Revisiting the Classroom Blog

For my presentation this year at EdTechSA’s state conference I decided to revisit a previous presentation and reflect on my growth since that time.  In this prezi, I examined how my practices have changed as a blogger, what learning experiences have worked really well for my students, and what challenges I still face.

Here are the notes and live links from this presentation


I Don’t Want To Be A SeaWorld Educator


On my day off in San Antonio, while I was attending ISTE,  I was really looking forward to visiting SeaWorld. I had seen my husband’s photos from his visit the previous year to San Francisco and I couldn’t wait to experience the amazing orcas. Through the power of the internet, I had spent time researching how I was going to get to SeaWorld and what I was going to do to make the best of my time there and I was very excited to be going there.

After a long bus ride, which was made rather pleasant by the great free WiFi on the bus, I was finally at SeaWorld.

I excitedly made my way to the huge Shamu Stadium with many, many other people and followed my husband’s advice of not sitting anywhere in the splash zone if I wanted the camera to keep on working for the rest of my trip!

The show began and it was truly amazing to watch these beautiful creatures move so gracefully through the air and water. I loved watching them swim close to the glass so I could observe so clearly how they were moving.

But this was where my admiration of SeaWorld ended. What was really disappointing for me, and for the whole premise of SeaWorld was that this show was purely about watching these amazing animals perform tricks. There were absolutely no learning opportunities available, no explanation of why the animals might exhibit these behaviours in the wild or how they had trained them to “perform” these tricks.

The saddest testament to this is that when I returned to my school and was sharing my overseas experiences with my students, I wasn’t actually able to answer any of their questions about these creatures. I had experienced their show (twice in the one day in fact!) and didn’t actually know anything about them outside of the knowledge I brought with me.

I worry that educational technologies and education in general could go down this path though. That we are so in awe of the amazing things we can do, that we forget to go deeper and actually develop a greater understanding of what we are actually learning about and acquire the skills that allow us to continue to develop our learning. I would hate to see my students only learning amazing tricks that allow them to put on a show – I would much rather see the deeper, richer learning that only comes once the gloss is stripped away and the messier undertaking of real learning takes place.

I definitely don’t want to be a SeaWorld educator!


How to make a teacher feel old!

I originally shared this post on the CEGSA blog but as it is still an “ageing” problem that I am facing, I thought I would place it on my own blog too!

Floppy Disks

Photo Credit: Anita Hart via Compfight

I thought I would share this interesting anecdote from a discussion I had with one of my classes today which made me feel much older than my 36 years!

I have the privilege of working in ICT with all the students across my school -right down to our newest junior primary students. Today we were looking at some of the basics of word processing and towards the end of the lesson it came time to save their work. Without thinking I said “Click on the picture of the disk” and I was greeted with looks of curiosity.

“What’s a disk?”

These 5 and 6 year olds honestly had no idea what this strange icon was nor what its purpose had been way back in the dark depths of history.

My first thought from this was perhaps it is time for Microsoft to change their icon for saving, even the government’s Stay Smart Online Budd:e has a USB as their saving icon. However I was then led to think more seriously about all the changes I have seen in my time working with technology. I had another class truly boggled by the idea of using a camera which didn’t have a screen on the back which you could see your photos on, not to mention my own two year old who wondered why the digital photo frame wouldn’t change photos when she swiped her finger across it.

This reminiscing then led to awe and wonder about what changes these children, who are the same age as my own son, will see in their lives. The idea is truly beyond the scope of my imagination.

It really brings home the Dan Pink quote “We need to prepare kids for their future, not our past.”

Despite this though, I will be taking in some of these old fashioned things next week for a quick history lesson – I might even show them why floppy disks were called floppy!

Have you had a moment like this – that made you wonder at the marvels of technology and change that we see everyday?
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