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YouTube are now teacher friendly!! December 13, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — lauraduff @ 12:59 pm
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So apparently YouTube realised there was a gap in their website for the classroom…


Have a look at that!! It also shows why YouTube is so valuable in the classroom


My Experience of Blogging. December 1, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — lauraduff @ 2:09 pm

So, back in October we were told by our tutor to start a blog. Personally I am not great on technology and had given up on Twitter as soon as i looked at it. However, I was told to do it and thought I may aswell give it a go..How glad i am that i tried!

My main reason for trying was that in my E-Learning lectures i had felt a little bit lost. Coming from an interest in Special Educational Needs throughout my degree I had always chosen modules that reflected this and for the first time really since starting my degree I felt like a fish out of water. I thought I can’t give up – its my third year and I really need to do well and I can’t say I don’t understand if I don’t try to. So i got Twitter, added a few people and made a blog.

What to blog about? Well, this was easy as we had been given a topic so off i went blogging. As an incentive we had been told that it was a competition and you had to get the most views and comments, so i sent a few texts and a few emails on Facebook telling my friends to read my blog. Within a day I had a few comments from friends I had told to look at my blog – I didn’t get too excited. Then, i realised people I didn’t know had been Retweeting me on Twitter! I got a bit excited and i think my eyes were opened for the first time as to how this powerful online tool can enhance learning!

Then i got comments from people i didn’t know, and when looking them up on twitter I found they were well-respected people. This made me a lot more interested in blogging and I started blogging again and again. I also found my interest in the subject increased and I spent a lot of my time whilst driving in my car thinking about the topics i had been blogging about and the comments I was receiving were helping my thoughts and my education. Suddenly the module seemed to make sense and I understood a lot more of the lectures.

Yes, I’ve learnt a lot surrounding the ideas of video sharing in the classroom and internet safety but to me Ive learnt a lot more than that: the power of blogging! Through blogging i have been engaged in a subject, i quite honestly, don’t think I would have been interested in other wise. I have connected with educators from all over and have found myself sharing knowledge with people who without this blog I would not have spoken too.

Blogging has helped me learn a lot and has helped me realise the power of the internet. Educationalist talk about allowing students to have their own learning environment and blogging has definitely worked for me. It may not work for everyone but it has for me and i will definitely be encouraging my future students to blog!

For teachers who don’t agree with blogging or do not see the point.. probably haven’t blogged before and I would now suggest every teacher needs to blog to understand the learning outcomes that are possible from blogging. Through blogging I have thought maybe its a step too far..maybe children will sit on the computers more interested in their blogs than playing outside, but I can honestly say, for me, blogging didn’t feel like “Uni work” it was an interest that was then fuelled by others comments. It didn’t feel like I was doing it because I had too, I was doing it because I wanted too, and if this happened too with a child why shouldn’t we allow them to pursue that interest! I haven’t yet seen a bad side of blogging.



Allowing students on the internet…A Worthwhile Risk? November 11, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — lauraduff @ 10:32 pm

Since reading around on E-Technology and writing this blog i’ve realised that many of the concerns surround the children’s safety and the idea that the children may misuse the technology, yet David Gilmour in my first blog commented telling me about research he conducted:

‘In East Lothian schools YouTube has been available to all staff and students since November 2008, when we introduced it on a 6-month trial basis. There are 6 large secondaries and over 30 primaries, so it’s a large sample. Plan A was that we would review after 6 months, but by that time continuing with it was such a “no brainer” that surveying staff was rejected as it would have been a waste of their time. We did, however, ask those who wanted to let us know their thoughts by email, and received a wealth of positive stories in response. If it was to be blocked now we would have a revolution on our hands!

Part of our thinking was to improve teaching and learning opportunities. Another less high-profile aim was to improve knowledge of internet safety and responsible use not just by lecturing, but through active use of social media in our classes. It has been striking that misuse has never really been an issue over the entire time…’

So within 6 large secondary schools and over 30 primary schools they experienced no misuse (or no misuse that was picked up) and it seems to suggest that it worked well.. maybe allowing children on websites such as YouTube is a risk but a risk that needs to be taken?

By focusing on the risk, the worries and the ‘What if’s’ are we forgetting the real impact these E-Technologies could have on students learning? Maybe we should all relax a little bit and just allow the children to take these risks? Is it a healthy risk? With most phones having internet connections and most children having phones is there really much difference apart from if we allow them in schools, as educators we can guide children into how to use the internet as a powerful learning tool?

All thoughts are welcome 🙂


Pico Portable Projections – for teaching? I’m not so sure.. November 9, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — lauraduff @ 10:57 pm

Today We had a lecture from Andy Black showing us about all the latest technology and talking about how this could be used in the classroom. Whilst I found it fascinating and could clearly see the benefits of some technology some of it has got me thinking; especially the Pico Portable projector.

For those who aren’t aware here is a link and the intended use states: mobile presentations. The example of this in use, we were given, was thinking about a school out on a field trip and the teacher could actually stand there and bring up a presentation no matter where they were – what do you think?

In some ways i think this could be really useful – portable presentations could be really handy but the idea of it being used on school trips seems to ruin it for me. For me a school trip was always a fun and exciting part of school and was a day where you didn’t have to concentrate as much on what the teacher said and could take in your surroundings and learn from that. A portable presentation would take in the outdoors what could be done the next day in the classroom rather than waste valuable time in the outdoors.

