Friday, January 23, 2009

Mothering a boy

Boys are different.

As Ben gets older I am realising just how different they are from girls to parent.

Last year Ben spent the last term in grade one prep, this year he has started grade one. The changes in him are huge.

Gone is my snuggly baby/toddler, I now have a sweaty boy who comes home filthy every day and is energised by sport and activity- no more day sleeps or quiet time- it is full speed ALL DAY!

My word is not gospel any more, Ben justifies, reasons, pleads and discusses options- his options not mine.

This week I caught him wiping his nose on his school shirt, in public, he told me that he had to as the classroom had run out of tissues and it was all he could do except lick it. This reason did not stand with me as we weren't at school and I always have a hand bag full of tissues (boys have lots of snot).

Needless to say, a big box of tissues has been sent to school with him as well as strict instructions not to wipe his nose on his uniform.

As usual Mr funny bugger helped me discuss this with his son. His advise was to wipe his nose on the girls shirt, my shirt, his classmates shirts or his teachers shirt (sorry Ms C)....yes I am co parenting with a juvenile......

iPod Touch

I am a late starter to technology. I have only just got the hang of sms!
I mentioned back in 2007 that I still got up and changed the CD in the player to listen to music.
It all changed at Christmas 2007 when the kids got a Wii. This was the start of a new era of embracing electrical devices.

Then GJ bought me a iPod for listening to my uni lectures and it was a hit, and so the girls got one for their birthdays.
For Christmas 2008 the kids got a Nintendo DS, now they don't have to be the "only kid in their group of friends with no technology".

Disclaimer: no DS at home or at school, only during travel time and when all homework and sport is done, yada yada yada.....

GJ did a little upgrade for me as a surprise Christmas iPod Touch.

I did not think I needed this at all...but the more I use it the more I heart it lol.
I think GJ is also a little in love with it too. The iphones are still far too expensive for us to justify one, but it certainly is on GJ's wish list for 2010.
This model has wi fi so I can read and send emails, surf the web, share my photos as well listen to music and uni lectures (as long as I can connect to a wireless network, they are not 3G). I just have to work out which of my 16 204 stored songs I can cull down to the 7000 I can load at one time. I also need to find a decent cover, the only one I could find was a shocking pink one, I look like a socialite wannabe when I get it out.

I read a very interesting article in a Sydney paper about a school in Singapore using iPods as a teaching tool. Here are some information about schools trialling this new technology.

When I looked around for a university to do a teaching degree with, I wanted to find one that was not stuck in the past with its methodology. Whilst I think the basics of literacy and numeracy are of crucial importance in education, I think the style of teaching needs to change to reflect what kids are like in the current digital age.
The uni I attend stresses the importance of understanding the world we currently live in as well as keeping up with the changes that are shaping the future.

I did some interesting subjects last year on how many current schools are designed and managed often the same way they were 50 to 100 years ago.

Here are some excerpts from my work:

There was a diverse array of information included within this topic. The first reading for topic six (Reimer, E.1971) was very startling. Reimer was comparing schools to total social institutions such as prisons, armies and insane asylums (pp: 24-25). ..

I realised that there must be a point for me to have read this chapter so I started to Google. I wondered how old Mr E Reimer was when he wrote this book and if his own education had coloured his perceptions on the role of schooling in society. Once I found the book reviews from (appendix) I started to appreciate why we needed to read this chapter. Reimers view of schooling, while extremely radical, is very thought provoking and encourages the reader to look at schooling from a society’s point of view and rethink why we educate as we do. Reimer states that schooling promotes an institutional mindset, which stifles real learning. The school becomes a dominant force in the lives of students, conforming the student to society’s values and social hierarchies. One point of this article, a reference to data from Jerome Bruner, tied in well with the topic of motivation; the data suggests that the more relevant the environment is to the concept/lesson, the more effect it has (Reimer 1971). This relates to making the lesson more authentic, i.e. more relevant and interesting to the student in a real life situation. ..

The next reading, Re-Thinking Today’s Secondary Schools (Groundwater-Smith 2008), was a very different viewpoint: schools haven’t changed much over the last two hundred years, the look of the schools and even the subjects taught are the same. Styles of teaching come and go but learning still goes on. I have just completed an assignment on the effect the micro chip has had on society in the areas of communication, information and education for FDN115. In the last fifteen years micro chip technology has redefined how our society communicates and the amount of information that is available is astounding. For example, I was able to learn the relevance Reimers chapter in about two minutes using the internet. Even though technology has redefined most parts of society, schooling is still relatively the same as it was fifty to one hundred years ago in regards to its core subjects of literacy and numeracy...

The students of today and tomorrow need to be educated for careers that don’t even exist yet. Careers that a student might decide on early in their schooling could be obsolete before they graduate. Teachers of today need to set up strategies to encourage the students into a pattern of life long learning. The days of leaving school and getting a job and staying there for the whole of your career are gone. I discovered this six years ago when my highly sort after and extremely specialised, work skills were rendered useless by the advent of the digital camera. A once iconic company, Kodak, is now a mere shadow of its former self due to not keeping up with the rapidly changing technology. ..

As times change, schooling needs to change. Teachers need to be digital natives not digital immigrants. With all these new technologies the basic need for literacy is still present, but the understanding of the new applications is needed as well. The theme of the classroom still being the same as in the previous centuries has weaved through this entire unit. The slides from this lecture showed actual examples of how the classrooms are set out, the similarities are obvious. I think that by the time I graduate there will be a lot of changes. Most of the readings and references of the last few topics have all been written in the last few years, the focus of current research does seem to be shifting towards embracing the technological age. Embracing the future, becoming a ‘futurologist’ is the key to engaging students in life long learning and making them want to come to school every day. Modern schools need to embrace the new technologies into new multi-modal lessons, using technology to adapt traditional learning outcomes to outcomes that are suitable to a rapidly changing future.

It feels quiet strange to put some of uni papers on my blog. I have an invitation only blog that I publish all my uni work on, but I have been encouraged to share a bit more here by my two best proof readers/ critics/ experts lol.

So, using my female logic I have managed to justify my love of my new iPod touch with a genuine need for it, for educational purposes of course!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Back home in Jakarta

The internet is back on!!!!!! (was off for nearly a week)
The kids are all sick...
School is back, so the Ms Jenny hat is back on.
Uni has 3 more weeks before it starts again.
I might get a spare second to update soon....but no promises lol

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Christmas Eve and Day 2008

Due to the unusually cool weather, I decided to cook a roast pork dinner for Christmas eve.

Oh my goodness it was good!

Quiet a few of our friends from Jakarta are holidaying in Sydney over the Christmas break. We were honored to be able to show our German friends what a hot, Australian Christmas is like. The kids were ecstatic to have their friends here .

After the best roast pork, ever, the kids performed a music extravaganza for us. The piano got a work out as did the recorder, harmonica, drum sticks as well as some tribal dances and a good rendition of the Hakka.

We had a wonderful feast, good company and food made for a lovely Christmas.

Santa was very generous to all and managed to keep the stash to luggage sized proportions....he is very organized.

Manly to Circular Quay ferry

We took the kids for a ferry ride across Sydney Harbour. I think it was their first trip across Sydney Harbour! It was a perfect day for it.
I grew up close to Manly and a favourite teenage activity was to catch the ferry across the harbour during rough swells.....
We had lunch at the The Harbour View Hotel

I got to love all over this gorgeous 12 month old boy!

Ben refused to co-operate for any family photos, as usual lol.

We then got to walk through the great weekend markets at The Rocks.

A wonderful day was had by all!