Archive for August, 2014

MOOCs and how to survive them

MOOCs And How To Survive Them
Peter Legrove is in the process of writing a new book. One of his other books in education is about teaching your children to read using phonics and Montessori sandpaper letters. This book is about MOOCs, what they are, how to do them, and the effect they might have on the future of education as we know it.
MOOCs are just something that hit the free scene on the internet last year and have somehow taken on a mind of their own. Well it seems that way from a MOOCers point of view. Whether they are as popular as they were is hard to determine. Because each MOOC is different you cannot compare across MOOCs. Whereas one MOOC might have an active forum, others do not. And it depends on the students.

One thing I have noticed is the quality of students has increased dramatically over the past few MOOCs. I do not know if that is over most MOOCs or just the ones I’ve had a go at. I would like to see some completion figures from the MOOCs I take like, How many students get a certificate? How many get the free certificate and how many get a paid certificate. Just a few stats to see what I was up against. In my humble opinion I would say MOOCs have gone from a novelty to something serious. There are some serious students doing the peer assessments and the quality is amazing.
But MOOCs haven’t done what I thought they were going to do, when they first came out. And that was an advertisement for the university and the lecturer who wrote a book. I have only received one advertisement for a paying course from a university, and it wasn’t even the university that had the MOOC. Maybe the universities should take a MOOC about how to use MOOCs to get paying students. As has been said before, academics don’t always follow their own advice. They must have one hell of a mailing list and they are just not using it. I thought I would be bombarded with emails for courses and books the lecturer had written. But not so.

So I don’t really know where they are heading. Unless this is the future of higher education and is a prelude to lifelong learning. A very few popular internet people – I couldn’t call them gurus – who live in the NOW, like James Altucher, are against sending young adults to university. Mainly because the middle class is dead and universities prepare students for the middle class. Also because life experience is possible more important going forward. And why start your working life deep in debt.

Since the financial crisis of 2007, high paying jobs of the middle class are few and far between. That could be the future. So start your lifelong learning with a MOOC or two and build up your resume or CV, while you are working making money. And not piling on debt while at university. Another thing about the future is “The top ten in demand jobs advertised in 2013 did not exist 2006” so why spend four years at university when, some say, half of what you learn will be obsolete before you graduate. If lifelong learning is the future then MOOCs are definitely changing the future. When employees accept MOOCs on a resume or CV, then they will be a force to be competing with.
Now what are MOOCs are why have they suddenly popped up on the internet. Well a MOOC is a Massive Open Online Course. Could be an extension of the MOG. Which have been around for a while and have dominated the internet since it’s inception nearly. And I would say have been and still are, a driving force on how the internet will head into the future. A MOG is a Massive Online Game, and even people who are not gamers have seen the impact of MOGs on their kids.

Most MOOCs are real time courses, that have strict time limits, and you have to complete parts of the course before the deadline. And before moving on to the next part of the course. Each course has different criteria for completion, but most have peer reviewed assessments, and you have to do so many forum entries. These usually are questions posted as well as answering other posts.

And the forums can make or break a course. In some courses there is a lot of interaction on the forums, while others the threads just don’t seem to hang together. It all depends on the students, and I think how many are aiming for a Certification of Completion with Distinction. Or if you get students really interested in the topic then forums are a ton of fun. And you can sometimes get excellent links to other related stuff on the internet. I’ve been introduced to some amazing stuff on the forums. Stuff I’d never have found otherwise.

Also, since the MOOCs are the latest, they are very up-to-date. And you are introduced to the latest in research and where it is heading in the future. One thing I do like about MOOCs is they show you available free software and other interesting things available on the internet. They have helped me to upgrade my internet experience to new tech. I’ve been on the internet for years now, and I am stuck using old tech, because I am comfortable with it and I have had no reason to upgrade. Now I’ve been shown the latest and I’m impressed with it, so I’ve changed. That is what MOOCs have done to me. I’m sad to say I haven’t made any friends that have lasted longer than the MOOC, but I have enjoyed them all.
Now, are MOOCs the next best thing or just a passing phase. Are they a disruptive technology or the future of education. We shall see. Are universities and institutes of learning worried about MOOCs and how they have changed education so far. Or is it, education hasn’t changed for the past 150 years. Don’t you think it is about time it changed.

