As I mentioned earlier throughout my practicum experiences I have struggled to come up with innovative ways of teaching health. Fring is an interesting concept which I think could be incorporated into a health lesson. Fring allows for people to make a free mobile group video chat wherever they are.
The Fring app could provide students with the opportunity to discuss elements of their health topic with other people in other locations. For example, a teacher could arrange for a group of students who are focusing on under age drinking to talk with another group of students in another country regarding the matter. The students in New Zealand can share stories, discuss similarities between the countries and make comparisons.
Fring appears to be an application which can extend knowledge through the development of interview skills, communication skills, the acknowledgement of different cultures and further evaluation of health related topics.
Having an online yet face to face discussion with someone in another location is an innovative way of learning and results in the transfer of ideas into practical conversation. The concept of Fring allows for two sets of students to benefit from the activity and they develop bonds with people which might become valuable in the future. The conversation had via Fring could result in the creation of a Yabber account which includes both groups of students and encourages further evaluation and understanding.
In regards to disadvantages the use of Fring is dependant on the school having a device that includes a microphone. In addition to this the 2 respective teachers will need to liaise before any phone calls take place and arranging a mutually convenient time for everyone to make contact might be difficult. Naturally, with something like this the communication between the groups will need to be monitored by a teacher therefore only one group may be able to make contact via Fring each lesson. Senior students should be mature enough to use this tool and therefore it might be best suited to a senior class because it would be easier to manage and put into action.
Fring would be a very user friendly tool if applied to a professional setting. The application allows anyone to make contact wherever they are. I remember meeting a lady on one of my practicums who was outstanding at technology and she mentored a couple of people in the school. Perhaps she could use Fring to make contact with a small rural school to mentor those teachers who do not have access to similar human resources.
Strip Designer is an app that can be used in an iPhone or an iPad. This application caught my eye because it allows students to take their own images, import these into a comic strip design and then write in their own text.
In a health lesson this application would be ideal for a lesson on bullying. The students could work in groups to design a situation where bullying is taking place, include text that indicates the act of bullying, what individual people are saying and how the situation can be resolved.
The advantage of Strip Designer is that it incorporates the use of the camera on a phone or iPad which is a tool that keeps the students engaged. The students can take photos of each other for the comic strip which may result in them being more engaged in the activity and want to see the end result. Once the photographs are taken the students have to formulate conversation and text that can be inserted into the comic strip. The use of written language extends the knowledge that is being gained through this task. The amount of room available on the Strip Designer is minimal therefore students have to focus on writing text that is clear and concise. Applying a comic strip design to the topic of bullying results in the students moving through the process of bullying from start to finish, they are able to clearly identify bullying and clearly identify possible solutions or positive actions.
Strip Designer is a fun and colourful application which I believe would keep the students engaged in the learning. The application enables students to take their ideas and translate these into a story line or comic strip. The students can come up with a bullying situation they might have been involved in or have witnessed, they can write what was said by the person being bullied and the person doing the bullying and they can indicate how the situation was resolved and what the positive outcome was. Obviously the students can come up with a possible bullying situation, it does not have to be something they have witnessed.
The disadvantage of using photographs of the students may be that some people are not comfortable being photographed. The Strip Designer application does offer existing images that the students could use instead however, they may not be best suited to the context of bullying. The comic design activity does appear to be more suited to a junior class therefore this may not be something that can be applied across all secondary levels.
In regards to professional use Strip Designer may not offer many applications however, the teacher could print off the comic strips for the class room and other students could refer to these. alternatively, the teacher could formulate a variety of example comic strips and the students have to discuss the actions taking place.
During my practicum experiences I have always felt like I have lacked activities to included within my health lesson plans. It is always easy to incorporate class and group discussions however, I would like to have some activities on hand that can progress learning further.
In one particular class the unit required me to focus on teenage pregnancy and I was focussing on the element of support required and the areas where help can be obtained.
I was really impressed with bubbl.us and believe that it would be the perfect tool to use in a health lesson and it would extend knowledge of the teaching. Bubbl.us allows for students to use a mind map to easily document their ideas and thoughts. In addition it provides the option to create links between different ideas and groupings. The bubbl.us tool would have been perfect for the teenage pregnancy lesson because the students could have formed links between their various support networks and been able to visualise the assistance that is available. In addition the bubbl.us tool could be built on further by the students outlining why they might talk to someone but not someone else or highlighting the support that they believe to be the most important.
