Well the end of my EDC3100 Learning Journey has finally arrived after I have just submitted my final assessment piece for this subject. I feel an incredible sense of relief now as I can now focus on relaxing and enjoying some much needed family time. It has been an interesting journey and I have been very grateful to my peers in this course who have taken the time to read and comment on my blog posts. I wish you all the best of luck in your future teaching careers. I also wish you the best of luck as you negotiate the world of incorporating ICT’s in your lesson plans. As for me I am going to keep plodding along happily in Kindy and in Pre-Prep.
A friend of mine posted this site Teaching Made Easy on her Facebook Wall which has a range of different print resources and Apps available for use in the early years classroom. I particularly like a link that they have on Facebook at the moment on how to write more meaningful observations to guide curriculumm planning decisions. This can be found on the link Meaningful Observations-Examples of Documented Observations.
Today was my last day of Prac and it was a rather quiet and relaxed day 🙂 I had the pleasure of doing alot of small group and individual work with the students today who require a little extra learning support. I found this to be a real eye opener as I guess in many ways I have taken it for granted that all three of my children have been able to learn letters and numbers very quickly and at a very young age. It did made me feel a little sad as I saw these students struggling with letter recognition knowing that this was holding them back from making the next step in the learning journeys. I found it rather coincidental after today that I found this article called One In Five Children Starting School Have Already Fallen Behind on the Mamamia Website, it made for very interesting reading. Another interesting point of discussion today in the staff room at lunch time was the Courier Mails front page article on the large numbe rof Prep students being given suspensions form school as a result of their behaviour at school. This is the link to the article Prep School Bans Soar Amid Rise in Classroom Violence. This article presents some very compelling evidence to hold children back when they are not socially or emotionally ready for the demands that Prep places on our young children. Whilst on prac I found one the most challenging components was micro managing some of these behaviours that were outlined in the article. I was constantly adapting and changing strategies to address this. One thing I did find was the moment I turned on the IWB or another form of digital technology the children were instantly focused and had their eyes glued to the screen.
I was reading through Tina Holst’s blog and came across this great link to a site called Free Technology For Teachers. She mentioned that this would be a great alternative to using Powerpoint and Key Note in the classrrom and I am inclined to agreeing as I feel I have exhausted all the possibilities with using Powerpoint. I wish I had discovered this site earlier and been able to use it whilst on Prac. The site aso has a link to altenatives to using Youtube, which is another tool of technology that I feel like I used rather extensively whilst on Prac. I also like that the site provides information on IPAD Apps for use in schools and useful video making and creation resources. Thanks Tina for a great resource link 🙂
Throughout this course there has been so much focus on what we are going to do in our Professional Careers as teachers about how we intend on incorporating ICT’s into our classrooms. But I am looking forward to getting back into my little Pre-Prep environment and getting back to the basics of what early childhood and learning is truly about. This week I have found this wonderful site called Irresistable Ideas for Play Based Learning. The site does has a small link to Information and Technology. But the main focus is on making play fun and enjoyable for Preschoolers. In the photograph my little girl who is very tech savvy still loves to get back to the basics and just play purely for the enjoyment of playing. This subject has done very little to change my views on technology in the early years. Yes I have been exposed to a whole new range of technologies that I can see will be of benefit to those teaching in the older years, but I feel they offer very little to the early years classroom. I will continue to use technology to maintain and update portfolio’s for children, take photographs for records and I may even play a few games on the IWB we have at work. But for me technology will now take a back seat to more traditional methods of play and learning.
I am not really sure what is I have to blog about at this moment in time. I like many of my fellow EDC3100 friends have struggled over the past three weeks to get through prac while balancing work and children. I have come to the realisation over the past three weeks that I am quite content to stay within the Early Childhood context I feel most comfortable with, that being Pre-Prep. What this means for me in the future I am not entirely sure. I have had a wonderful mentor on Prac and very much enjoyed the challenge that my three weeks in a Prep class has given me but as an advocate for play based learning. I really don’t see me heading down that path long term. I have worked very hard to incorporate ICT’s into my lessons in a creative manner and spent many hours at night getting reources together to ensure my lessons run smoothly. But I guess if the passion and drive is not there it really would not be a good thing to pursue long term. I question why it is after all these years of working towards that goal I have now decided not to pursue it and the only answer I can come up with at this point is that I really love where I am at professionally and working as a preschool teacher is clearly my niche’.
