With all the buzz and hype of Web 2.0 - developing a PLN, connecting online, and finding open education resources - I sometimes find that I haven't managed to leave the house all day. I've been so busy doing 'stuff' online that I couldn't tell you whether there was a gentle breeze blowing, or whether the roses are blooming, or the colours in the sunset. Tonight I took my dog for a walk. I looked at the ants crawling up the bark on the trees. I noticed the sun setting over the mountain ranges. And it really is beautiful. So my tech tip this week is to take note of the beauty around you. Capture it, if you can, and share it.
Someone who does this particularly well is Tony Farley. Tony has created some marvellous videos of Beautiful Places in High Definition. The images are breathtaking and the narrative well thought out. Tony gives a description of the place and its history. He then gives you a moment of silence to experience the place for yourself. Tony finishes up with a poem carefully matched to the place he is visiting. Watching these videos is the next best thing to visiting the places in person. The quality of the filming is a visual delight. To view these for yourself, you can watch them streamed from the website or subscribe and download them through iTunes.
I plan to introduce these films to my students early in the school year. I will then get them thinking and talking about local nature areas within walking distance of the school. We will travel to these places, record the area through video, still photos and audio recordings. Students may choose to respond further through researching the area, and recording their thoughts or reflections in poetry. The images and narrative can then be combined through Photostory 3 or Movie Maker. To take it even further, I will help my students to develop a wikispace to share their reflections with others. We can open it up to other people in our school community who also enjoy this local natural environment.
Another suggestion (for those who cannot work with local natural environments) is to encourage students to connect Creative Commons pictures to poetry written by others or to create poems of their own to go with the images. I have done this with Kindergarten in the past - writing haiku poems about images from cut-up nature calendars. I've also done it with Year 3 by running a slideshow of images for students to select from and write a poem about.
I guess my main message this week is not to ignore the beautiful world we live in but rather to cherish and absorb it.