Year 9 Basketball Feedback Form

August 20, 2012

Please click on the below hyperlink and complete the attached basketball feedback form. The results of this feedback will help improve coming hoops/nets lessons while also informing the planning of future basketball units.

 

 https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dFAzZFdZN2lGZWF3cGJIdkpfSjBWY1E6MQ#gid=0

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Year 9 Basketball Theory Quiz

August 20, 2012

Click on the hyperlink below and complete the following quiz – click submit when you’re finished.

 

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dFZ5OVFhX3IxcWMtN2ZMUXNBVXRoaXc6MQ#gid=0


Twitter in the classroom: a critical evaluation

September 7, 2011

Abstract

Twitter (Dorsey, 2006) is a micro-blogging social media service that allows users to contribute and read short, text based posts within a basic, user friendly web page. Until recently, this tool has been used solely in social circles for communicating ones everyday thoughts, news, ‘happenings’ or to share photos, webpage links and alike, but a new wave of educators have discovered a use for the tool in the world of IT learning.

Via this evaluation, I have been able to consider the value of Twitter in an IT classroom. Essentially its greatest strength is allowing students to create a learning network of not only fellow classmates but industry professionals. Its ability to be accessed in and out of the classroom, at times that are convenient to the user is also an advantage. Online safety is an obvious concern with this tool which would need to be addressed as part of the planning phase. As a by-product of this, gaining access in a school setting may also be a challenge. Another consideration would be with regards to feedback – how do you know if the feedback is valuable? In essence, Twitter is a tool that would create a new and dynamic classroom which would ultimately enhance student learning.

Evaluation

Twitter has long been considered as simply a social networking tool but recent studies have shown it to be much more; particularly in the classroom.

Messner (2009) discussed the use of Twitter in her classroom by likening it to a ‘community’. She has utilised the tool within her English class to link not only the 15 students together to share work, but to also invite industry professionals to contribute via advice or relevant feedback.

Similarly, Parry (2008) suggested Twitter gave his students the chance to learn anywhere, anytime. As an associate professor at Dallas University, Parry used Twitter to communicate with his students to express thoughts, assign readings or as a medium for student questioning.

To further illustrate Twitter’s academic value, Bart (2009) discussed the use of Twitter to facilitate classroom discussions in a forum that would ultimately enhance more traditional teaching methods.

So the research suggests it’s a fantastic tool but I decided to evaluate some of its proposed uses in more depth.

In my mind, the basic format of Twitter is a real ‘selling point’. It requires minimal prior knowledge which means users can pick up the technology and learn as they go along. The features within Twitter are also of an ‘entry level’ which opens up opportunities for even the most novice of users.

In it’s simplest form, it’s been suggested that Twitter can be used to distribute supplementary course material to students in an instantaneous fashion. This material may be readings, website links or class details. While completing this task may sound simple, it would require students to have constant access to the internet via phones or computers. In a high school setting this may be effective; particularly given most students have instant access. Although one would have to consider its merit if schools went with a more typical learning management system (like Moodle).

As Bart discussed, Twitter can be used as a medium for ongoing discussion between students and teachers. This I believe is a viable teaching opportunity. Being able to instantly discuss a topic would provide definite advantages to students and would give teachers an opportunity to oversee progress and/or make contributions. Building on this and following Messner’s model, Twitter would also give industry professionals an opportunity to be involved, providing students with an enhanced level of knowledge. Essentially it’s creating the sense that the learning community extends beyond the four walls of the classroom.

Twitter could also act as an immediate tool for feedback. Students could link blog posts (or similar), pose brief questions or post brief thoughts and gain feedback from not only peers, but people worldwide. The issue I can see with this is ensuring the students understand the feedback being provided and how to use it effectively – i.e. be able to take criticism as well as praise, and then be able to improve the outcome of their work.

The Twitter model does have some potential challenges that could limit its effectiveness in the classroom. At the top of the list would be privacy issues and online safety. Like all social networking sites, Twitter requires a basic level of personal information to be provided. There’s also the problem of ongoing ‘personal’ posts which could have ongoing ramifications depending on their nature. A thorough education session with students regarding this issue would need to be completed prior to Twitter being formally introduced.

Another potential challenge is gaining acceptance in the school setting. I would be confident in saying that at this point in time, most schools would limit their students use of sites such as Twitter for fear of misuse or anti-social behaviour. A teacher looking to include this in the curriculum would need to provide a very convincing argument to allow its use.

Similarly, a teacher would need to be proactive in ensuring the posts being made and received by students were relevant to the task at hand. Linked to this, input by ‘industry professionals’ has the potential to be accurate and helpful but conversely misleading. Ideally teachers would actively follow students ‘tweets’ to confirm the material being received is accurate and useful

A further potential problem could be a distorted power dynamic between the teacher and students. That is, the students may have the power (or perceived power) to take over the class through their discussions and views. A teacher who lacks leadership may find this concept hard to work with which may lead to the tool becoming ineffective and limiting student learning.

From a specific teaching perspective, the use of Twitter could be used as a vehicle for learning throughout high school. Ideally, I can envisage its best value in a VCE classroom where the students could best utilise the content being received and contributed.

Looking at the Information Technology Victorian Certificate of Education Study Design from a broad perspective, Twitter could be used as part of the problem solving methodology. Whilst the students may understand the basic concept, it may be useful to get feedback regarding specific scenarios.

Considering Twitter on a more specific scale, it could enhance the learning in any of the four units of VCE, ultimately helping to address required key knowledge and key skills. For example in unit 1, students may use Twitter to discuss techniques for testing ICT solutions, discuss networks and relevant uses or as a means to investigate design tools. A creative teacher could find a specific use within any IT classroom or alternatively open it up to be used as an ongoing feedback tool.

