Incursions & Excursions, are they a community of practice??

Incursions and excursions are a great opportunity for students to interact with things which are outside of the classroom setting. They are unique learning opportunities which enhance and motivate students learning and growth. As Vygotsky’s theory underpins the idea that students learn from interactions with our environment. These rich experiences are important for all students and their journey of learning, which many things must be taken into consideration in order for things to run smoothly, resulting in the optimum rich experience of learning to take place. In terms of pedagogy, incursions and excursions enhance the teaching and learning which takes place for both students and teachers. It is a great way to gain some unmissable experiences which highlight the particular focus in the classroom at the time. It is also a great way to go outside of the four walls of the classroom, somewhere different to where the teacher and students are majority of their time. Teachers and students both enjoy having others come and visit or they go and visit somewhere/someone that they normally wouldn’t get to do.

These experiences can ultimately be communities of practice. A community of practice is formed when a group of people engage in a collective learning environment, possessing the same intentions. Therefore if we create these incursions and excursions to be of a shared interest, developing experiences, discussions and relationships, we then have a community of practice. To elaborate on this last point, if there is a shared interest (incursion or excursion of interest and relevance to students), these develop experiences for the students’ growth and development, and it should promote discussion and relationships during or after the event. Therefore we can see incursions and excursions as a community of practice when encompassing these elements.

Research is informing classroom design

After completing the readings it is clear that research is shaping the way we design and set up our classrooms. Some of this research has come from direct questioning of children and their preferred preferences between different classrooms. I found it interesting that according to Read (2010) girls preferred high stimulating environments compared to boys who preferred a low level of stimulation within the classroom environment. It was also suggested that the lower level of stimulation is more relaxing to students compared to a high level of stimulating material and objects. However, research has shown that a balanced mix of the two is a great way of catering for both preferences. For example, having a quiet closed off area with low level of stimulation if there is a high level in the other area of the classroom. It is also important that classrooms have adequate space as well as appropriate furnishings. Moreover, this space needs to be set up in a way which encourages collaboration and inclusiveness for all students. In this day and age students are living in a very technological world outside of the classroom. Therefore it is important to include technologies in the classroom to enhance learning and engagement of the students. Although there still needs to be a balance. There are many things which influence the design of our classrooms, some negatively and some positively such as the economy and socio-economic status. Not only does this context effect learning, teaching and learning are considered as context-sensitive activities. This meaning both the outer and inner contexts of the school have an impact.

My understanding of classroom design has changed in a way which before I never realised actually how important classroom set up was. It will be something to be very mindful of when I become a teacher.

My classroom understanding has been challenged slightly in a way. This is due to factors which I never really considered when developing a design for the classroom such as the impact of how stimulating or whether there are vertical or horizontal lines and their effects on the students. The four walls idea is fairly concrete in my mind, yet I always like the idea of out of classroom experiences such as doing class work outside. However the idea of a classroom not being the four walls seems strange and not something I think personally would be practical. However, in saying that I am up for change and interested to see what the classrooms of the future will be like.

Discuss the educational value of using ICT’s in the classroom.

Technologies are becoming a must in the classroom as there is a strong and fast approaching connection of technology in this day and age. ICT’s can be incorporated into almost every subject, preparing students for the technological world they will enter in after school.There is much research which highlights the successes of using ICT’s in the classroom. It is said that it increases student engagement and motivation, provides inclusivity (those living in remote areas or having a disability), opportunities to communicate as well as the ability for cross-curriculum activities to occur. It also encourages students to explore and problem solve with the digital technology they are using. Research suggests that the online learning space can potentially develop language, writing and social skills. Not only this but it accommodates for individual students and their differences such as interests and learning styles. There is somewhat of an open-endedness of the internet for possibilities, opportunities and exploring which result in learning.

                                     Reference:

Dee, N. (2013). Narrative inquiry: developing a web 2.0
approach to learning. Practically Primary, 18(2), 34-39-38.

Web 2.0, what’s that? Is it a learning space? Well here is my answer:

Web 2.0 can be defined as the technological and internet based world we live in today. Our generation is constantly in the presence of some type of social media on a daily basis, accessing all kinds of material and information. Basically web 2.0 is all of the means of connecting, sharing and learning through internet based things such as blogs, youtube, facebook and so on. The online community is a place where people can share their ideas and collaborate.

Web 2.0 can be described as a learning space as it a place where people can access information so readily, particularly for learning purposes. Also we can use things like blogs (as we are doing in my fully online unit) to contribute to others knowledge as well as gain knowledge from other bloggers and their posts. I know I am guilty of “just google it” when there is something you don’t know. I myself have learnt many things from just googling it. I know there are many other ways in which this could be a learning space, and I hope to find out!

I found this interesting on web 2.0

As a part of one of my other units I am completing one of the required readings this week covered web 2.0 and the benefits of it in the classroom today.

Dee, N. (2013). Narrative inquiry: developing a web 2.0 approach to learning. Practically Primary, 18(2), 34+. Retrieved from http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CA334276551&v=2.1&u=acuni&it=r&p=AONE&sw=w&asid=155f62781d4c2d7f655e76e6ee321309

Hopefully the link I attempted to insert worked. It is worth a read!

Preserviceteacher2014