In 2004 I visited Japan for a month and had an excellent time. This year my mums Primary School did a project on Japan and she asked that I email her my photos. Just being asked to do this demonstrated the power of some of the new web 2.0 applications as a teaching resource. I sent her the following
Flickr: With this she could find 3 million photos on Japan
Wikipedia: Offered a lot of great information on Japan
Checking these sites was second nature for me but for my mum this was a completly new idea. How many projects could benefit from these links? Are Primary School projects nationwide? Perhaps there should be a delicious application on the Scottish Schools Intranet (Glow) so teachers can pull good and safe resources they find for projects (also with a delicious system you would see which resources were most popular).
A great article about Open Source sofware and Education. I’ve been particularly interested in MITs “opencourseware” project for some time and would like to see Scottish Universities do something similar(I’ll post more on this later). One of the best books on web design I’ve ever read was the textbook created for an MIT course and available free to everyone over the net (see my reading list for the link). Open Source, free culture and Create Commons licensing are very new and important steps that should be encouraged.
Open source and open access resources have changed how colleges, organizations, instructors, and prospective students use software, operating systems and online documents for educational purposes. And, in most cases, each success story also has served as a springboard to create more open source projects.
I remember when I was at primary school we had a weetabix alphabet wall chart. Looks like things have moved on since then and for the worse in North America. With hyper marketing to children and the New Labour getting business more involved in education, through Blairs city academies, I can’t help but feel we are moving in a bad direction.
The following is a great documentary on corporate involvement in education.
Marketing to school age students is now a 2 billion dollar industry. The way corporate sponsors are stepping up to the plate, offering promotions, sponsorships and even free curriculum there is no stopping the flow of advertising in covert forms. Or is there?The problem is there are few or no regulations in place to protect our children from corporate marketing campaigns that look just like classroom lessons. And schools need playgrounds and gym equipment that taxes do not seem to pay for any longer.
Enter new corporate champions. First come sponsorships, then come naming rights and next come learning materials in the classrooms! Watch as donations become classroom resources and product placement opportunities. The good news is some school districts are fighting back and succeeding in keeping the classrooms a safe haven from the marketing hype.
When I was taking Japanese classes in 2003 I found that recording the audio was very helpful for studying at home. At the time there was no such thing as podcasting and I would burn several CDs for my classmates to enjoy. Now podcasting could be done for free and I see no reason why all language classes shouldn’t be recorded for children to study at home that night.
Another interesting aspect of podcasting involves “twinning” a class with a foreign counter part encouraging children to build social bonds which in turn creates an enthusiasm and reason to learn a language.
Ewan McIntosh has some interesting information on his blog
Woodhill Primary School in Scotland has shown that Podcasting and Blogging can be useful educational tools. After receiving permission from the local authority and handling security issues the school has been using ICT technology to enhance learning and to communicate with schools through Europe (e-Twinning).
“The children look forward to the project time, they enjoy being out of the classroom environment.
She added: “It is extremely effective way of teaching and we are starting to introduce these methods into our normal language lessons.”
Both teachers and parents say they have seen a huge improvement in their vocabulary, confidence in speaking and their accents since they started the blogs in January.
Emails have been exchanged with classes in Trinidad and Tobago as well as in China, swapping experiences of life in the childrens’ home countries.
The ability to answer questions and communicate with teachers and pupils in France and in Coventry is a motivation for pupils to log on regularly.
They enjoy reading emails from their international friends in the ‘e-twinning’ link with a school in Nancy.
Primary seven pupils on a trip to Paris updated their blog from hotel rooms, adding pictures and sending electronic postcards to classmates at home.