Posts Tagged blended_learning

Making content posters for my classroom walls

Over the years I have seen many creative and high utility wall displays in other people’s classrooms. Imelda Judge for example is wizard with cardboard and hot glue – sharing a classroom with her in 2009 was a wild apprenticeship in classroom decoration!

I say ‘other people’s classrooms’ because I haven’t had a lot of success with this kind of thing!

2008: One time, I thought I had made a pretty successful poster of quotes from King Lear for my Year 12s…but they never seemed to look at it:

king lear quotes

2009: Far more successful displays have tended to come out of students’ own work being put up, such as this display of lines of poetry after a lesson with Year 10:

10G epic poetry

2011: And the ‘tree of knowledge’ inspired display I’ve had in my uni teaching for the past 18 months was wrongly positioned at the back of the room, and a little haphazard to boot:

learning environment - blender board IMAG0501

Today: When I saw Bianca’s tweet today with a picture of her classroom wall painted with blackboard paint, I thought ‘how cool is that!?’

…which motivated me to start designing some posters to add to my classroom this semester.

I’m going for a digital look, rather than getting all crafty with the glitter and paint. I plan to print them out in colour A3 and get the students to decide where they think they should be put up in the room. Here is the first one – two of the key concepts I focus on in my English Curriculum Studies unit:

by me, Kelli McGraw (CC-BY-SA) free-to-use

by me, Kelli McGraw (CC-BY-SA) free-to-use

Mind you, the room I teach in has been a blu-tak free zone for the past two years, because it got a new paint job. This has been severely limiting. While it’s lovely on one hand to teach in a clean and modern space, it’s hard to use a room when you can’t put things up where you want. Teachers who don’t have a ‘home room’ will know the feeling!

The display I have been using so far, however, has been taking up one of the big green write-on groupwork boards in the room (to avoid having to blu-tak the wall). I don’t think I can keep using that board – I need it in my class, and other teachers must too.

So walls, you’ve had two years…the blu-tak is now a-comin 😉

If anyone else has electronic copies of pedagogy-inspired posters that they would be happy to share, I would love to see some more designs. And if you have any ideas for what else you think I should be flagging for 2nd year preservice English teachers, tell me all about that too!

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JOLT: Balancing Quality and Workload in Asynchronous Online Discussions

Of interest to teachers struggling to keep up with online discussions with their students!

Goldman, Zvi (2011) ‘Balancing Quality and Workload in Asynchronous Online Discussions: A Win-Win Approach for Students and Instructors’. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching. 7:2 pp.313-323

ABSTRACT: The challenge addressed in this article is how to achieve a win-win balance between quality and workload for students and instructors participating in asynchronous online discussions. A Discussion Guideline document including minimum requirements and best practices was developed to address this need. The approach covers three phases: design and development, setting up expectations, and launch and management. The goals of the approach, based on a commitment shared by all full time and adjunct faculty, are high quality of education as well as retention of both students and qualified instructors.

Further explanation of the research challenge from the introduction: “When discussions are regarded as critical components of learning, and administered as such, they impose a significant workload on both students and instructors. In applicable programs targeting practitioner adults, discussion sessions, during which much of the evidence-based learning and experience sharing occur, can easily consume half the course workload (Goldman, 2010). The reality is that neither students nor instructors can afford to dedicate an unlimited amount of time to fulfill course requirements or teach a course. Therefore, as a matter of practicality, discussion sessions should be carefully implemented to balance pedagogic quality and workload for students and instructors alike.”

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Global Poetry Project

This tweet came across the screen tonight and I just thought: YES.

Now I’ve joined the Global Poetry Project Ning.  I figured tonight was as good a time as any to post a poem in a new place and this one promises ‘a space for members to expand upon their cultural views through the writing and reading of poetry’.

I penned this poem last week.  I’ve been reading The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and that’s where the title and some of the inspiration came from.

The project aims to provide “a safe and open atmosphere for all visitors and contributors alike” and has many student contributers.  So if sharing your poems and reading the work of others in a supportive environment appeals to you, why not consider joining the project, friending me and adding a poem of your own!

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Stuff I believe

It was interesting to follow the tweets of @BiancaH80 and @durk94 tonight, as they discussed the school funding data available on the MySchool website.

To be honest, in the interests of keeping myself in a positive and generative work state of mind I’ve avoided looking at the new MySchool site at all (and no, I’m not going to hyperlink to it because I don’t think it deserves the traffic).  Next week I’m going to have to though, so I can talk about it with my students in class.

ohmmmmmmm…

Even though I now work at a university, which involves striving for curriculum excellence in schools in every sector, I maintain my firm commitment to the social justice agenda of supporting public education.

However, government departments of education tend to be clunky, inefficient, wheel-reinventing institutions.  I know, I used to work in one.  And if I returned to teaching you’d find me back there.

But while funding and resource benchmarks are a large part of the problem, a widespread lack of willingness to consider radically shifting our models of curriculum ‘delivery’ prevents the construction of a meaningful way forward, in my opinion.  The composition of the local student ‘community’ and its relationship to the related local ‘campus’ needs to be significantly rethought.

So I’m posting my tweets for tonight up here, just for the record.  I’d be interested in hearing other people’s visions for the school campus of the future.  Will there still be a distinction between ‘public’ and ‘private’?

I hope not.

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