In regards to disadvantages I cannot see too many associated with the bubbl.us platform. It does require the user to sign up therefore it may be useful for the teacher to keep track of passwords and usernames to ensure these are not forgotten. Further to this the activity does require students to write down and document their support networks, if some students feel isolated, alone or tend not to have many friends they may feel self conscious completing this task. In saying this, this is a concern that would probably be faced even if the students were involved in a discussion rather than a bobbl.us, it is something the teacher needs to be aware of and work on with the student.
After experimenting with bubbl.us it appears to be an innovative tool that allows for students to translate their ideas into practice. The bubbl.us website is easy to navigate and the boxes, arrows and flow chart system allows student to transfer their thoughts into a visual interpretation. This visual interpretation can then be exported and shared with the teacher or with the students peers. It may be an option for the students to take their mind maps and form groups to identify common links and from here they could collaborate a recommendation plan for a teenager who is pregnant.
From a professional stance the use of a bubbl.us could be beneficial within a department. The department may want to identify the skills and qualifications that each staff member brings to their role and perhaps links and connections will be created. This may result in the head of department identifying the people who might be suited to organising unit plans and those who might be better suited to mentoring new staff.
At the beginning of this blog I was very nervous about completing the task which incorporated the “12 things”. On reflection by the time that I reached thing 10 my nerves were gone and I realised that I was experimenting with online tools with ease and with confidence. Throughout my experimentation I noticed that quite a few of the online tools are similar and they require similar actions to create the final product. In addition I realised that the technology I was using was innovative, stimulating and engaging. I was excited about what I was creating and therefore the students were more likely to be interested in the learning. In saying this, it does seem easy to get carried away with technology and I think it is important to always ask yourself, what are the students learning? Are they learning anything from that quiz? or What are they learning from that You Tube clip?
When using technology it is important to recognise that whenever an online device is being used, then other sites can be accessed. It is challenging to keep students on task and focused on the activity they have been assigned. It is possible for students to get distracted and go on to other sites or message their friends through text messages or social media. The management of technology is a difficult area and needs to be monitored by the teacher. Teaching methods need to be adapted to suit the use of technology and a teacher will need to monitor the usage of the technological devices.
It is not uncommon for a week to go by where the socio economic status of New Zealand is not in the media. We are aware that there are discrepancies in income and that there are people in poverty within New Zealand. From this point of view it is important to recognise that technology such as tablets, smart phones and lap tops are important pieces of equipment and the reality is that not everyone can afford these items. The reality is that within a class room some students may not have the equipment to participate in certain activities, they may have to share or complete a different activity. In addition to this, not having the expected equipment could result in a student feeing isolated or being bullied.
From a personal perspective I am currently sitting in the library, I am looking around and everyone is sitting in front of a laptop or a computer and those who are walking have smart phones in their hands. There is no escape from technology and we are constantly connected to various technological worlds. When I return home I can guarantee that my flat mates will be on their phones and one will most certainly be responding to work emails. Technology seems to make us busy or appear busy for much longer, finishing work at 5pm is no longer a thing because people can contact you at all hours of the day. Even at work when you respond to an email, this happens so fast that people come to expect this sort of return time and if it doesn’t happen in the future then you have not provided the right service. From a teachers point of view I can imagine that parents email constantly with queries or concerns and they expect a fast response. At what point do we have time to relax and do what we want with our time? Do we feel like we’re in the wrong if we don’t respond straight away? and are we able to get away from technology or is that just how life is now?
I think technology is essential but I think it needs to be managed in our professional and private spheres. There are so many elements that needs to be considered from the management of the devices in the class room, to the posture of students who use iPads and to our wellness.
Despite being technologically inept it is impossible not to recognise the benefits of incorporating technology in schools. I acknowledge that technology needs to be embraced by educators and that it will not be uncommon for me to be faced with tablets, online sites, at home online resources and apps. Further to this I understand that I will need to use various tools to create digital programmes or assignments for the students to use.
The following points highlight why technology within schools is important an in a sense a “no brainer”.
Personalization: Technology allows for education experiences that are designed for individual students. For example, the teacher may be teaching biomechanics and one student prefers to watch a video explanation whereas another student prefers to read in a text book. An online programme could allow the individual students to select various links which represent their preference.
Accessibility: Previously some schools may not have access to various forms of information. For example, some schools may not have the staff expertise or they may be rural however technology can provide the schools with access to the expertise.