 

This site is © Copyright Peter Legrove 2004-2014, All Rights Reserved

http://animalsdinosaursandbugs.com

You can copy this webpage and/or this article and use it on your website, blog and in any print or digital media that is legal and not involved in the exploitation of any person or child, but you cannot change any wording and you must leave this copyright box intact and visible.

 


Church in Secondlife

Click here to go to church online

Leave a comment »

Montessori Phonics Is Still Helping Children Learn To Read Even After 100 years

Phonics are the building blocks of learning to read. But lately they have taken a back seat to the Look See Method in some countries. Most students can learn to read, no matter what method they are being taught, but the struggling learners need phonics. It has been shown time and again, that phonics are a better way to learn to read, for struggling readers.

The Look See Method has the beautiful books with lots of pictures, while the phonic books are pretty drab, filled with rhyming text that don’t always make sense. But you need rhyming to learn to read. And students will learn to read using the Look See Method, but struggling students will have problems.

To be honest, I don’t know why some students learn to read easier than others, especially nowadays. But I think it has a lot to do with home life. Parents of reading kids help their kids. They don’t live in front of the tee vee, and they use the computer for knowledge, not to play games or watch videos. But that is not always the case. I had a brother and a sister in different classes, the sister was top of the class and the brother couldn’t even read. He left school to start a trade, and she went to uinversity.

In another extreme case, a girl was in the top of the class, every morning she could read the homework easily and perfectly. Then one day I asked her to read a different text in class, and she couldn’t read it. And I asked her why, and she said at night her daddy used to read the homework to her, and she would memorize it and spit it out the next day. I had serious problems with her, but with Montessori Phonics she finally learned to read. Montessori Phonics takes the student away from looking at the word to feeling the word, and that was the only way to get her to learn to read.

Back in my day when I went to school, we were taught synthetic phonics, where you learn the phonic sound then move onto words then sentences. Another method that has since become popular, is the phonics method where you start with sentences, and move back to words, then syllables, then right down to the phonic sound. Really it doesn’t matter which way your children learn to read, as long as they learn.

At the moment video and audio is taking over the internet, but to play around and work on the internet, you still have to be able to read and type. So to survive the future your children have to be able to read, write and type. Speed typing is a must for the future, as well as speed reading. There is so much information out there, that you need to process in work and everyday life, that you need to be able to process it very quickly. To survive the future you need these skills, and they all start with learning to read.

With the internet there are a number of online phonic sites, where you children can learn phonics and some are very good, I mean exceptional. But even with all the information on the internet some children do not learn by looking. Around sixty percent do, but reading starts in your ears, not with your eyes. You have to hear the phonic sound first, then match it with the written word. So if your children have problems learning to read, get their ears checked. There might be something mechanically wrong with their ears. Usually not the case. It is usually just a case of matching a learning method, with your child’s learning style.

I call this, the method of last resort, even though it has been around for over 100 years, and it started out teaching children with severe learning difficulties. This is the Montessori method of teaching reading, and if everything fails try this out. It is a hands on system of teaching reading. You just can’t plant your children in front of the computer, and expect the computer to do the teaching. You have to be there or an older sibling can help out. Basically you need to get hold of some sandpaper letters, whether block or cursive, depending on what you want to teach your children, then start teaching. You will also need a phonics chart, and some phonic sounds, which you can get of the internet for free. It is a very simple system, you make up a simple word, for example ‘cat’, in sandpaper letters. Then your child traces the sandpaper letters, while saying the word. You must emphasis the phonic sound, so your daughter can translate it to other words. Then repeat the system over and over again with many words that rhyme. A very effective system, it must be used when everything else has not worked. It is my last line of defense. If the Montessori system doesn’t work I’m lost. I don’t know if it works with dyslexic people, but it is worth a try.

Anyway for the future you need to be able to read, write, type and then learn to speed read. Probably in that order, except most students learn to read then go straight onto a keyboard, so writing gets left behind. Now it has been shown that people who write in longhand or cursive, write faster and they are also more creative. So if your children are aspiring to be creative writers, or into writing advertisements, then they should learn to write in cursive. Also at present when you sit an exam, you have to write in longhand not block letters. So until that changes, it might be an idea to bring in the cursive writing skills, to give your children the upper hand in exams.

