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information literacy:
definitions & discussion
information literacy:
learning & thinking
information literacy:
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Gwen Gawith: Re-defining research

Opoho School: The Opoho Possum Hunt

Lester Flockton: SOAPBOX

Martin Burgoyne: Kiwi grass is greener

Neil Burton: Kidsline

Think.com

Gwen Gawith: Thinking digital readers

Jennie McRobbie: Diary of a NEMP author

Stephen May: The problem with literacy

Alan Cooper: Learning styles

John Hellner: We can all be leaders

 

 

THINK.COM

Think.com was launched by Rt Hon Helen Clark in Auckland at Viscount School, Mangere, on October 11 2001. New Zealand is only the fourth country in the world, after the US, UK and Chile, to roll out Think.com.

Think.com is "an innovative web-based educational environment that provides primary and secondary schools with powerful tools enabling collaborative learning over the internet."

Two pilot projects start this year. The first pilot will involve principals - 2,400 over four years. in 2002 600 principals will receive a new pc, software, internet connection and access to the Think.com environment. The Ministry will work with Ultralab to help customise the New Zealand implementation, with frameworks for lesson plans and tutorials.

The second pilot starts with 23 ICT PD school clusters including 6000 students, enabling students and teachers to develop, and share, highly personalised, learner-driven ‘communities of learners’ in a secure environment which provides teachers with an easy-to-use, unobtrusive way of guiding and shaping students’ online work, but leaving ownership and control in the hands of the students.

Think.com is an alliance between the Ministry of Education and Oracle Corporation.

Oracle will host the Think.com environment at no charge. The Ministry will manage the content, the implementation in schools, and Think.com training for teachers. The Ministry will also work closely with Prof. Stephen Heppell and Ultralab to customise the design for NZ principals and teachers and ensure that the content is 100% New Zealand.

What exactly is Think.com?

Think.com began in UK when Tony Blair proclaimed in 1998 that all students would have an email account by the millennium. Oracle decided to develop something with far greater educational potential. Think.com is a password-protected site - an educational environment for both students and teachers. Because it is a secure site, and every user is identifiable, many of the concerns of online safety are allayed.

Students have their own ‘file cabinet’ and can, with ease, create their own web pages, post questions, comment with ‘stickies’, participate in discussions and debates and email people in their approved address book from the site. It is an ideal environment for working on shared research projects with member schools (and even in different countries). ‘Teacher Tools’ allow regular monitoring of student use and easy management of the site. Students can be assigned privileges from reading, to publishing and editing.

Teachers can use Think.com in a number of ways. They can design online multi-media lessons with instructions and embedded research links, areas for team collaboration and a showcase for completed projects. They can develop issues-driven forums to encourage students to develop critical thinking skills and interact with other students, other schools and students in other countries. They can integrate a range of curriculum content, and the ‘hotseat’ for homework help. The software integrates well with many of the processes currently used to encourage students to share ideas and knowledge (for example, brainstorming), and the teacher can become another participant in the discussion, adding questions which invite students to probe a bit further, look a bit wider, without being the ‘sage on the stage’.

Think.com is accessible from a standard web browser on any computer, so students and teachers can connect from their classrooms, from the library, or from home. Its ease of use, user-friendly interfaces and flexibility make it an ideal tool for enhancing learning. Good Teacher will keep you posted as the project evolves...