Promoting Intellectual Quality with an IWB

Promoting intellectual quality in a classroom can sometimes be a bit tricky, especially if the work is boring and repetitive. A lot of students need some form of external motivation as well as their own interest for them to really engage in the topic. A way of generating their motivation can be by using an Interactive Whiteboard (IWB). This may catch their attention at the beginning of the lesson, and if the lesson on the IWB is done well, it may keep their attention throughout the whole lesson.

Using IWB’s in the classroom can definitely help promote intellectual quality and encourage deeper discussions of the topic at hand. Many of the activities that a good teacher will choose will be set up in a way that will prompt open-ended questions and classroom discussion.

IWB in the Classroom

Any teachers reading this who haven’t used an IWB before (or very often) may be thinking “But I just don’t have time for that” or “It’s all just too hard” when in fact it isn’t. The most time consuming part is coming up with the lesson, and that has to be done anyway! There are many activities that promote higher order thinking and intellectual quality. The 4 main categories that Kent (2009) states promote these are: labelling, sorting, ordering/sequencing and puzzles, games and simulations.

They are all pretty self-explanatory, but we will go through them anyway.

1. Labelling is an activity where the student must drag the labels to the appropriate locations on a diagram;

2. Sorting is when there are a variety of objects on the IWB that have to be arranged into the correct groups;

3. Ordering/sequencing activities are when the student has to place the jumbled objects into an appropriate order

4. Puzzle, game and simulation activities require the student to use their problem solving skills to complete the activity

Although these are the 4 categories of activities to promote Intellectual Quality, they can be done well, or very poorly. Two aspects suggested to help promote intellectual quality are randomness, and ambiguity (Kent, 2009). Generally, high ambiguity results in higher intellectual quality. It is more likely to generate class discussions, which allow a deeper knowledge base to be built. The random aspect of using the IWB keeps the class interested and on their toes; but it isn’t always possible to have both randomness and ambiguity (Kent, 2009).

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Cyber Bullying

cyber-bullying-poster

Cyber bullying is a type of psychological and emotional bullying that is done over the Internet using a phone or a computer, and can happen over sites such as Facebook, Twitter etc, or through texts or phone calls (A Guide to Cyber Bullying). On top of the many traumatising events that victims of ‘traditional bullying’ encounter, cyber bullying opens up a whole new can of fish.

One of the biggest concerns on behalf of the victim is that they can never escape from cyber bullying; “home is no longer a safe haven from bullying” (A Guide to Cyber Bullying). The bully now has access to their home life through computers and mobile phones. As well as this, the bully’s ego grows when they are sitting behind their computer screen. They feel tougher and more powerful and feel like they are invincible because of the anonymity they can have.

Another massive concern with cyber bullying is that the content of what is said is aired for a whole audience to see. Through the use of the Internet, the bully’s words can gain access to many more people than just the victim, which can be used to humiliate them even further (A Guide to Cyber Bullying).

Basically, from all of this, the message I’m trying to get across is that cyber bullying is an extension of conventional or traditional bullying and can hurt people just as much as it would if it were face to face. It needs to stop. And although there isn’t many ways of controlling the use of the Internet, parents and teachers in particular can definitely raise awareness of the emotional side effects it has on the child, the child’s family and all of the people around them.

The short clip below highlights the effects that cyber bullying can have on a child.

Social Constructivism

Social constructivism is about taking a persons past experiences to learn new things both individual and collaboratively. People’s experiences these days differ from those experiences 50 years ago. So therefore teaching should change, right? The use of the web to generate a students understanding (and participation) of a topic is valuable and very useful in a classroom (Enonbun, 2010). Things such as Wikis (Wikipedia), Blogs (Twitter), Podcasts (YouTube videos), Social Networks (Facebook, Twitter etc) and Virtual Worlds are all used to enhance teaching and help the students gain a better understanding of the topic.

All of the above medium can be used for different reasons and in different situations, both in the classroom and for home learning. Virtual Worlds can create a hypothetical scenario for the children to go through so they can experience it as if they’re there, Blogs and Social Media can be used to get other peoples opinions and thoughts, and Podcasts can be used to explain areas that aren’t clearly understood in a fun way. All of this stuff is pretty cool hey? Beats the teaching style of 50 years ago where “the instructor was the source of all knowledge” (Enonbun, 2010, p. 17).

Children these days need more hands on, engaging and interactive learning material than what was offered back in the day. The views of the teacher being the only source of knowledge has been, and should be, pushed aside, with room being made for collaborative and flexible learning to take place (Enonbun, 2010). In my opinion, and the opinion of  Enonbun (2010), this is the way of the future and the most effective way to get a usually boring message across to students in an exciting new way.

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These images show the contrast of what teaching and learning was like and what it has now evolved into over the years with the use of technology (Web 2.0) and innovative teachers.

E-Learning – Positive or Negative?

Technology can definitely make learning in the classroom more interesting and fun, any student reading this will be nodding their head and agreeing right now. Am I right? But those same students will agree that at times, that same technology that they love to use for learning purposes can also be tempting and distracting.

The use of computers are especially distracting to some kids, and this can cause some issues with how well they learn, and also how much they learn.  Everything is just so easily accessible on one machine that it is too easy to get side tracked.

But on the other hand, there are definitely positives to using e-learning, and computers in particular. They allow each student to access the Internet for research, to type up their work, to make presentations for assignments and to store a heap of information all in the one place. On top of that, it allows everyone with computers at home to interact with each other about assignments, homework or just general questions about school, all from the comfort of their own home. I sound like a salesperson for computers… But personally I have found this very handy over the years while I’ve been at school. So other students should be able to use it to their advantage as well. Most teachers will even admit that their students can use the technology in the classroom better than they can!

A more specific example of e-learning is the use of blogs in classrooms. Some schools have taken on board the use of blogs under the “Persuade, Promote, Publish banner” to encourage students to post about anything they like on their own personal website, with no limitations whatsoever (Attwell, 2007, p. 6).

Another example of e-learning is the use of a program (e.g. Blackboard) so that teachers and students can share information such as lecture notes, readings lists, videos, assignment instructions or anything of that nature over the internet. Teachers may post something up, and minutes later students can be accessing that information either in the classroom or at home. All of this makes it easier for both the teacher and the student, and gives the student access to school work at home.

The game below demonstrates e-learning and how it can be used with younger children in the classroom to enhance their learning experience and make it more enjoyable for them.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/ks1/maths/addition_and_subtraction/play/

The majority of future students will be using technology in the classroom on a daily basis, while also using it at home. We are in the 21st Century after all. E-learning is the way of the future (and perhaps the present in some places).