Reflection regarding to Teaching Practice (part 3)

I always learned about constructivist theory, however teaching practice allowed me to apply what i have learned from ‘book’ into ‘reality’. These are my learning and understanding about the constructivist theory as i used this approach on my planning stage.

According to von Glasersfeld  (1990) constructivist theory of knowing, “knowledge is not an iconic representation of an external environment, but a mapping of ways of acting and thinking that are viable to the acting subject in attaining experiential goals” (p. 37). Von Glasersfeld explains that knowledge is the result of, “an individual subject’s constructive activity, not a commodity that somehow resides outside the knower and can be conveyed by linguistic communication” (p. 37). He asserts that, “language is not a means of transporting conceptual structures from teacher to student, but rather a means of interacting that allows the teacher to constrain and guide the cognitive construction of the student” . Vygotsky claims that a child’s mental functions need to be fostered and assessed through collaboration with a teacher. He proposed that through collaboration, the teacher is able to determine the distance between actual development and the potential development of the child, that is, a child’s zone of proximal development. Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) is “the discrepancy between a child’s actual mental age and the level he reaches in solving problems with assistance” ( as cited in Fraser, 2006, p. 58).

The child functions on any given task or tasks with the teacher’s aim to work within the continuum of the zone to help the child move forward. A child’s zone is not static, but instructionally sensitive. It must be recalibrated constantly to accommodate a child’s new learning. Children learn most easily when the teacher provides experiences within the zone of development. Interaction and direct teaching are important aspect of intellectual development; whereby children’s own thinking is ‘stretched’ in term of adding details or clarify concepts.

Young children are easily motivated into discovery by teachers asking open-ended questions that pertain to the child’s own interests as well as encourages critical thinking by challenging children’s assumptions. For instance, teacher poses open-ended questions for children that lead them to suggest a hypothesis such as what might happen if you do that? Children are encouraged to evaluate their own work and learn to defend and explain their creations to other.

You may read Nik‘s blog as the blog provided a wonderful sharing about encouraging learner autonomy =)
Hope you can enjoy it !

Reflection regarding to Teaching practice ( part 2)

Finally, missions completed!

Before I really ‘ close files’ about my teaching practice and get ready for another challenging journey. I would like to share how I felt at times when my colleagues come into my classroom to observe how I integrate ICT into children’s learning. “I know they are thinking that I am just too ‘ambitious’ in using ICT in early years setting. However,  I am finally feeling that I can defend what I do, explain why integrate ICT in children’s learning is so important. I learnt that integration of ICT in the lesson involves teachers in careful planning and preparation, both inside and outside the classroom. A program that involved ICT needs teachers who enjoy being spontaneous, involved and creative, as well as reflective and analytical.
By clicking the NAEYC position statement and this website, you may know more about the importance of organizing for children’s learning.
You may also read my course mates mrsgrimshaw and katiereed  learning experiences during teaching practice. They provide me some encouragements and motivation in continuing integrating ICT into children’s learning. 

Reflection regarding to Teaching Practice ( part 1)

After reading Jenbrown and Erica‘s learning experiences during their teaching practice, I started to think if integration of ICT in children’s learning is necessary, how it is the lesson developed? I always ask myself: How does a teacher foster literacy, mathematical thinking, artistic expression, social development, self- esteem, scientific thinking and other concepts, dispositions and skills valued in early education? How does a teacher address and integrate standards in a meaningful way?

This was my first time that I had tried to ‘incorporate any ICT as my part of my lesson’. With the little opportunity to visit other programs, I started the teaching practice feeling that I was sinking as much as I was swimming.

I took a week to set up an environment where my children could have choices and sustained time to involve ICT through their leaning experiences. I needed to read and observe enough to convince myself that integration of ICT in classroom is beneficial to children’s learning ( you may read more by clicking here)
I concluded: “This has become the most intellectually challenging years for me. I am learning how to plan for ICT and how to use ICT to reinforce student’s learning. I like the concept of an emerging curriculum, but it takes patience as well as creativity to work it out each day. Things don’t always work out as I had imagined. Because I am an experienced teacher, I sometimes feel that should be able to do this right way. But it does not work out that way. It involves a major shift in the way I am thinking as well as in the way I structure the lesson: a paradigm shift.”