To find out more about teaching reading using the Montessori method go to http://animalsdinosaursandbugs.com/Montessori.htm and click on the picture.

http://www.animalsdinosaursandbugs.com/

Peter Legrove spends most of his time in front of a mixed bunch of kids trying to instill in them some semblance of the road to survive the future.

This article is copyright © peter legrove.

You can use this article on your website or ezine but leave the resource box intact.

All the best teaching children

Teacher Peter

secondlifechurch2aa1

Leave a comment »

Using internet to teach multi classes with one teacher

 

Evolution of internet classroom teaching

This is how a primary school class evolved into an internet class.

This is a case study about the evolution of how teaching ESL in China evolved from teaching one class to a multi-media classroom with over 300 kids in one grade all being taught by one teacher.

To teaching one class to teaching all the classes in that grade in one school over the internet.

To teaching all the same classes in the one grade over the three different schools in the one private school company.

It is about the trials and tribulations and how having young modern teachers with internet experience and a principle who wanted to use technology even though she didn’t know very much about it herself.

The young teachers were using power point in the classrooms and the classes all had internet access. Just standard stuff nothing spectacular.

I’ve been teaching ESL to kids for a number of years so I know what I am doing. But in China you, as a foreign teacher are expected to do the unusual without any warning.

I started off my China experience in the standard classroom in a primary school with anywhere between 30 and 70 kids in a classroom. That was standard and i perfected my flashcard and drawing on the blackboard teaching.

But then In China nearly every school has a lecture hall they call a multi-media classroom, seats probably 300 and you have a book projector and a white board at the front plus a hand held microphone. It is like a lecture hall with the teacher at the bottom and most students staring down at you. To save money they figured if they put me in there I could teach all the classes at once, except they forgot to tell me that they had changed the schedule. When I got there there was every grade one student, 6 year olds, about 400 of them sitting everywhere. On the stairs and they brought in extra seats for the gap at the front. The kids were actually seated in their class, in the big hall with their English teacher controlling them. I think there was 8 classes in there.

It was a very successful class, I turned it into an entertainment event and the kids loved it, but they all knew me so that was a plus. I taught all the kids in the whole school this way. That was from grade one to six. This was my first experience of teaching a very large class.

Now we get onto the internet bit. I was back to teaching one class at a time and the school, being a private school had to upgrade to get a higher rating in the private school list in the city. So they put these huge 2 meter TV screens hooked up to the internet in all the classroom. There was one young English teacher there who spoke perfect English and had never left China, but she spent a lot of time on the internet. And she figured with my help we could join up all the classes in one grade and I could teach one class and the other classes could watch the class on the TV.

That was easier said than done as the principle said we could give it a go as long as it cost nothing. First we tried secondlife.com. I had a strange feeling that is where she went to speak English. It looked good but not really very engrossing and the kids faded out very early on in the class. It was easy to set up we just downloaded the software to most of the computers in grade 1 — 5 and 6 year olds. We had one avatar on each computer. Secondlife dropped the under 13 level I think so we were all on the main virtual world. The little kids were fascinated but the parents were not to impressed, which is nothing unusual.

But in secondlife I couldn’t do anything like the flash cards or writing on the board. So the kids could only repeat what I said. And they could yell and scream as much as they liked and they could hear themselves and they loved it. I used to call out the class number so they could repeat what I said, instead of all the classes answering at once. We all met at the Library of Primatives Sandpit in secondlife. And we could make as much noise as we wanted and nobody cared.

It was really good and we did what we set out to do. Which was one teacher over many classes. To be honest I faded out before the students as I was just repeating myself. After 15 minutes I think we were all pretty bored, so we started looking for something else.

So we tried ustream.tv. Now ustream.tv has two big glaring issues, one the screen size is fixed, you can’t go to full screen and there is no return audio, everything is done through a chat box. But it is very easy to set up and very easy for the classes to hook up to ustream.tv and watch the class. But they couldn’t join in.

It was live and I could use the flash cards and write on the whiteboard, which kept me happy. The size was an issue and after the kids realised that I couldn’t hear them they lost interest. When we were on secondlife the kids knew I could hear them so they yelled as loud as they could, and they tried to drown out the other classes.

