Lesson Plan for Assignment 1 – Updated Version

Here attached is the link to my updated version of my own lesson plan: Jane Edwards Lesson Plan that has been used in assignment one. I, like my fellow blogger Molly, spent many hours searching online for an appropriate lesson but decided to go with one of my own after reading through the copyright information, to avoid any copyright breaches. As this will be my first prac subject within a school, I did not have any appropriate lesson plans from a prac to use. Therefore, I decided to alter a lesson plan that I used in a previous subject. I really hope this was a good idea! However I am fairly confident that the lesson plan covers all the assignment one criteria for being appropriate. I also decided to copyright my lesson plan under a creative commons licence at creativecommons.org

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

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Lesson Plan For Assignment 1

Here attached is the link to my own lesson plan: JaneEdwardsLessonPlan. I, like my fellow blogger Molly, spent many hours searching online for an appropriate lesson but decided to go with one of my own after reading through the copyright information, to avoid any copyright breaches. As this will be my first prac subject within a school, I did not have any appropriate lesson plans from a prac to use. Therefore, I decided to alter a lesson plan that I used in a previous subject. I really hope this was a good idea! However I am fairly confident that the lesson plan covers all the assignment one criteria for being appropriate. I also decided to copyright my lesson plan under a creative commons licence at creativecommons.org

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Completing Module 1!!!

Today I finally completed the learning paths for Module 1! What a relief! On reflecting back to the beginning of the course I am already surprised with just how much I have learnt and how far I have come! I feel I am a lot more confident with creating my blog posts and have a greater understanding and appreciation for using ICTs within the classroom setting.

Now to finally set my concentration onto Assignment 1! After much searching the internet for lesson plans I have made the decision to create my own. At first I was sure I was going to use an already created lesson plan from the internet but I don’t feel I fully understand the terms of copyright laws as yet. On the other hand, this will be my first prac subject, therefore do not have any previous prac lesson plans. I have made the decision however to alter a previous assignments lesson plan that I created to include ICTs.

Fingers crossed that my choice for creating my own lesson plan is a good idea and that I am on the right track! Good luck to all my fellow bloggers!!!

Why/ Why Not Use ICT in the EC Classroom

Over the past week, the learning paths have encouraged me to think about why and when I should be incorporating ICTs into learning experiences, as well as when not to incorporate ICTs and why. From the knowledge that I have gained through the lessons paths, researching, reading fellow students blogs and from my own previous experiences with teaching with ICTs I began to develop a list of pros and cons.

I was able to list many reasons when and why to include ICTs within an Early Childhood setting. I began by listing how digital technologies allow us as educators to be more time efficient, as we don’t have to write everything by hand and because we can alter successful lesson plans and use them year after year. I also listed that ICTs including websites such as Pinterest, allow us to build our own skills and knowledge for creating experiences that are richer and more meaningful. Another reason why is because they are much more sustainable, as they minimize the use of paper. I also listed that the use of ICTs maximises children’s learning as they meet the needs of different learning styles, support educators practices, reinforce learning, allow students to build upon concepts that they are having difficulties grasping and challenge thinking.

I also listed many reasons not to include ICTs within an Early Childhood setting. Most of these responses however come from my own personal experiences from working within the sector. My first reason was due to a lack of resources and funding. Currently, the childcare setting where I work has older style laptops, limited number of I-pads, cheap digital cameras and communal scanners and printers. The majority of these digital technologies are also for staff use only, meaning that children have very little access to using these devices them selves. A lot of the time the internet connection is poor and the laptops slow down and shut down regularly, usually taking a few hours before restarting again. It can also sometimes take up to a day for documents to print to the communal printers making life very frustrating and stressful for educators. Another reason is because many of the families that attend don’t want their child engaging with ICTs while at childcare, as they either already spend enough time on them at home, aren’t allowed to engage in digital technologies including I-pads or computers at home, because families don’t believe digital technologies are beneficial to learning at their child’s age, and because families would rather their child interacting and learning through play based experiences. I also listed that ICTs alone do not maximise children’s learning and that some educators aren’t equipped with the knowledge and skills to use ICTs effectively.

