Collaborative Classroom Technologies

Laurillard (2009) explores a number of learning theories in the article ‘The pedagogical challenges to collaborative technologies’. These include instructionism, constructionism, socio-cultural learning and collaborative learning. These learning theories are also combined into one framework referred to as the ‘Conversational Framework’, which embraces all of the important elements of the individual pedagogical approaches and demonstrates the complexity of what it takes to learn.

While completing Assignment 2, I will be mostly focusing on collaborative learning by selecting technology tools and resources that allow students to share their knowledge while working towards a common outcome. Collaborative learning combines constructionism with social learning. In this particular approach, students are encouraged to work together towards creating their final product which can be in the form of many different things, including many that involve the use of technology tools.

I will also include some of the other theories in order to make up the 20 resources that we need to find. It is important for students to be able to employ a range of skills such as those of working together on collaborative learning tasks while also being able to construct their own knowledge through the constructionism theory. Also, instrucitonism is a theory that is difficult to leave out of an educational plan as there needs to be some element of teacher-driven instruction in a unit of work, even if it is only a small amount.

Reference:

Laurillard, D. (2009). The pedagogical challenges to collaborative technologies.  International Journal Of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning,4(1), 5-20. doi:10.1007/s11412-008-9056-2

Collaborative Learning

Collaborative learning can be defined as a process where ‘students interact for the purpose of achieving a better understanding about a concept, problem or phenomenon, or to create a novel piece of knowledge or a solution that they previously didn’t know’ (Chai, Lim, So & Cheah, 2011, p.6). Collaborative learning is more than cooperation within the classroom as there is more focus on group formation, interaction, procedures and the outcomes of the activity.

Web 2.0 tools are those that allow students to undertake this collaborative learning as they allow for social interaction through applications such as Facebook, blogs, forums and discussion boards. In the research conducted by Luckin, Clark, Graber, Logan, Mee & Oliver (2009) it was indicated that although the secondary students who were involved in the study were not aware of the full range of Web 2.0 tools that are available, only having an understanding of social networking sites, online games and instant messaging services. Many of the Web 2.0 tools were considered to be under-utilised including wikis and blogs, with students noting that they read these for information but rarely contribute by posting to them. It was also noted that majority of these Web 2.0 tools are used outside of the classroom and the students did not see educational value in their use in the classroom.

The issues that were discussed throughout the article are quite complex. As discussed in previous modules, there is a real need for policies to include the integration of Web 2.0 tools and what they can be used for within the educational context. The need for schools to provide support to teachers and students in regards to providing the tools needed to be able to maintain the use of Web 2.0 tools and the training that educators need to be able to integrate these tools effectively into their classrooms.

With school IT departments working with the teachers in order to determine their needs in terms of infrastructure including hardware and software, as well as what training the school can provide to help all staff become proficient with the tools they wish to use the integration of Web 2.0 tools into the classroom to provide collaborative learning experiences should be quite smooth and successful. There are a number of avenues that schools can follow in order to source effective professional development to help their staff to be the best they can be at using Web 2.0 tools in their classrooms so this would be a great place to start.

Beauchamp and Kennewell (2010) explore the idea of interactivity rather than simply collaboration. In their article, they look at five different types of interactivity that can occur in the classroom. Below I will explore each and describe what a group of students would look like in my classroom if they were participating in each type of interactivity.

