Archive for the ‘pop culture’ Category

ITI Journal #11: Vision for 21st Century Classroom

I don’t think I have ever actually put into writing my vision for the modern classroom. I am relieved to read that it is not something that ever is completed because it will continue to evolve – that’s good because just in the last year or so I can list a number of things that have become quite commonplace in my own classroom. For example – YouTube became valuable to me in the last year as I ventured out looking for different ways to get my points across to my class. And because it was through a medium the children could relate with, the children responded quite positively to it. Another example is wikis – I set a very basic one up just merely to be used as a base for me to put resources (such as the youtube videos) so that the students could access them at their own pace. I also created a webquest which I posted on the wiki as well.

Essentially, I like to reinforce one main point to my students: You don’t need to know all the answers, you just need to know how to find them.

Considering how technology is a means to process all this wealth of information put to society these days, it is important to me that children from the earliest age are taught problem solving skills and introduced to appropriate mechanisms for finding information they need, so that they can ultimately find solutions to their own problems – problems that are relative to their own lives and situations.

This by no means is complete. I feel the need to put a bit more time and thought into something so important, however it is the basis of anything I would develop further.

Using Popular Culture in the Classroom


I stumbled accross this video report from the Australian Today Tonight current affairs program. I have been able to watch a number of episodes of Summer Heights High and find it funny. I always endeavour to try and incorporate whatever I can from what my kids at school are watchig or listening to in their own time, but obviously it always comes down to what is generally appropriate for their ages etc.

 I was very impressed that it was noted in the report that it isn’t the actual episodes themselves that make them good for classroom discussions, but how the teachers choose to make use of them. The same can very well be said about technology as well – You can have all the latest technology resources available to you as a teacher, but it won’t make you a better teacher. The technology (or in this case, the episodes of Summer Heights High) is merely a tool that can be used by good teachers.

Writing to Persuade – Just Add Spice!

I began doing some work with my class today which will lead them to writing their own speech and written text involving  the art of persuasion to put their points of view across.

Initially we began by brainstorming what makes up a “healthy school”, an issue and buzzword that has been bouncing around schools in this country for a number of years now.  The task led to me mentioning that like any good campaign (be it political or advertising), you need a good punch line or slogan to drive home your message.

 It gave me an exciting opportunity to show a number of television advertisements via YouTube that would not only show clever use of slogans, but also other mechanisms adopted as a means of persuading the consumer they target.

It led to some good discussion on how in some cases the slogan played a vital role in selling the product, and in other cases it was more a matter of using other devises, such as using gimmicks, celebrities and other enticements to sell the brands. One popular tv ad was a recent Tesco campaign which included the Spice Girls.

The videos opened the floor to a lot of good discussions about the different tactics of some other different brands being promoted, and of course the range of different ways that could be seen. If nothing else, it got the kids excited about coming up with their own slogan to bring home their own arguments for the speeches they are about to write.