Computer and Preschoolers

During my preparation for my teaching practicum of ICT in the preschool setting, I had a short discussion with my mentor and she provided me some great points for me to learn. Now i would like to share with you all =)

The research shows that children three and four years of age are developmentally ready to explore computers and most early childhood educators see the computer center as a valuable activity center for learning. After reading one of my coursemates, Nazmeela blog post about “What is Your Definition of a Good Teacher?”   ,  for me, I found that the timing is crucial.  Children need plenty of time to experiment and explore. Young children are comfortable clicking various options to see what is going to happen next. Teachers may want to intervene when children appear frustrated or when nothing seems to be happening. Frequently, just a quick word or two, even across the room, reminds children what they need to do next to reach their desired goal. Providing children with minimal help teaches them they can operate the computer successfully . In addition, by observing what children are doing, the teacher can ask probing questions or propose problems to enhance and expand children’s computer experiences. In Ellie’s blog post , she mentioned that “no two children are exactly the same” ; I am really agree with her philosophy of teaching,  it is important to acknowledge that  each child is unique, and each child has his/her own style of learning before you plan and carry out a lesson.

You might need to take a look at this article 18 Myths People Believe About Education  as well as Nik’s blog post about What are the qualities of a good educational technology trainer? for you to develop your attitudes about teaching=)

All the best !

 

 

Features Unique to E-learning

Like no other training form, e-learning promises to provide a single experience that accommodates the three distinct learning styles of auditory learners, visual learners and kinesthetic learners. Other unique opportunities created by the advent and development of e- learning are more efficient training of a global dispersed audience; and reduced publishing and distributing costs as Web-based training becomes a standard.

E-learning also offers individualized instruction, which print media cannot provide, and instructor-led courses allow clumsily and great cost. In conjunction with accessing needs, e-learning can target specific needs. By using learning style tests; e-learning can locate and target individual learning preferences. You can talk a look on my coursemates’s blog posts such  as Ellie,  Karen, Katie and Jennifer Walsh as they gave me some great ideas in incorporating ICT  into the classroom.Thank you so much!

Additionally, synchronous e-learning is self-paced. Advanced learners are allowed to speed through or bypass instruction that is redundant while novices slow their own progress through content, eliminating the frustration with themselves, their fellow learners and the course. In these ways, e-learning is inclusive of a maximum number of participants with a maximum range of learning styles, preferences and needs.

 

Collaborative learning

All collaborative learning theory contends that human interaction is a vital ingredient to learning. Consideration of this particularly crucial when designing e-learning, realizing the potential for the medium to isolate learners. With well-designed synchronous distance education and technology like message boards, chats, e-mail and tele-conferecencing, this potential drawback is reduced. However, I still think that the magical classroom bond between teacher and student, and among students themselves, cannot be replicated through communications technology.

Further reading:

E-Learning’s Benefits Are Obvious: Why Don’t They Like It?

Multimedia Product Development: What Educators Really Want?

 

E-Learning

After reading Mrs Jones’s blog post about ‘ Have kids struggling with math”  and SingYing’s blog post , I started to think about E-learning.  E-learning is for classroom learning as cell phones are to a pay phone at the bus station. At least it is in some ways. For instance, e-learning allows you to learn anywhere and usually at any time as long as you have a properly configured computer. Cell phones allow you to communicate any time and usually anywhere, as long as long as you have a properly configured phone.

E-learning can be CD-ROM- based, Network-based, Internet-based or Intranet-based. It can include text, video, audio, animation and virtual environments. It can be a very rich learning experience that can even surpass the level of training you might experience in a crowded classroom. It is self-paced and hand on.

The vast movement towards e-learning is clearly motivated by the many benefits it offers. However, much e learning is praised and innovated, computers will never completely eliminate human instructors and other forms of educational delivery. What is important is to know exactly what e-learning advantaged exist and when these outweigh the limitations of the medium.

As you are working with young children, you may try e-learning for kids. At the same time, you might read the blog post from one of my coursemate,U 1024325 who mentioned about the principles for integrating ICT into the early childhood classroom.

 

Learn alongside with the student

Since our children are the ‘Information age’, I suggest that  teacher must be prepared to offer children access to range of ICT regardless of the teacher’s own personal capability. In developing a lifelong learner, I think that teacher needs to reconsider his or her role and, where necessary, shift from being the ‘expert’ to the ‘ learner’ alongside the child.Reading both Lauran and  Gen’s blogpost about Post visit to the prac site had given me some great little tips on becoming learner again.

The key focus regarding using ICT to support teaching and learning is not, ‘Can I, the teacher, manage to use the equipment?’ but rather on the ‘fitness for purpose’ of ICT in a given situation..

