Wednesday, May 23, 2007

eLive - John Johnston - World Wide Wall Display

Are new web technologies a revolution? John thinks not. Good teaching is good teaching... so his talk is on wall displays! He started by showing some wall displays and the reasons for using them - e.g. displaying writing, artwork, news wall, ... He also showed the a wall display that had grown out of a blogging project.

Part of the reason he started the school website in the first place was to showcase the children's work. (In fact started with some space on AOL that is still there.) Setting up the galleries et. however involved the creation of html webpages and although John liked doing it, it was taking up more and more of his time. So he moved to a blog.

Using a blog brought a number of advantages. One is they are very visual. Initially, he thought he wanted to concentrate on writing so wasn't planning using many pictures. However, as he sid, children don't like writing but they do like taking pictures... and once they have taken and posted a picture... they have to write about it. He described it as "stealth education" - the children think they are learning bout computers but they are also developing literacy skills.

The blogging interface is very easy to use and so the children are able to keep and edit their own blogs. They also work as a whole class round a projected display or work in small groups.

So why blog? Firstly the audience. John showed the map widget that shows the wordwide audience the blog has. The children love it and have a real sense of audience. The pupils themselves also love getting the comments back and are developing effective learning conversations with people all round the world. One good example was their recent trip to the Netherlands where they had 180 comments in six days while they were away. They also did a bit of picture blogging from mobile phones. A bit "clunky" just now but becoming easier and soon will be straightforward. Also good because it is technology they are familiar with.

Also, puts them in touch with experts all round the world. For example, children write poems that get a world wide audience, get feedback from people all round the world - including (in John's case, a professional poet.

Important to remember that we are in very early days of blog use in education. Nothing is fixed in stone yet. So we can play, experiment, try things out...

Blogs are also a good way of drawing other members of staff involved. Do other members of staff have a special interest? suggest they start a blog on it. (See the Eco Otters blog for an example of a specialist blog.)

The children are now really enthusiastic about blogging and suggest their own ideas. John gave the example of children rushing in at lunchtime to ask for a camera so they could photograph and blog what they were doing. (Did you catch that... at lunchtime!)

The multimedia possibilities are so easy to use and allow pupils to record and describe their learning in all sorts of ways. For example, posting video of science experiments or recording sound description of artwork.

Almost all they do contributes to four capacities of A Curriculum for Excellence and so much contributes to Assessment is for Learning outcomes.

Technorati Tags: , ,

No comments: