Thursday, December 10, 2009

Project Reflection- Develop Digital-Age learning assessment

This video story telling project on Chinese idioms is planed for the second semester. Usually I would use the traditional way to ask students to compose a writing article on the being taught Chinese idioms. This writing task is based on the deep understanding of the Chinese idioms, including how the idiom was created, what was the original meaning of the idiom and how this meaning has been extended or transformed into the context of modern Chinese language. From this understanding, students are to write a story, in which the rich and subtle meaning of the particular Chinese idiom is well embedded and unfolded.

Why to design the Digital video story project instead? the NETs standards for teachers.

1. Facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity.

Teacher use their knowledge of subject matter, technology to facilitate experiences that advance student learning, creativity in both face to face and virtual environment.

a) Engage students in exploring concept understanding in using digital tools and resources.

2. Design and develop digital-age learning experiences and assessments

a) Design and adapt relevant learning experiences that incorporate digital tools and
resources to promote students learning and creativity.

Demonstration on how to proceed this project work:

Firstly, I choose one of the most popular Chinese idioms-自相矛盾, and find this cartoon movie on YouTube. The cartoon story below is very well told to explain how this idiom was created.

Secondly, based on the fundamental understanding of this idiom, I develop a digital story that the theme of the story could be summarized exactly with this particular idiom, so that the audience can see how this idiom fits in certain situation and gain clear understanding of how to interpret the meaning of this particular phrase.

Example of a digital story on the Chinese idiom:

Students are to produce their own digital story on the respective Chinese idiom assigned to them.

What are those standards the students are going to obtain throughout this project exceptionally? AASL [American Association Of School Librarians] Standards

  • 2.1.6 Use writing process, media and visual literacy, and technology skills to create products that express new understandings.
  • 2.2.4 Demonstrate personal productivity by completing products to express learning;
  • 2.1.4 Use technology and other info tools to analysis and organise info
  • 2.1.5 collaborate with others to exchange idieas, develop new understandings, make decisions.
  • 3.1.3 Use writing and speaking skills to communicate new understandings effectively.
  • 3.1.4 Use technology and other information tools to organise and display knowledge and understanding in ways that others can view, use and access.
  • 3.3.2 Respect the different interests and experiences of others, and seek a variety of viewpoints.
  • 4.1.7 Use social networks and information tools to gather and share information.
  • 4.1.8 Use Creative and artist formats to express peronal learning.
  • 4.4.5 Develop personal criteria for gauging how effectively own ideas are expressed.

I look forward to seeing my students' creative works on this project.

Please click here to look at the project sketch.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Powerful "Blackberry"

I can not tell exactly when I noticed of the portable devices like ipod, mp3, mp4, iphone...and especially the various brands of cell phone with multiple-functions are being brought into class by my students.

At very beginning, I was quite upset with this distraction caused by it. Students are constantly wearing earphones to listen to music, navigating on the tiny screen of the cell phone with their heads down when they are doing classwork, or even when teacher is giving lecture. I eventually had to collect them from the students and put all of them on my teaching table, and guess how many of these devices are there on my table? Almost the equal number of the students in the class. And more than half of my students own "Balckberry" , which is the most popular brand of a cellphone.
Cellphones so far have not been an educational tool, they have been distraction. It almost laughable that the cellphone industry is pushing a study showing that cellphone will make kids smarter." Janet Bass, a spokeswoman for the " American Federation of Teachers.

However, the frequent use of these cellphone of my students on daily basis gradually changed the way I thought of it. I started to notice of the power of these portable devices, the benefits my students gained from owning this device during school days at ISB.

(1) Students can check their powerschool grade constantly. When I enter the grade of their work into powerschool, students can immediately access to the powerschool via blackberry. From time to time, right during classtime, students check the grades asking for more details of the grade on a particular work, reminding me of entering the grade for the make-up work they
did...and interestingly, I come to realise that students are becoming more conscientious and clearly aware of their school work with the capability of being able to access to their grade results at once via blackberry.

(2) Students are able to create project work via blackberry anywhere and anytime when they are available. Two students were playing the role-play, and the other one was holding that powerful blackberry making the video-story, then published or shared this audio file with online media tool right away.

(3) One Student lost his study-guide paper. He wanted to study it after school time. So he came asking me to upload this paper into PatherNET, and he could access to patherNET via his blackberry.

I am indeed impressed by the power of blackberry. I would love to think positively on how to embed this blackberry into my teaching and learning activities, although I have not done much with it for the time being.