  • Group Interaction – an example of this kind of interaction could be students working in small groups to create a collaborative Google Slides presentation as a class around a particular topic. Each group would be given a sub-section of the topic that they would work on, with a range of guidelines that they must follow to complete their particular section of the task. The final submission of the research would come from the group, not from me.
  • Authoritative Interactivity – in this type of interactivity, students are working individually using ‘tutorial software as a participant in interaction with predetermined responses… or the student may be using a content-free program as a tool to carry out a fixed procedure to complete a familiar task’ (Beauchamp & Kennewell, 2010, p.760). In my classroom, students spend a lot of time working through simulations and various tutorial software to help them to visualise difficult concepts in science. In particular, Phet simulations are excellent for providing students with easy to follow interactive simulations.
  • Dialectic Interactivity – an example of this type of interactivity in my classroom could be a Google Site created with a range of YouTube videos, links to resources and other tools for students to be able to use as they need to be able to achieve a particular outcome. This provides variation to the students to be able to explore the resources based on their needs and interests.
  • Dialogic Interactivity – as I have mentioned a few times throughout these blogs, having my students understand about academic honesty and plagiarism is a goal of mine in 2017. One way this could be done is for the students to contribute to a class blog where they share a link to an article they find online and then share their summary of the article in their own words. Students could then comment on the other students posts and provide feedback to their peers about how they completed the task. This also means that at the end of the task, the students will have a library of articles that they can then refer to for their own work at a later date, something that may be difficult for the teacher to achieve on their own.
  • Synergistic Interactivity – in my class, I can see ‘synergistic interactivity’ being utilised through the use of a class Padlet. Padlet is a tool that allows anyone with a link to the board to contribute their ideas through text, images or video. This is a great way to meet the description that Beauchamp and Kennewell (2010) provide synergistic interactivity, that “the ability of all learners and the teacher to use the tool to contribute on equal terms is central” (p. 764).

 

References:

Beauchamp, G., & Kennewell, S. (2010). Interactivity in the classroom and its impact on learning. Computers & Education, 54(3), 759-766. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2009.09.033 

Chai, C.S., Lim, W, So, H., Cheah, H.M. (2011).  Advancing Collaborative Learning with ICT: Conception, Cases and Design.  Ministry of Education, Singapore, 1st Edition.

Luckin, R., Clark, W., Graber, R., Logan, K., Mee, A., & Oliver, M. (2009). Do Web 2.0 tools really open the door to learning? Practices, perceptions and profiles of 11–16‐year‐old students. Learning, Media And Technology, 34(2), 87-104.http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17439880902921949

Planning & Conducting Lessons with Technology

The introduction of new technology tools into the classroom means that educators need to think of new and different ways of accessing and processing information needed for teaching and learning. Along with this different way of thinking, educators need to develop different ways of assessing students and reflecting on the processes followed (Robyler & Doering, 2014).

There are a number of ways that teachers can assess their students using technology from simple game-based tools to interactive tools that can integrate YouTube videos to assess students understanding as they are watching.

  • Kahoot! – is one of my favourite tech tools. My students love the music, the colour and the competition. Quizzes are easy to create and there are MILLIONS of different quizzes you can choose from online. Kahoot has now brought in a number of different quiz types including jumble, where students need to put 4 items into the correct sequence. Kahoot is great for pre-test or post-testing and can also be used as a teaching tool by ‘blind Kahooting’ – where a question is posed and then the teacher addresses the content directly after each question
  • Google Forms with Flubaroo Add-On – Google Forms are a great way to collect a whole range of data and they can also be used to conduct a quiz with a range of question types. The Form is initially created with questions that the students will answer. The answers are sent to a Google Sheet, where the Flubaroo Add-On can be installed. With Flubaroo, any multiple choice, true/false or short answer questions can be marked automatically and the students can receive their results via email. Here is a short tutorial I created on how to use Google Forms & Flubaroo.
  • Quia – Quia is a web-based resource that allows teachers to create their own game-based quiz activities (or find one of the many pre-made quizzes). There are a number of different games that the quizzes can be built around including Hangman, Jeopardy and Battleships. Quia can be used without a log-in for students, however, the teacher will not be able to gather individual results this way.
  • Plickers – this is a less intense version of a class quiz activity than Kahoot!. The teacher prints out and assigns each student with an answer card that has a square on it where each side corresponds to one of the 4 responses (A, B, C & D). As the questions appear on the board, the students hold their sheets up with their correct answer at the top of the sheet and the teacher is able to scan all of the sheets easily using a smart device with the Plickers app. Data is then sent directly to the computer for the teacher to be able to see how each student is progressing.
  • Playposit – with YouTube integration, Playposit allows teachers to embed a range of question styles into a video at specific times. They can help the teacher to ensure that the students are understanding the content that is being addressed and are moving through at an appropriate rate. With more and more teachers introducing the flipped classroom method, this program is a great way for teachers to ensure that students are interacting with the videos and are understanding what they are watching.

