Category Archives: Reflection

Week 6 – a new perspective

Photo courtesy of Kitty_FI on Flickr

Take a photo:
Of something you go past every day and take it from an interesting new perspective

Write about:
What made you choose this topic for the picture, what makes you take an interest in the world around you, your senses in general, which is your strongest sense and why, how observant you are and the reasons for that.

A two-part assignment again.

Sometimes the familiar brought out interesting details:

One thing I always notice when I am walking up my street is that the first house on the left there is always an old man letting his dogs sniff around in the grass you can see there, at about the same time every afternoon.

The senses questions produced many interesting responses:

I consider myself to be very aware of my surroundings. I tend to get that feeling that something is missing or off and I’m right most times. My strongest sense would probably be hearing. I can pretty much hear anything from across the room, it’s really weird but I’m a good listener. And that’s a good thing. =] – MariaCamii.USA

I particularly like the theme of seeing from a new perspective; it goes well with both image and written response.

Photo by BasseFI

The picture is taken at my neighbours. I go pass their house and this window every day, and often many times too. This is a new perspective, because usually I just see from outside to inside, but this picture is taken from inside to outside. It is kind of spooky to think how easily my neightbour could spy on me on this road.

Photo by Christianfau

This is a picture of the park near my house, I walk past it every day after school, when I walk past it I always remember the fun I use to have playing on it when I was younger and it makes me think how fast you really grow up.Christianfau

Comments were consistently enthusiastic and modelled the kind of feedback that means the most – positive feedback from peers.

This is a really awesome photo. I couldn’t even tell it was a vending machine until i read the description. Which drink is your Favourite and most popular?Angelomau

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Week 3 – Take a photo with movement

Week 3: Take a photo:
With movement, maybe one of your hobbies, or activities at school or freetime

*Write about:
Your hobby/hobbies or extra-curricular activities at school, what made you choose them and what they give to you.

Photo by Danielnau on Flickr

Cricket and football were at the top of our boys’ list of hobbies and pasttimes for Week 3’s assignment. This prompted a discussion about the different types of sport with questions about Australian Rules football and cricket.

You’re right; cricket is not a very common sport in the USA. I don’t know to much about cricket, but it kind of looks like baseball. Is cricket only a male sport, or do women play too? Wow 4-5 hours! That’s a really long game! Do all games last that long or only the games that go into overtime?

And yes its not very common sport in Finland. Actually I don’t even know any Finn that plays it. I’ve seen some cricket games on TV and they sure are very long. How long is an average cricket game?

(Another comment) Is cricket little bit like baseball? Cos i only know how you throw the ball and that the bat looks weird:)

In some cases students learned the rules of sports they didn’t play in their country, for example, one of the Australian students explained the rules of squash to a student from Finland.

There is ample evidence that students are engaged in learning from the overseas students – much more than if they had just read the information in a text.

Finnish student: Mostly we swim in summer because its only time in the year when water temperature goes over 20 degree Celsius.

Wow! I can’t believe that 20 degrees is warm. What is the water temperature usually?

It really depends on the time of year. Most of summer its like 15-19 degrees but it goes way below that on other time of the year. Some finns even go to swim when water is just over 0 degree during winter.

Photo by tiaafi on Flickr

Experiences are very different amongst students. This American student’s comment has been echoed by some of the Australian students:

I like this picture I looks like it came out of an imagination not from a real place some where. I have never touched snow but I have seen it before and it did look like a lot of fun.

Photo by keithtAU on Flickr

The above photo was greeted with surprise

(Finnish student): Woah! I never believed that there is a place fort ice skating in Australia. Is that some kind of indoor ice skating arena?

Sometimes the comments are about the photography:

Photo by brentonwau on Flickr

I really like this picture. You can see the movement in it but its still very sharp (Finnish student)

Some responses go deeper:

Photo by KierenT_au

I got this picture when I was gardening and when I saw it I was fascinated. It showed to me that us humans should be like this big although there are a lot of minor obstacles in the way there are also very big ones which I think is a perfect example of life. This bug showed me that there’s always a way around even if it was very big and take a long time to get around it still managed to get around.

