellow blogger, Emma Smolenaers. It looks like a really fun way to engage students in some digital storytelling!

Science: Science Kids

History: KidsPast.Com

These are just a few of the many, many digital resources at our fingertips that I have found interesting and think would be useful.

Until next time, Happy surfing!