Reference:

Roblyer, M., & Doering, A. (2014). Integrating technology into teaching(6th ed.). Essex: Pearson Education Limited.

Classroom Technologies & Ethical Issues

In Chapter 1 of Robyler and Doering (2014), a number of issues are addressed that shape the environment for using technology as well as teacher responses and responsibilities. The four main issue areas include:

  1. Social issues – these include things such as how technology use and overuse may lead to a decrease in the quality of life of students as well as the risks of taking part in online social networking sites and specific technological problems such as viruses and spam
  2. Educational issues –  these revolve around the idea of providing access to technology in our schools which requires a certain amount of funding as well as the accountability of teachers and students for the quality of the work that they complete and the progress they make as well as debate over how the correct technology tools are used for best practice and the increased reliance on distance education.
  3. Cultural/Equity issues – the ‘Digital Divide’ falls under this sub-category along with racial and gender equity and students with special needs. This area basically covers the need to make sure that all individuals across all of our schools are able to access the technology that they need to be able to achieve the best outcomes in their situations.
  4. Legal/Ethical issues – these are usually the ones that educators themselves don’t think about too much, but that are more the focus of the technology support and administration teams. The issues here include hacking, safety issues around the use of online tools, plagiarism and academic honesty and students illegally downloading or pirating software.

Out of these, although it is something that a lot of educators do not think of much, I believe that the Legal/Ethical Issues are perhaps the area that I need to focus on the most with my students, especially the senior ones. So often we see students simply copy and paste information from the Internet and try to pass it off as their own, so plagiarism and academic honesty are a big problem, esepcially with these students moving on to tertiary education very soon. It is extremely important that teachers are modelling the correct way to use information that they find in other resources and provide references where appropriate.

In 2017 I plan on helping my students use CreativeCommons and Google Image Search settings to be able to find images that are labelled for reuse by the creator so that the students are not breaking copyright. Students will also be shown how to use Google Scholar and the advanced tools within Google Search to ensure that they are not just accessing all the ‘fluff’ that is online, but material that is acceptable for academic use.

Web-Based Learning

There is a huge number of web-based resources available, however, it is important that educators take the time to ensure that the tool will enhance the learning experience for the students and is not just a ‘flashy add on’.

One, high quality, web-based tool I use quite frequently in my classes are Phet Interactive Simulations. These simulations cover a wide range of scientific and mathematical concepts in an engaging and easy to follow format. Each simulation requires inputs from students in order to gain an understanding of what is taking place and allows students to change a number of factors to see how this impacts on the outcomes.

Padlet is a great web-based resource that allows students to collaborate on a particular topic. Students are able to add text, images, videos and links to a board that looks like it is covered in post-it notes when the students are sharing. These can be made private or open to allow collaboration beyond the four walls of the classroom. They are a great way to introduce a topic or to gather understanding from students at the conclusion of a unit of work.

Classtools.net provides educators with a wide range of educational tools ranging from ‘Twister’ and ‘Fakebook’ which allow students to create fake tweets or Facebook accounts without being exposed to the actual tools. Both of these tools are great when exploring historical figures or events where students can use their imagination and research skills to create a profile or messages from these individuals. Classtools also has a number of game-based activities that can be customised for individual classes as well as a wide range of templates for educational tools such as Venn diagrams and fishbone diagrams that can be printed and used in class.

The Google Apps for Education Suite provides a number of web-based tools that can be used in the classroom to allow for student creation and collaboration. Students can create a class presentation using Google Slides or write and comment on each other’s posts using Blogger. The opportunities for this are endless with GAFE.