Indeed, the mobile device can be well-used for the purpose of making learning more easier and more fun, as mobile phone has become an important part of young people's life, and why not invite blackberry to campus as one of the study tools?

" ...mobiles have been evolving rapidly in recent years. Multi-touch interfaces, GPS capability, and the ability to run third party applications make today's mobile device an increasingly flexible tool that is readily adapted to a wide range of tasks for social networking, learning and productivity. In some places, mobile devices like iphone have already begun to supplant portable computers as the internet-capable device of choice." [Horizon Report]

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The practice of use of laptop in my classroom

Before having this discussion on classroom management of laptop, I would like to think over this concern: Is it necessary for me to allow my students to use laptops in class? When do I use laptop in my classroom? For me, this only happens during student-centred activities such as creating oral project or produce creative writing in narrative paragraph or dialogue...and so on, laptop is not allowed during teacher-centred lessons.

Students should be assigned a performance task with clear instruction from teacher, which includes the required academic standard, the step by step instruction of proceeding to the final work, the deadline of submission of their work, the criteria of grading their project...when students have the end in mind, they know where they are heading to, what they are doing and how they are going to achieve it.

This video shows a moment of my students' using laptop to start their writing project.

1) Each group only has one laptop. One student does the note-taking work, and the other members of the group contribute to the content, the expression of their work.

2) When students start to make draft, they can either choose to type Chinese characters into laptop via PinYin, or do the handwriting on a piece of paper, then leave the laptop aside for a while.

As only the classroom laptops are installed Chinese software, if they want to type the draft in computer, they must make effective use of the classtime in order to finish the work on time. It means they do not have time to mess around.

3) Students are clear with the steps of this work for this laptop class. Once the group finishes the draft, then they can use the digital media tools such as audacity, voicethread, window movie maker or photostory3...whatever tools they prefer to apply. Someone might search pictures, someone might be looking for sounds, music fitting later they can combine the puzzles into the whole picture. And most of time, students know where to go to get the picture and music, as they already had the favorite websites in mind.

4) Teacher must walk around the class all the time having eyes on what the students are doing with the laptop. It is necessary always.

No searching of information or browsing websites should be done during classtime. This kind of messing around work should be assigned as homework or carry on in after school time.

5) The case of "One laptop per student " only happens when teacher introduces some useful learning tools, softwares to students, students should have the experiences in trying them.

" Remember, it is about them(students), not you, you do not have to be a master of technology, nor do you have to know everything kids can do with technology. Create a framework for an engaging student-centred assignment and let students surprise you with their innovative contributions!" Management classroom of laptop

The most important thing in a laptop class is to create an engaging student-centred assignment.

Then you do not have to worry about student's distraction.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Approaches to being good educator as a classroom teacher for the 21st Century

Original picture from:
Global perspective

Original picture from Tech in classroom

ISTE's Educational Technology Standards for Teachers.

Obviously, having this above standards or not, we teachers have been always encouraging our students to explore the new knowledge, motivating students to be independent learner thinking critically and educating students to be citizenship responsibly and ethically in respective societies.

So here are the questions:

  • What are the most outstanding differences of our teaching in 21st Century?

  • What are the emphasis standards mentioned above comparing with the traditional ones?

  • How is this educational technology standards replacing some of our traditional teaching values ?

From my perspective, here is my understandings of the above questions:

  • The most outstanding differences in today's teaching life is to embed the Information technology into our classroom teaching. And this means at first teacher must own the information and technology literacy by all means, as it is written " Demonstrate fluency in technology system and transfer of current knowledge to new technologies and situations"
  • Here comes the second answer, "what are the emphasis standards?" What does this applications of the information and technology occurring in daily classroom teaching mean? This 21st digital-age is an age of collaboration and communication globally. So the emphasis of this ISTE standards are Collaboration and Communication.
  • In order to have our students collaborate and communicate well with people of other cultures from different continents, teacher himself at first should have global awareness, deeper understanding and appreciation of different perspectives of certain issues. Before leading students to this standard, teachers must be there first. Being more tolerant and broad-minded are the necessaries.
  • 21st Century is Information age. There is huge amount of teaching and learning resources for us to research. Teachers should display on how to relocate, analysize, evaluate and create new knowledge and understadnings out of the ocean of information from the internet world.

The above is my understanding of the challenge of being a good educator for the 21st century.
Yes I would rather say the ISTE standards for teachers is relevant enough to face the future challenges in the education of 21st century. And yet, how far have we been as teacher to meet those standards? Teachers of international schools worldwide might have more advantages of meeting those standards than the teachers in schools of home countries regarding more advanced technology teaching environment and having global perspectives as third culture person.