I would be interested to know if this Prac experience has altered or changed any of my other fellow students idea’s and future directions in teaching. I have observed on many of our forums on Facebook the challenges that some of my fellow students have encountered whilst on Prac and I am truly shocked at the way some have been treated by their mentors. Having had a lovely mentor who helped guide me through the whole experience and was incredibly supportive. I found it terribly sad to read some of the horror stories. I thought it was the role of the mentor to help guide and shape pedagogical practices not tear students to shreds with hurtful and times personal attacks. This to me demonstrates a considerable lack of respect for student teachers and I wonder why they take on prac students in their classes if they are not going to support them on their learning journeys to become teachers.
So the challenge now for me is to get the final two assessment pieces I have due for uni in the coming week. I would love to say I am making great progress in that department but I have found myself easily distracted this weekend with all this new found freedom that has come about with Prac coming to an end 🙂
This week has proven to be quite interesting when implementing ICT’s in the Prep Classroom. I am fast discovering that the C2C’s are filled with a number of interesting and exciting possibilities when teaching lessons. I have found the students that I am teaching are particularly responsive to lesson on the IWB I have found that using Powerpoint Presentations on the board to be a very useful tool when reinforcing concepts.
I have also found the IWB to be a particularly useful tool for digital story telling. Below is a picture of the story Spot’s Windy Day that I found on Youtube that I used at the end of a science lesson on the Effect of wind on Objects. It proved to be a useful and engaging way to end the lesson for the children.
This week I have been busy getting my lesson plans ready for teaching. The first lesson I will be teaching tomorrow will be a science lesson about water. I have been busy researching different resources and have found some great information and resources on the IXL Learning site. What I like most about this site is that the resources and activities are in line with the National Curriculum. The games and activities are also highly interactive and very enjoyable for children.
One thing I have found in my planning is that the lesson content does not really seem to allow much room for the intergration of ICT’s. This is because the students are learning about water resistency. In Prep I feel that teaching such a concept is best achieved by having the students engage in hands on learning experiences. Right now it feels like I am trying to incorporate ICT’s purely for the sake of meeting assessment requirements. Having said that I am using a simple Interactive Powerpoint Presentation to reinforce the concept to the children.
After a hectic weekend I have finally got myself orgainsed for a very busy three weeks of Prac. I feel confident about beginning this new phase of my ICT Learning journey. I have my Introduction Letters and Parent Observation Consent forms printed and ready to go. I have a collection of stickers, whiteboard markers, pens and notebook. But I do feel like I am missing something. As I am not teaching any lessons for the first two days I am not feeling too much preasure at this stage. I think this will provide a great opportunity to get to know all the children in the class and become familiar with the routines that take place throughout the day. I am looking forward to teaching my first science lesson later in the week. I have been busy getting my lesson plans written up for the first two weeks. I feel very lucky to have a lovely and very supportive mentor who is really working hard to guide me through these three weeks. She has provided me with an abundance of information that will help keep me focused and on track.
I am writing this post as much of what we have learnt in this ICT Learning Journey has been through the use of social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. but my concern is that we are becoming so dependent on these sites and it is having broader impacts on society as a whole. I was reading an article Sydney Juror’s Were Facebook Friends on Sky News that sited concerns with Jurors in a Court Case being Facebook Friends even though the judge in this case did declare that there was nothing untoward about the two jurors being friends on Facebook, it does lead me to question how will this impact on future cases where jurors may be friends with other jurors, victims or perpertrators of crime on social media. Does this pave the way for cases and jurors to be dismissed based on this precedence?
This also led to me question about how we use Fcaebook and other forms of social media in our everyday lives. For me I use Facebook to interact with family and friends who live interstate and abroad. But I also find it incredibly useful to engage with other students studying Education at USQ. Many friendships have been built and forged through the groups on there. This is largely because we don’t have the same benefit of real life interaction with our course peers and academic staff. However, I have found over the years of using Facebook many of my friends have become quite sporadic it it’s use unlike in the early days when everyone seemed to be using it frequently. In her blog Leah Drury posted an interesting link in her post to an article Facebook fatigue sets in with thousands abandoning the social network. I found the statistics and comments in this article to be quite interesting as it does seem to indicate people are becoming more savvy about it’s use. However, I would not like to think as Facebook as a passing fad, I have come to rely on it as a means of staying in contact with people and I have also reconnected with from my past whose friendship now has taken on a more meaningful context in my life.