Projects, iPads, Presentations and possibly Prezi…
Posted by Karen Stadler
So I’m up to my ears in projects at the moment – three to be exact!
Firstly, small but still a project, I have managed to get our campus onto Twitter! I am hoping that by using social media as a communication tool, we will enhance our current methods of parent communication so that they become even more effective than they are at present. We go live on Thursday!
Secondly, we are well into putting together the first ever EdTechConf eXtended @ Elkanah conference. We are coming along nicely and registration will open shortly. I will post more details about that closer to the time. However, conference planning and co-ordinating is time consuming and since we want to make it a conference to remember, we’re putting quite a bit of energy into it! I’m loving it and so enjoying working with @artpreston and @timkeller. These guys have a winning recipe that I believe is going to grow into something they didn’t, in their wildest dreams, imagine they could ever create. And the fact that we are working with them to grow this dream is amazing, to say the least!
Lastly, our iPad project is going full steam ahead, and it is this project that is keeping me the busiest – in fact it consumes my life at present – not that I am complaining! The more I work with this wonderful device, the more convinced I become that this is a powerful tool for education and that it can change the way teaching and learning takes place. Yes, there are many little obstacles, but those are mostly in our minds. We have to change our way of thinking, shift our viewpoints and enable the children to take more responsibility for their learning. At the SchoolNet ICT in the Classroom conference that I attended recently, I heard the speaker, John Davitt, refer to “struggleware”, in terms of giving children difficult tasks or projects to do and telling them to get on with it. A little struggling never did anyone any harm and it encourages out-of-the-box thinking and innovation. Well, I think of the iPads as “struggleware” for teachers! These devices are pushing our boundaries and encouraging us to step out of our comfort zones, and I believe this is a good thing. However, having said this, I don’t think the iPad is a difficult device to use and will by no means be “struggleware” for the children. It is an intuitive device and simple to use but since we (at our school) work in an exclusively Windows environment, there are a few issues we need to get our heads around – and getting the teachers to grips with the idea of cloud computing… well, that’s a different story altogether! My challenge is to get the curriculum mapping underway and we have our first workshop with the Grade 6 teachers on Friday. I look forward to that.
In the lab all is well. Coincidentally all three grades are busy with Natural Science presentations using PowerPoint. The Grade 4s are looking at different forms of Energy, the Grade 5s are preparing oral presentations on Useful Plants and the Grade 6s are showing their understanding of the workings of the Digestive System – three similar, yet very different tasks with different expectations and outcomes. Think I should give Prezi a try with the Grade 6s next time… PowerPoint seems so “old fashioned”. Mmm… food for thought!