Books for children – on the ABC’s Bookshow

New Podcasts on iPod

New Podcasts on iPod,
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ABC Radio’s Book Show on the 22nd August was about Books for Children. The presenter Peter Mares’ guests were the award-winning writer Sonya Hartnett, children’s literature specialist Professor John Stephens and illustrator and author Tina Matthews discuss writing for children. There was quite a lot of discussion about the books that the authors read as children, books that shape identity and current literature.

55 minutes long, the podcast will be only be available online for a short time and is well worth listening to.

From the ABC Site: Sonya Hartnett is the author of The Ghost’s Child which has just won the 2008 Children’s Book Council Award for older readers. She has also written several other award winning novels for children and adults, including The Silver Donkey and Of A Boy.

Professor John Stevens is a children’s literature specialist from Macquarie University in Sydney.
Winner of the 2007 International Brothers Grimm Award recognising the work of scholars who have produced an outstanding body of research into children’s literature.

Tina Matthews an Illustrator and author of Out of The Egg, a picture book aimed at 4-8 year olds which won the First Book award at the recent New Zealand Post Book Awards.

21st century learning – a presentation

We heard Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach speak to teachers at a forum yesterday. Her presentation to the teaching staff at the school was about 21st century learning. To get everyone focussed she used the following video, “The Cisco anthem” but a powerful snapshot of what is happening around, and in, the world today. 

Sheryl illustrated how far we have come, and how quickly, in the world of technology, discussing terms Web1.0, Web2.0 (the ReadWrite web) and Web3.0 (immersive worlds (eg.SecondLife), artificial intelligences, etc.) I researched SecondLife, as part of the Web program I took part in, and I thought, that at present, there seems to be many barriers to schools effectively making use of virtual worlds for education, but there are future possibilities. As with many such options, as more people take part in, and improve on, them, this situation will most likely change.  

If schools are to part of preparing students for life in the 21st century, then there needs to be a change in the general approach to learning and teaching. Sheryl questioned the relevance of education today. What is being taught and what is being learnt? The following video has become quite famous, as it portrays what 200 students at Kansas University think.

Sheryl then began talking about students having network literacy, to equip them for a world beyond the industrial age. There have been some who claim that, in 2020, information will double every 72 hours. How will people cope with this? The expansion of the “knowledge world” will mean that education won’t be able to remain linear and information may become obsolete much more quickly. In this world education cannot be about content or memorization of facts alone. Sheryl went on to talk about students having innovative/adaptive expertise, about students who will be self-motivatating, self-educating, self-directed and effective communicators. We were then shown tne video that Darren Draper created and Have you been paying attention?

Have those in education been watching their students communicate with each other? Have they seen how they have been using the technologies in their lives and have they used this knowledge to engage students in their learning? From the experiences related by students in the video “a vision of students today“, probably not a lot of attention has been given to how students live in today’s world. Continue reading

We are going to be part of the PLP program!

I am really looking forward to this afternoon. If any of you read Jenny Luca’s blog you will have read about the Powerful Learning Practice Program. My school is very lucky to be included in the program. Jenny has been helping  Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach and Will Richardson set up an Australian arm of this initiative of theirs. The group is going to be global in scale and include schools from the United States, New Zealand and other parts of Australia. Jenny has done a magnificent  job of working with the Australian schools from all educational sectors, providing  them with information and encouraging them join the initiative. A group of teachers at my school worked together on a proposal that went to the principal and we are all very pleased to be given the go-ahead.

To quote Jenny “It’s going to be very exciting leading our schools through what we all hope is going to be something transformational for our colleagues who are taking the leap with us.” We have a number of classroom teachers who want to work with the core group and incorporate various aspects of technology into their classrooms. It is exciting that we have teachers, across a range of faculty areas and year levels, willing to change their classroom dynamics and take on new approaches to learning. Continue reading

Students teaching

I have been working with some boys on book trailers. Our Year 7 students this year have all learnt about using Audacity, Photo story and Video Studio. As yet there seems to have been limited use made of their skills as a whole. I am really interested in looking how best to use the student skills in a variety of subject areas. Pondering this, I was later looking at Sheryl Nussbaum Beach’s blog, 21st century learning, and reading her entry about students becoming teachers.

She begins by mentioning the product Screenflow (a webcasting and screencasting tool). She then researches it further and she found the following video.

How good is it to see a student answering a question someone had put up about how to do something within the program? This young boy is teaching it as well as I could.

Sheryl poses the following: Why do we need to understand the shift in education? And answers: Because they can learn and teach themselves anything they want to know without leaving home. When you move from a classroom structure to a community structure – the students become teachers AND learners and so do we. 21st Century teaching and learning is about shifting classrooms to learning ecologies.

I have often heard teachers talk about what they have taught rather than about what the students have learnt. Yes, the technology is only a tool but it allows students to teach and when they have to teach something , as part of the package, they will learn. One of the best things is that today you can teach, or help someone else to learn, from anywhere in the world to anywhere in the world.

Educational uses of the camera phone.

I read a post on the CogDogBlog about Qipit.He discussed the use of the mobile phone to take photos of something (such as a whiteboard, handwritten notes, etc. ) then emailing the photo to the site. The “shot” is then available to you as a PDF or it can be emailed or faxed.

I thought I would check it out. I went to the site and set up my free account.

It was very easy to set up an account. I had to set up my phone model, which was not on the list but I could add it. It is at this point you can choose the media to use, either your phone or digital camera.

Once I had entered the model of my phone I continued on to where the site showed me the options available.

The next screen gave advice on how to copy and send the image you have captured. It was very easy to follow and I tested it out by taking a copy of my laptop  screen.

  In a matter of moments the document was available to me as a PDF or to send out. I could put into my blog or publish on a wiki.

 Most students carry their mobile phones everywhere they go. We have students who examine graffiti art as part of their studio arts course, who go to lectures/tutorials as part of their courses, who have notes with handwritten comments, etc. These could easily be copied/scanned for their own use and/or shared with other members of their class. I am sure others will think of more uses. It is a simple and very portable option.