While watching this bug for ages I just saw at some points that you get stuck and cant move and you need a helping hand or you might just get stuck and struggle for a bit but soon figure out how to get unstuck. I think that time is the greatest thing on this planet without time where would we be? Also without choices where would we be what if we couldn’t make our own choices?

I’m not sure if I could have asked for a better response if I had included more prescriptive guidelines. This student has blended photo with higher order and creative thinking. It’s interesting to see the occasional contribution with a surprising perspective. When students read the entire cohort’s responses, they get a rich diversity – so much to take in and respond to.

Understanding is unpacked through the dialogue. An Australian student talked about swimming when it was 30 degrees and an American student responded by saying

That’s insane 30 degrees I would die down in florida when it gets to 40 i think it’s like an ice age!!! It’s so crazy on the difference between there and here. By the way your picture is very cool and the pool looks amazing:) I love swimming.

A Finnish student clarified:

Are you talking about fahrenheit or celsius? Cos 30 degrees in celsius is really hot and morgan is talking about an ice age:)

Whatever the students have shared in this week’s assignment, there is plenty of positive reinforcement from their cohort:

This is very cool. the fact that it’s your passion and you enjoy it is even cooler. I like how you actually enjoy and look forward to it is awesome.

Week 2 – People in your life

Week 2 assignment:

Who are the people you see every day? What do they mean to you? Are you a person who needs to be with people all the time or do you also like solitude? Which people have been most influential in your life, how and why?

Week 2 took students from the initial focus on who they were to their circle of family and friends.

I was surprised again that our boys were so unashamedly grateful to their parents; I think that they’re more likely to admit their feelings in writing than through class discussion. It has been very encouraging to note that all students have exemplified the best online behaviour, leaving comments which have encouraging, supportive and leading to spirited conversation.

Although Week 2’s contributions were all similar, centring on family and friends, the little details created interest. I thought I’d share some of these details.

Photo by JamesMAU

“My Mum and Dad will do anything to make me happy and to see me having fun, they even wake up at early hours of the morning to take me to 5am basketball training 30 minutes away from our house and school, just to make me feel happy and cared for.
My Mum and Dad aren’t life savers but they are just regular parents who provide so much for me and make me feel safe and secure. I am very lucky to have them and there are many ways I wish I could thank them”.

“My family mean a lot to me; they help me through the hard times and support me through the good times. My parents are great; they support and respect the decisions that I make.

“My friends mean the world to me, if I am having a bad day they can make me smile, they are always there to support me and help through the good and bad times and I try to help my friends as much as they help me”.

Photo by LukeS,Au

“My little brother is a person i see daily and also someone whom i love to spend some time with. Not only is he my brother, he is one of my best mates and i adore him for that”.

Comment:

“I really like this picture. It made me smile. The light from the sun completes the picture, in my opinion. I also like it because it shows how close you are with you little brother. I, personally, have three little brothers and they mean a lot to me. =]”

Photo by KierenT_au

“This Photo to me shows my relationship with my friends, I really don’t care if people say wearing that stuff is for girls only and stuff like that. I think it’s fun sometimes just to dress up and mess around and not care what the world thinks of you. The relation with all my friends is great we all get along and we are all into music also we all love to chat and just hang and chill at places”.

Comment:

“You seem like a really cool person. 🙂
I love how you can be your own person and not really care about what other people think”.

“I’m not really a person who needs someone always to be around them I love just being by myself and seeing where I’m heading and also just time to relax. I love to be outside when I’m by myself I sit on my fence or either up on this brick wall at the side of our house and I just sit there and enjoy the wind and the fresh air and free space, I got to say that the only thing I don’t like about sitting outside is at night I cover my whole body basically from head to toe but I still get bitten by the mosquitoes”.

Comment:

“love listening to the wind too. It’s amazing. Especially at the beach. And, yes, wow mosquitos are the biggest pests any where in the world. :P”

I love how the Week 2 assignment broadened the group’s knowledge of each student within the circle of his/her family and friends. It brought together students from different geographical and cultural backgrounds, highlighting what young people have in common everywhere. In some cases it aroused curiosity –

“Is these clothes what you wear at school? We don’t wear school uniform in Finland.”

