The sticky post

Welcome to learningways blog. A place where you could get the latest information about your course and also participate in discussions concerning the latest technology used in education.

Image: renjith krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Posted in Education, learning | 11 Comments

Publish your students’ work

Yes,  it is a good idea to publish students’ work online.  Below are a few tools which you might want to look at.

Flipsnack: You must upload your document in PDF format. If you have a copy machine at school that scans into PDF, load it with student work, create a PDF and convert it into a virtual book.

Issuu: Pronounced “issue”, is another option to upload almost any document format and transform it into a virtual flipping book. You will be able to share and or embed your ‘created’ book. For example, you can embed the book on your blog or wiki.

Scribd: Arguably the best known online publishing site. Upload any file or even import from Google Docs. One drawback might be that it has quite a number of advertisements.

YouPublish: YouPublish is similar to Scribd. Upload virtually any type of file, including video, and it will be viewable and shareable. It’s very easy to upload content and this site works well for older students.

In addition, these publishing tools will be useful for teachers to publish their own textbook. For example, a group of teachers teaching the same subject might want to consider creating a textbook for their students can consider using these tools to publish their work online.  Following this, students could also view these ‘created textbook’ online anytime and anywhere.  I think there might be other publishing tools which allow you to include online videos and sound.  Thus, this might be another useful idea for ‘flipped classroom’.  What do you think?

Posted in Education, Resources, Technology | 5 Comments

Thoughts on using Prezi as a teaching tool

Prezi is a useful presentation tool.  One of the great features of Prezi is the zoom in and zoom out feature.  Share your thoughts about the use of Prezi as a teaching tool.  Is it better compared to Powerpoint presentations or is it just another tool with a different interface?

Posted in Discussion, Presentation | Tagged | 18 Comments

Web X.0 in education

In the future, we hope that Web X.0 can be used more widespread in classrooms and improve digital equity.  Since the cost of computers or any digital appliances have begun to reduce in price comparing to several years ago, we expect that the cost will continue to be reduced or perhaps, till a stage where all, if not most people will be able to own one computer.  Thus, the chances are schools will be able to provide hardware i.e. computer for every student, which makes these devices personal and customizable.

Communication – The power of communication tools can be harnessed for learning when students can reach outside the walls of classrooms into the global community.

Now, we already see students use wikis and GoogleDocs to collaborate while creating and editing written documents and other media.  We see teachers who use social networks to find colleagues and form personal learning networks.  The use of these tools will continue to grow, both so students can learn virtually and so teachers can create online textbooks and share other teaching materials online as learning tools for virtual schools.

Since there are advances in chip design, this means faster, smaller and cheaper processors are within reach.  This in turn mean faster, lighter and cheaper computer devices.  For example, iPad and even cell phones and other handheld devices are becoming a popular appliance for teaching and learning.

In addition, Joan Ganz Cooney Center reported that

‘Advances in mobile technologies are showing enormous untapped potential for today’s generation’ .  It highlights mobility as an opportunity to improve education by encouraging anytime, anywhere learning, reaching children who live in remote places and underprivileged children, promoting collaboration and communication, and achieving personalized learning.

Nowadays, mobile phones are used for education in ‘developing countries that don’t have an extensive communications infrastructure but increasingly have access to cellular networks’ ( Shule, 2009, p.7).  The result of having mobile web-accessible devices available is anywhere, anytime learning.

Students are able to find and learn what they need to know, when they need to learn it, and in a manner that suits them based on their learning styles or the way they like to approach learning – more personalized learning.  As we have discussed previously, some students learn visually; they may think in images and learn best from visual displays, including videos, photographs, slide shows and even online presentations.  Auditory learners prefer listening and learn best from lectures and discussions.  Tactile/Kinesthetic learners prefer touching objects, moving, performing, following directions using a hands-on approach exploring the physical world

Thus, according to some researchers, they forecast that it may be possible for students to select the method by which they learn best and have the lesson appear online.  An assessment component can provide feedback to the teacher on how well they have learned the information or skill, what tasks to do next, and what approach is more likely to work.

Think about your role as a teacher/ educator in the near future.  What would it be like?

Posted in Discussion, learning, Web x.0 | 4 Comments

Future of the Web

Cade Metz of PC magazine described Web 3.0 as information cataloged as a vast database and a web “where machines can read web pages much as we humans read them, a place where search engines and software agents can better troll the Net and find what we’re looking for”

There are alternate versions of Web 3.0 which he described

The 3-D Web: A Web you can walk through. Without leaving your desk, you can go house hunting across town or take a long tour of Europe.Or you can walk through a Second Life-style virtual world,surfing for data and interacting with others in 3-D.

The Media-Centric Web: A Web where you can find media using other media – not just keywords. You supply,say a photo of your favorite paintings and your search engines turn up hundreds of similar paintings.

The Pervasive Web: A Web that’s everywhere. On your PC. On your cell phone. On your clothes and jewelry. Spread throughout your home and office. Even your bedroom windows are online, checking the weather, so they know when to open and close (Metz,2007).

What’s after that, or instead, or simultaneous? According to Seth Godin, who describes Web 4 in his blog of the same name,

It is about ubiquity, identity and connection: We need ubiquity to build Web 4, because it is about activity not just data, and most human activity takes place offline. We need identity to build Web 4, because the deliverable is based on who you are and what you do and what you need. And we need connection to build Web 4, because you’re nothing without the rest of us. Web 4 is about making connections,about serendipity and about the network taking initiative. (S.Godin, blog post, January 17,2007)

How will the new whatever Web X.0 work for teaching and learning ?

Posted in learning | Tagged | Leave a comment

Learning to change..Changing to learn

Until recently, there has been a lot of articles or news about integrating technology in our classrooms and how these technology is having an impact on our students’ learning.  In addition, these technology is also providing opportunities for teachers to professionally develop themselves.  10 or 15 years ago, how did we learn?  Most kids were able to succeed without the use of technology.  However, those days are gone and kids no longer learn like the way we used to.  I like the article written by Jake Glasgow, who is an instructional technology specialist.  In his article, he included a video and a few thought provoking questions.

“Take a look at this video from the Pearson Foundation entitled “Learning To Change/Changing To Learn: Student Voices.”

  • What would students just 10 years ago have said if asked how technology has effected their lives and their education?
  • What will students be saying 10 years from now?


Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Some interesting tweets on flipped classroom

Below are some of the tweets on flipped classroom:

” The flipped classroom model can be used in almost every subject to maximize the effectiveness of face to face time in class. #edchat – @Scmidjon 10/11/11 at 7:00pm
#flipclass #edchat My students also have access to IXL program at home to practice and then can ask me about concerns the next day. – @plnaugle 10/11/11 at 7:00pm
@cybraryman1: “Tell me & I forget. Teach me & I remember. Involve me & I learn.” #edchat
@2footgiraffe: Internet isn’t required to flip a class. If they students have dvd, cd, mp3 players any class can be flipped! #edchat
@web20classroom:  I think the thing I want to hear tonight is the why? Why is it so much better? #edchat
@vnarayan: I think the strength is flipping the classroom is the active involvement of the learners in the process #edchat
 @Akevy613: the flipped classroom shows us that we need2focus on students learning&having teachers as facilitators in the learning process #edchat
@21stprincipal Giving the content out of class allows the teacher to spend more time probing student knowledge in class. #edchat
@stumpteacher: I want my students to focus on the process of learning not the product of grading. #edchat

These are just some of the responses about flipped classroom.  What are your thoughts?

Lori Higgins’s article on School’s radical flip results is a good read which provide an overview of one school’s experience of using the flipped classroom.

Posted in Uncategorized | 10 Comments

Blended Learning : Lessons learned

It was interesting to see all of you participated in creating your digital teaching resource.  Some of you came up with interesting ideas and some of you actually became the actors of your own teaching resource.  The purpose of the activity today is to allow you to experience the steps needed to create a digital resource yourself.  With this experience, you could ask your students to create a video documentary as well in your future class.  This way, they learn to think creatively what can be included in the documentary.

So imagine you can use this digital resource and upload it online to let your students read and understand before coming to your class.  This is in fact similar to the ‘flipped classroom’.  With your students preparation prior to your lesson, you will be able to use the class time effectively i.e. use it for group collaboration and discussion.

Experience from The Electric Educator:

“Last year I began implementing reverse instruction into my high school Anatomy & Physiology class.  It was the third time I had taught the class and I knew that I spent a lot of time lecturing. For most of my lectures I had already created PowerPoint presentations. I began the labor intensive process of putting them on the web for students to view. For some of them I created screencasts with voice narration. Others were simply Google Docs presentations shared on my classroom wiki. For each unit I provided a lecture note outline that I required students to fill out…With class time liberated from lectures I was able to incorporate more hands-on activities, projects, and helping students better understand confusing and challenging concepts.

I would not say that my first year was a complete success. I have not mastered the art of reverse instruction, but I’ve made progress. Here are some of the lessons that I’ve learned:

  • Make sure that you clearly and carefully explain the purpose of reverse instruction to students. This is a radical idea for students as well as teachers. I did this in a class “commercial” which I show at the beginning of the year
  • Stress the importance of the lectures. Students cannot “zone out” and simply copy down the notes in five minutes and be done. They must be actively engaged as they view the lecture notes, writing down questions and fitting in the new information with what they already know. 
  • Hold students accountable to the lectures. I did a credit/no credit lecture notes check at the beginning of each class period to ensure that students were actually viewing the lectures. Another idea (which I haven’t tried yet) is including a secret word or number somewhere in the lecture and asking students to write it down in class the following day. They only way to find out what the number/word is, is to watch/listen to the lecture. 
  • Beware of technical problems. YouTube is a good way to share videos, but my school blocks YouTube. I ended up posting my screencasts as both YouTube videos and Google Docs presentations.
  • If students don’t have internet access at home (this is becoming less and less of a problem), you will need to pre-load your lectures onto an iPod, print out your slides, or burn them to a CD. 
  • Create a portal for students to go to watch your lectures, download lectures notes, and converse with one another. Google Sites and Wikispaces are both viable options for this. I’ve used them both. Posting lectures on iTunes is also an option. It is free (you have to provide the hosting), but takes a little while to setup and configure it correctly. 
  • Use Google Docs! If you’re like me, you are always updating, tweaking, and improving your lectures and presentations. Making sure that the most updated copy is available for students can become a nightmare. If you use Google Docs to share all of your presentations and handouts, when you make a change, all of the public copies are automatically updated throughout the web. What a time saver!
  • Now that you’ve freed up class time, you need to use it productively. This can be a challenge. You’ve spent all of your time and energy developing your lectures and now you don’t have the time/energy to develop new, innovative, interactive classroom activities. This is where I need to improve. It takes a while!

You may want to think of ways to free up time in your class for group discussion and group collaboration.

Posted in Education, learning | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments