For the next study block we are focusing on Media Studies, with the emphasis being using digital tools to communicate. I have been researching how schools are integrating technology into their classrooms and have been amazed at what apps, tools and online programmes are out there. Teaching technology used to be programming or at least using office software like emails, word documents, blogging and maybe digital cameras. Not so any more….
Technically technology is any tool that helps us achieve a task – from a car, to phone, to a table and chairs! But these days we tend to use the word ‘technology’ to mean ‘digital technology’ especially in the field of communications. We have the smart phone, tablets, computers, internet and all the little programmes that make those devices work. This is what we’ll be digging into this term.
I have found these two websites particularly helpful and inspiring:
We will be doing our media studies Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, with Friday being the day I hope my kids will update their blog. Each day I intend to write up a review of our learning. So if you are interested – here is today’s overview:
Character study: Discernment. The act or process of exhibiting keen insight and good judgment. We need to understand why things happen, or what will happen due to our choices. This character quality is so important as we intend to spend a large amount of time online. We will continue to think through various aspects of discernment.
Media Studies #1: Online Safety – Safe Online Talk. We used this lesson plan (including video footage) to direct our conversation. We talked about talking to strangers – It’s not that we don’t talk to people we don’t know (in real life) otherwise we would never make a new friend, but we do have some ‘discernment’ when we meet someone be it in the street, or at a party etc. The same type of ‘discernment’ needs to happen when we ‘meet’ someone online. The kids made a notebook page (Naomi typed, Daniel by hand) on the various aspects we talked about today.
Media Studies #2: Making a Voki – a cartoon type avatar that speaks!
It was good to see the learning going on as the kids worked on this project.
- When you arrive at a new website, visually scan it, get an overview before you dig into it
- In order to build a Voki the kids had to decide how to represent themselves online
- Choices, choices, choices!
- Recording a voice over – they had to write their piece, practice saying it in a way that wasn’t robotic, and record it (which included them using Audacity which they were already familiar with)
- By placing their Voki on their blog, they learnt a little more about html and coding connected to WordPress
- Perseverance – stuff happens every time you work with technology – and you have to learn to push through and persevere!
How I envisage a Voki being used in further learning experiences? They could create a Voki representing someone from history giving their short biography, they could create several Voki to share various perspectives on a specific topic or they could create a Voki that introduces their assignment/essay with a summary. You can find specific lesson plans on the Voki website.