Sunday, 18 July 2010

My e_classroom

My e-classroom

…Is one without walls or time frames. Already being at home sick is no hang up. Students and parents are able to access work tasks through the wiki, email and blog. A study in Howick is looking at the mobile phone as a tool for learning. I need to approve stuff in the holidays because children are still posting; writing doesn’t stop because of end of term.

…Kids need access to their own laptops because everyone likes to be hands on. They need space where they are comfortable to work, collaborating with people around the world. They need this feedback. They can follow friends who travel; they can enjoy knowing they have hundreds of readers. This is a powerful incentive to keep writing, to keep posting using a range of web tools to enhance that writing.

…Clocks showing time frames around the world so we understand why we might not have instant conversations. Google Earth gives us some idea about the layout of our global classroom.

The curriculum

…Will involve real problems to develop our children into world citizens and lifelong learners; inquiries: what could we do to improve our community? We will use different ICTS to research, use reading skills to find information and learn writing skills and about different genre to write letters for assistance, to thank those who supply us with information, to write reports for parents, Boards of Trustees, community administrators or local newspapers, or our own blogs and wikis.
…Our investigations will solve real life problems. What do we need to know about the camp we’re going to? How much food will we need? What activities do we need to plan for? An art competition…make a piece of art about the takahe. . . What is a takahe? What is its habitat?

…Subjects become integrated. . . science, maths, written language. . .as they are in real life.


…We need to spell or the internet won’t recognise our request, but there is a place for today’s creative spelling in text messages. Now our students need a message it to be short, pithy, packed with meaning. It’s a new way of communicating and one which we have to embrace because the kids are attached to their cell phones…as I am! And what is coming next? There is already software that sends voice messages like texts. We have to get over our purist ideas about the English language because it has always been evolving. Rules weren’t in existence in Shakespeare’s day and yet his poetry is still acknowledged and understood after five centuries. It wasn’t until the next century that Dr Johnson standardised spelling.

The beauty of language can be enhanced today with pictures and music. Look at the power of the full sensual image in the popularity of movie genre or music videos. Even listening to a storyteller read to us enhances the words with all the intonations and colour of the human voice. Is it a shame that our children are not using their own imaginations to read novels? Maybe they are when they can use Photo Story to show us how they interpret literature. . .or when they create their own. . . and they are not held back by a lack of written literacy skills because there is a listening and speaking option to telling a story that others can share. Even the non readers can participate. I read in a recent article that the time for the dyslexics is coming!

Art and design are still there to be appreciated and are now accessible to all. Artistic creation is still important. . . what about computer generated images? These are real art too; we have used different media through the ages and these are no different.

The pathway

There are stepping stones to my ideal e classroom. We don’t want to throw out the baby with the bath water , and we have access to lots of programmes that appeal to children because they are competitive and fun. Kids like competition so use games like Spelling Force to reinforce spelling rules, maths sites like to reinforce basic facts. . . programmes like Bugwhack which often involve reading too. School Journal compilations and PM Reader are both digitised.

Knowledge is not owned by a priviledged few

The new knowledge economy is not one where those with skills are special or keep them to themselves. Look at You Tube, where we can access videos which we use now to enhance our presentations. Now we have greater sharing. We offer knowledge as a shared commodity that others can use to piggyback and scaffold even greater accomplishments. We can already freely access television programmes, music, recipes . . .

The reality

The e classroom, the global classroom is already here. We need teachers who can guide students along fascinating pathways they might not otherwise travel and do so safely, because without us they will still travel. Better to have a guide rather than stick to narrow pathways, roads well travelled or dangerous alleyways.