This page is dedicated to various blogs, rants, thoughts, raves that may end up being published or may not.
Vietnam Trip 2009
I spent over two weeks in Vietnam during September 2009 on a school trip run by World Challenge International. Amazing country, amazing trip. One of the aims of the trip was to allow the students (8 Yr 11 girls from Strathcoa) to coordinate the logistics (food, transport, accommodation etc). They did a great job and work really well as a team. If you would like to be invited to the wiki set up for the trip, join via http://strathyvietnam09team2.wikispaces.com/
Thoughts about the trip:
The majority of Vietnamese don’t have a particular faith, yet are some of the most spiritually in tune and ‘Christ -like’ people I have meet.
Vietnam is a haven for smokers.
Hanoi – 10 million people and 5 million scooters.
In Vietnam, motor scooters have right of way – on the footpath, both sides of the road and even in hotel lobbies.
Village people in Vietnam may not have many possessions, but they are very content and happy.
July 10 – Educational Comment – for Strathcona Newsletter Week 1 Term 3
Being a teacher is a tremendous privilege. Sharing ones passions and helping young people develop academically and emotionally is one of life’s great honours that should never be taken for granted.
We have a wonderful team of educators at Strathcona who really care about their students. It is a joy to work with and learn from such a great team of educational professionals on a daily basis.
One of the great benefits of my role as Head of Learning Technologies at Strathcona is that I am lucky enough to have a large network of colleges at a local, state, national and international level who support each other to keep up to date with the latest developments in ICT (Information & Communications Technologies) in Education. Encouraging teachers to use ICT in the teaching and learning process is not just about learning new tools and techniques, it is very much about encouraging efficient, effective and creative teaching and learning practices.
Creativity in all aspects of life, inside and outside of school, is something that we all need to strive for and encourage. One of my education heroes, Mitch Resnick (a disciple of the great Seymour Papet) said, ‘Success in the future – for individuals, for communities, for companies, for nations as a whole – will be based not on what we know or how much we know, but on our ability to think and act creatively’ (Resnick, 2008, p.12). According to the world-renowned educationist Sir Ken Robinson, creativity is as important in education as literacy and we should treat it with the same status (Robinson, 2006).
The effective use of ICT in schools can stimulate creativity in presentation, creativity in teaching and (most importantly) creativity in learning. The use of ICT in the curriculum (inside and outside the classroom) engages students and stimulates higher levels of learning through problem solving, reflection and a seemingly endless potential for invention and creativity in presenting knowledge. However, it is the responsibility of teachers and parents to encourage young people to be selective and decisive in the way they deal with the mountains of data that are at their fingertips. Responsible adults need to guide, educate and promote the positive aspects of ICT; to encourage the young people in their care to be aware of the pitfalls and help them make good and wise decisions that promote life long learning and positive relationships with local and global communities.
The teaching profession has changed dramatically since I was a student in the 1970s & 80s. Teachers are no longer the fountain of all knowledge, their main job is to facilitate and manage learning by teaching students how to become life long learners and develop passions in a range of areas. The reality is that we are preparing many of our young people for careers that are yet to be invented. A vital element of this preparation is encouraging good ICT practices. This is an essential and exciting element to all areas of modern education.
There are many great examples of ICT being used well across the Strathcona curriculum. To mention them all would take up most of this newsletter, however some specific examples that are worthy of special mentions are:
– The Year 3 blog set up by Miss Harding for parents and students to have exclusive online access to all the exciting teaching and learning experiences in the Year 3 classroom;
– The Year 4 Kahootz (3D animation/story telling) program with Mrs Clarke & Ms Fendley;
– The online digital portfolios being set up for all Year 5 to 8 students (led by 17 teachers of English & Science) as a way of sharing and reflecting on significant learnings with parents and selected teachers and friends;
– The Year 10 Journalism course led by Ms Hall which uses the schools fabulous media facilities to teach the art of being a journalist;
– The Year 10 Digital Video Production course that teaches students a vast array of video literacy skills;
– The Yr 10 & VCE Physics program led my Mr Hamilton with a wide range of ICT for data collection and analysis; and
– VET/VCE Interactive Digital Media that enhances the girls skills in web design, animation and video editing.
You may be interested to note that Strathcona has been recognised as one of Australia’s leading schools in relation to its use of video technologies, especially in regards to the development of STV (Strathcona Television). We have recently been approached to be one of the host schools at the 2009 VITTA conference in November (recognised as one of the best ICT in Education conferences in Australian and New Zealand).
It is such an exciting time to be a teacher, especially at a school like Strathcona that is embracing and encouraging technological advances.
Resnick, M. (2008) Computer as Paint Brush: Technology, Play, and the Creative Society, MIT, USA
Robinson, K. (2006) Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity, TED Ideas worth spreading , <http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity.htm>