Bringing Learning to Life with Technology

This term my Grade Two class is learning about Aboriginal Australia. In the past, I have taught this topic in a fairly standard way – books and worksheets combined with a few online resources. While the students were interested in the topic, I believe the whole concept of Aboriginal culture remained a fairly abstract topic for them.

This year, with the help of technology and connections to an Aboriginal community, we’re making the topic really come to life.

One of my students, Tom, is embarking on a four wheel driving trip around outback Australia. Read about his adventure on my class blog here.

Tom’s enthusiastic parents were able to make contact with the Kunawarritji community in Western Australia and have organised to visit the local school. They put me in contact with a teacher at the school who has been very positive about communicating with our class. We have been emailing back and forth with questions and we’re hoping to set up a Skype session for the students to get to know the children from the Aboriginal community school.

In only a few online interactions my students have already learned so much and are developing a respect and appreciation for our indigenous population. My students were absolutely fascinated by the culinary choices of some of the Aboriginal students (camel, snake, goanna etc) and could not believe that the school has a rule that states “no hunting”! The teacher described how it can be distracting to have students go off and hunt a goanna in the middle of lessons!

This is just another example of how technology can really flatten the classroom walls and make learning so much more relevant and authentic for the students (and teacher)!

Map Australia Kunawarritji 2

Do you have any other ideas of how you can make learning come to life with technology?

Global Connections

My class blog has been a central part of our classroom this year for reflecting on and publishing student work while celebrating the students’ achievements in their Grade Two year.

2KM Blog

Making global connections has been one of the most rewarding parts of the blogging experience for me and my class.

Two particularly worthwhile connections we have made are with Mr Salsich’s Class Blog in Connecticut, USA and Mrs Yollis’ Class Blog in California, USACheck them out and  leave them a comment!

Mrs Yollis' Class blog Mr Salsich

While the global world can seem like an abstract concept for 7 and 8 year olds, connecting with others on the opposite side of the Earth have helped my students develop an understanding of the world in which they live. 

One of the most rewarding experiences my students had this year was when we skyped with our blogging buddies in Mrs Yollis’ class this week. Read about it here.

If you want to make your own connections, Sue Waters has compiled an excellent list of various class blogs that you can get in touch with.

Linda Yollis is also sharing her excellent knowledge of all things blogging through a wiki which she says is “a resource for teachers who are interested in starting a blog”. Check it out and sign up!

Educational blogging mrs yollis