Monday, February 16, 2009


Today I went to see Dr Towndrow to go through my first assignment. Succinctly put, my short literature review to talk about the kind of students SST is going to have was too descriptive. It should have also been critically-nuanced to bring out the gaps those authors have said in the context of my problem. This would be a good opportunity for me to then propose the solutions.

There was also no curriculum design philosophy that could be used as an anchor point for me to discuss my data. For example, if I were to adopt UbD, it would have been more helpful for the reader to see how certain writing tasks fell short because they did not adhere to or bring out the design principles.

Lastly, I should have talked abit more about the design of the tasks - it would have been good to talk about students' work with reference to those tasks to bring out the issues of designing such tasks. Besides, those authors are usually more general and do not cater to specificity.

Lots more to do! I must do better!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Using Technology - My Experiences (Writing)

Dear "Doubly Smashing Good Time"

It's been a while since I wrote to you and so many things have happened - me completing my first assignment for my last masters module, me seeing my grandma, me visiting my auntie on the other side of the island, me cycling with the kids and playing with them at the playground. It has been a tiring weekend but oh, so fulfilling! Oh, but that's beside the point - I'm digressing.

Today I want to share with you what I did when I was in NAS - those were good times and I got to know some very good friends and we still keep in touch even though we have all gone our separate ways and experienced parenthood (or would-be parenthood :) Oh, I'm digressing AGAIN ;p

Anyway, my focus today will be on teaching writing. I am sharing with you my experiences because I hope through this exercise, I would be clearer of what I have done then and would seek to do better in SST. Writing was usually "taught" in an integrated fashion - this means we would usually deconstruct the structure, teach the required language features, give students the questions or topics to attempt and then provide them with curriculum time to complete the tasks. Essentially the organisation of the lesson remained like this and it culminated into an error analysis lesson where we went through students' common errors. Did it bring about the required results? Yes, to a large extent, as students would get their distinctions eventually but did we enjoy the learning process?

I recall trying to inject some excitement in learning writing and one such way was my creation of a WebQuest for a classroom observation by my Head of Department (HOD). You could say I was quite daring then, conducting a computer lesson using a WebQuest and doing something I have not done before for an actual observation. But it went well and students enjoyed themselves. Even I enjoyed the lesson and the follow-up activities that arose out of that lesson!

That's when I realised that students are really into technology and other than the fact that computer lessons take place in an air-conditioned laboratory, the fact they are surfing the Internet and typing away on the keyboard, somehow rings very well with them. Does it bring about noise? You bet it does but I suppose that's why we have to set clear guidelines and adhere strictly to them.

It's perhaps this realisation that brought me to set up my website then. But as I review it now, I realise I was just preparing students for the examinations - tips on writing well and models! Did I essentially teach students writing or did I provide them with the time to practise? One would argue that teaching can arise out of the work students provide but producing texts without an authentic purpose renders this entire writing experience merely into an assessment task!

Students are now into digital writing and it is something we have to explore. Digital literacy (or critical digital literacy) is now all the more important in this day and age.

I must therefore innovate students' writing experiences in SST and make use of the technology tools they are familiar with!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Organising my Thoughts

As I come to complete my first assignment for MMM800, I began to realise that designing a curriculum is not easy and there is a need to organise how I am going to do it. So here's my attempt:

It's still very sketchy but I shall review this again :)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Revelation (continued)

Actually right now, I am still reeling from my realisation that to truly be a blogger, I should be PRODUCING and CONSUMING blogs (and thanks for jeffjarvis - LINKING to them as well). Here's one: UK Study Trip (Three of my colleagues went to London recently and this is the blog one of them created :)

I have a colleague right now sharing the use of Photosynth that will stitch photos for you to show a more panoramic view. Really impressive, but apparently it does not work on Macs! What is this!!??

Monday, February 2, 2009


As I was browing through the Internet, looking for relevant quotes on learning, I came across this:

The first step in blogging is not writing them but reading them (Jeff Jarvis, BuzzMachine, 07-10-2006). Got this from The Quotations Page.

But this seems to be NOT what I am doing. I am just posting and posting and it dawned upon me that I am not truly a blogger unless I write AND read blogs. That's it!

Now the key is to find those that interest me and are not too wordy :)

Engaging the Net Generation

It has been quite exciting (and exhausting) to read up on what educators have been doing with technology and what are the trends in learning for this generation of youths.

Yesterday I read up on digital literacy and critical digital literacy and realised that the idea of literacy at this day and age may not simply be limited just to words and texts. It has expanded to include codes and symbols and our youths are reading, writing and breathing them daily. How can this be incorporated into the SST Language Curriculum? (noticed I have started to mention Language Curriculum - we really feel there is no need to segregate as any individual should be proficient enough to use whatever language means available to make and to convey meanings)

Don Tapscott talks about the Net Generation (people born from 1977 to 1997) and how this people grew up with technology and are now changing our world. My guts tell me he is right and I am worried how I can go about engaging them in the classroom (suddenly noticed I used the word "classroom" - why should learning take place in a "classroom"? I really must try to wire myself to think differently!!). But then the students coming into SST would be considered the last of the Net Generation and in 2011, the Generation Next would be entering SST...what sort of individuals would we be seeing then?

Anyway, back to engaging the Net Geners - We will have to use the tools they are most familiar with - text messaging, chatting, creating and co-creating content on the Read/Write Web. But my concern is really on the assessment that learning has taken place. How do we go about doing it? I know there is assessment (of/for/as) learning but how can that be implemented?

That is for another day. Really right now, I have to complete my first assignment and wish me luck for that!