Learners can learn a lot from their environment and one of my best memories from school was visiting a local organic farm and putting our wellies on and getting in the river to measure the PH of the water. It seems to ruin it when i picture it with our teacher stopping and spending 10 mins fiddling around with a portable projector to then go into a presentation.

I haven’t read around on the subject yet, but would be grateful for any inputs on what everyone thinks! Do you think it would have a good impact on a field trip?



Trust is a two way thing.. November 6, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — lauraduff @ 11:03 pm

I’ve been pondering about E-Technology and video sharing and to me it all seems to end up
with trust. Would you trust your students to not look up inappropriate content on the internet? Would you trust your students to use their mobile phone just as a camera in a respectful way during a project? Would you trust your students to gain consent before uploading videos? Most would say no.

Yet, were forgetting one thing: The students need to trust the teacher. In a primary school, you are generally their teacher for the year – so everything they learn in their lesson is down to what materials and teaching you provide. So surely the child should be just as worried about trusting their teacher as we should be in trusting them with what they know. Today’s child is more technology literate than ever and technology is what they know…the curriculum is what the teacher knows..yet the child is expected to just put this trust in theirteacher yet teacher’s are not expected to just put their trust in the child.

So although you may not have full trust in a child to not look up inappropriate content nor use their phone to send a quick text whilst supposedly using it as a video camera.. it’s highly unlikely that one teacher has the knowledge of the whole curriculum yet the child just has to put up with this. (Yes the teacher has had 3 or 4 years training…The average 15 year old child has probably had longer than this on technology!!)

If we put responsibility and trust into our students maybe we would see a more technologically advanced classroom?


All a bit of a Blur.. Formal or Informal Learning?

Filed under: Uncategorized — lauraduff @ 7:37 pm

So 80% of Learning is meant to be Informal Learning. What does Informal Learning mean? To me it means Learning outside the classroom, outside of the “typical educational setting.”


Informal learning (2) is the learning that comes from being in a learning situation but which is outside the formal learning and teaching settings, including learning from casual conversations over coffee and use of new technologies to access information.
Merriam & Caffarella (1999, p.21) defines formal learning as: formal learning takes place in educational institutions and often leads to degrees or credit of some sort.

Facebook, im sure most would agree is an informal learning tool as is most social media…yet what happens if this is brought into the classroom?

If I learnt something on Facebook during a Seminar does this count as Formal or Informal Learning? For Example, for my E-Learning Module I have had to use this blog, yet I have learnt through facebook how to use it through speaking to other students (Yes, some of this has been in the classroom) and hopefully it will lead to me passing my degree!!!

Another example of social media is these blogs. Yes, Our Lecturer encouraged us all to start a blog and I must admit I have now found it very useful and have learnt a lot reading around different peoples blogs! So is this Formal Learning? As Im guessing our Tutor had an intention at the beginning to get us all reading and writing blogs to enhance our learning, yet we are doing it through an informal learning tool..and outside of the classroom but with direction from our lecturer? Confusing isn’t it!

My project to researh into Video online sharing tools.. I am wondering, when a teacher brings this into the classroom is this counted as Formal or Informal Learning, or maybe a bit of both?! Any input or links to other blogs would be great!!





YouTube… Increasing Bullying? November 5, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — lauraduff @ 2:17 pm

So after a few comments on my last blog, i started to think of the negative side of YouTube and why teachers wouldn’t use it in schools. For one, i can understand that i probably wouldn’t feel confident allowing a class of 30 children under the age of 16 freely to roam YouTube under the knowledge that it was me who would be giving them consent to do so. What sort of things are on YouTube? Just about anything and everything.

I thought i would have a look online and see what videos i could find. I imagined i was in a class and had been told to look up Photosynthesis… well this is a video i found…

I must admit I don’t think I would learn much from that yet im sure the students who uploaded that passed their test with flying colours. So maybe YouTube could be used in a much more engaging way than just the teacher showing them videos. The students could take a topic and make a video, or a rap/song something to their taste to learn about a topic. Great, isnt it?

But, is this what children would want to do? If anyone has heard my singing voice they would know that I would not want that put on YouTube! (It could easily be mistaken for a cat being strangled!!) With a Class of 30 children how does the Teacher monitor what the children put on YouTube? How does the Teacher monitor what the children then put on outside of class time since they have shown them the valuable tool of how to upload the videos..

Sadly, there is no way, and this could lead to cyber bullying. I started reading around and found many accounts of children’s parents speaking of the upset their child had when a video of them  had been uploaded onto YouTube (without the child’s consent) and it had taken YouTube weeks to take it off and needed police involvment for this to do so. YouTube doesnt sound so great now, does it?

Another child said that they used to get bullied in the classroom and YouTube just made it worse. They couldn’t get home and forget about the bullies as they could then read the comments on the video online, as well as facebook, myspace and other social networks.

YouTube is such a powerful tool for allowing students to engage with other’s opinions and topics as it is worldwide, yet it also allows for worldwide ridicule, which isn’t such a great thing!

What i can’t quite believe is that YouTube doesnt have any moderators that have to check the video content before allowing the world to see it. Seems a bit wrong to me.. What do you guys think?