Cyber Safety & Digital Citizenship

Cyber bullying is any form of bullying that takes place through the use of technological devices. It usually involves information or images being shared widely to a lot of people, causing it to have the potential to become very dangerous and harmful quickly (“Cyberbullying: what is it and how to get help: Violence, Harassment and Bullying Fact sheet | Australian Human Rights Commission”, 2017). 

The College I teach in has a cyberbullying section that is included in the school’s overall Bullying Policy. This policy goes on to provide a number of examples of what cyberbullying could look like as well as providing evidence of how cyberbullying could be considered to be a criminal offence. The inclusion of the various cyberbullying acts that are in place are there in order to show the students to severity of the consequences if they are caught. Lastly, the policy has a list of the different consequences that may result if the students are found to be taking part in any of the different forms of cyberbullying mentioned.

In order to support this policy, the College spends time working with the students on a number of programs that help to develop their understanding of what it means to be a good digital citizen. The Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner has a number of initiatives in place to help educators prepare students of all ages for life in the digital age. We have incorporated a number of these resources into our Pastoral Care program where we spend time working with the students on developing skills that they need – including resilience and an understanding of what it means to be a digital citizen.

As an individual educator, I plan on making sure that this year I spend some time talking to my students about the need for them to be good digital citizens, especially when they are using technology more and more. Being able to provide students with some different online resources to work through will help them to start to gain an understanding of these skills and why they are important.

I believe it is also important that parents are educated about the importance of their children being good digital citizens so that they can support the school’s policies at home, where students usually spend a lot more time of unsupervised technology use than at school. This is something that could be done through the inclusion or articles or links to resources in the College newsletter or holding parent forums on the issue on campus for parents to attend.

Reference:

Cyberbullying: what is it and how to get help: Violence, Harassment and Bullying Fact sheet | Australian Human Rights Commission. (2017). Humanrights.gov.au. Retrieved 25 January 2017, from https://www.humanrights.gov.au/cyberbullying-what-it-and-how-get-help-violence-harassment-and-bullying-fact-sheet

Web 2.0 Resources & Issues

The phrase ‘Web 2.0’ was coined over 20 years ago by Darcy DiNucci to begin to process the idea that access to the Internet was going to move from one that was fairly static, where information was just being delivered to screens to one that involved more interactivity. Although the concept was introduced in 1999, it did not begin to become popular until 2004 when the first Web 2.0 Conference was held that looked at the idea of software applications being built on the web rather than on desktops (“Web 2.0”, 2016).

In his article ‘What is Web 2.0?‘, Tim Riley of O’Riley Media (O’Reilly, 2005) explores a number of principles of Web 2.0 in comparison to Web 1.0.

'Meme Map' of Web 2.0

‘Meme Map’ of Web 2.0

The parts of this image that I take away the most from the transition from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 is the fact that the ‘User Position’ now involves the individual being in control of their own data. It shows that there was a movement from consumption of data with Web 1.0 to the creation of data with Web 2.0.

There are a number of different tools that are acknowledged as Web 2.0 tools including things like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Blogger – all of which allow the users to create their own content and collaborate with others (Hew & Cheung, 2012).

In my classroom I use a lot of YouTube as I flip my classroom. YouTube allows me to easily host my videos that the students are able to access in their own time. I have also had students create their own videos that they are able to upload to YouTube as well. As long as these videos do not have the students directly in them, these are able to also be uploaded to YouTube to be shared with a much wider audience than just the members of our classroom.

 

I have been an avid user of Google Apps for Education since 2012. I was recently accepted into the Google Certified Trainer program and as a result am aiming to ramp up my use of these tools in my classroom. One tool in particular I plan on using more in 2017 is Blogger. I have used it in the past as part of an assessment task where students were required to create a process journal of that followed the development of their product through the use of Blogger. This was a great task as it had the students reflecting and sharing their learning with others, while also commenting on the work of their peers. In 2017, I hope to have the students create a portfolio type blog where once a week they will reflect on what they have learnt in class and they will be able to share this directly with their parents and anyone else who they wish.

