Waraku Education

Ideas, experiments and observations as they occur [and I have time] relating to teaching and learning in a secondary school - special focus on ICT.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Exam revision strategy

I was chatting to a few students about their exam revision strategies. I brought up the fact that I had briefly seen on TV this morning how a school was making content/homework available via mp3 players/ipods. We also talked about programs that would read text back to you and create mp3’s from written text. One of the students stated that she had read her notes aloud and created mp3’s from this. She had loaded them to her ipod and was listening to them while she went for her daily walks etc. The walks are done with a study mate who has made these mp3’s as well.

She made all of the mp3’s about the same length and then created a playlist that alternated between revision notes and music. She stated that the object is to attempt to verbalise the content of the revision mp3 while the music track is playing. The idea of taking a partner doing the same thing on the walk was so that others walking the lake might think that they were talking to each other instead of themselves.

The idea of doing this while exercising is interesting as the increased blood flow would provide extra oxygen to her brain, facilitating the learning process.

She was very interested in the text to speech facilities as she tired of her own voice. Being able to control the tempo of reading and so perhaps creating some rhythm may also help.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

How do you stop a fire station?

We were out and about yesterday and have become more observant with some of the signs around the place. I didn’t have my camera and so went back today to get the two photos I wanted. Obviously they ran out of 4’s at the ‘4 Sale’ because that sign was gone. However the sign warning us that we might have to stop a fire station was still there. It was my daughter who noticed this one. I am so glad that they give us warning because I have no idea how to stop a fire station, let alone start one.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Principal sues students, parents over MySpace page

This article is not an argument for necessarily teaching students blogging as such (although I think it would be very helpful) and it certainly is not an argument in support of the alleged red necks that Leigh Blackall has posted about.

It is more about teaching students about being street/cyber smart and understanding that defamation is defamation, no matter what media. In some ways it is more stupid to do it electronically because of the difficulty of recovering from childhood ignorance. Erasing their mistakes.

It has been appropriate to hold parents accountable for the actions of their children over all sorts of things including vandalism. I guess that it naturally follows that this should follow on into the cyber world. I worry that parents will just attempt to fix this by filtering and leaving the safety of their children to machines. It is a short term solution with long term consequence for the moral and ethical training of their children.

This is a great article to bring students attention to help them to understand and perhaps ignite some debate about the ethics involved here. It will also force some understanding of the cyber world and have students improve their understanding of how the internet works. To do this teachers need to have some idea about the cyber world.

Some understanding of the internet questions to ask include:
  • What credentials are needed to set up a MySpace account?
  • How then did the authorities work out who was responsible?
  • How does content filtering work?

Some ethical and issues questions to ask include:
  • Is it appropriate for parents to be sued from something that is so difficult to supervise?
  • Is content filtering good?
  • Should people under 18 be allowed to blog and publish on the internet?
  • Should MySpace be sued for being the medium for this alleged defamation?

What might be some other questions that we should pose to students to help them to become more cyber smart?

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Election time spam.

Election time and we end up with all sorts of spam in our environment. At one end we have these commercially produced eye sores and at the other A4 and A3 home made posters strapped to anything public and vertical. These home made versions tend to have far less negative impact on the surroundings.

So how do these posters support good democratic process? I want to support good democratic process but feel the commercial versions of these posters particularly imposing and a violation of our environment providing nothing in the way of information that helps voters make a good decision. Not even a URL for a website that I can go to find out what they stand for.

I feel particularly violated when these candidates post these things on the poles outside of my home. While they may have council permission they do not have mine necessarily.

In our town the grass foot paths are council land that is maintained by the residents. By and large we do it without complaint because we like it looking nice for everyone. We take responsibility for these areas. mow the grass, clear up rubbish, and the like. The least that these potential politicians could do is ask residents if they would mind if they stuck one of their posters on the pole outside of our homes, in the space that we maintain for our community.

What do you think?

Would you do them the courtesy of requesting its removal or just cut it down?