So we went looking for a free audio and video conference call with as many windows as we could get. To teach all the classes in one grade we needed seven screens. I already had an account with oovoo.com and had used them before when they had 6 screens. Now they have 12 screens, just what we were looking for. We had to download the software just like secondlife, but the learning curve to get it all set up was pretty easy. That meant showing the other teachers how to get online and join in the class. In most of the grades there was an internet apt student that could put it all together.

Anyway we played around with the screen sizes and somehow managed to keep my screen on top so I hogged most of the screen, while the classes videos were on the side bar. Anyway the kids loved it as they could see themselves and me and they knew they were live. In most cases there was just my screen and the class screen visible to one class. We started off with all the classes on the one screen but then we slowly cut a few off. Also we could record my screen and the kids could watch it again whenever they liked.

We thought we were set and we were. The principle took a liking to ustream.tv since the whole school was linked on ustream. And the principle could give talks live to every class and to the whole school. Before she used to use the speakers now she used both.

We finally got all the bugs out of the system and everything was back to normal until. I worked for a private school company and they had a number of schools scattered around the edge of the city. The owners came and had a look at what we were doing and they were very impressed. They wanted to make sure we were not breaking any rules to do with putting stuff up on the internet. Then when they realised we were not uploading anything except me they were quiet happy.

Everything was going well until the foreign teacher left one of the other schools. Then we had to go and set up that school, so they could also receive the video lesson. It was just enough as there were 6 classes in each grade. We had a few more teething problems but we got it together. I first had to go to the other school to give lessons so the kids got to know me. And this way I could alternate between the schools to give the main lesson to different classes. I was doing that now at the main school, so I was actually teaching a different class each time.

When we had a guest teacher in who was just going to give a talk. We would either hook them up to secondlife, so the whole school could join in and listen and ask questions or ustream it. And the kids could just listen.

Having all the classes linked together gave the school a lot more options. Some teachers were worried they would lose their jobs but they were still needed to keep control of the classes during the video lessons.

For more information about teaching in China click here.

Here is the orginial version on scholar

I like the Montessori system of teaching writing and reading and this is the course I recommend

http://www.animalsdinosaursandbugs.com/

Peter Legrove spends most of his time in front of a mixed bunch of kids trying to instill in them some semblance of the road to survive the future.

This article is copyright © peter legrove.

You can use this article on your website or ezine but leave the resource box intact.

All the best teaching your children

Teacher Peter

secondlifechurch2aa1

Leave a comment »

With The Pencil Going The Way Of The Dinosaur You Still Need To Know How To Teach Your Child To Write

Nowadays most schools let children print in block letters like the keys on a keyboard instead of teaching writing as in continuous cursive. Probably a lot of parents cannot see any benefit in teaching writing as their children spend more time on a keyboard than with a pen and notepad. With the influx of modern technology in the classroom and university it would seem that writing is going extinct. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Your children still need to be able to write so you, the parent, need to know how to teach your children to write. Teaching writing is not too difficult and once your children know how to write they can write on cards and write shopping lists.

I prefer the Montessori way of teaching writing and reading as it uses a hands on approach and can be used with a school textbook. The basics behind the Montessori approach is sandpaper letters. You make up the words your child is learning at school or kindergarten. And your child traces the sandpaper letter feeling the texture of the sandpaper under her fingertips. This feeling the letters, helps to implant the letters and words and how to write them in your child’s mind.

When tracing the words your child is actually going through the motions of writing without a pencil. This gets the hand and arm muscles read to start writing when your child picks up a pen. Writing like most learning takes time, and I think the Montessori approach with sandpaper letters actually shortens the time it takes for you to teach your child to write.

According to Maria Montessori some children learn to read first, while others learn to write first. It depends on the child. I have the child trace the new words or phonic sounds with Montessori sandpaper letters and this helps to write the new words in the child’s mind. While tracing the sandpaper letters the child is actually writing with her fingers so this is the start of the writing process.

Sometimes teaching writing too early can hinder learning to read in some children. Because writing takes a longer time than reading it can slow down the child as she spends more time trying to write. If your child is a slow writer just stick to reading.

The school system of today has no time for slow writers but the main problem has more to do with hand strength than slow writing. Under the Montessori system the child’s hand strength is built up every day. Therefore when they start to write the child can control the pencil.

