Saturday, October 29, 2011

A week after Ulearn...

Ulearn always fills me with a huge amount of inspiration. I am sometimes left with an unsettled frustrated feeling about what I want to do, over what I can do!
I have just watched the 'Seven Spaces of Technology' by Ewan Macintosh, and now I want to change my traditional high school classroom. But it is all about what you can do with what you have. So, next week I will ask the students what they think and see what we can do.
Check out 'Through the Fog Blog' by Kellie McRobert's which is where I stumbled upon the 'Seven Spaces of Technology'. Kellie has done an inspiring amount in just 1 week.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Somethings of Interest...

It seems that  is gaining momentum. This is an online paper and free to sign up. I am thinking of creating a class paper  using this site, take a look and whilst there, check out these:

At the start of each term I try to pick one or two online tools to add to my growing knowledge. Whilst I know it is not new, and I am probably the last to use it -  I think is brilliant! I have created a stack which has a collection of educator blogs called: Innovative educator blogs. It is a great way to bookmark sites and I like the visual element.

Awesome Screen Shot (found in the Chrome Web Store - free)  is brilliant you can take a screen shot and then annotate it before saving it on your computer.

So that's 2 tools I am using and it is only day 2 into term 4, off to a good start!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Term 4 Begins!

This school year, despite all the upsets with earthquakes, seems to be rapidly approaching the end. I will be relieved to reach the end of the year and look forward to a normal school year.

The Ulearn conference was amazing and has got my mind ticking with questions like: How can I make this relevant? How can I help my students be ' Agents of Change'? What social media or web 2.0 tools can I integrate into student learning? 

I am also going to drop the word 'work' from things like 'homework' and words like 'lessons' to 'learning opportunities'.

Wish me luck as I embark on this exciting journey!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Ulearn 11

Ulearn 11 is a truly amazing experience. It is impossible to not come away from it without your heading swimming with ideas. 

Stephen Heppell                   
I made the most the opportunity to hear what he had to say. He is someone who truely has a vision and puts it into action. I want my children to attend the schools he talks about. I want to teach in one of those school! Where learning really does start with the student and student voice is paramount. 

Agents of Change by Tony Ryan
Learning should be about creating change in the world and teaching real-life practical skills. I am already jotting down notes for how I can change my English course to have my students creating, changing and doing something really worthwhile

Some Useful Link 
Half the Sky
'The best way to fight poverty and extremism is educate and empower women and girls.

The World's Largest K-12 Social Learning Network

Connecting education and the classroom

Mr Kemp Reflects
Web 2.0 Classroom

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Blended Learning Research

I have complete my self study research which I was doing through Otago Uni as part of my MA. I am going to try and condense 5338 words into something more bitesize! :)

The question:  Can a blended learning approach raise reading achievement in Year 9 girls?
Answer: YES

Part 1: More about the Non Web 2.0 component

The results were positive. Engagement does contribute to achievement and the use of web 2.0 tools provides the engagement. A blended learning approach, enables more students to engage in the activities especially if choice is a key component.  Not only has the reading ability of the students improved, but their confidence and willingness to engage with a variety of texts has also improved. A blended approach meant that students who prefer one or the other style of learning knew that they would get a chance to engage with their preference.

This was important to most students for example they would rather select their own book than use a class set. Having said this, there were some who would rather just be told what to read. Those that preferred their own book, talked about not feeling like they were reading the ‘dumb books’. The choice of activities online was good; a typical comment when asked why was ‘Because I didn’t like some of the activities.” Others commented on it being ‘fun’ and that helped them learn. I believe that for a blended learning approach to work students do need choice, choice to use paper or computer. It is about cooperative learning and utilising all tools available.

The Most Successful Non Web 2.0 Activity
The tasks on how to read a book cover and where to find information, was seen as the most useful and one student in-particular had a light bulb moment with this and as a result her reading scores have increased dramatically. When completing their student reflections, 9 students out of 12 said that it was a useful exercise because: “Some people don’t like reading books and knowing what it is about can change their mind.” Another student commented that “Because now I know which to choose”. When going through this task I started with getting the students to locate the different aspects of a book: the cover, spine and back cover. We then discussed the verbal and visual elements and what impact this has on selecting a book. We also looked inside fiction and non-fiction books to compare the differences. This discussion and activity led us to explore how to read graphic novels. I had assumed they would prefer this style as it has more pictures than words, I was wrong. Many of the students did not know how to read a cartoon book or graphic novel, however once explained this opened up a whole new world to them.

Literacy Books
The literacy book is an exercise book that they can take to each class. At the back is a page for vocabulary for each subject that students can add to. In the front there is information and completed worksheets relating to literacy for example: how to read a Science experiment or what to do when you come across a word you don’t know? These literacy books can be added to during form-time or class time.

The literacy books were a positive for all students and they can understand the purpose of them, however they would like the teachers of their other subjects to be more involved and use them more. This book is such a valuable tool that I am going to continue using it this year and will get some more feedback from the students. It is an idea I have also brought up at a meeting for next years’, Year 9 students.

The Use of Web 2.0 Tools 
During this research we used the learning management system (LMS) Moodle. This LMS went live for the students a week or 2 into the study. I had been using a Wikispace which I set up at the start of the year. Students had navigated the Wiki before the study and in hindsight I should have continued with it, as I underestimated the time needed to show the students how to use Moodle. Moodle is where I placed the work and websites for students to access, as well as work sheets. Students could then access the learning activities at home and in class.

Particular site students identified as enjoying
East of the Web
5 Card          
One Word    

Will write a separate post about the use of E-ASTTLE as this post is more like meal than bitesize! :)

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Well my research/self study on 'Raising reading achievement in year 9 girls' is almost  finished just have the write up to put together - I think I will end up putting together a 'how to'  as I learnt a lot. I really believe that Web 2.0 tools can be used to raise student achievement in the English classroom.