Welcome to the Fascinating e-Classroom

where learning happens through blogging!

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Hello to the World~!!!

Greetings to India, Korea, Western and Eastern USA, Australia, Greece, Central African Republic, Singapore, Malaysia, Kuwait and New Zealand!!

Since I visited Sarah's blog, I'd learnt to add a gadget called the 'ClustrMap' which records the visitors from the parts of the world. So far, there had been nearly 80 visitors since this was created, from 10 different countries!!!

I had known, and learnt that the Internet is a powerful tool to expose oneself to the globe, but this is real experience of what I have heard and learnt. This is AMAZING!!!I am also aware that some people make living out of blogging... I'm still not convinced that this is true but one day, I hope to experience some financial benefit as well.

This 'e-Learning in Practice' paper had certainly opened up my eyes to a whole new world of 'Web 2.0'. It was a huge learning curve, I must admit, but it was worth it. I still got to finish off my 2nd assignment, though... Hopefully it will be over soon... then... its... HOLIDAY!!!! YAY!!!

Have a great holiday everyone!

Friday, 21 May 2010

Wiki of my own

Finally, I have started to work on my wiki page.
I have decided to work with wikispaces.com as it was the only one I knew...
Its still a work in process but so far, it looks very impressive!!

Come and check out my newly created wiki page at http://www.ask-your-classmates.wikispaces.com/

Just bear in mind that this is not a complete one and I await for it to be used by students...

Monday, 19 April 2010

Class Knowledge Bank

Wiki technology has made it possible for everyone to participate in building a knowledge bank on the Web. It has produced the world famous ‘wikipedia’.

While completing the first assignment for EDPROFST 714, I came up with an interesting idea. If I could make a Q&A webpage for a class using wiki technology, students could ask questions they may come up with and the classmates (or other student doing the same subject in the same school) could answer the question. This way, both students will benefit from asking and answering questions and other students would also benefit as they may had the same question or by checking the answers given, they would broaden their knowledge on the given topic.

This idea of online Q&A forum had been established a long time ago. It was first launched in 2002 by Korean Search Engine ‘Naver’ as ‘Knowledge Search’, aka ‘Knowledge iN’ or ‘지식iN’ in Korean. Anyone who is registered at the site can post questions and answer them. As of January 2008, there were more than 80 million user-generated information. (Wikipedia – Knowledge Search) Three years later, this idea was adopted by Yahoo and created Yahoo! Answers. In 2009, Answers.com has also revamped their site as a user-generated wiki-style information bank.

Creating a class knowledge bank would only be possible with high contribution of the students. Teachers may take part in helping students answer a question, but it must not be driven by teachers but by students. In order to achieve this, the site needs to be carefully designed.

For example, if a wiki site was to be designed for an IGCSE Biology class (which I was in charge of for the last couple of years), there may be 10 folders for each topic. Students can post their question under the topic folder provided. There should be space for more than one answer as the primary answer may be incorrect or partly incorrect. It must be progressive and corporative work rather than complete.

The site should be accessible by the school students only. If it was accessible to anybody, some students may feel embarrassed to ask questions and also answer them. The students would feel more comfortable in posting articles. More able students would benefit from answering questions and reflecting on their knowledge as less able students would benefit from having their questions answered.

At first, the students may need to be bribed in order to get the site started. Rewarding students with good questions and good answers would encourage the students to start with, but they will have to find questioning and answering on the Web rewarding and motivating in order to keep the site going.

Now then, the question is which wiki provider would fulfil the needs of a class Q&A knowledge bank. I have not used any wiki providers, but starting from wikispace, I will have to explore few of those providers to find the perfect one for me and my class. It may take some time and effort to set this up but it would be worth exploring…

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Advancing yourself as technology advances

It sounds so overwhelming but we, as teachers, are expected to be technologically advanced as the technology advances. It is difficult to keep up with all the changes but how are we to keep up with it?

Since 'Personal Computer' was introduced in the 1980's the technology has advanced at faster rate than ever before. Since then, NZ government has been enforcing the use of technology in education. (Brown, 1998) However well or badly it was incorporated into education, one cannot object to the fact that it is taking a big part of teaching nowadays.

I remember learning about DOS back in the early 90's when I was in elementary school. Then came the Windows, WWW and now, Web 2.0. I must admit, some of the technology content was overwhelming for me and I have struggled - and still am - to keep myself updated with some aspects of new technology.

I'm now learning about the use of Web 2.0 and I do see the benefit of delivering Science content via interactive interface. However, what I'm more worried about, is how I'm going to keep up with all the new technology to come. It can be predicted that what is to come will be overwhelmingly hasty than ever. Are teachers expected to be updated with all of these changes?

I remember back in my uni days, purchasing a ZIP disk which was then new technology - it was great as it could store nearly 100 floppy disk worth of data. However, the popularity was soon overridden by still popular USB drive and not even a trace of ZIP disk can be seen these days (well, that's not entirely true, I know, but it can hardly be seen). Like so, one could never be able to predict how successful a new technology would be. Is it worth learning and familiarising with new technologies then? Is the effort and time (and possibly money) going to be paid off?

For me, it still remains as a question hoping the time will provide a solution.

Brown, M. E. (1998). The use of computers in New Zealand schools: A critical review. Computers in New Zealand Schools, 10(3). 3-9

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Cluster-wide Cyber Science Class

While reading through Lowe's article on Problem-based learning in teams for a cluster-wide cyber Science class (2007), I remembered a student of mine from couple of years ago, who did a project with other students overseas (one from Australia and another from New York) and ultimately winning a global award - I can't quite remember exactly what it was, but it sounded pretty cool.

What they had done was they had invented a device to recycle electricity that was used at home. Again, I don't remember what they had worked on, but I remember being astonished from amount of organisation that had gone through their work - I mean, working with people who are on the other side of the world and winning a prize never seemed possible. I had no idea of how they would have overcome the distance and time difference. However, now, knowing about the Web 2.0 technology, I just realised how possible this is.

In the Lowe's article, teams of yr10 G&T students were brought together through ICT community and face-to-face camp to carry out an problem-based investigation.

Several findings fascinated me.

First, how the students showed a positive improvement in their attitude and enjoyment of Science. Because of the nature of problem-based learning, G&T students would easily engage themselves into learning. Relating their knowledge to their everyday life is a key factor in learning especially for teenagers.

Second, although the author had pointed out some difficulties such as timetabling issues and finding venues for the students to work in while managing a 'virtual' class, it seemed feasible. I had thought of incorporating technology as extra work but once it's set up, it would be less for the teachers.

I'm interested to find out, however, if this sort of methodology would work on 'mainstreamed' students. These students are generally less motivated and engaged than G&T students. Secondly, how PBL would suit NZ Science Curriculum. For Junior Science at Secondary level, it might be feasible to do such activity as a unit or an assessment but for Senior level, it is difficult to incorporate this into NCEA achievement standards. It will require careful planning and structuring - and may also need the Ministry's intervention.

Overall, I liked the idea of using technologies such as wiki and video conferencing as tools for the students to work in groups online and one day, I hope to use it to enhance my teaching and students learning.