Tag Archive for 'Classroom practice'

Kids On Keyboards

Sitting with my resident psychoanalyst at dinner last night, and we got to talking about the capacity of younger children to use a computer keyboard effectively.

Now, have you ever gritted your teeth as your 7 or 9 year-olds (let alone 15 year-olds) labour for ages over finding one letter at a time?

Not an issue, I said. Let’s just rush out the latest in voice recognition technology; and then they won’t have to worry about that painstaking style that requires an entire morning to print out 3 sentences.

Sharon (the psychoanalyst) gently pointed out (she always does. Gently, that is) that voices under the age of 10 are usually not consistent enough in their pitch and tone, to be able to use that voice recognition software very well.

So, for now, they need to either handwrite, or they need to learn how to type. Given the latter, here’s a program that lots of kids really like. We head across to the UK for this one; and you’ll find it at http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/typing/flash/stage1.shtml

Have a go yourself. It actually got me into using more than two fingers. Impressive!

Aiming For Excellence

Recently spent a day with a group of teaching enthusiasts at Kandos High School. About 40 mins out of Mudgee in NSW. Beautiful little area.

I’m sometimes asked where I’m most likely to find the most innovative practice around the world. Bit of a trick question. The larger centres generally have much greater access to the technology and the professional development opportunities. Still, this does not always ensure that their practice is ground-breaking. Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

It’s more a matter of whether they avail themselves of the opportunities. Attitude as always.

However, in many cases, the more isolated communities also are often very innovative with their practice. It’s more difficult to establish a benchmark with other schools, and so, they just keep stretching their boundaries, never being sure of when they may have surpassed the benchmarks of excellence (whatever they may be!).

And so, some great work going on in Kandos. Here’s a neat little strategy that’s used by Melissa Giddins, who is one of the enthusiasts there. See the photo above.

A display has been set up outside the classroom, just where the students are lining up for lessons. Some words of inspiration, and perhaps some info about various learning opportunities that are going on around the school.

I’ve always thought that the time spent lining up becomes a waste of time. Kids milling around, sometimes fooling around, with no purpose. So, think about what else you could place outside your classrooms. This 1st few minutes before, and during, a lesson can make so much difference to the rest of the learning time.