Google Docs & Slides are two other tools that I use quite regularly to have students collaborate on. These tools are extremely easy to use and require very little training for the students to be able to access them. One big thing, however, that I found was an issue in the past was that when a class of students are all working on the same document, some can get a bit carried away and this can impact on the focus of the task.

The big thing I plan on doing differently in 2017 is spending a lesson ensuring that all students in my classroom have an introduction to the various tools that I want them to be working with throughout the year in the hopes that these little issues won’t rear their ugly heads again. This should also help to make the learning experiences more authentic and engaging with all students understanding what is expected of them.

I would love the opportunity to connect my students with others via Twitter, however, this is still not seen as an educationally viable tool by a lot of school executive teams. The biggest concern with Twitter is the difficulty to maintain the students safety and privacy, which is one of the five potential issues discussed by Robyler and Doering (2014) and one that can be quite difficult to monitor as a teacher.

References:

Hew, K.F., Cheung, W.S., Use of Web 2.0 Technologies in K-12 and Higher Education: The Search for Evidence-based Practice,  Educational Research Review (2012), doi:  http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.edurev.2012.08.001

O’Reilly, T. (2005). What Is Web 2.0. Oreilly.com. Retrieved 27 November 2016, from http://www.oreilly.com/pub/a/web2/archive/what-is-web-20.html?page=1

Roblyer, M., & Doering, A. (2014). Integrating technology into teaching. (6th ed.). Essex: Pearson Education Limited.

Web 2.0. (2016). En.wikipedia.org. Retrieved 27 November 2016, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_2.0#Web_2.0

The Internet In Education – 5 Potential Problems

When reading the five potential problems outlined in Roblyer and Doering (2014), I felt myself recalling a moment when all but one of the problems have occurred in my classroom. The five potential problems include:

  1. Accessing sites with inappropriate materials – I recall when computers were first brought into the classroom that I had my students research ‘dwarfism’ for genetics. You could imagine our horror when a Google Image search was returning some extremely inappropriate of dwarves in a range of compromising positions.
  2. Safety and privacy issues for students – Being a high school teacher, we are constantly hearing about cyber bullying and trying to ensure that our students are not victims or perpetrators. A lot of work has been done at all schools I have worked at in the area of cyberbullying and student privacy.
  3. Fraud on the Internet – this is possibly the area where I have not had any experience, even in my personal life where I purchase quite a few things online. But I definitely think it is important that students are made aware of the issues that can arise from not being careful when making online purchases.
  4. Computer viruses and hacking – as noted in the text, this area is improving all the time. However, the other day a message appeared in my Facebook messages that was a virus, so they are still out there. With so many students using the school network, it is important that measures are put in place in order to make sure that the system cannot be breached in any way and that the integrity of the network is maintained.
  5. Copyright and plagiarism issues – in Year 10 all students are required to complete the ‘All My Own Work’ program designed by the Board of Studies to ensure that students understand the consequences of plagiarising when it comes to formal assessment tasks. The College has also introduced ‘TurnItIn’ for senior students to submit written assessments to check for similarities with pre-existing work online.

Of the five, I believe that ‘Copyright and plagiarism issues’ are possibly the one that I feel is the most important in my role as a HSC teacher. The students spend a lot of time in junior years working towards improving their safety and privacy online, however, not a lot of time is spent on these areas until the students reach Year 10.

The ‘All My Own Work’ program is designed by the BOSTES to help students to complete their formal assessment tasks in Stage 6 ‘honestly and with confidence’ (“HSC : All My Own Work :: Home”). The program involves a number of self-paced modules that the students work through, each with a module quiz that the students need to achieve a minimum of 80% on to be able to move towards the next module. A number of schools use this as an entry requirement for Stage 6 studies and all students are to have completed the program before starting their HSC course.

