I’ve had a great day today and wanted to share it with you. I’ve been at a local primary school looking at how teachers are integrating technology in their classroom and discussing some of the issues they experience. Some of the issues include: computers breaking down, useful websites being blocked to students (e.g. YouTube, the teacher has access but not students) and outdated software (e.g. Windows 2003). One student explained she could not work on her project at home as she had a more current version of Windows and the software she was using was not compatible across the different versions. These are just some of the issues graduating pre-service teachers will face in their future classrooms.
However, when I saw how engaged the students were in the activities that involved technology and how proud they were of what they had created, I thought the benefits far outweighed the issues. I visited two year 7 classrooms and students were eager to show me what they had created.
One boy who is doing extension Maths blew me away with his level of knowledge in Excel. He is doing some very advanced calculations, creating formulas, and functions and using conditional formatting to create an interactive Maths Quiz. He has even developed a range of levels for his players to choose from (very easy, easy, difficult and very difficult), I opted for the very easy level :). The work he had put into it was amazing.
Other students are developing animated PowerPoint presentations with narrations and background music for students at the school next door that caters for children with disabilities. A very authentic and meaningful project for both the creators and the users.
The class next door (currently being supervised by a pre-service student doing her final 6 week prac) are making a Stop Motion animation video using Windows Movie Maker. They have read about creating myths, selected a myth, handwritten their script and developed a storyboard. Today they started painting their backgrounds and making the plasticine figures for their stopmotion video. Next week they will photograph each sequence, upload their photos from the camera to the PC and then use Movie Maker to turn it into a video. They are learning lots of valuable skills and knowledge and having fun. One student had created a stop motion animation video at a previous school and her video Cannibal blob was played to students to show them what the final product would look like. She also shared her knowledge with the class about how she created it.
I’m looking forward to next week as I’ll be helping students animate their photos in Movie Maker and watching their final creations !