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EDU617

Learning and Teaching with ICT

Assignment 1: Classroom Implications

Affordances of an Educational Technology (Wikis)

Classroom Implications
Context
I have used wikis as a tool for learning with my classes of primary school aged students for a few years and have found the potential of these to be enormous. My current context is at Kukerin Primary School which is a small rural school in the southern wheat belt of Western Australia. With forty two students, we have two main classes which consist of Pre Primary to Year 3 students and Year 4 to Year 7 students. These classes have approximately 23 and 15 students respectively with a small group of Kindergarten students joining the school on two days per week. Within my role as a teaching Principal, I am able to work with students across the school in a variety of contexts and learning areas. These include English, Mathematics, Visual Arts, Society and Environment, Values Education, Music and Technology and Enterprise. My previous contexts were at a remote Midwest District High School as a Deputy Principal and as a Music and Technology and Enterprise teacher at a school in Perth. I have also used wikis in each of these schools and have found them to be a valuable learning tool. I have had an overwhelmingly positive response from students, their parents and colleagues regarding the use of these.

Our technological provisions at Kukerin Primary are very good with a ratio of one computer to every three students with all computers situated within the classrooms. Our Internet connection is fast and our network experiences very few technical issues which are usually able to be resolved at a school level. This makes it easy in the classroom so that the students are able to get on with their learning and teachers are able to get on with lesson facilitation. We also have interactive white boards in each classroom which makes modeling to students the technological aspects and processes required for working on wikis very convenient. Students really enjoy using the interactive whiteboards as they are highly motivating and engaging.

Use/Examples
There are many ways in which students can use wikis as a different means of presenting and creating their work. In the Music learning area, middle or upper primary students could participate in a collaborative task that investigates a musician or band. Students could collect and present information ased on categories the group decides necessary (such as style of music, how the musician or band started playing music and who their influences are) and incorporate audio, video and images to publish their work online. Students could also email or attempt to communicate with the band or other local musicians that may be able to help, under teacher guidance and supervision. This could lead to the students creating a loop based composition using software such as Sony Acid Xpress or Garage Band in the style of the musician or band from their project. Other students from the class could also be involved in the discussion forum through reflection about their favourite music.

Students from any phase of learning could investigate some of the songs they may be learning at school and use a wiki to investigate and present information about the meanings behind the song words. Students could even work in groups to rewrite a song from a different perspective or point of view. This could incorporate students investigating misheard lyrics in songs they have learned and even rewrite the song to reflect some lyrics that people could misinterpret. This wiki could even involve students describing musical elements of songs chosen by the group (such as tempo, rhythms, instrumentation and texture) and how it has been put together. Students could then write their own song using the format of their chosen song as a guide. The discussion forum could be used for students to share information related to useful websites they have found or to ask each other questions about the songs chosen. It could also be used to discuss songs they may choose to investigate as a group through the wiki. The songs the groups compose could be entered in a song competition or posted to the school website or Intranet.

In the Technology and Enterprise learning area, middle and upper primary students could create a research task about the local bird life around their school and the conservation measures that exist for this. They could begin by finding out about the birds that live in the local area, what they eat, the threats that exist, how many of them live in the area and how long they are expected to survive. This could lead to investigating measures to protect these birds such as creating a bird friendly environment around the school or constructing bird attracting devices that could be strategically placed around the school. Students could communicate online with local Landcare Australia or Conservation and Land Management representatives. This could be linked to a Clean Up Australia Day event in which the students could participate as well as organise.

In English, students from the lower primary phase of learning could use a wiki to create group responses to texts. The group could select a story book or digital text from a range offered by the teacher and students could co-construct their own narrative based on events that took place before the beginning of the story or after the finish. Students could then create a story review that could be published in the school newsletter, on the school website or on the Intranet. Following this, students could use the discussion forum to share their favourite part of the story they have created.

In the Society and Environment learning area, students from a junior primary class could work in groups to publish their learning about roles that different people have in the community such as a teacher, shop keeper, health centre worker, farmer and mechanic using a wiki. They could use the Internet to investigate aspects of each role and create hyperlinks to websites showing images of people carrying out these jobs. Students could then collaboratively create a list of interview questions that they could take into the community and use to ask these people about their work. It could be quite easy to invite some parents into the school to talk to the students about these roles and this could further facilitate this learning opportunity. Students could then reflect upon the visits of these guests through the wiki. This could be extended to having students use the wiki to create a daily timetable for a selected community role.

Students from a middle or upper primary class could participate in a wiki with a ‘space’ theme. This could integrate across a number of learning areas where the student groups could create investigations about one of the planets. They could gather information from a variety of sources including the Internet and present their research via the wiki using animated images, video, hyperlinks to various websites and audio. The project could be integrated with Mathematics where students are asked to find a way of represent the distances across the solar system. They could use available software such as Tux Paint or other Internet Resources to show this and incorporate it into the wiki. Students could also use loop based music software to create compositions using space sounding electronic instruments which could be posted to the wiki. Students could create a narrative based on this musical composition.

 

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