‘TurnItIn’ is an online program that will check any document uploaded for plagiarism. The program scans the document while scanning the Internet to find similarities. The program then provides students with a number that relates to the percentage of their document that is similar to work that already exists. Students are usually able to submit their task to TurnItIn before it is due so that they can check their work and make any adjustments if necessary. There are now more and more free online plagiarism checkers popping up online that students are also able to use, however, I feel that TurnItIn is the most reliable.

One way to model good online use of content is to teach students how to use Creative Commons tools to search for images, music, etc that they may wish to use in assessment tasks. CreativeCommons is a great source of all of these things that allows the students to use royalty free media in a range of ways. Another way to do this is to use the ‘Tools’ function when conducting a Google Search and ensuring that ‘Usage Rights’ is set to one of the options that specifies that the media is labeled for reuse.

References:

“HSC : All My Own Work :: Home”. Amow.bostes.nsw.edu.au. N.p., 2017. Web. 25 Jan. 2017.

Roblyer, M., & Doering, A. (2014). Integrating technology into teaching(6th ed.). Essex: Pearson Education Limited.

Instructional Software + Science

After reading Chapter 3, there were 5 different areas of instructional software that exist. Instructional software is identified by as ‘computer programs designed specifically to deliver instructions, or assist with delivery of instruction on a topic'(Roblyer & Doering, 2014, p. 91).

The following is a list of Science specific instructional software that match each of the 5 areas identified in the text:

  1. Drill & Practice – Quia – there are a range of games that you can select through Quia that allow students to drill and practice in a number of different ways. You can create a Jeopardy style game that asks questions or a hangman game that checks spelling & definitions. There are hundreds of games that have already been created or teachers can create their own if they have an account. By creating a teacher and student accounts, teachers are able to gather data about the students activities completed and track their progress.
  2. Tutorial – Khan Academy – Khan Academy has hundreds of high quality videos and tutorials that focus on a huge range of science and maths topics. YouTube also has some other great channels that help to teach students about scientific concepts such as The Ameoba Sisters & Crash Course
  3. Simulation – PhET – PhET contains a wide range of maths and science simulations that are highly interactive and therefore engaging for students. They cover topics from the basics through to very difficult physics concepts for higher education students. The simulations are game-like and allow the students to learn through exploration and discovery.
  4. Instructional Game – Plague Inc. – the aim of this game is to design a disease that will eradicate the human race as quickly as possible. This is quite an addictive game that teaches students about the different things that can affect diseases such as genetics, environmental conditions and transmission. It is a great game for upper Biology students to explore what they have learnt in the ‘Search for Better Health’ and ‘Blueprint of Life’ topics.
  5. Problem Solving – Model Ecosystems – in this activity, students need to read the information and use it to create biomass pyramids to show how energy is transferred through an ecosystem. The program provides the students with the information that they need in textual form that they then need to convert into knowledge so that they can drag and drop the correct organisms into the correct spaces.

Reference:

Roblyer, M., & Doering, A. (2014). Integrating technology into teaching(6th ed.). Essex: Pearson Education Limited.

Technology in the Curriculum & Lesson Planning

I graduated from university in 2004 and have been teaching Stage 4-6 Science since then. As technology has been introduced into classrooms I have spent quite some time integrating it where possible. When moving to a 1:1 environment where students were provided with Apple MacBooks with Google Apps for Education suites I feel that my use of technology and my interest in its integration increased the most.

Over the time I have been teaching the Science curriculum had not changed a great deal, until quite recently. The Australian Curriculum has seen the Stage 4 & 5 Science syllabus updated recently and with this was the need to create new teaching and learning programs. This has been a great opportunity to integrate technology more into the junior Science classroom in a number of ways. Technology is great for Science through the use of simulations, interactive activities, data collection and analysis and video/photo creation. The Stage 6 syllabi are in the process of being updated with them expected to be rolled out in 2018, so again, this will be a great opportunity to build on those technology skills that we are introducing in the younger years with the older students

Upon reading Simmons (2009) I didn’t feel that it introduced anything really new to me. When planning lessons I always begin with the lesson objectives. This is especially important with an ever expanding curriculum where teachers need to ensure that all syllabus dot points are met within the set time frame.