The most important question that we as educator must ask ourselves, Is it support learning? Does it develop skills and knowledge in a curriculum area other than ICT? Or does it help a child to learn more or encourage cooperation with other children?

You may read these before you come to the conclusion:

” Should teachers bring ICT into the classroom?”

Technology can bring the real world into the classroom

It is important to note that early year education is about the whole child and not about subjects taken in isolation. It is therefore important to remember that using ICT is not just about a child learning, for example, to use a digital camera, a computer or sensors, but also it is a means for contribution to the wider development of each individual child and indeed to the broader aims of education.

 

Let go!

After reading the blog post entiled “Technology is all around” and “Are blogs dangerous” from my coursemates, I realised that there are still have many people have alluded to the detrimental effects that could occur as a result of using technology. For instance, there are some teacher may feel restricted in using ICT because they are unsure of the rationale for using computers, or they may only have one computer in their classroom.  How can you solve the problem?

For me, I think that it is important to “let go”. Why I say so?  I believe that children will learn in every context and when doing almost any task, whether the task fulfills intentional learning outcomes or not. Unintentional learning that has differing outcomes than what you expect also occurs. Therefore, it is essential to maximize the use of the resources that exist, even if there is only one computer in your classroom. While having one computer to 20 children is inequitable, if that is all you have, that one computer can still be used to enhance your classroom program. Despite the constraints on the timetable, despite the constraints on resources, despite that fact that it is difficult to have a computer used for every minute of the week, the computer—if it work—–can still be used to enhance your daily lessons.

The sole computer in the classroom may be the ‘dust-collector’ or you may be able to make the most out of this expensive resource and hope to be able to get more computers in the future. Once you have justified the importance of utilizing ICT, then you can make the necessary decisions to maximize its teaching and learning benefits.

You can also take a look at this webpage and one of my coursemate, Emma’s blog post about ” Can you use ICTs in the early years“as  they will give you inspiration and ideas in using Technology in the classroom.

 

“What can I take into the classroom?”

The week 10 learning task required us to generate our thinking and figure out the topics of interest.

After reading my coursemates jenbrown,  Mrspoulter‘  and  u1024325 ‘s blog posts which discuss about the use of interactive whiteboard (IWB). Then I asked myself, “What can I take into the classroom?”  I was inspired by a social studies teacher at high school who published an article , entitled My Plan to Bring Tech into My Classroom to Put Students in Control of Their Own Learning Processes “

Now let us consider if I have 20 students in my classroom, and  you plan a whole-class lesson, it is comforting as a preschool educator to know that all the children are doing the same task and that you as the teacher are covering what is intended from your program and school’s plan.

I found that, in reality each of the children has different needs, learning style and abilities, it is not recommended to provide the same experiences for every child. It is important to acknowledge that you cannot ensure that every child has exposure to every important concept that you delivered.

Let’s us link back to the integration of ICT into the classroom, if one child is working on the computer, will the child missing out on what the rest of the class going? What is the child gaining then?  Based on my working experiences, I noticed that children are always going to be ‘getting’ different things out of different tasks; this is what we called unintentional outcomes. In simple word, children are missing out and they are not doing the assigned activities or task for the class. For example, this may take the form of one student doing some research on the computer for a ‘water’ unit while the rest of the class is working on their maths.  Then what can you do?

To be continued….

Extra reading:

Ten Tips for Personalized Learning via Technology is a useful article in helping teacher  to challenge and support each child at his or her own level.

Why Integrate Technology into the Curriculum?: The Reasons Are Many  can also inspired you !

Stereotype view about ICT

In preparing for my ICT practicum next week, I had discussed with some staff in the center and I found that there is a pervasive and somewhat stereotypical view that ICT is an limited experience where people sit alone at a computer- the ‘screen’ replacing traditional forms of communication. I found that this view needs to be revalued; therefore I explained to them regarding to what I have learnt through TPACK ( you can read more about TPACK through my coursemates: Erica   , Megan  and Vicky‘s blog post.  )   and use the key components in it to highlight that ICT offers an entirely different set of learning opportunities. I am really grateful for this course as equipped me with the ability to ‘advocate’ for the use of ICT into children’s learning.   As i recall back the very  first day as i entered into the ICT class and compare with myself now, i found that Deborah (myself) actually  has transformed into a more confident edcucator who can say that it is helpful to intergrate ICT into children’s learning !