Thursday, 29 May 2014

A Pokemon battle. Working with stop-motion animation.

A couple of weeks ago we learned about making stop-motion animation.
This is my video, as a result I also learned a lot about Pokemon, a big thanks to Matt Goodwin for that!
The photos were taken using a tripod, and digital camera, loaded into iMovie, then sound and voiceover added. Great fun, a lot of learning going on and best of all collaboration though our Learn Create Share paradigm.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Future Oriented and Ongoing Connected Learning

This week at our Professional Learning Group [PLG] we talked about how we collaborate and share with our colleagues and the wider learning community. 

One of the principles of future oriented learning is for educational leaders and teachers to engage in continuous and ongoing learning. Therefore sharing practice, and being willing to critique and be critiqued in our own practice. To push the boundaries, constantly reflecting and learning, always looking to enhance our practice and embrace learning opportunities.

The Manaiakalani way is to follow the learn create share model, and today we as educators did just that. We learned how to use various screencasting tools. Created a screencast of how we use digital tools in our digital learning environments, then shared those with one another and our various networks. 

Although the screencast I made today was a basic example of how our students learn, create and share; I really enjoyed making this DLO, not only for the share factor, but as a way for me to reflect on my teaching, learning and future practice. 

If you too have some learning to share, you can make a screencast using your QuickTime Player.  File -> New Screen Recording. 
Make sure that you have turned on Built-in Microphone. 

Then Record away. As you move through the screens, talk to what you are looking at, or what you want the viewer to look at. You can work through your computer normally while recording. 
I recommend having all of the tabs you want to use open and ready in the browser before commencing, as nobody wants to watch a video of pages loading. 

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Vocabulary is everything

During our EDPROFST700 lecture yesterday we were talking about struggling students that can decode and read effectively, but when asked had little or no comprehension of what they read. This is particularly common trend among English as second language students. 
Today, my class were exploring recreational fishing rules. We were reading Fishing Rules and creating charts to show the minimum size and maximum quantity we are allowed to catch. As part of the activity students were asked to do some research of their own to add more types of kaimoana to the chart. One of my students who is fluent in Tongan, was researching the Snapper legal size limits.
After she read the first paragraph of the article  

"Snapper bag limits in the country's most popular fishery will be reduced from nine to seven, and the minimum legal size increased from 27cms to 30cms from April 1 next year."

I then asked her what the legal size for snapper is. She replied, about 27 - 30 centimetres. I asked her to read the last part of the sentence again, then asked, "what does 'increased' mean"? She didn't know. I took for granted that this was language that she would have, and as a result, could not comprehend the article. We then uncovered the vocabulary in the paragraph, and then she was able to understand that increase meant more, reduce meant less, or decrease.

This scenario really honed in for me the professional discussion we had yesterday and the need for explicit and implicit teaching of vocabulary.
Without understanding the vocabulary being read, it is no wonder that students cannot correctly comprehend, as a teacher it is important that I use and expose students to more and more vocabulary, but also that in this exposure I implicitly describe the meaning of what is being said. Assume nothing.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Learning to Animate

This is an animation that I made in Google Presentation. As the students in my class know I am mildly obsessed with Pukeko's - hence choosing them for my character in this animation is not surprising. 
All up it is made of 79 slides. 
I used Keynote's 'instant alpha' to remove the white background from the pukeko image, then copy it into the slide show. 
I copied and shrunk/enlarged/cropped the pukeko to make the different characters, and each slide was made by copying the last, then adjusting the movements of each character, before copying it again for the next slide. 
Finally I published the presentation to web, then changed the html to adjust the time between slides to 200 down from 1000 or 3000. 
I must admit, I enjoyed making this a lot more than I expected. 

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

The power of photoshop

We've all seen photoshop images and movies showing the drastic 'improvements' that media can make to photo's to make people fit the proposed beauty ideals to sell products or persuade.
However as digital immigrants we better (hopefully) at seeing through media images and not taking things at face value - no pun intended. 

Students on the other hand, are so accustomed to seeing made-up media that it's easy for them to take it for truth, showing examples such as the above are one thing, but the best way to really teach media awareness is to have students do this to themselves. 
Today I practiced using the multitude of free tools available to do this, should you not want to pay for the full photoshop version. Pixlr and PicMonkey are just some of the options available. As well as iphoto editing tools. I look forward to practicing these skills with my students and helping them to see media images as what they really are, glossed up sugar coated images. 

Moreover, the careers that are possible with skills and knowledge of photoshop, are increasing. This movie editing picture shared by Karen Ferguson is a prime example. 

Monday, 5 May 2014

Promoting discourse for future focused learning

In order for students to take charge of their own learning they need to be able to discuss it. To talk about what they are learning with their peers, teachers, whanau and wider community. 
I attended two conferences last week, the BYOD conference at Hobsonville Point Secondary School and the Maths Symposium at Manurewa Intermediate School. Both days I found myself reflecting on student voice and how without, learning is hypothetical concept. To actualize and cement learning, students need to be able to discuss and vocalize what they are learning about. This was a common theme over both days, even though both had very different foci. 

Today I was also privileged to join my peers and colleagues at our Graduation. The guest speaker Mr Andrew Patterson, spoke of how learning needs to revolutionize, how the old education system no longer fulfilled future needs. Be a disruptor, be innovative. He referenced several learning initiatives and 'disruptors' including Pat Sneddon and the Manaiakalani Trust. This made me elated, to know that I am on the future path of innovative 'disruptors', that by doing what has never been done before within the Maniakalani Digital Teaching Academy [MDTA] I may be able to help lead learning in the future. 

Heading back to school tomorrow to teach and learn with my class of 29 year 7 and 8 students I am recharged, inspired and eager to help them be the best that they can be.