Online Research – teaching skills

25 04 2009

Today’s session on how to finesse online research reinforces my belief that technology needs to be integrated and as teachers we have to aware of the pitfalls to teach our students to be critical online researchers.

I thought the Gary Stager exercise to be an excellent way to teach students that planning and using their ‘world knowledge’ are skills that are required whenever they look for information online. Too often our students jump onto the internet without having a clear thought-out plan for their research.

I’ve just completed a research project with my ESL level 2 Science students. Their task required them to plan their research by considering their subject, the purpose of the research and resulting pamphlet, and their audience (what I call taking your writing to the SPA and giving it the treatment to make it read well). My students were required to use a graphic organizer as they refined their research. 

My students each had a biome assigned to them to research after they completed a K-Q (knowledge-question) chart. They then had to start their organizer with the information they wanted to find based on the questions they had about their biome. They really struggled as they wanted to jump straight into research. At each step, they had to check that they were conducting their research with SPA in mind. They had to consider if teenage tourists would be interested in the information they gathered. Thus, students quickly realised that entering ‘desert’ as a search word was too general. They refined their research by considering the words they enter into the search box. Once they had completed their note cards, they then had to start the process of decision-making and selection. We discussed the purpose of pamphlets/brochures. The students had to understand that they had to have a very focused approach to producing their pamphlets and they needed to cut out ‘boring’ information. 

Thus, in the end, I feel that most of the students learnt to think about their scientific language along with their research skills and improved both.





Mark Dytham and Astrid Klein, THANK YOU!

14 04 2009

I have been thinking about Pecha-Kucha ever since the masters class presented their various topics. I liked the idea that Pecha-Kucha restricts the number of slides and sets time limits for the duration of each slide.

I sat down and designed my UbD unit plan with the focus on integrating IT in order to allow my ESL Level 2 Communication Skills students the opportunity to strengthen their speech and presentation skills. I decided on the topic “Life” as it is general, yet personal enough for students to approach it independently and from their perspectives. The challenge was for the students to think creatively, outside the box, and use figurative language. 

Once the language learning was out of the way, my students wanted to jump into PowerPoint and start on the slides. Read the rest of this entry »





Breaking the camel’s back

24 03 2009

I must say the Pecha Kucha slideshow was nearly the straw that broke this camel’s back. As a learner myself, this particular assignment has made me so much more aware of what my own students could be experiencing when given an assignment. Read the rest of this entry »





Technology, Tch

23 03 2009

Tch – the sound of frustration or irritation. This sound I have been making for quite a while now: how do I keep up with all the blogs of the people in my course? This should be considered by teachers as well when they set up blogging as part of a unit. How will our students keep up with blogging themselves and responding to their peers’ blogs? Or is it much more natural to them than it is for me?  Read the rest of this entry »





“Me, myself and Web 2.0.”

22 03 2009

Web 2.0? What? Hey? Oh dearie me…I feel my age again. Who knew? Heeeeellp!

These seem to be my brain cell responses lately to any discussions about technology. Somewhere in my grey matter, the cell that’s supposed to keep me updated on technology is hiding from the tsunami of applications. I feel that I’m sitting in a room of people who speak a language of which I only know “Hello” and “Goodbye”, and can thus not participate at length or in depth. However, during the holiday, I’ve gone searching for that brain cell and have dragged it out of hiding, whipped it into shape and given clear orders that now is not the time to fear, but the time to take risks and overcome the horror I’ve felt blanketing me for some years. Like Morpheus in “The Matrix” I’m wiggling my fingers at Technology and whispering my battlecry fiercely, “Bring it on, buster!” Read the rest of this entry »





Cofino’s article: ‘Technology Toolbox’

23 02 2009

The first thought I had in response to the question posed to Kim by the teacher was to rephrase it: How can I connect my students to other students around the world in authentic, real-life dialogues without it becoming artificial due to some reliance on assessment? Read the rest of this entry »





What I hope to learn

23 02 2009

Thus far the course has been intense, yet exciting. I’m discovering ways in which the Web can serve as a tool to aid learning for children and adults. Read the rest of this entry »