Ruminating on educating

Damien Morgan – items of interest from the world of education

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Brainstorming done right

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Many teachers use brainstorming to kick off a new unit. I know it’s also used by groups of students to make group work more effective, and sometimes staff meetings employ the technique. OptiMinds and Tournament of Minds competitions require students to be good brainstormers when they take part in their spontaneous challenges. So here’s an excellent video showing how to do it properly.


Written by Damien Morgan

September 13, 2011 at 10:04 am

Student Wishlist

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As part of my school’s move to 1-to-1 computing, we polled the students from Yr 6 to Yr 12 about their technology use at  home and at school.

The final question asked them to suggest other aspects of technology which could be of use to them. The Wordle here is a summary of their answers. No surprises in guessing the most popular response!

Wordle: Student Wishlist

Written by Damien Morgan

March 15, 2011 at 11:17 am

cLc showcase

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I spent yesterday at a  cLc (connected Learning community) showcase in Toowoomba. A number of schools in my diocese have been trialling a LMS by Uniservity, a UK based company.

Those schools had the opportunity to present to each other, and to other interested schools, how they have used the cLc over the past few months – or in the case of one school over the previous six days.

My overall impression of the cLc is quite positive, and what the presenter from Uniservity showed is coming in the next generation of the environment is quite impressive, and as he implied more ‘Facebook’ than the current 10-year-old look.

Students and teachers are provided with a ‘safe’ environment within which to build webpages, blogs, contribute to wikis and forums, and so on. The direct communication, which hopefully does not replace actual spoken conversations, between teachers and students, students and students, and parents and teachers is a great facility. Each aspect of the cLc could be done in another way, but the beauty of the LMS is that it all happens in one place.

It seems as though each school in the showcase had gone about implementing the cLc in very different ways. At one primary school it was very child driven. They had shown the students the capabilities and basically asked, “What do you want to do with it?” The students had replied with a shared blog covering many aspects of their school life. Another school had taken a very top-down approach, having all teachers’ programming available for ‘transparency’ as we were told.

One of the best ideas concerning implementation/roll-out was to ensure that all teachers had their homepage in place and many resources available before students gained access. It not only meant that everybody was up and going from the very beginning, but that all teachers had a sense of authority about what they were doing. Many schools reported that the ability of students and parents to access class materials from home was a very powerful attribute.

The experience of the ‘newest’ school was interesting. Teachers, some with no experience of blogs or wikis, were able to produce homepages and include content including forums (fora?), quizzes, and shard learning spaces in just a day.

It seems to me that primary aged children would be more excited about producing their own homepage, whereas older students quite possibly have one or two (or more) of them happening already. The value, and starting point, for them would be in class-based discussion forums and the development of learning portfolios.

We had many questions answered, and were left with plenty of things to think about over the next few months before we are included in the rollout.

I would be interested to hear from any schools where LMSs are in place. What are you using? What are the benefits and problems? How did you manage rollout? How ahs interest and involvement been maintained?

Written by Damien Morgan

October 13, 2009 at 8:38 pm

Using iPods in the classroom (cont)

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This interesting site gives some very practical uses of iPods in classrooms – especially with regard to using them to track development in students’ reading. The teacher stores children’s recorded reading using iTunes, and collecting these as a playlist within the Audiobooks section. Very clever. This certainly expands the idea of running records, as each entry is separate and date stamped, but all are stored in the one list.

iPod literacy

From Colin Harris (@digitalnative) on Twitter:

@jdeyenberg Some uses of iPods in the literacy classroom athttp://ipodliteracy.com5:09 PM Sep 26th from Tweetie in reply to jdeyenberg

Then, a couple of hours later, this tweet from Tom Barrett (@tombarrett)

For those teachers at #aisitic09 What happens when you give a class of 8 year old children an iPod touch each?

20 minutes ago from TweetDeck

Take a look at the way these 8 year old English children have taken to using iPod Touches:

Make sure you scroll down to the video file – something of an eye-opener.

Written by Damien Morgan

September 29, 2009 at 11:22 am

Further research

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Further published research shows that students working with computers are better writers. I have some doubts about some of the comments that follow the article, and suspect they might have been written by people who would dispute the research.

“Even More Research: Technology Is Making Kids Better Writers, Not Worse”

TechDirt is a respected blog, with references in the Wall Street Journal and Wired.

Written by Damien Morgan

September 7, 2009 at 8:30 pm

Posted in student work