This week I headed in to professional experience looking forward to meeting my class honing my teaching and behaviour management skills while exploring the ICTs available in my mentor classroom and school. I was expecting, rather naively, that this large Brisbane- north coast state school would be filled with ICTs accessible to teachers and students to enhance learning and teaching. So, when I presented myself in the week leading up to prac and met my mentor, I have to say I was surprised at the dated ICTs I saw and the ways my mentor incorporated their use into the daily teaching life of the classroom.
After observing the use of the Interactive White Board (IWB) over the past week, I feel that having the ability to project a worksheet up onto the IWB to explicitly model a task such as completing a comparisons worksheet, to be used in consultation with their English assessment, is according to the TIP model- Amplifying learning (Wiencke & Roblyer, 2004). My placement is in Year 2. The relative advantage these students are receiving and the teacher herself is experiencing is in the delivery of the information to the students. The students are engaging their visual and auditory senses while learning how to draw upon their knowledge and the teacher is able to model explicitly what is required of the students with every child having a clear view of the exemplar and having a duplicate of the sheet to work with.
So on to my own experiences this week using ICTs to enhance and transform learning. In science, Year 2 are learning about stages of plant and animal life cycles. As a part of their unit assessment students are required to demonstrate their understanding of the stages of a chosen life cycle. This week I utilised the lab time to instruct the students in the functionality of Microsoft Paint with the expectation that they will draw upon their new found skills to create a label diagram of a plant or animal life cycle. We began with the dreaded Log on. Passwords needed updating, computers were out of order and several students needed to share. Needless to say, my mentor and I, took close to 20 minutes to troubleshoot all the problems before the learning began. I’m not sure that much of this could be preempted.
I began my actual lesson by directing students to the functions on the task bar and working through the options for tools, colours and shapes. Students created a landscape image (see example above) and by the end of the session many students had moved ahead on their own adding features of their choice to their landscapes. To conclude the lesson, students were required to save their landscape creations in the Year 2 folder on G Drive. That was a whole other issue. My mentor tried several pathways to save the students work before achieving success. These minor anomalies were able to be solved without too much trouble however the experience has taught me to be more prepared. Such as knowing the pathway for saving student work.
The students and my mentor enjoyed the lesson experience and were proud of their resulting creations. I look forward to next week when the students get to combine their learning and skills to create a life cycle label diagram.
Best wishes for week 2,