DEC Scan Journal : November 2011
Scan Vol 30 No 4 November 2011 34 Implications for students using Web 2.0 The Endangered animals: beyond the rainforest unit has affirmed that the blog pages, sample storyboards, and digital slideshows have enabled the school to share highly-persuasive texts with the extended community, and we can build and annotate the Year 5 students' ongoing learning journey throughout next year to reflect their high expectations of what might come next with ICT. The students thought systematically and creatively about their topic and the blog site continues to garner online and emailed responses from our worldwide audience. Through comments added to the students’ online slideshows, people showed that they understood the persuasive messages, cared about the students’ opinions, and were influenced as readers and viewers. The students care about what they have created. They identified the structure of persuasive texts and used features such as modal words and connectives. The students critically evaluated how their own texts could be structured to achieve a particular purpose, that is, to persuade. They identified the techniques used in argumentative and persuasive texts to influence the reader (English K–6 syllabus outcomes). Implications for home and school interactions The talking and listening aspects of the students interacting as they brain- stormed concepts and storyboards, and edited captions to fit particular unexpected images, assisted the students with their prosocial interac- tions, particularly in their acceptance of peer ideas, making new friends, and comforting others (West, Denton & Reaney, 2001, p.4). Parent feedback indicates that the unit helped to acknowledge the signifi- cance of family and community in most students’ education. The blog has enabled the school to provide an efficient, appealing and motivational online exhibition of student work that can be accessed from home computers with internet connections. Implications for teaching and learning Our school community will continue to collect and analyse guided inquiry data. The SLIM toolkit has provided an enormous amount of data, only a portion of which has so far been analysed. The project appears to support emerging research findings by Rowlands and Nicholas (2008, pp. 31–32) that information skills should be inculcated during the formative years of childhood ... requiring concerted action between libraries, schools and parents to achieve this. At the same time, Stage 3's Edublogs site is an encouraging example of how a library can try things out in the digital space. The blog has enabled us to put up our story of learning, in tandem with the persuasive products of that new learning. This GI experience has certainly been successful enough to continue to explore its advantages in 2012. It will require much stronger affirmation of CPPT practices with the Stage 3 teachers. The teacher surveys indicated that they prefer a tighter set of experiences and did not have sufficient ownership of this unit, nor the various interventions, as they evolved over time. More opportunity for students to have hands-on access to production tools was also suggested by both staff and students, and yet this would seemingly require more time to include the necessary explicit teaching. Students with chronic absenteeism can cause much friction during group work when, and if, they have little to contribute to the information pool. For me, an important strength of the unit was in the quality of verbal interactions with each small group as the members worked with me to translate their jointly constructed storyboards into digital stories. The discovery of Creative Commons images that uncannily matched projected ideas on the storyboards, or the impromptu inclusion of other strong, persuasive images that often turned up quite incidentally during my guided keyword searches of Flickr, were exciting personalised content experiences! (CIBER, p. 46). Many of the students state that they feel ownership over so much more than their own particular research animal. Certainly, some students came close to drowning in The Dip and needed rescuing, but every student still contributed to a completed persuasive product, and can identify their compo- nents. The Stage 3 students are proud content producers (Greene, 2011) and many still talk about those discoveries, almost every time they visit the school library. Students were working to achieve Stage 3 outcomes from Science and Technology K–6 syllabus and English K–6 syllabus. These are available at <s3penrithps.edublogs.org/>. And finally, a parent’s response Parent, Ann Middlebrook, comments on the students’ presentations. The students’ messages about endangered animals are very clear. Very creative and thought provoking presentations! It is powerful that these online slideshows have reached an international audience. I loved the students’ choices of Creative Commons photographic images, and their music choices that Parent feedback indicates that the unit helped to acknowledge the significance of family and community in most students’ education.