Playing Piggyback

Photo credit: The Flooz

Some days I can’t help feeling like I’m just piggybacking. My best ideas with ICT have been borrowed from other people’s best ideas, and I’m merely reproducing them in a slightly different way. I don’t feel much like an innovator, especially not when compared with many of the well-known edubloggers out there. My links today were somebody else’s links yesterday. Sometimes I feel I’m a couple of steps behind.

One day I foolishly decided to try out this site which shows you who is following you on Twitter, and whether or not the people you follow are following you. If I ever wanted a slap to the ego, this was it! (Resist the temptation to do it yourself!) I felt a little deflated, like some of my ICT heroes didn’t even know I existed! But realistically, why would they? This blog is merely a couple of months old, I am just realising the power of tools such as Twitter, and have only been teaching ICT since September. In addition to that, I haven’t commented on enough blogs to make a blip on the surface yet (hey, I’m working on it!).

Just before I decided to send the invitations out to my pity-party, I thought, you know what? There are days when I get people coming up to me saying, “Where do you find all this great stuff?” and (even more surprisingly), “I’m learning so much from you,” and I realise it’s all relative. I have introduced people to some new tools this year, and for that I feel like I’ve made a difference, albeit on a smaller scale to some of the greats.

Whilst I am piggybacking on other people’s ideas, amazingly, some people are piggybacking on mine.

PYP Induction

A big welcome to all our new PYP colleagues in Singapore! Lovely to have you visit our East campus.

Below is a Voicethread we started to help us look at practical ways we can reinforce the PYP Attitudes in the classroom. Some of our teachers have already added information about how they use the attitudes in their classrooms.

We need your help to make this as useful as possible. Please listen to & read this Voicethread, then add your own comments about what you would do in your classroom to highlight and promote the PYP Attitudes.

You can comment via audio (pop the headphones on), text (type your ideas) or webcam (click ‘allow’ to access your webcam). Detailed instructions for commenting can be found below.

Instructions for commenting

Click on Comment. The following screen will come up. If you have an account already, sign in with your username and password. If you don’t have an account, click on register.

To register, fill in your name, email address & password.

You will now receive an option to upload a photo. Select I’ll do it later.

To make an audio comment, click on record. You will then be prompted to let Voicethread access the camera & microphone. Click on allow.

You should be able to click on start talking now to record your comment.

For more information on using Voicethreads for education, click on this link.

Tweet, Tweet

Photo credit

When I first signed up for Twitter I won’t lie; I wasn’t overly impressed. I didn’t know who to follow, I didn’t know what to say. After all, surely the ‘status update’ function of Facebook would do the same thing.

I persevered, followed more people, shared some interesting things I found and then all of a sudden I started getting replies and direct messages! I tell you, that made me feel a lot better about Twitter on the whole.

The next step was when one of the people I followed shared this link to 25+ Incredibly Useful Twitter tools. One of the tools mentioned was Twhirl. I downloaded it and found it certainly enhanced my Twitter experience. I could now share photos, shorten urls and see who had replied to me all on one interface. Nice!

Another pivotal Twitter moment for me was when I got really excited about a lesson I was doing using digital microscopes, posted a tweet about it and received some replies straight away. They asked to see a photo so I obliged, and more replies followed.

I use Twitter not for updating my status, but rather as a place to share great tech links and ideas I stumble across, a place for daily professional development by checking out the links of others, and a place to connect with people who are not yet friends, but I hope they will be someday.

So why not look me up? I’m klandmiles on Twitter.

Media + election = new lesson

Monica (Grade 3) comes into my lesson after lunch and says, “Mrs Beasley, can I share with you something I’m really proud of?”
“Of course, I’d love to hear it,” I reply.
“Barack Obama won the US election and he is the first black president of the United States!”
Well, when you have passion like that, you can’t just ignore it! I popped the MSNBC website I’d been following up on the IWB and we checked out the results. When we looked, it was Obama 333 and McCain 156 (if memory serves me correctly). It updated while we were looking at it, and that was even more exciting for the class.

Politics – Political News & Updates- via kwout

Not having any firsthand experience with a US election (what with being a Kiwi and all), I nabbed our teacher librarian Katie for an expert opinion.

She directed me to the common craft video below, so we played that to get a general understanding. It linked well to the MSNBC site, as it made senseĀ  of the ‘value’ of each state, and the numbers that each candidate had to their name.

Midway, our (British) Vice-Principal walked in and shared his thoughts on the election. He emphasised the historical nature of Obama’s victory and the significance of him being the first black president of the USA.

What I loved about this day was the ability to go with the children’s interests, draw upon the expertise of other colleagues and find something to help illustrate the event at a moment’s notice. It certainly wasn’t what I had planned for the class that day, but hopefully by going with the teachable moment, the students will look back on this historical day and remember where they were and what they were doing at the time Obama became president.