Environment matters?

I have read one of Nazmeela’s blogpost and I agreed with her that environment is definitely the third teacher.
It is vital to create a positive social climate, to carefully plan balanced experiences and to consider ample time for children to reflect and think to support learning. It is not only the socio-emotional climate of the environment that affects children’s learning but also the physical climate. Dr Maria Montessori spoke of the ‘prepared environment’ because she thought it to be the adults’ responsibilities to prepare an environment for the child at his/her appropriate developmental stage. Montessori approach includes placing a child in a mix-aged classroom to enhance a wide range of learning possibilities. Individual work meets individual needs; while in group work, children are encouraged to help each other. Therefore, when establishing environment as a third teacher, educators should consider easy approached and enriching open-ended and self-correcting resources, experiential learning, homogeneous and heterogeneous group and pair approaches, visual representation and aesthetic, and a multicultural classroom. A relaxed, unhurried, calm environment gives them opportunity to make decision, express themselves, pose question consider the views of others and etc.

Can ICT manage children behaviour?

My answer is yes.

ICT is definitely the language of this generation. Children are born into this ICT era and they love ICT naturally. By considering this nature of today’s generation, I find that ICT integration is a way to manage children behaviour. Children tend to be more engaged in lessons when ICT is integrated as they are eager to play the tool. As it is one of their favourite activities, adding and withdrawing ICT integration can be one of the reinforcement. I have tried using computer time as a reinforcement to manage children’s behaviour and the result is satisfying. For example, computer times is cancelled as the consequence for misbehaving in the class. Besides, I find that interactive activities and sharing ICT tools are ways to build good relationship between children and teachers and also among children.

In conclusion, teachers can find their own way in classroom management by awarding or withdrawing the use of ICT. Check here to read more about how “Losing a privilege” works in behaviour management.

Experiencing ICTs for different purposes

I believe that a good variety of ICT resources can be used to make lessons interesting and effective for the children. My lessons have been more explicit this week as ICTs are not only used to engage children in the introduction of the lesson like the first week but they are being used in engaging, transmitting knowledge, documenting, and revising. I have tried a variety of tools this week – smartboard for interactive games and video showing, digital camera to record observation, Ipad in physical activities and interactive activities, and also computer for educational software, mind sparklers for revision. I found that children have better understanding when showing natural phenomenon which cannot be described in words. They can remember what they have learnt well as the visual representation helps to form a good memory and recognition. Next thing I would like to do with the children would be the listening set provided which my colleague Neena had actually tried on that. According to Neena, children are being more attentive and it makes lesson more effective as children have no choice but to listen to what is broadcasted.

Reflecting again!

As I reflect on my own teaching, setting boundaries is one of the skills I need to learn when using ICTs in the lessons. I have to set rules before having children to use the ICT tools to avoid any unwanted behaviour or chaos. Besides, asking question is a vital process as it can stimulate children to think and have a focus. For example, setting a question before showing a video allows children to focus and find the answer to the questions from the video. Time is another constraint I have to consider to make sure I am not interrupting another teacher’s lesson. Besides, I have to be more alert as I need to observe and take care of the needs of every single child in the class especially when there is only one ICT tool. Children need to be occupied when one child is using the tool. In the nutshell, there are still pitfall in integrating ICT. We as teachers should adjust a balance and look for the best of it.

ICT as platform for interaction

Reading on Neena‘s reflective blog, I am inspired to write on my experience in building relationship with children in the school. Working as a new teacher, I am putting effort into bonding with the children. I am learning how to interact with the children and handling ICT tools at the same time. Besides, I am learning how to adjust the timing to have a balance between on board and off board activities so that to increase the interaction. I find that sometimes it is better not to disturb or ask question when children are being attentive to the screen. However, it depends on what is broadcast-ed.


Teaching for the first week

I have started my Professional Experience this week. There are so much ICT tools that i can use to integrate my lesson in the centre. Interactive board and Ipad have been integrated in teaching and learning in this very first week. You can actually check my colleague Mike’s post on one of my activity. The involvement of ICT successfully attracts children attention and gives a better explanation on steps in doing a task. Children show interest in using ICT tool. I am learning how to integrate ICT into lessons that have been planned earlier by the centre in this week. By not changing the whole lesson, I choose to only add in the use of ICT in some of the parts of the lesson. I have tried to engage children by using ICT at the beginning of the lesson as an introduction and then let them to have more hands on experience. ICT is used to demonstrate in a way that brings great clarity and beyond just the plain words of instructions.

Here’s Mr P’s Blog on how iPad could be used in the classroom!

My favourite brainstorming tool

Pinterest and Instagram are online photo-sharing and social networking software/application that enable the users to take pictures, apply digital filters and then share them on a variety of social networking services, such as Facebook and Twitter. We can use them on ICT tools like smartphones and computer so they are convenient and user-friendly. People of same interest can ‘tag’ and ‘pin’ their pictures when sharing so that others who are searching for pictures of the same interest can easily look for them. They are my favourite searching tools to do my brainstorming in planning activities especially art and craft activities. People tags the pictures and we can simply get some ideas to plan. Just type the name of your theme like “seasons” and you will definitely get something you want which are more precise than Google search.

Second task is over!

Assignment 2 is over and now its the time for the next mission – Professional Experience. The first two assignment had actually prepared us to teach in our Professional Experience. We had understood the reasons to integrate ICTs and their benefits in giving children a better learning experience in assignment one. As for the assignment two, we learnt the ways to come out with a unit plan and to plan lessons according to children’s learning context. This is so much relevant to what we are going to do in our practicum. I have been informed that children are having Seasons, Body parts, Nutrition, and Transportation as their learning theme for next month. Of course different theme are for different purposes and age group. Now, it is the time for me to start thinking which theme I am going to work on and which one of them can work well with the integration of ICT tools. Perhaps I should discuss with Neena who is going to be at the same site as me. Just read her post and she is ready to get started!

What educators said about ICT

EDtalks is where leaders, innovative educators and inspirational learners share their thoughts and experience in the field of education. There are interviews, discussions, presentations, and thought being shared in video forms. Teachers share experience, tips and ideas in this website via video. For example, some teachers explain how ICT software has actually enhanced and supported children’s learning and made children connected to wider world. Some kindergarten principal discuss the significant impact ICT has had at their kindergarten and they are all real experiences. I found that this is a great source where we can learn from the other educators as there are real-life evidence and experience shared. Click here to watch videos commenting on the use of ICT in education – EDtalks.



Planning Backwards

In Assignment two, we have to use Backward Design model in completing a unit plan. Backward Design model is not something new to me. I have planned ‘backwards’ before for previous assignment. However, it requires us to consider more elements in this assignment compare to the previous one. So I would say that it is more challenging this time. What is planning backwards? It is actually a type of lesson planning from the backwards. In traditional ways, teachers usually plan learning experience first and then the assessment. However, in backward design, teachers have to know the aim and goal of the lesson first, then the type of assessment, and lastly they have to plan learning experience according to the identified desired results and assessment. I found this method useful because the goal and expected result of assessment has been set in the teacher’s mind at first and the teacher would plan learning experience to meet the goal without going out of track. The learning goal and learning outcome is direct and clear.

This is what I understand about the Backwards Design model. I would make my explanation simple in a few words. It consists of three steps:

Identify desired results – Knowing learning outcome
Determine acceptable evidence – Planning assessment
Planning learning experiences and instruction – Planning lessons and activites

To know more about this, click here.