If your child is having problems with writing, start by building up your child’s hand strength. This simple act seems to eliminate a lot of writing problems.

Under the Montessori system the child will start to write by themselves. After tracing the sandpaper letters the child will usually pick up a pencil and just start to write without any encouraging. The first part of the writing process is learning to hold a pencil and coloring in different sized shapes. This gets the muscles in the hand and arm ready for writing. The earlier children start to hold and use a pencil the earlier they will start to write.

I like the Montessori system of teaching writing and reading and this is the course I recommend

http://www.animalsdinosaursandbugs.com/Teaching-Reading.htm

Peter Legrove spends most of his time in front of a mixed bunch of kids trying to instill in them some semblance of the road to survive the future.

This article is copyright © peter legrove.

You can use this article on your website or ezine but leave the resource box intact.

All the best teaching your children

Teacher Peter

Church in Secondlife

Click here to go to church online

Leave a comment »

The wheat and the weeds

secondlifechurch2aa1

The Anglican Cathedral of Second Life

On 20th July 2014, the 5th Sunday after Trinity, Helene Milena preached this sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were Psalm 28, Genesis 28:10-19a and Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43.

The suffering and violence in the world not only deter people from watching the news but also from believing in God. How could a loving God allow such terrible things to happen? Jesus addresses this issue in his parable of the wheat and the weeds. If God were to correct everything now he would not only root out the evil in the world, but would probably damage those who are his followers also. Instead he is prepared to wait to the end of time to correct the situation.

View original post 1,018 more words

Leave a comment »

Is Writing Going The Way Of The Dinosaur

Some parents debate whether learning to write is necessary as all around them they see computers and keyboards. I sometimes wonder myself as I was brought up on a notepad and pencil and all around me kids are using computers. As a school teacher I still use the blackboard and chalk, but most of the young, new teachers use the computer and power point presentations. I have tried using the computer in the classroom but it didn’t suit me, as I like to stand and walk around. I think the kids prefer the blackboard as the teacher can create the lesson as they go. But the debate still continues whether students like using a computer in the classroom or not. We have already got the paperless office and for some courses in the university we have the paperless lecture. But they are basically to do with highly computerized courses and it is to the advantage of the student to use a computer. But not all courses need a computer.

Now back to school life. A lot of students have computers but there are a number of socially disadvantaged students in the lower area schools who can’t afford computers. These are the students without a voice only school teachers know about them. The people who do all the talking and want computers in the classroom, are the parents of the socially adjusted students not the socially inapt students. And most of the older teachers like me, don’t like computers because the students know more about them that the teacher. And most students are better on a keyboard that the teacher.

Anyway with the number of students who own computers you would think they would do their homework on a computer but not so. They do the research on a computer but then they hand in written assignments, albeit in printing not in longhand writing. Most children use the computer for entertainment as opposed to working on one and they have this mind set that the computer is a plaything not a work tool. People from my generation appreciate the computer because we know what life was like without one and the younger generation do not.

The computer is a great time saver as well as an extremely good time waster and a lot of students have mastered the time wasting side of the computer. They have to be taught how to use the computer as a time saving tool. At school we don’t do that, we just teach them how to type. And parents don’t bother, they just let them lose on the computer so they are not destroying the house.

One big change I have noticed that has been brought about by the computer is longhand writing verses printing. My generation all wrote in longhand but now nearly nobody writes in longhand, it is all in block letters. That is partly due to schools not teaching writing and also teachers using block letters. On the blackboard I use block because the students can read it but everywhere else I use longhand. The only time I use longhand is in a kindergarten where I teach Montessori writing with sandpaper letters to a bunch of kids after class.

Anyway I think the pencil will dominate over the keyboard as long as the students think the computer is an entertainment tool not a work machine. At present this thinking process only changes for some students while at school. I still don’t know why some students do their homework on a computer but I do know most of them don’t and most have access to a computer.

I like the Montessori system of teaching writing and reading and this is the course I recommend

http://www.animalsdinosaursandbugs.com/Teaching-Reading.htm

Peter Legrove spends most of his time in front of a mixed bunch of kids trying to instill in them some semblance of the road to survive the future.

This article is copyright © peter legrove.

You can use this article on your website or ezine but leave the resource box intact.

All the best teaching your children

Teacher Peter

secondlifechurch2aa1

Leave a comment »