Scientific Presentations

Here I am at the national conference for science teachers in Australia CONASTA57 and as I have done at the past 3 conferences I am offering a couple of sessions this time around the Web 2.0 theme. Of interest as I perused the program was that despite the fact that there were quite a range and breadth of sessions on offer, of these there are only 4 that focus on elements of Web 2.0. This would seem relatively concerning as most of the teachers that are in attendance at the conference are from the secondary or tertiary sector, the very students for which Web 2.0 based tools would seem most appropriate.

Conversation with a number of delegates have also been illuminating. These discussions suggest that quite a few delegates are aware of blogs and wikis at least and one or two have admitted that they are actively looking at investigating Web 2.0. Many though have very little understanding of any of the elements or principles that underpin it. Even more concerning I was told by one delegates who had just presented one of the major presentations that the organisation that she works for had tried to use the internet five or six years ago but that it had turned out to be too hard. She went on to suggest that she didn’t think that teachers over 30 were all that interested into putting time and effort into learning these new skills and the best hope was in new graduates entering teaching. She was interested when I suggested that many of the leading lights in the incorporation of Web 2.0 tools into the classroom and beyond were in fact the baby boomer teachers.

To support my presentations I decided to work them up as wiki based presentations, (though the presentation is more linear akin to a slideshow rather than a traditional wiki). This has allowed me to embed examples of the student’s work and other tools that exemplify what I am trying to present. Given the previously described level of awareness of the territory the content is by nature not really that revolutionary. One of the presentations is a retrospective on the Passion Projects that the senior students at my old school were involved in during 2007 whilst the second is an presentation of some of the tools that can be used to add to blogs, wikis and the Web 2.0 classroom.

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2 Responses to Scientific Presentations

  1. Grace Kat says:

    Thanks so much for this post. Wish I were at your session!

    It’s helpful the way you explain the process of using blogs with primary school students so thoroughly. I jumped into blogging, with my class, knowing very little about it. Only eight of my (Yr3) students have begun their own blogs and I have allowed them their own choice of content so far.

    Thanks for sharing – this will help us along our path.

  2. Lucy Barrow says:

    Hi John,
    I loved reading this post and to answer your question, “Is Web 2.0 still the province of the IT crowd and isolated classroom teachers?” Sadly, I think the answer is still, “Yes”.
    I applaud SLAV on the wonderful work they do to promote ICT and the PD opportunities they provide to teachers. Our Teacher-Librarian is currenly completing a course with them in which she must setup her own blog. If only I could make this a compulsory task as part of the 50 hours PD for all staff!
    Yes, I am AMAZED that there are not enough subject-based organisations who have realised the vital role they play in encouraging teachers to integrate ICT in their subject area.
    At my school, I must sadly say that we are at least 2 to 3 years behind in this area. As the Staff ICT Trainer, I am desperately trying to cover so many areas with teachers from ELC to Year 12.
    I am now becoming really good at “sneaking in” good resources and Web 2.0 tools during PD! Even if you think it’s totally unrelated I can justify showing them Animoto or Simpsonize Me! 😉
    Thankfully, I am now getting teachers approaching me who are wanting to find out more about Web 2.0. “I was thinking back to John’s presentation at Lorne…” they all begin by saying. I am very grateful to you John, for helping to spread the Web 2.0 word down our way!
    Look forward to your next post. 🙂

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