What a ride the past 6 weeks have been both up hill and down at times. I really never thought I would make it, but as you see I am still here. E-learning has been the most enjoyable and constantly changing of all my subjects. You might say I never knew what web based tool I was going to learn about next or how useful they would be to me in my learning journey. To follow the tools that I have looked at go to Appendix1 know that I will use a variety of these tools to assist me in developing, delivering and embedding knowledge into the learnings of my future students. Furthermore, I believe that the web based tools we have viewed, discussed, and experimented with would be extremely useful in their entirety when developing classroom activities, but today I will be writing about just a few. The three tools that I will be examining, discussing and know that (if at all possible) I will use with my future students are; Google Earth, Google Maps and online quizzes. As a future Home Economics and Hospitality teacher I can think of numerous possibilities for exciting and informative classroom activities that can be developed using online tools but I will show my ideas for just the above few tools.
Both of the following tools are extremely interactive and lesson planning would be easily adapted and made suitable for students that are of different academic levels and learning styles. I would endeavour to begin planning the tasks by profiling my students and classifying them into groups of learning styles, to do this I will follow the principles of Keirsey (http://Keirsey.com). Once I have identified the different learning styles of the students, the task would be modified to ensure that each learner has the capacity to successfully meet the outcome criteria. These tools are Google Earth (http://earth.google.com/) and Google maps (http://maps.google.com/). With Google Earth and Google maps you can travel the globe without leaving home. I would use these two tools in unison as I believe they complement each other. Both of these tools show maps of whole countries, regions and streets. You can actually zoom in on a particular site or street address. Imagine taking the class on a virtual tour of the world, they could see into someone’s backyard on the other side of the world and note the differences in living conditions, building materials vegetation and town planning layouts, then compare that with what we have in Australia, by zooming in on an Australian town.
Following is one of the ways that these tools will be implemented into my classroom. This task is set for a year 9 Hospitality class and for the subject of tourism; the group activity will be to plan the itinerary for an overseas holiday, each student having a different element to review, one would look at accommodation, another at tourist designations and another to find where the restaurants are located. When each team member has found their targeted information they would collate their information and determine how far the tourist would have to travel from accommodation to these other places. By utilizing Google Earth the student will be able to decide the destination countries easily. I believe that the students would be excited and motivated to use these tools. McInerney and McInerney (2006) have extensively researched student behaviour and know through this research, that excited and motivated students will receive a better outcome and remain more focused and on task than those students that are not. The students would feel encouraged to do research, initiate a high level of compliance and have positive learning outcomes (DOL 3, 4 & 5) (Marzano & Pickering, 2006). Marzano and Pickering (2006) stress that all learning outcomes must be assessed to ensure the student has imbedded knowledge, and has met the criteria of the topic. The assessment for this task will be for the students to collate their information and make a brochure that would contain all the information that guests would want to know prior to booking their trip. To conclude their learning journey for this topic area students will be required to complete a closed book exam. The students will be provided with the http address and instructed to access this site and complete the exam, the exam will be done in class monitored, and the time allowed will be 70minutes. The test that they will be given is available through the following link http://www.classmarker.com/teacher/edit_test.php?test_id=58852. (Yes I have developed a test). The test has been developed by using Classmarker (Classmarker, 2005-2009) which is an online test developing tool. Classmarker is a professional, confidential and easy to use tool; it allows you to develop individual tests store them and put in your expected answers and then it does the marking for you. The students receive instant feedback and know what questions they have got right and wrong. Half the work is done for you, now that would have to be a bonus.
I have scaffolded my classroom task by implementing strategies from Oliver’s Learning Design Framework (Oliver, 1999). Oliver’s learning design framework is an effective way in which educators can be proficient their planning and instructing processes. His framework is a scaffolding tool. Within his framework he provides and list of the components that will be required to develop an effective teaching strategy or plan. The way in which he has linked these components together allows for easy interpretation and implementation. He starts from the beginning with finding what the topic outcomes are, then links in what resources, tasks and support that the students will require to gain their desired outcome. The need for different ideas and a various modes of teaching, whilst ensuring that adequate complexity is instilled in the learnings, assists to moderate the teachers approach to the task. Also discussed is the need for student choice which will provide the element of ownership to the task and encourage them to become involved in their learning. As with any subject the information presented to the students must be authentic, referenced and suitable for the learner’s level. All learning styles are taken into consideration in Oliver’s framework; he encourages the use of multiple, collaborative, active and structured learning activities.
I am now aware of the different on-line tools that I can utilize and implement in mine and in my students future learning processes. I will be one of those teachers that will be forever learning and hopefully will be able to project my excitement and knowledge onto my students to encouraging them in their lifelong learning.
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