Sean teaches Geography, Computers and Chess at a liberal private school in Johannesburg. He is interested in creating a more child-centered learning environment. He is involved in staff professional development, school debating and is a big fan of Sir Ken Robinson.
2012 has been an amazing year for my growth as a professional. The main catalyst of this growth was when I started engaging with like-minded educationalists around the world on Twitter in January of this year. In particular, I learnt about new methodologies like brain-based learning, flipping the classroom and a variety of technology-based teaching aids.
The area I explored most fervently was the bewildering array of educational software and apps for learning. In what follows, I would like to offer a round-up firstly of the apps I found particularly useful, as well as those which disappointed and annoyed me. I will finish by listing some of the most promising apps I would like to trial next year.
Photo credit: Sean MacEntee
This post was inspired by the #ipadagogy hashtag I came across recently on Twitter. This basically involves learning about the iPad. But I would like to suggest an alternative to this: ipedagogy. It seems rather a small change of just one letter, but it does change the focus rather fundamentally. I would like to suggest that we should try to foster the kind of environment in our classes, where students would learn everything in the same way as you learnt how to use an iPad.
We need to hide the ‘manual’. Learning becomes so much more meaningful to young people when they feel they have discovered facts and solutions for themselves. Serving it all up for them takes much of the magic out of learning, just as you lose out by not figuring out how to use an iPad on your own. One of the ways of doing this might be if we replaced textbooks by teacher-moderated, student-created, constantly evolving wikis. Surely this is not such a far fetched idea? We could even issue them with the textbook or study guide… But only after they’ve discovered most of it for themselves.
Photo credit: Yutaka Tsutano
The ancient game is an incredibly useful tool for teaching children about their own thinking. For a teacher, chess is one of the most remarkable tools for teaching students about Bloom’s taxonomy of cognitive skills.
1. Remembering: How the pieces move, how to set up a board, how many squares there are, what en passant means, how to castle, remembering the rules and etiquette of chess, remembering how to notate.
2. Understanding: How to best deploy pieces in the opening, how to anticipate an opponent’s moves, how to combine pieces to build an attack.