Technology in an Australian Classroom
I just returned from two weeks in Australia. No, I won't bore you with my 1200 digital photos. But I would like to tell you about one of the best technology experiences I had. Yes, I even travel thinking about technology. And yes, I also brought my laptop to Australia.
I had a meeting about technology with Brett Moller, Head of Learning and Educational Technologies at Kings Christian College on the Gold Coast. Then I was able to watch his students, who were in the process of producing music videos over a few weeks time period. I liked the way Brett set up the class. Physically he arranged the classroom with a boardroom table in the middle and computers around the perimeter of the room. Academically he set up the class to mirror a business structure. Each group was given a budget to produce their music video. Within this budget they needed to rent the video camera. This helped the students realize that they needed to be detailed in their planning so that they could afford to get all of their filming completed.
The students were given time to come up with the concept for their video. Then they sat around the boardroom table and pitched their idea to the class. The classmates asked questions about their plans or offered suggestions for their concept video. They needed to complete detailed plans about camera shots and angles, music, actors and more. The class uses Facebook for their planning tool. They like the flexibility of being able to work on their planning from home or classroom and keep it organized. They could keep their photos, video, music, comments and planning all on their Facebook page. Plus from the Facebook page there are links to the course podcast which delivers all handouts and video tutorials to students through iTunes.
The students needed to compose music for their video using GarageBand or to find a new and upcoming band on YouTube. Yes, they were allowed to search YouTube for music. They also listened to original music that they had brought on their iPod. The students needed to contact the band to ask permission to use their music in a video. Students have made contact with independent artists on MySpace who are giving them rights to use songs for their music video. One group of girls contacted someone who said he would write a song to the words that one of the girls wrote for a poem in English last term!! How cool is that!
A student also demonstrated how Second Life was used as a learning tool. Students collaborated with students from other schools on educational topics using their Second LIfe avatars and environments. They had created stores, museums, and more.
I saw students collaborating and thinking. I saw students using computers and the Internet as tools for learning. I saw students excited and totally engaged in their learning.
We'd love to hear how you are using technology in your classroom. Now do you want to see my photos?