Cultural relevance: The reality is that in about 20 years time some of the careers that are currently available will no longer be required. It is likely that technology will make various careers redundant and will also create alternative job opportunities. Considering that the students will be working in careers that involve a significant amount of technology it makes sense that the technology is incorporated into their education.
Efficiency: Technology is more efficient in a variety of ways. It results in a reduction in paper and cost of paper, people can communicate faster and more often and students can view material at their own pace which acts as an efficient use of time. Things like the intranet allow groups of people to communicate like they were in a meeting however, they do not have to travel anywhere. A school like Freemans Bay Primary has a programme that links the students to the parents and communication can be made while the students are at school. The student can send a message to their parent which is received instantaneously, this is an efficient use of time and resources.
Performance: Students participate in learning using a tool that they consider to be fun and entertaining. Often students are more engaged when they are using technology and the teacher can incorporate more interesting activities which maintain the students interest.
During this particular activity I was required to create a Twitter account. Through this process I have been able to connect with Physical Educators who are based throughout the world and in addition I have been able to connect with the people within my class. Being connected to these people allows me to gain insight to alternative thoughts, ideas, opinions and concepts. What caught my attention when I first started to explore twitter was that these alternative ideas and concepts are uploaded to the website in a very brief format which allows the viewer to scan over a large amount of content in a short amount of time. What I liked was that if something caught my attention I was able to click on the comment and see further communication with other people who had found this interesting.
As an educator it is very easy to focus on a very close community. For example, I consider what other schools in New Zealand are doing, what other teachers do in their classes and what my fellow peers are doing however, there is an international environment that needs to be considered. Being connected online allows me to see what is happening in other parts of the world for example, a group of physical educators are meeting for a conference in America and there are podcasts available from physical educators overseas.
As a newbie to Twitter I am currently only connected to a handful of people or organisations however, the list could extend further out from my peers and physical educators. I have followed The Ministry of Education and Hekia Parata. Keeping connected with these sorts of people will allow me to identify and follow issues that impact education, my teaching and the students. An interesting aspect of Twitter is that you can identify what has been “re-tweeted” which helps the user identify popular topics and points of interest at a current time.
For future reference: Insights into learning tools:
Google Form I created:
It was very easy to create a Google Form and responding to the form was equally as simple. The form is delivered to someone via email and that person simply has to answer the questions and click send. From this point the data from the response is instant and the Google Form platform will create a spreadsheet with the data straight away. I created a form which required contact information which was very efficient. Using a google form to request this information means paper copies don’t go missing, there is no issue reading hand writing and it is easy to monitor who has or hasn’t submitted their response.
After creating a Google Form I opted to try Poll Everywhere and formed a question that was directed at the students. If Poll Everywhere was used in a class room it would appear that students could text or respond by going to a particular link. The response process seemed more difficult that simply responding to an email however, Poll Everywhere might be useful if the students do not have email accounts. I have been in situations where the students have forgotten their passwords and cannot access the email accounts therefore maybe something like Poll Everywhere allows all of the students to respond at that particular time. Once again the data collected from the poll is almost instantaneous and it is an efficient way of obtaining feedback from the students.
Why can feedback from your students enhance your teaching and student learning?
Obtaining feedback at the start of a unit or topic of work can help the teacher identify the level of the students understanding, knowledge and potentially provide a starting point for said unit or topic of work. Obtaining feedback throughout the course of the unit or topic can provide data that indicates how the students are progressing, what they gained since the start and what they still need to know.
In addition to monitoring the students progress feedback can provide the teacher with insight into how their teaching methods and actions impact the students education and understanding. For example, a teacher may obtain feedback throughout a unit which involved lots of blended learning and flipped classroom tool and they may compare this date with feedback received from a unit that was heavily influenced by cooperative learning. The feedback received and comparisons made may indicate how the student(s) learn and what sort of teaching method is successful.
Through feedback and data collection a teacher can identify what works and what doesn’t. It is possible to wait an entire term before obtaining any feedback and data however, feedback platforms such as Socrative and Kahootz provide instant feedback. This means that teachers can be constantly changing and adapting their teaching to get the best results out of the their students. The instant feedback also provides teachers with the ability to experiment with different teaching methods.
Collaborative learning takes place when a group of students work together to solve a problem. The students talk and discuss with each other and it is through this process that the learning takes place.
The act of collaboration can occur between students, teachers or the student and the teacher.
For future use: Collaboration tools that can be used in the classroom:
- The digital tools such as GoogleDrive or OneDrive (etc. from Thing 6 (Links to an external site.)andThing7) (Links to an external site.) enable students to work collaboratively on documents, slides, sites and presentations, concurrently (and from anywhere, anytime).
- Microblogging (Links to an external site.)– is a combination of blogging and instant messaging that allows users to create and share short messages. This website,Microblogging in the classroom (Links to an external site.), shares some of the better known platforms used.
- Twitter, is one of the most used microblogging platforms. 10 Twitter Tips for Teachers (Links to an external site.) provides a helpful starting guide. Kidsedchatnz (Links to an external site.), a twitter chat forNew Zealand schools that takes part every Wednesday between 2-3pm is also a great place to start with your students. Twitter can be used for way more that collaboration (Links to an external site.) as shown by the Global Digital Citizen Organization. See Thing15 for how teachers can use it.
- Yammer (Links to an external site.) is a social network much like Twitter or Facebook, but is only available to people who belong to your school. All of the postings are intended to allow collaboration between teachers and students to work on projects, share files and co-edit documents. Explore “5 Ways Yammer is Improving Communication, Connections, and Learning in our Schools (Links to an external site.)” or watch Build Classroom Community with Yammer (Links to an external site.) to learn more.
Microblogging looks like it could be a very useful tool to use in a secondary school. The reason I think this is because it incorporates aspects of technology that the students are familiar with. For example, the students are able to communicate in the form of blogs or instant messages. Further to this the students can conveniently upload content in the form of text, images, video and audio. Using a microblog seems to be a good platform for quickly sharing information and allows for a higher frequency of posts because the users are producing shorter pieces of writing each time.
Yammer seems to be another interesting tool that could be used within schools to assist with collaboration. I haven’t used Yammer before but it seems to allow for collaboration to occur between a group of people and in a sense the group forms an online community . This could be really useful in a classroom situation because small groups could create their own Yammer site and they could communicate via this. After researching I can see that these groups are able to message each other, upload documents and share group announcements. It would be a useful tool to use if the students needed to collaborate outside of the classroom and during their own time. Something like Yammer helps develop student centred learning and encourages students to take responsibility for their own learning.
Links for future reference:
Creating video tools:
Creating audio tools:
Screen casing tools:
Screencasting tools record your screen and you can add audio. Maybe you want to flip your classroom or model how to do a task. Students can capturethe steps they take to complete a task.
With the free version of Screencast-o-matic (Links to an external site.) you can record your screen for up to 15 minutes and publish to YouTube or create an MP4.
Jing (Links to an external site.) will capture images and add voice narratives on a laptop. It is a free screen recording application that can be downloaded to your computer. Jing creates .swf files which may not play on all devices.
There are also apps: Educreations (Links to an external site.) for screencasting and recording your voice and images; ShowMe (Links to an external site.) app for voiceover, whiteboard recordings. Both have free and paid options.
Another option is Microsoft’s Office Mix. (Links to an external site.)
Experimenting with audio and video:
Vocaroo is a really easy tool to use because it doesn’t require the user doesn’t need to sign up before they can use it. I simply went to Vocaroo.com and hit record. I have generated a short recording guiding someone around the Auckland University Canvas site. The recording can be listened to here by clicking on the link below.
Unlike Vacaroo, Powtoon requires the user to sign up and create an account. Despite having to sign up Powtoon does offer plenty of tutorials and is actually very user friendly. I was able to make a short video which incorporated text and audio. It didn’t take me long to work out how to apply the timing tools to the videos and to create a short video made up of three slides.
In order to export the video to your computer you need to be a premium member. The free alternative requires the user to upload do a different platform such as You Tube. The only problem with this is that Powtoon then asks to have access to your account details. I have opted to export my Powtoon video to “My Powtoon” which I believe makes it public on the Powtoon website. The video can be viewed by clicking on the following link.
From this link the video can be shared via social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.
I found this particular task quite challenging because it took me a some time to get my head around the video note programme. Once I got my head around it, it became easy and I could see the benefits as I typed out my notes.
If a student was using this tool it would help them record and understand information from the video rather than simply just watching the video. If the students didn’t understand a portion of the video the note taking system would allow them to note down the time on the video that they didn’t understand and this could be looked at later with a teacher.
If the students kept a record of the videos they have watched and their annotations this would provide a valuable resource.
I have annotated a video clip using http://www.videonot.es/ this can be viewed by clicking the link below.
My Annotated Video