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.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Teach like a rockstar

If we are looking at the traditional methods of teaching, (contrasted with my previous post) this could be relevant from lifehack.
Presenting can be scary to many people, and for others, it comes quiet naturally, but even the best presenters have to break free from their “tried and true” methods and shake up their audience. You know who understands this very well? You know who can change up their act and get people moving? Rockstars!

Replace the word 'presenter' with 'teacher'.

The post then lists, with a brief description, the following steps
  • Make First Contact With Emotions
  • Play Favorites
  • Kick Over the Podium
  • Wave Those Lighters
  • Go Home Singing
Teacher talk for this is engagement.

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"banking education” and “problem- posing education"

A recent Flosse Posse post had the following quote
Brazilian educator Paulo Freire made a difference between “banking education” and “problem- posing education”. In the first someone is trying to tell people what they should do and how, when the later one is asking people to define problems in their everyday life and join with other people to solve them. Problem-posing education does not only require dialogue among the people, but teaching of each other, co- investigation and joint responsibility of the process.

I find this attractive. My sense of an ideal world is being aroused and noticed that after reading it I looked away and up trying to picture how this could work. I wonder how we could make this happen?

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Monday, May 07, 2007

1865 Red Flag Act

When we are presented with new technology we look for all of the things that can go wrong and try to engineer to protect everyone from all of the bad things that could happen. The idea of having someone walk in front of a motor car to warn drivers of horse-driven coaches was very sensible. I wasn't alive at the time so maybe I am not in a position to judge either way but I can't help thinking that we might have much fewer road related fatalaties and serious injury if we had only continued with this practice. Wouldn't that be sensible?

The post of Miguel Guhlin titled Institutionalizing Fear reminds me of this in many ways. Filtering technology will become more sophisticated and we will become more skilled with driving these wretched things and soon it will be all different.

In a couple of years we will be saying things like - 'Remember when schools got plugged into the internet and .........."

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Sunday, May 06, 2007

Sardines and Whales

Ian Dukes has a fantastic explaination of why he was titled his blog 'The Committed Sardine Blog'

He compares how whales and school of sardines are able to change direction. The role of a small group of committed sardines swimming against the rest of the sardines are critical for changing the direction of the school.

Brilliant analogy.


Using technology to do old things

Interesting video of Ian Jukes talking about how we initially use technology to do things we have always done. Then we start using it to do new things and this is where reformation happens. It has done this to the business world and is still to happen in education.

This is a goal of the OLPC.

I also see a connection with a recent posting on Weblogg-ed introducing a book written by David Weinberger. A quote from this book
One thing is for sure: When our kids become teachers, they’re not going to be
administering tests to students sitting in a neat grid of separated desks with
the shades down.

clearly demonstrates that David is of the same opinion and that significant reformation is coming.

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Friday, May 04, 2007

My Notebook

I've just discovered the Google Notebook extension for Firefox and I'm in love. I now have a little link at the bottom RH of my browser window that can open the Notebook. I can highlight bits of a web page and then click on 'clip' in the notepad. The notebook entry that is made has a link back to the source. I can have various notebooks and I can have sections in each notebook. It all seemed rather useless until I considered a student doing research and suddenly it became brilliant. FAQ's for Notebook here.

Why don't we use Google apps at school? Every student and staff member could
  • have 1gig of space for their email
  • use the notebook for their research hack work
  • make use of the Google wordprocessor and spreadsheet for documentation and other school work
  • have their own calendar and then subscribe to their subject calendars

Then there are the various other Web2.0 applications available and bingo, just about all a student needs through a browser window.

It's all free and IT admin could get away with having no virus ridden Microsoft stuff to maintain. Students can continue their work from any place with an internet connection. The computers that students needed to do their work would not have to be anything flash making it affordable to families. It would have the same benefits for a school.