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?

9 Comment

  1. Here’s a few of my favorites!
    http://www.tes.co.uk/resourcesHome.aspx?navcode=70 (any subject & any grade- worksheets, powerpoints, SMART, etc) and
    mrspancake.com (MrsPancake is GREAT!) and
    http://www.communication4all.co.uk/http/PhonicsWeb.htm (there’s LOT’S of stuff here!)
    I’m glad that I found your blog- you’ve got some great linX and I like how you write.
    You’re definitely a keeper & I’ll be adding you to my LinkList on my blog!

  2. Ed says: Reply

    This is great! It makes the learning so much more meaningful, doesn’t it? We haven’t interacted with other schools through skype yet, although we have connected with individuals. Another easy way to connect with kids in other countries, without having to worry about the time difference, is through a voicethread.

  3. Simon Collier says: Reply

    This is fantastic Kath. Great work once again, 2KM have some amazing learning opportunities and experiences.

  4. @ Sharnon, thanks for those links. I shall check them out and I look forward to visiting your blog too.

    @ Ed, you’re right. My students enjoy using Voicethread in the classroom but it is also a great way to collaborate with others. On this side of the world, time differences can often be difficult!

    @ Simon, thanks for your support! I try to keep things fun and relevant in 2KM.

  5. Brenda Redick says: Reply

    Great job! Those students who thought the first lesson was boring probably thought the opposite this time. The class probably didn’t realize they were learning as well as having fun. I am going to use those extra links for my future classess. Thanks a lot.

  6. This is a wonderful way to bring experiences into your classroom that wouldn’t usually be possible. Along the same lines, I love taking virtual field trips to museums, national parks and landmarks around the world that my student may never have the opportunity to experience in person.

  7. What a fun way to connect your student to the learning! I am sure that they are learning so much through the connection and experience. Technology is such a great connection tool!

  8. This makes learning so much more meaningful for students. How much more impact will this have than just reading about it in a textbook? Great work Kathleen, and than you so much for sharing.

    We’ve been unable to use Skype at school as yet – some network issues – but we live in hope :-0

    1. @ Brenda and Kelly – thanks for your support!

      @ Emily – virtual field trips sound like fun! I’ve read into them but haven’t tried yet so might have to give one a go.

      @ Pam – what a shame about Skype, maybe you could look into some alternatives for video chat in the future?

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