Tuesday, June 02, 2009

APD by Greg Israel - Designing Technology Infused Lessons

Session started off with a quick introduction of all participants... a little bit usual... in the sense that fellow participants could either look at our real physical self or the photo projected up there... ok, that illustrates how easy it is to transfer images from the digital camera to the system! Ah! It's a strategy that we can adopt when we organise activities in future! (anyway, the data transfer process is as easy as making a call over the mobile! Haha...)
The theme for today is "Designing Technology Infused Lessons". As I've shared with Greg over the email, the key to the entire learning is really how to leverage technology to bring out the best of the learning experience and achieving the desired (or stipulated) learning objectives.

This is the greatest challenge, I think. For someone who's wowed by the technology and 'at that moment' forgot about the whole purpose of integration. Well, it's not new - experienced this when facilitated workshops with teachers, who were wowed by the web 2.0 tools into Maths learning, especially; and subsequently, the lesson is designed so that it could tap on the features that the teachers felt worthwhile trying... Well, this is the biggest possible nightmare I could think of (also my biggest fear), in terms of technology integration into teaching and learning in the school!

The approach should be, know the affordances of technologies well. Look at the learning outcomes we want to see and the strategies to employ... then go back to the list of available tools and pick the one that serves the purpose best! Of course, this notion needs to be emphasized and reinforced at all times... okay... have to be on-going "nagging", I guess :(
The Hands-on

(a) My experience... my feel... my reaction... my response...

  • The hands-on created both excitement and anxiety for me!
  • Ha! It was great to see my peers having an enjoyable time, exploring and playing with the media-related applications like iPhotos, iMovie and Garageband.
  • Just wondering if I'm getting older(?) or not quite adaptable... found it a bit challenging to catch up (er.. or was it because I wasn't attentive enough?) or... am I the only one? Too busy to notice some others in the same boat? hahaha...
  • Hm... If I could feel in this way, I guess, some of our (future) colleagues would probably be in the same shoes, too! So, I should turn this into another useful learning 'activity'/ experience - learn how to overcome it and would be able to share the 'tricks' to those facing similarly problem. Nothing beats experience! Right? (Ha! This is the approach for almost anything!)

Thanks to the 2 gurus who sat beside me! Johari and Adeline - very helpful left-&-right "hands"! And thanks for those timely suggestions how to do this and that... :D Appreciate the help! Hahaha... Didn't expect myself feel so helpless until I have to frantically hunt for the keys... and holding down to the wrong key to do copy and paste!

This reminds me one thing - the more we stick to our old habits, the more difficult to change! So, it's the dependency thingy again... the more we depend on one thing, the greater the discomfort we experience when the environment/condition changes! This doesn't just apply to learning of skills, but our mindsets, our perceptions, our habits, our way of dealing with things, etc.

Hey, KY, it's time to look for new cheese! (remember you shared this in the EXCO?) and you are expected to grab and enjoy the piece of new cheese! OK, someone said, "I don't like cheese". However, sometimes, we can't change the environment/condition, so we have to change ourselves for 'survival'(?)

Side-note: I still duno how to appreciate hima-dasi!

(b) Ideas generated from the hands-on

Indeed, up to the end of the session, after going through 3 activities with iPhoto, iMovie & GarageBand, one very immediate conclusion is, the applications allow one to apply skills (including creativity) to represent one's understanding, or to produce an end-product in a very creative manner. The point is, it's application. But I must admit it's fun... and hence engages one in every moment, trying out the various visual effects, etc. On the other hand, just wondering, probably because we are new to it (it's a novelty)... when the novelty wears out, serious matters come in - how to tie it with teaching and learning in a meaningful way.

A few that I could think of when it comes to iPhoto and iMovie...

  • Language learning - Digital Story-telling (ah! That's Richard's forte)
  • Content subject like History/Social Studies - talk about historical event (from different perspectives)
  • Digital Journal - for various subjects (e.g. digital diary of a red blood cell? the adventure of a water droplet - to understand the ecosystem/water cycle better? etc)

Seeing it beyond individual subjects, these 2 tools render lots of opportunities for subject integration - communication skills (not necessary the oral aspect, could be the use of visuals and multimedia to communicate ideas) while the project anchors on selected subject content.

I think, the next important thing is how to leverage on this for learning - for construction of knowledge, for acquisition of skills (here, I'm not talking about technical skills).

  • Perhaps on subject that could leverage on the features could be art and design when student tap on the various patterns and effects to create visuals that are visually appealing. Through this trial and error 'piece-together', perhaps they are able to identify (or draw out, based on the exploration with the tools) some design principles to take note of ?
  • For GarageBand, it comes with a whole wide range of audio pieces, comes in rhythms - in topics like sound (in Science) - would that come in handy? The various pitches - some audible to human ears but some to insects only, etc. Moreover, could we tie rhythms up with some Mathematical patterns, etc (that leads to further exploration)?

One very useful tool that Greg introduced to us... something that I've been looking for... an online mindmap that allows multiple users to edit synchronously! That's mindmeister! (http://www.mindmeister.com/)

OK, here's my first masterpiece. However, when trying out on my own, notice that there are limitations. Hm... maybe because what I have is a non-paid version? Just wondering how effective it when a number of people start to collaborate on the same map.

Well, the map could be exported as an image file, etc... OK, still need to explore more before I could conclude which is an easier tool to work with - Mindmeister or Bubbl.us (of course, the latter doesn't allow image insertion).


Another interesting website that was introduced: http://www.xtranormal.com/
A pretty interesting and rather easy online application. Here's my first masterpiece :P