Wiimote update

I haven’t blogged for a while (to say the least)! When I checked my latest post re ‘Prezi’ I noticed that I had promised to update about the Wiimote. The long and the short of it is that I have all the ‘stuff’ and had a go at putting it all together. I can’t seem to get the positioning right so haven’t used it as yet. The ICT head has actually offered to move an IWB from the library into my classroom, we have a couple which just aren’t being used. I am still yet to be convinced that they are worth the expense for secondary schools.

Used “Prezi”

Today I used Prezi instead of Powerpoint. It certainly had the ‘wow’ factor, intitally the kids were more interested in how I did it rather than the content of the presentation. Once I had learnt how to create a Prezi, it only took about 10 minutes to create the presentation – certainly a lit quicker. Here is a link to my presentation on Graffiti.

Wiimote Interactive whiteboard

We have some very expensive IWBs at school which I don’t think are being fully utilised. I had played around with the idea of a Mimio bar which sticks to a regular whiteboard and turns it into an IWB. They are about $1300.

I tweeted for information about the Mimio, one of my followers said that he had used one but had gone back to the Wiimote. I had heard of using a Wii control as an IWB but had never actually pursued it. It requires a Wiimote, bluetooth dongle and infrared pen. All the gear came in at less than $130!!! I have ordered it so it should arrive early next week. Will keep you posted!!

Jog the Web

This is a fantastic tool which I have used to prepare a webquest for my English Communication students. Click here to have a look. I found the site user friendly and oh so quick. In my previous post I said I was using a template for my webquest that was a couple of years old – how things have changed! I will use the word version as the basis of the task sheet so it is certainly not time wasted. It was also really productive insofar as it made me focus on what I wanted students to do with the information gleaned from the websites. I will probably edit my ‘jog’ a few times before I finally get the students to do the task, will have to run it by my fellow 11 English Comm colleague too.

I was given the link to the site through someone I follow on Twitter. I have become an avid user of this microblogging tool and have developed an active PLN. Although I joined last year, it wasn’t until I went to a workshop on using iPods in the Classroom earlier this year that I really understood the usefulness of Twitter in professional development.

Finally – the aim of this blog!

I have been in awe of the many wonderful blogs written by fellow teachers about the use of technology in education. I certainly can’t add much more as my knowledge is really still in its infancy. I have definitely spent a lot of time ‘on the fringes’ and , quite honestly, have felt overwhelmed by the myriad applications out there.

Yesterday I had somewhat of a revelation, I decided to ‘go back to basics’ and use Word to write a webquest. I had a template that I used a couple of years ago. I wrote it for my English Communication class for their ‘Leaving Home’ assignment. At this point I realised (although I knew theoretically) how important it is to evaluate the need for technology in teaching without simply using it for the sake of using it.

So, dear readers, this blog will now document practical examples of how I have used technology in my day to day teaching. It will serve a useful purpose for me as it will ‘keep me on my toes’ and make sure I always think of the improvement in learning outcomes for my students.

iPad

I am really excited about the educational possibilities of the iPad. I can image every student having one containing all their textbooks. They would only have to carry 700g in their bag! The ebooks could be interactive and students could research at a mer touch of the screen. So many more possibilities.

A somewhat heated discussion about the virtues of the iPad ensued this morning before school. I was telling my husband how excited I was, he said that he thought it a shame that students would be denied the opportunity to have textbooks. He claimed that things were being ‘dumbed’ down through the use of technology!! Of course I vehemently disagreed, I told him that the search for information might be more time efficient but that enabled students to do so much more with that information. I remember  at uni wading through shelves of law reports in search of the perfect precedent case. Technology has dispensed wth those dusty tomes and facilitated the thought processes that comes with the analysis of a case an the application of legal principles. There is an interesting article from ‘Inside Higher Ed’ about the risks associated with the financial costs of continual technological innovation (specifically the iPad) in the higher education sphere.

First day back but haven’t actually done any teaching!

First day back, just year 8s so no teaching for me! Looking forward to the year after checking out my classrooms, computer access will be so much easier. Powerpoints are so overdone these days, the data projectors have taken the place of the old OHPs. I really can’t see the point in getting students to copy down what has been saved digitally.

I would love some more time to develop interacive materials that could be used for whole class activities, will have a go at the weekend. Any comments on the use of Powerpoint in the classroom would be much appreciated.