In order to combat time I have started to flip my Stage 6 Biology classroom. This has been happening for just on 18 months now and I have seen a number of changes in my students in this time. This approach requires a lot of time on my part to create the videos as well as activities that go with the videos for the students to complete at home. When they come to class, this also requires me to change my approach to class time to ensure that the student are actively engaged in some kind of activity that moves them beyond the bottom levels of Bloom’s taxonomy.

I have found that lesson planning has become necessary again for me to be able to effectively flip my class. I have to spend time planning out the unit to make sure that all syllabus dot points will be met and then work out how to ‘chunk’ them together as it is often difficult to teach each point in isolation. Then I will use my technology to create my videos. I use Screencastify as I find it is an extremely easy to use program that allows me to sync my videos to both Google Drive and YouTube. From here, these videos are then given a shortened URL that relates to the topic and the video number. I have also created a Google Document booklet that has each syllabus dot point, the associated video, the pre-work that the students need to do that relates to that video and then in class activities.

My lesson plans are then uploaded to my Google Calendar and shared with the students and their parents. This means that each student knows what is expected of them for each lesson and if they are absent, they can catch up in their own time. I have had positive feedback from parents about the use of the Google Calendar as they are able to keep track of what work their child should be doing at home to ensure that they are on track.

For someone new that is starting out to teaching, it is great to have a fairly detailed lesson plan, but always remember that you need to be flexible. There is no point persisting with an activity if you feel that the students are not enthusiastic or engaged. This is one thing that I loved about Simmons (2009) where he said to create lessons that are interesting, meaningful and memorable. When I read Dave Burgess’ (2012) book, ‘Teach Like a Pirate’ he termed these things as ‘LCL’ or ‘life changing lessons’. I believe that my teaching has changed considerably since reading this book as I am now conscious of making sure that my lessons don’t just meet outcomes, but help to make an impact on my students in some way.

Another big tip I have is – get to know your students! Before you try to teach your students, you need to know what makes them ‘tick’. Every class is going to be different and you cannot teach every class the same way. Some classes will take to technology like a duck to water, but others will hate it. Don’t fight it. Your students will appreciate the fact that you take the time to get to know them and you will build rapport quickly. This is another thing that Dave Burgess points out in his book.

Lesson planning may take time, but it definitely doesn’t have to be boring! There are many resources out there to help you design amazing lesson and unit plans – you just need to go looking for them. But you also need to make sure you look around and just don’t dive into the first resource you find! Some resources I turn to for Science planning include:

  • Pinterest – my Pinterest boards – some personal, but a lot of them are education) have thousands of ‘pins’ of things that inspire me in some way or another
  • Science By Doing – sciencebydoing.edu.au – this website covers Stage 4 & 5 Science and has awesome unit outlines with detailed lesson plans with technology integrated into quite a few of them
  • ScienceWeb Australia – http://scienceweb.asta.edu.au/ – this site is created by the Australian Science Teachers Association and houses a number of unit plans with individual lessons, again with tech integrated
  • PHET – https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulations/category/new – this website has MANY MANY awesome simulations that your students can interact with for a wide range of ages and subjects!
  • Scootle – https://www.scootle.edu.au/ec/p/home – there is a huge range of technology-based resources for all subject areas, not just Science!

References:

Burgess, D. (2012). Teach Like a Pirate (1st ed.). San Diego: Dave Burgess Consulting, Incorporated.

Simmons, C., & Hawkins, C. (2009). Planning to teach an ICT lesson. In Teaching ICT (pp. 54-105). London ; Sage Publications Ltd.