So in conclusion I believe there are definitely many pros and cons to using ICT in the classroom. I feel as long as there is a healthy balance of using ICTs and through the use of educating other educators and families about the benefits of using ICTs within the classroom, then the pros for using ICTs out way the negatives.  I also believe its our responsibility as educators to equip ourselves and other educators with the ICT skills so that are students are confident and capable learners with the 21st century.

An interesting article that I found relating to this topic “Pros and Cons of Using ICT in the Classroom”, highlights other pros and cons for using ICT within the classroom.  Would love to hear what others think and feel about the Why/Why not use ICT within Early Childhood classroom.

Reflecting and Growing as an Educator with new knowledge about ICTs

For my blog post today, I would like to respond to Emma-Lee’s blog post “The big Debate” in which Emma-Lee tagged me in for further discussion.

I would like to begin by saying thank you to Emma-Lee, for tagging me in your blog post, I have very much enjoyed reading. I must admit, before beginning this subject I was very for the opinion that digital technologies were making people anti-social, however after engaging with this subjects learning content, researching articles and reading fellow students viewpoints including Emma-Lee’s, my own viewpoint is very quickly changing. I can now see and appreciate the benefits that digital technologies are having on our social and emotional skills and wellbeing. If anything, I’m feeling that my originally thoughts were extremely “old school” and very closed minded so thank you!

It has also made me aware, that like everything, people are quick to blame anything else for their or other people’s behaviour when in reality, most of the time it is the person/ people in control who is/ are at fault. For example, my main reason for thinking that digital technologies are making people anti-social with poor face-to-face communication skills, is because I currently work in childcare, and have observed a huge decline in children’s language development over the years within our community. Research, families and other professionals have been very quick to blame technologies for this rapid decline, as young children are spending more time on digital technologies then having social interactions with people, which is how children learn how to engage in reciprocal relationships that develop language skills.

It is now clear to me that digital technologies are not at fault, but rather other factors that could be causing this decline such as families having busier lifestyles. “Tablets and technology blamed for developmental speech impairment in Young Children Starting School” is an interesting article that further discusses this topic.  I now believe that ICTs if used correctly actually have potential to strengthen children’s language development rather then hinder them.

Are Digital Technologies Diminishing Student’s Hand Writing Skills?

This week when reflecting, I found myself thinking again about how much my life has changed due to advances in digital technologies. In a previous blog, I discussed how I have been working in the childcare industry for over twelve years. In the beginning, we had very little access to ICT’s so everything we did was hand written including the children’s learning, reflections and daily program. Some days I could write pages upon pages of information for hours at a time. Now days, we use I-pads, digital cameras and laptops to document all this information. Very rarely do I need to use a pen and paper, however, approximately a month ago, we had our power cut off for an entire work day within the building I worked. As we had no power to operate the devices required, I had to use pen and paper instead. After writing for only a few minutes, I realised just how quickly my hand was becoming sore from writing. I began to shake my hands, then got back to writing, but after writing another few sentences I again had to stop as my hand had developed a cramp!! I couldn’t believe that after only writing half a page of words I was feeling this way. It shocked me to think that it was only a few years ago that I could sit and write endlessly for hours at a time before these cramps would start to set in. I also noticed just how untidy and illegible my writing was in comparison to the way I wrote many years ago, even I was having difficulties making out the words I wrote!

This then made me think about how the over use of ICT’s maybe affecting specific skills including hand writing with todays students. I decided to do some research further into this and found an interesting article “Pupils losing marks in exams due to poor handwriting”, which discusses how research has found that the rise of digital technologies is having major impacts on students handwriting skills, with teachers unable to read exams, and emoticons creeping into students work. Another interesting article “Tech Savvy kids can’t push a pencil”, discusses the increasing number of students who are losing their handwriting skills, as digital technologies are leaving students with underdeveloped arm and hand muscles.

I would love to hear what others have to say about this topic?

Are Digital Technologies Making People Anti-social?

