Kevin Blissett: Out of the Cave

Leadership, Classroom 2.0, Curriculum, China

Ride the Technological Wave in Classrooms, or Get Left Behind

ride-waveThere continues to be resistance among some in education who see learning social networking skills and online publishing as somehow outside of the framework of the set curriculum. I could not disagree more. I have seen my learners’ writing skills improve astronomically via use of our classroom blogs, and recognize that so much of social interaction, finding a job, shopping, etc. is being done online. These are skills that must be developed–emphasizing the benefits as well as the dangers–in order to prepare learners for success in their future lives.

Julie Lindsay addresses this topic in her e-Learning Journeys blog. An excerpt:

I tried to explain that my class does not end when the students work out the door. The collaboration, interaction and socialisation continues. My students interact with each other, they interact with me, their teacher, via online tools of various names and varieties which could all come under the broad term of ‘social networking’. They have their own online areas, including digital portfolios, as well as community areas. They post to blogs and respond to each other. They are out there using social bookmarking, folksonomy, class wikis, creating podcasts and vodcasts and putting them online, using social imaging (flickr) and anything else I can think of to encourage motivation and excitement in their ultimate quest for learning. I do not apologise for this. I do not essentially see anything wrong with this in 21st century learning. In fact this approach has changed my whole teaching style and changed the way I interact with the students. The development of PLEs (personal learning environments) and ubiquitous and mobile computing means I now start my classes with ‘…open your blogs, refer to the class wiki…etc’ rather than ‘..take out your books and copy from the board’.

Read more.

Photo by San Diego Shooter


April 19, 2009 Posted by | skills, social media, technology | Leave a comment

Effective Field Trips


Our school just went on a field trip to a business area here in Xi’an called Xiao Zhai. Our teachers divided students into teams which had to use their Chinese-as-a-2nd-language abilities to get local cooperation with scavenger hunt style photographs they were assigned to collect. Upon returning to school, students were asked to put their photos into a powerpoint and make a presentation to the other students. The team with the best overall photos would be the winner. 

I thought this was an effective field trip for the students involved, and it got me to wondering about other ways to create rewarding and stimulating field trips for the future. I stumbled across this post from Langwitches that details ideas for creating effective learning environments outside of the classroom:

What is in a Field Trip? The answer should be LEARNING! The reasons  should include:

  • an integral part of the broader curriculum
  • extending learning beyond the classroom
  • learning through hands on activities
  • taking learning off the page
  • building a learning community
  • connecting it back to learning in the classroom.

Ask yourself, if every field trip you are taking your students on is a learning opportunity that connects back to past/future lessons in the classroom in some way?

Field Trip 2.0 serves up additional technological pointers for enhancing education outside the classroom:

  • Google Earth
  • Google Maps
  • K-W-L
  • Video Conferencing
During Trip
  • Geocaching
  • Digital and/or Video Photography
  • Scavenger Hunt
  • Audio Recordings
Post Activities
  • Create Digital Field Guides
  • Analyze Photos for Details
  • Create Narrated Slideshows, Movies, or Podcasts
  • Comic Strips

April 19, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment