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When Famous People Die

27 June 2009 No Comment

I know that this is going to be a pretty tenuous link to education… However, I will try and make it work!

I have come across this cartoon a couple of times via Twitter and it is from the website, Pictures For Small Children


A number of students will be wanting to talk about and focus on Michael Jackson’s death - and obviously the immediacy of his death means that linking this into current teaching programmes is going to be difficult, but the availability of information online means that the type of resources we have access to immediately after this piece of news broke is so much more broad than the traditional medium of newspapers and television.  Why not make use of some of the more interesting content that comes through and work it into online programmes?  For example, the comic above could be used to instigate some really interesting discussion about the role of the media - in both the way the media reports the story and in the way the media has played a role in this person’s life.  This could be woven into any humanities based teaching programme to encourage critical thinking - depending on the question the teacher asks of the students.

I don’t believe that effective ICT use in the classroom needs to be based on creating ‘content’ for students to access online, I believe that it is about finding resources and facilitating the opportunity for students to explore and discuss these.

Recently I have been working with teachers, trying to get them to approach their teaching using a more blended online/face-to-face approach - as opposed to the whole ‘let’s go to the computer room’ use of ICT in the classroom - which I appreciate does still have its place.  However, it’s simply not sustainable and results in ‘chunks’ of ICT in the teaching programme rather than a seamless integrated approach…  Anyway, I have been trying to get teachers to focus on creating learning opportunities through them doing very little of the work online - ie. by all means use Moodle or a wiki (or a blog though not the best use of a blog) to ‘dump’ notes that have already been created, but don’t necessarily create ‘new’ material; rather, use the online forum to get students to develop their own content… this is not a new argument I know!

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