This week’s learning path began with the quiz “Is digital technologies making us anti-social?” My response to this question was undecided! In many ways I believe digital technologies are making us a lot more anti-social, but I can also see how they are making a lot of people more social then ever before.

For example, whenever I go anywhere with my 10 year old daughter, whether its out for dinner, to a coffee shop, in the car or at the shops, she wants to play on either my phone or take her I-pad, rather then communicate with the people around her! Her asking me this really drives me up the wall! Even when having play dates with her friends, they spend a great deal of their time, glued to their individual devices rather then playing and interacting with each other. I feel my response relates strongly with Miss W’s blog post, where she shares her thoughts of how angry she feels when people are engaging with their mobile phones while in the company of others, especially when out for dinner. I, alike to Miss W, think it is extremely rude and bad manners that people today are constantly engaging with their devices, instead of communicating with the people they are with.

On the other hand though, I also believe that digital technologies are also making us more social. For example, social media has allowed me to contact old friends that I have not talked to in years, and still would not have any contact with if it wasn’t for social media and my digital devices. Smart phones also allow me to contact the people I care about more often, through the use of texting, talking, videoing, emails and social medias.

Therefore, I do believe that ICT’s are connecting us and making people more social in the way that we are more likely to be communicating more with the people that we wish to communicate with, however, the over use of certain devices such as smart phones and I-pads are depleting many people of the basic communication skills and etiquette for face-to-face interactions

An interesting article that I found that elaborates on how overuse of ICTs are having a negative affect on peoples communication skills can be found at Daily Australia Mail

How Beneficial are ICTs within Early Childhood Classroom

As I shared in an earlier post, I have been working with young children for over 12 years. When first starting out, there was very little access to digital technologies within the learning environment. All observations were hand written and children’s learning was glued into a scrapbook. Photos were taken on camera’s requiring film and if we wanted to learn something new we had to read a book or watch a video tape!

Today, we type and email documentation of children’s learning directly to families, use I-pads and digital camera’s to take photos and video’s to capture the children’s learning and regularly use I-pads with the children to search for new ideas and information, watch YouTube clips, listen to music and play educational games via I-pads.

Advances in ICT have allowed us, as educators to become more time efficient and sustainable, through the ability to type and email children’s learning to families rather then spend endless hours writing observations, as well as cutting back on using countless numbers of glue sticks and scrap books. We also use social media and apps including Pinterest to further our own knowledge and skills for developing meaningful and challenging experiences, as well as engage with other educators from around the country. ICT has also allowed us to build children’s knowledge and skills through the use of searching for information that we as educators may not know the answers to, watch video’s on topics and interests, and through the use of educational apps that aid children in their learning, such as reading, sounds and numeracy.

When reading fellow students blog, I felt this blog, strongly resonated with Faith’s blog post where she discussed how she used ICT on a previous prac, to help students who were struggling to understand phonics. Through the use of digital technologies, Faith was able to provide the students an alternative method of learning, which resulted in an improvement from all of the students. I too regularly use I-pads within my setting, in order to provide children with an alternative method of learning, to better engage students in a learning experience, to extend children’s knowledge and to help children who are having difficulties grasping a concept or have different learning styles.

This then lead me to start thinking if there are any negatives to using ICT in Early Childhood settings and what they maybe. After searching the internet, I came across an interesting article titled “Is Technology Damaging our Children’s Speech and Language Skills?”. This article discusses the extra time spent on ICT devices including I-pads, take away time young children spend playing and having relationships/ conversations with people, which is how a child learns how to speak.  It states that children are missing out on rich learning opportunities due to mostly I-pads, video games and television.

This article made me more aware and conscious of how I will integrate ICT into the classroom. It is clear that ICT has many benefits within an educational setting, as they can be engaging, informative, fun, educational as well as cater for children with different learning styles. But it also clear that some young children could be spending more time engaging with digital devices then they are having interactive relationships/ conversations with people. Therefore, I will ensure that I am very mindful of the amount of time my students are engaging with digital technologies and ensure there is a healthy balance of ICT and non-ICT experiences.

