Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Classroom Blogs

Here are a few classroom blogs that are worth a look. Don't forget to make a comment if you see something you like. I will add to this list as I find more. If you have a blog you want to share please mention it in the comments.

If you have a New Zealand  class blog you may want to join the VLN group Quadblogging Aotearoa. You should also check out the Enabling E-learning page on encouraging blog engagement and this site on effective commenting. This blog post on the rewards of blogging is also worth a look.

Allanah King's Class Blog

http://tcsrm8.blogspot.co.nz/ Lots of great work using i-pads



Includes links to student blogs which are used as reflective journals for their inquiries.

http://room4-brightwater.blogspot.co.nz/ Includes some podcasts of the students' stories recorded using AudioBoo on the i-pad.

http://room4learningjourneys.blogspot.co.nz/ Have a look at the student blogs listed on the right hand side.

http://www.clyderoom6.blogspot.co.nz/ A junior blog

http://2013pinehill11.blogspot.co.nz/   Includes lots of movies made by this year 2 class.

http://moturoa.blogspot.co.nz/ - lots of work done using i-pads

http://melvilleroom8.blogspot.co.nz/ Includes some work using Minecraft

http://room9nelsoncentral2009.blogspot.co.nz/ Year 2 blog

http://www.ptengland.school.nz/our-blogs Pt. England School Blogs

http://pesmarks.blogspot.co.nz/ A Pt. England school blog

Friday, June 21, 2013

Confusing and Perplexing

Ramsay Musallam believes our job as teachers is to confuse and perplex our students and evoke real questions. He believes we need to cultivate curiosity and inquiry.
He gives 3 rules:
1. Curiosity comes first.
2. Embrace the mess.
3. Practice reflection.

If we followed his advice from this TED talk then classrooms would be exciting places where real learning was taking place. He makes a valid comment about Flipped classrooms being no improvement if they just deliver the same boring content in a digital way.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

On Procrastination, Driving and Dispositions

I am an expert at procrastination. If I don't want to do something I can find hundreds of perfectly reasonable-sounding excuses for not doing it.

I drive quite large distances as part of my job, and beautiful though the scenery  on the Coromandel Peninsula is, after a while my attention can begin to wander. So often I write blog posts in my head while I drive.  This one was partially composed on the road between Whangamata and Whitianga.

Now those who have checked my blog will now be wondering what happened to all those blog posts. To answer that I need to refer to Yoram Harpaz.  In his article ‘Approaches to teaching thinking: Towards a conceptual mapping of the field he talks about good thinking being a combination of Thinking Skills + Thinking Dispositions + Understanding of Knowledge.  

Now when it comes to blogging I have the requisite skills and understanding, I understand the concept of blogging, I know how to blog, I’ve blogged before. What I have lacked is the disposition to blog. Without that, my tendency to procrastinate wins the day and no blog gets written.

Which brings me to inquiry-based learning. In this video Sharon Friesen from the Galilleo Institute talks about Inquiry as a Disposition.

Inquiry as a disposition from EDtalks on Vimeo.

Sharon Friesen talks about inquiry being a disposition cultivated during teaching and learning, rather than a process that 'gets done' by students. She talks about successful inquiry leading to deep understanding, giving examples from her own experiences.

Inquiry isn't a process. While some sort of scaffolding of an inquiry can be very helpful and having a shared understanding around inquiry is essential, we shouldn't be focusing on the process and ignoring the heart of inquiry. We need to foster the disposition to inquire.
As Socrates put it: “Wisdom begins in wonder.

And hopefully I now have developed a disposition to blog and my posts will be a bit more frequent. Time will tell.