The best part of the project for me, again this week, was seeing the enthusiasm of the students racing to read what others had said in response to their posts and  photos. The smiles on their faces …

Thinking about evaluation

Contributed by Darren Kuropatwa in Flickr Group Great quotes about learning and change (pool).

It’s been a while since I’ve posted – time tends to run away when there’s so much to do. Our Flickr project has come to an end, and I haven’t even been able to keep up with what’s been happening.

Nevertheless!

I’m not going to let the opportunity for reflection, evaluation and showcasing escape. It will be done – eventually.

This week I hope to start asking students and teachers for feedback. This will take the form of questioning on the ning, as well as recording interviews which I hope to start today.

Here are some questions for student evaluation:

1. What did you enjoy the most about the Flickr project?

2. What, in your opinion, didn’t work for you?

3. How could this project have been improved or done differently?

4. What sorts of things have you learned?

5. What was the most valuable thing you learned?

6. What do you enjoy about connecting with students from other countries?

7. How important is the photo in the writing assignment?

8. What did you enjoy about other people’s photos?

9. What did you learn about taking photos?

10. What was your favourite/What were your favourite weekly theme(s)?

11. What was the most interesting thing you learned from another student?

12. What have you learned about other cultures?

13. What sorts of things do you have in common with students of other cultures?

14. What do you think are the main differences between you and students of other cultures?

15. Would you like to visit/live in the USA or Finland? How has the project influenced your answer?

Some questions to ask teachers:

1. Did you enjoy the project? What were the highlights?

2. What did you expect from the project at the outset?

3. Did the project meet/exceed your expectations? In what ways?

4. How did you find the collaboration? online/global aspect; time differences; school term differences, etc.

5. What difficulties did you experience during the project? What worked and what didn’t?

6. How would you do the project differently if you did it again?

7. What do you think students gained from the project?

8. In your opinion, how important a role did the photo play in the writing?

9. Was this project an enhancement for students? Which ones in particular (were there any surprises)?

I’ll be responding to these questions myself because I think that an evaluation is the only way to truly learn from something. Some of these things are only half-formulated in my mind, so this exercise should help me think more deeply and define what I think.

So what does the quote – If all your kids do is learn to read and write, they won’t be literate mean to me?

There’s a bigger answer to this, but for now I’ll give the smaller answer, the answer relevant to the objectives and outcomes of this project.

The learning that has taken place here has been learning with and from other people – students who share interests and passions with each other regardless of their geographical location.

Instead of learning from a book, a fact sheet or article provided by the teacher, our students have learnt from each other.

Their learning has been sparked by curiosity, a desire to connect with peers, natural dialogue, and an opportunity to share and be creative within a stuctured but relaxed framework.

They have learned by asking, by reading each others’ contributions – within an online community.

They have done this with respect for each other and through positive comments. This is much more than just ‘reading and writing’.

More about this later….

Early stages reflection

So, we’re into Week 2 of the project, and students have uploaded two photos – one representing them, and the other showing people who matter to them in their lives.

It’s been exciting to see the photos appear in the group, and even more to see comments coming in, and conversation starting to develop.

Technical difficulties (being blocked at school) and practical issues (understanding how to upload, add text, comment, add to group, etc.) have been ironed out on the whole. Sigh of relief.

I’ve been surprised by the openness of some of our boys – after all, they’re about 16 years old, and it’s not cool to talk about what you’re like, why people mean so much to you – you know, feelings.

I wonder if the presence of girls has softened their writing, or if the anonymity of online writing gives them courage to say what they really think and feel.

Certainly, some of the girls (and boys) from Florida and Finland have written compelling personal accounts, and I think that the peer audience has a lot to do with it. It may also be that the format – connecting through commenting  – is familiar, and that their Facebook behaviour displays an openness that doesn’t always transfer to writing submitted to the teacher.

At this stage, we’re all conscious of the project being one of connections and enjoyment, as well as wanting students to develop their voice through quality writing. I’m not sure how to strike this balance, but I’m thinking about it.

With the rush of getting accounts and following instructions, we haven’t had the time to talk in depth about sharing images online, Creative Commons and licensing, so I think I might put together something on the next post.