Week One’s Thoughts and Feelings

Woo Hoo! Week one is officially done and dusted, but what a massive week it has turned out to be, with so much to do and so many new things too learn using ICT! At the beginning of this week I was feeling extremely overwhelmed and anxious that I would never be able to master a blog post or understand how to operate Feedly! I found myself also feeling extremely overwhelmed about the amount of content that needs to be undertaken within this coarse through the weekly Moodle books and activities and thought that there was no way I was going to be able to keep up with what seemed an enormous workload!

However, now the week is complete, I have found myself reflecting on what I have accomplished and more importantly what I have learnt, which has left me feeling a little more confident. Firstly, I am astounded that I, a person who I thought had poor skills in understanding and using ICTs, is now writing daily blogs and using Feedly and Diigo! Through developing my Blog, not only have I learnt how to use a more sophisticated form of ICT, I have also been able to read and gain an insight into the thoughts, feelings and ideas from other fellow students undertaking this subject this semester.

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading fellow students blogs, in particular, Kylie’s blog “What is ICT? Week 1, blog 2”. I am simular to her when she discusses her thoughts about what she believed ICT meant prior to commencement of this subject. I too held many misconceptions surrounding the definition and ideas surrounding ICT and thought ICT was something to do with computers and communication devices, yikes!

My misconceptions became clearly evident after undertaking week one’s ICT quiz, as I only received 6/10. After viewing the previous year results however, it appeared that the questions I had incorrect, including the over-head projector, laminator and old T.V., were the most commonly incorrect answers from previous years students, making me think that many held this similar misconception.

I also thoroughly enjoyed watching Kylie’s YouTube clip included in her blog about ICT in the classroom. It made me more conscious of how vital it is that I become more proficient in using and understanding ICT, because as a future educator, it is crucial I provide my students with rich and meaningful ICT experiences, to ensure they develop the skills they need to become confident and successful learners within the 21st century.

Imagine: A World Without ICT…

In the week one activities, we were asked to imagine that there was a mythical event that caused all ICTs to stop working……  When thinking about this question and all of the digital technologies that I frequently use and depend on, on a daily basis, I think I would definitely head into panic mode!

I began by going over a regular morning in my life. I start my day by waking up every morning to the deafening sound of my alarm going off from my I-phone. I then usually check my emails, social media sites including face book and Instagram, do any online banking that was required and revise my daily schedule using my phones calendar/ notes, while making my coffee using a digital coffee machine. I also regularly order my daughter tuck shop using an online app and send/ check messages from my child’s teacher using the dojo app. While doing these chores, my daughter is usually eating breakfast while watching the digital T.V. or completing home-work which is completed on her I-pad. Before leaving the house I usually put a load of washing on using my digital washing machine and set my air conditioner to come on half an hour before I come home from work. When I get into my car, I use blue tooth so I can play music and so I make/ receive any phone calls while I am driving. As you could imagine, if ICT suddenly stopped working one morning, I would be in serious trouble!

Before undertaken this subject, I thought that I really did not engage that much with ICT, however, it is now quite apparent that I heavily depend on it to complete the simplest of chores in my every day life! It has also made me realise just how much easier life has become due to these digital technologies. Rather then ordering my child’s tuck shop online, I would need to go into the school in person in order to write down and pay for my child’s lunch, without online banking I would need to either write and deliver a cheque or locate a branch were I would then need to withdraw and deposit cash, without blue tooth in my car I would either need to make phone calls prior to leaving the house or pull up on the side of the road to make or answer calls and without a smart phone I wouldn’t be able to carry out almost any of my morning chores in the comfort of my own home.

So this got me thinking some more… do digital technologies make us lazier or do they allow us to live a life that is much more productive? In my own opinion I believe digital technology mostly enhances our lives, as we can become more productive, allowing us to multi task more activities in a short amount of time that once took several hours to complete, allowing us more time to spend doing other important things.

I have included a link to an article that discusses more in depth about this topic and how digital technologies have changed our daily ways of operating

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/technology/has-technology-made-lazy-and-dependent.html