Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Post #10

Allowing mobile devices in the classroom is risky business.  I found students were constantly sending texts and looking things up on the internet during class time.  Taking cell phones away from students is necessary, although an interruption to class discussions.  Occasional use of cell phones in the classroom, for the educational purposes, can be fun.  However, I somewhat agree with the commenter at the bottom of the article who says, “Sad,,,,the Poll everywhere thing is a joke...a novelty that does ZERO to enhance education.In order for pollanywhere to be effective in the classroom it would have to be used in a consistent manner over a number of classes.  More often than not, however, it is used once, mainly it seems for the purpose of having the students believe that the teacher is hip to the newest technologies.  This only goes so far.  Gimmicks are fun, but when it comes to real educational value, pollanywhere has its limitations.

In any case, personal digital devices are becoming more and more common, so we are going to be seeing a whole lot more of them being used in the classroom.  It is good that there is an active debate over how and when these devices should be allowed. 

Japan Prezi

Post #9

This article talks about different aspects of PowerPoint.  I agree with this article, especially the fact that many PowerPoints are ineffective, as they either put too much text on slides or the slides are made without aesthetic consideration.  When done well, however, a PowerPoint presentation can be extremely effective.  It was the first program that was popular for people to use to make digital presentations and added so much in comparison with traditional methods such as writing on the blackboard or overhead projector.  It must have cut down in preparation time as well, as it takes time for the teacher to draw complicated graphs on the blackboard or to prepare an overhead for class. 

Google slideshow and Prezi are other options teachers can use, and in the future there will be increasingly more.  One day, in the not-too-distant future, we will be able to display holograms for our students, or all tap into virtual reality servers.  We will be able to visit a virtual simulation of Stonehenge instead of just reading about it in a book or looking at pictures of it.

I personally prefer Prezi over PowerPoint, because I enjoy creating the visual concept with which to embed my slides and it offers more potential for creativity in general.  PowerPoint is 2D, whereas Prezi is 3D.  This offers an entire extra dimension to work with.

Post #8

It was an eye-opening experience to live in Japan for three years and see the dynamic of people working together who were brought up in a collective or group-oriented culture.  In comparison with Canada, Japanese people are extremely good at working together.  In addition, group harmony is a very important aspect of their culture.  Therefore, the typical drama that occurs in any office or team environment in Canada basically doesn’t happen in Japan, because people tend not to challenge each other, in favour of maintaining harmonious relationships.   A very eye-opening experience, because it surprises me how poor westerners are, at times, at working together.   Of course, university students are accustomed to doing group projects, but high school students have a difficult time working together, which makes it important for us as teachers to make sure our students to work with each other “harmoniously”.

Post #7

Curating from online sources is a good way for us to have our students to tap into higher-order thinking skills, especially the ability to evaluate.  If students were to create a blog on a certain topic, research from a variety of sources, post to their blog the best of their findings along with descriptions on what the source is and why they believe it is superior to others sources, and present their findings to the class, this assignment would teach the students so much in terms of content, but the process would also meet many educational objectives.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Japanese Podcast - Jeff and Doreen

Post #6

Podcasting is something that I have not been exposed to until now.  I assume that we will be making our own podcasts in class today, which I am looking forward to doing, if true.  I agree with the aspect of the article that suggests that students are much more engaged when they believe that what they are doing is important.  If students are creating podcasts that are going to not only be heard by their teacher and classmates, but also an international audience, they are much likely to put their absolute best efforts into the creation of their projects. 

If students are creating podcasts using programs such as Audacity, it is not necessary for them to record what they have to say in only one sitting, which is a very good thing.  It is very natural to be nervous when speaking in front of an audience, so it is not surprising that recording at a professional quality in one sitting is rare.  With programs such as Audacity or Garageband recordings can be completed one sentence at a time, meaning someone can record one sentence, press stop, wait until they are ready to record the next sentence, and then press record.  Also, a sentence can be recorded a number of times. 

In a Japanese language classroom, I might have my students do a Culture Presentation Podcast, or else I might have them do a Podcast on a biography of a famous historical Japanese person.   The possibilities are endless.