In the end, the research suggests Twitter is a valuable learning tool. It does seem to be reliant on a teacher who is ‘tech savvy’ and has a willingness to push their students in and out of the classroom but for the most part, the positives do outweigh the challenges.

I can see myself using this in my classroom in conjunction with other learning activities. In my mind it would be ineffective if used in isolation because of its simplistic nature.

Moving forward, I’ll certainly be keeping an eye on the relevant research and utilising the thoughts and experiences of colleagues to better include Twitter in my classroom.

 

References

Bart, M. (2009). Using Twitter to Facilitate Classroom Discussions. Faculty Focus. Retrieved September 1st, 2011 from http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/effective-teaching-strategies/using-twitter-to-facilitate-classroom-discussions/

Dorsey, J (2006). Twitter. Re

trieved September 1st, 2011 from http://twitter.com/

Messner, K. (2009). Pleased to Tweet You. School Library Journal, 55(12), 44-47

Parry, D (2008). Micro Blogging with Twitter. Campus Technology. Retrieved September 1st, 2011 from
http://campustechnology.com/articles/2008/03/micro-blogging-with-twitter.aspx

Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority. (2010). Information Technology Victorian Certificate of Education Study Design. Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority. Retrieved September 1st, 2011 from  http://www.vcaa.vic.edu.au/vcaa/vce/studies/infotech/infotechsd2011-2014.pdf

 


IT Resources Review

August 29, 2011

Hi All,

I have spent some time reviewing a selected group of IT Resources that could be used in a typical Australian classroom.

Some would be more effective than others but as with everything, you need to find some poor examples to appreciate the good ones……

Scratch:

There seems to be too much going on here. Upon opening the page, I’m immediately thinking to myself that this page looks “basic, cheap and dated”. As I play with some of the applications I can see that they have some useful aspects but I think the front page of the site would be enough to ‘lose’ a number of students before the topic had even begun.

Google App Inventor:

This seems like a great idea on paper but the proof will be in the pudding (so to speak). Apparently it has been tested on children but to what extent? To what standard are the applications that are being created? I noticed with interest that one writer thought Google should further develop their existing apps rather than create a vehicle for more. Conversely, the thought that regardless of the quality of the app, the ‘good ones’ rise to the top very quickly also has merit. As I said above, time will ultimately judge this program but I must say it looks like a big step forward in the smart phone apps department and should open the technology up to more people.

Smartpen:

I really do like this concept – although from the reviews it sounds like it’s very much still in the concept phase. Being able to write and record at the same time would certainly be an advantage in an educational setting. The upload and share function via the website is also a useful tool. What worries me about this technology is two things. 1) The cost seems to be quite high – I guess this will come down as they become a more ‘mainstream’ piece of technology and 2) They still appear to be inconsistent in their operation. As with all new technologies, the more time and testing that goes into them, the better they get – the smartpen will fall into this category.

PC Tech Guide:

What instantly strikes me about this website is the sale of website ‘real estate’ on the front page. That straight away loses my ‘trust’ in the site. Despite that poor start, I like the in depth reviews, utilities and alike that the site offers. Certainly very informative and user friendly. This would be a good site to source information for a project or a short answer quiz or potentially as a source of discussion for a more in depth investigation. I couldn’t see this site being used often, rather as a resource to go to in search of relevant information.

Java Script Bits and Pieces:

I’ll be blunt – this is a poor website and judging by the links I visited, a poor website. It looks very ordinary, is hard to navigate and the information provided is basic and in many cases out of date. The only way I can see myself including this in a lesson would be to highlight website design errors or as a project to identify things that could improve such a site. Ultimately, I would search for a better option than this site, regardless of the activity.

App Inventor:

The website and content instantly have an appealing feel which creates a sense of wanting to learn more. Given that, the short video highlights the simplicity of this product and how easily an app can be created. Showing the basic functions of the site was also very relevant. I would certainly consider incorporating this into a classroom however I would have to consider access to smart phones (with android) and the level of app that we wanted to create. Regardless, a site that would give an insight into the world of app creation.

How stuff works:

This site has too much going on. Once again it suffers from the advertising in key real estate syndrome but besides that it’s hardly aesthetically pleasing. A disappointing aspect is the amount of navigation that’s required to access information – you feel like you’re finger will fall off after all that clicking….. It is American related so using it in an Australian classroom would require substantial planning. I do like how they have incorporated short videos into the stories – definitely suits the auditory/visual learner. Essentially this site could be useful in a teaching sense, but as I mentioned above, it would require careful planning and specific instructions.

Webopedia:

This site falls into the trap of giving you ‘too much’ information. Everything is in your face which for me created a feeling of being ‘lost’. What I do like is the simple, easy to use search bar at the top of the page. I am also a fan of the easy to read (both in format and content) articles – once you find what you’re after of course. This would certainly be a terrific resource in the classroom. It could be a central place to direct students who had IT related questions. In essence, teaching the students to help themselves progress their learning. I could see this being a resource you would familiarise students with very early in the course.

Web pages that suck:

I have previously used this site and found it extremely hard to navigate through. Can this site be nominated for its own award??? I would use this site only to highlight errors in web design, essentially to create a comparison for students to model their own web designs on. By having students being able to identify errors in these sites will hopefully increase their understanding of what does and doesn’t work. Outside of that purpose, I would avoid this site and most likely search for a more user friendly option.

Cheers

DT


A collection of articles….

August 15, 2011

This is a collection of journal articles, media pieces or other blog posts relating to ethical issues.

http://jolt.law.harvard.edu/articles/pdf/v04/04HarvJLTech299.pdf

http://www.windowsecurity.com/articles/Ethical-Issues-IT-Security-Professionals.html

http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/hiner/video-five-ethical-dilemmas-it-leaders-must-confront/821