Have I? Maybe I have, but it’s worth repeating!
I’ve been reading blog posts from Australian bloggers who are part of the Government rollout of the Digital Revolution, and about to find themselves in 1:1 classroom environments. I’m getting the message that there are a number of teachers out there pretty daunted by this prospect. Teachers with little idea of how you utilise the technology around you in your classroom environment.
I can’t imagine teaching in a school without laptops now. Today’s English class was an example of how YouTube has made an impact on my practice.
Prior to the class I uploaded a YouTube video to the class Ning and a link to another video that wouldn’t allow embedding. We are studying poetry and both were different readings of Wilfred Owen’s Dulce Et Decorum Est. I wanted my students to appreciate the difference to your understanding and interpretion of a poem when it is read with feeling. The visuals in both videos were very different and that was also part of our discussion.
I’d also begun a discussion in the Ning entitled, ‘Are the song lyrics of today the poetry of our time?’ That led to us looking at Paul Kelly and Kevin Carmody’s ’From little things, big things grow’. The girls found the lyrics online and one of them loaded them into the Ning so that they could follow them while we watched the YouTube video. This led to a discussion of why this song was penned and its importance in allowing us to understand the plight of the Aboriginal people in Australia. This then led to a discussion of the impending National Curriculum and the focus on an understanding of the history of our country.
We discussed ballads and the students made reference to the poetry of Henry Lawson and A.B. Paterson. I recalled how effective ‘The Highwayman’ by Alfred Noyes is as a story in verse. We did a hunt through YouTube and found various versions available but ran out of time to look at one full length. The video below is what we will start with in class tomorrow.
The point of all this is that this lesson could have been delivered without technology, but it made all the difference being able to utilise YouTube and our Ning environment. I’m lucky in that my school has a good internet connection, has an open rather than block attitude, and streaming of YouTube videos is fast.
I really enjoyed today’s lesson, and I told the kids this at the end of it. Hopefully they did too. Hopefully, teachers launching themselves into 1:1 classroom environments will soon realise the possibilities that exist when you can make use of the wonderful content on sites like YouTube. I know that I don’t want to go back to the flat photocopied reams of paper approach that was the way I taught in the past. There was nothing wrong with my teaching then, but I really do believe it is a whole lot more interesting now.