Thursday, September 27, 2007

How can using the Internet support my Student's Learning?

Hello again. After a period of not posting so regularly, I now appear to be making up for it.

I'm currently part way through an Australian Pilot of the new Intel Teaching Essentials Online course.

Without going into too much detail, it's a course that fosters reflection on the pedagogy of using web based tools in your daily classroom life. Eg, Develop a unit of work the fosters both higher order thinking skills and 21st century skills, meets your jurisdictional syllabus outcomes, introduces practical ways of using blogs, wikis, and other online tools such as google docs, Zoho, and, all within a quality framework of formative and summative assessments. Basically its about best practice, and so far I have found it to be exemplary.

The most recent activity asked me to reflect upon:

  • How can I use the Internet to support my teaching and students’ learning?
  • How can I ensure responsible and appropriate use of the Internet?
.....a good and worthwhile activity in my opinion. The following is posted on my course blog, but I though I'd post it here and open up the discussion for my own benefit really. So please feel free to add your thoughts to mine
Use of the internet can support my students' learning by exposing them to a bigger world of ideas than would otherwise be possible. The students can view the work of their global peers, and assess themselves on the quality of their own creations.The internet has the potential to expand cultural awareness (and expose culture-centric views).

The internet supports my teaching by providing similar benefits as it does to the students. I can participate in discussion with my peers and colleagues. I can share ideas, develop strategies, and have my views challenged, modified and refined. (My view can even be ridiculed and trashed).

Responsible use of the web can be fostered in a few ways. Each of which contribute to the goal of creating safe, fun, online learning spaces. Supervision, AUP's and filtering are vital. But perhaps just as vital is an understanding or appreciation by the teacher of the dynamics and technicalities of virtual learning spaces. If the students are with a guide they can trust and enjoy the journey with, then a communication can develop that will enhance the understandings of both teacher and student. (We learn together).

How can a child discern the "bad" or "mediocre", if they have not been exposed to the "good" or "excellent"? Who will expose them to the good and excellent if their teachers cannot?

This brings me to the point of website filtering. Can we go to far? Can we filter too much? I don't know about others, but I don't want my children to grow up in a virtual clean room. Children need to understand that there are pitfalls and nasties, and need to be given strategies which will enable them to deal with these nasties. Then there is the question of exactly who does the filtering. As an extreme (perhaps) example: Do we filter to please our corporate sponsor at the expense of highlighting human rights violations. Do we filter from a certain religious world view? Big questions, no apparent easy answers.

What do you think?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Yet another Poll

Thats right, another poll. This time from Vizu.
Hopefully blogger will work more smoothly with this one than the zoho poll, which had a strange cookie problem, anyway....give it a shot and let me know if you have any problems please.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Reply from Zoho, (and steps towards resolution)

I know its not just me that has the cookie problem with ZoHo Polls. (See comments on original post). So I posted a report to ZoHo.

Here is the report:

Lots of my readers are having problems with cookies in firefox on a mac, and on windows as well, when trying to view the embedded poll.

They get a message that cookies must be enabled., even when cookies are enabled.


and here is their response:


Thanks for using Zoho Polls and thanks for raising the issue.

We tested with the firefox version for windows and firefox version for mac. But we could not reproduce the issue that you have sent. Kindly check with the cookie settings or security settings of your firefox browser and get back to us, if you reproduce this issue anymore.

Kindly visit our website and checkout the free services offered to you. Thank you,

I was not impressed, and so I've done a bit more troubleshooting. It seems that if you go to a zoho poll not hosted on blogger, you can vote without the cookie message, and then if you go to a blogger hosted poll, you get to vote ok. (The cookie was set from outside of blogger)

If however your first experience with a zoho poll is from a blogger hosted blog, then the message appears. Seems to be a blogger issue. I have tested this on different machines with different browsers and so far I am able to reproduce the effect every time.

I have sent this to Zoho support to see if they are able to investigate further.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Polls in Classroom..part 2

Well, it would appear that zoho polls is having issues with cookies on some browsers. (Mozilla and Explorer to name just 2). Then again, maybe its a blogger thing?

A lot of the free online poll creators give me rather bad code to play with , so I gave up and tried bloggers' own widget. It works for me, so how about giving it a shot. Its in the bar to the right.

Pity about the cookie issue on the zoho poll. The fantastic thing about zoho is that I can save the results, and create multiple polls, tag them, search them, and post them (kind of).

Use of Polls in classroom

Hi All

Its been a while since I posted. This is just a quick one to test a feature of online polling. Have a go and let me know what you think. There is a lot of interesting pedagogical discussion around the use of polls. I'm just playing at the moment, but can see a use for them in the near future.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Personality Types and Your Classroom

Thanks to Sue T at "and another thing" (great blog Sue) for pointing me to mypersonality.
At first I was startled at the results, but after my initial surprise, I found I have had plenty to ponder. I'd never seen myself as a strategist before, but upon reflection, thats what I do all the time. I generally sit back, analyse and assess a situation, formulate a plan for action and when the time is right....act. Not everyone does that!

The site gives lots of informative quotes and support, as well as lots of links off site to personality support/information groups.

Sign up and take the tests, then post your widgets.
I can see lots of practical educational applications for this. What personalities are there in your class? How can you modify your teaching learning strategies to enable the others types to succeed? Do you plan for multiple intelligences?

I showed this site to my staff and some where keen to give it a go. Will be interesting to try and develop a group personality for our staff. Might make planning a bit easier.

Click to view my Personality Profile page