Sunday, July 22, 2007

Putting an end to 'scooping' and 'smushing'.

Our cluster was engaged and challenged on Saturday with the support of Jamie McKenzie. We tackled the issue of topical research vs authentic research, supported by powerful learning. Jamie presented us with some thoughtful and practical strategies we can utilise as teachers including some valuable examples of how to manage the impact of ICT and the burgeoning amount of information available especially through the web. To contextualise this we started by reading Jamie’s article “Putting an End to Topical Research”.

Strategies that we have been exploring this year as a cluster were confirmed, in particular, identifying and accessing quality online resources to support learning for students vs random Google searches. I know I have posted on this topic before but access to these resources starts with us as teachers. How we select and manage access to them, for our students, is crucial and knowing where to find them the first step. eResources for NZ Schools.

We were also challenged to better understand how we could support students to move past understanding and knowing to what Jamie describes as ‘synthesis’…the ability to link knowledge and ideas to create new understandings. If you missed any of the online resources we accessed with Jamie yesterday, I have posted links on the cluster wiki.

On a more geeky note…I had recently been recommended a new online tool, Google Notebook by Suzie at the Otaki-Kapiti Cluster Conference. As we explored the use of electronic text and search engines on Saturday I was able to put Google Notebook to some use. When downloaded it can be accessed from your browser. As you are reading and highlighting, key ideas and information can simple be added to your Google Notebook where they are saved along with the source. Notes are saved automatically and can be accessed at any time in a separate tab or window…who said I needed MS Word on my Mac ;-)
Click screen shots below for a closer look.

Finally a salute to Jennie and the staff at Sunnybrae Normal for hosting us on the day. No mean feat to set up for 80 teachers on the web and wireless too. Special thanks to Stephen and Cathy for all their hard work ensuring all technical bases were covered.

“…students need to be able to read between the lines, infer meaning, draw conclusions from disparate clues and avoid the traps of presumptive intelligence, bias and predisposition.”(Jamie McKenzie, 2004)

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