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A Reflection…

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Term one complete.. Minus the last two weeks of that term I missed due to taking leave… That being said, time for some reflection!

If you have read previous posts from this year you’ll know that I have been placed back in to a classroom for two day per week, teaching year 7 Core subjects. That means basically everything. Math, English, Science, Humanities, Wellbeing, Personal Learning, and other important tidbits. You would also know that I have LOVED being back in the thick of the action. Having a class of students to engage with on a more regular basis rather than just in passing from time to time has given me not so much a renewed passion, but increased it somewhat.

My role as College eLearning Coordinator does allow me to be spread, thinly may I add, but spread none the less across all classes from Prep right through to year 12 and everywhere in between. This makes building relationships with students and staff very easy as I can touch base with all subschools and those situated within as needed. A great part of my job.

In reflecting and being open and honest, throughout term 1 I have had this sense of having done things to a sub par standard. It’s a safe bet to say that I am not anywhere near happy with even ‘par’ as a standard. I ask my students each and every day to impress me beyond the norm of what they are capable of and my own expectations of myself should be the same.

My one aim was to not let my eLearning role interfere with teaching my class and I am fearful it has from time to time. In fact, each role has cancelled each other out in a way causing for one to be done haphazardly and  vice versa. Something I seriously need to both make amends for come term 2 when I return and something I need to get on top of to ensure both roles do not interfere with it’s counter part.

The identification of the problem, like always, is the easy part. The challenge comes from understanding not how to fix the problem but to delve deeper and ascertain why it happens in the first place. After considerable thought I am a little closer to the answer of this riddle yet more thought is needed. This i shall touch more upon no doubt in a blog post down the track!

I can say with certainty it has been brilliant to witness first hand just some of the work that my students have produced throughout the first term. From being involved in Digital Story Development and Creation to working on Genius Hour Projects to the work they produced daily. They continue to surprise me and surprise often and as I keep raising the bar they keep meeting it! In my next post i’ll be sure to share some of this amazing work!

 

 

 

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Learning B4 Technology

http://ihs.wikia.com/wiki/File:Teaching_teachers_forum.jpg

http://ihs.wikia.com/wiki/File:Teaching_teachers_forum.jpg

It’s not often that I can get my hands on my staff, (not literally of course), to be able to run large scale Professional Learning to one of our four sub schools, or if I am extremely lucky, our entire (220) staff!

As much as I enjoy the smaller and more personalised approach to coaching and coordinating Professional Learning, especially either one on one or within teaching teams, that ability to deliver key messages to a larger cohort is always is something I find needs to take place. This ensures that same message is coming from one person, and is uniform across all teachers. What helps is having others spread those messages other than myself, which I am happy to say happens often!

With having a quite a few new staff teaching within our Middle Years sub school this year I felt the need to revisit a few key messages to ensure that the ideology behind how we go about integrating technology, effectively, is done so with one major thing in mind, and that being that good teaching comes first and the technology a second.

This is a message that I have been preaching religiously, no pun intended, for quite a while now.  The importance that our number one craft is teaching and that that craft needs to be focused on and honed over time. The absolutely wonderful thing about this profession is that we can all do it in various ways which enrich, engage and foster the meeting of student learning outcomes. We are all charged with delivering a set curriculum however they way in which we as educators can go about that can be extremely varied to cater for our students needs. There are not many professions I feel that allow for differentiation to occur amongst its staff. Teaching is certainly one of those.

Technology Integration, for example, allows for an educator to drastically alter the way they not only deliver the curriculum, but also, and more importantly, the way that students choose to learn that same curriculum.

Way back in… 2009, when I first started at my current setting all students I taught were involved in a 1:1 MacBook Program. The 6 teachers, including myself had never encountered such a thing, that being a 1:1 program of any description. During those first few weeks it is safe to say we used those MacBooks all day every day which in the end turned out to be detrimental to our teaching programs. First lesson learnt, “Just because they have the technology does not mean you need to have them using it”. 

After time we realised that it was the teaching that we need to get back to focusing upon. The way that we planned our curriculum and the ways that we  were deliver the content were more important than the technology itself. The learning and teaching, that was the priority. Not that we felt the consistent need to use the technology because it was there, and it was certainly evident as the year progressed, that through having that technology support the learning and teaching that was taking place, where applicable, made greater inroads to supporting students than what it did at the beginning.

These thoughts have recently been reaffirmed to me in the form of another blog post written by Steve Wheeler, the  ‘Associate Professor of learning technology in the Plymouth Institute of Education at Plymouth University’. Further to this, Steve’s credentials are too many to mention.I have had the pleasure of meeting him once at uLearn12 in Christchurch, New Zealand and have followed his blog and other learnings fairly intensely since then. At the time of writing this, his latest blog post, titled , talks in depth about this notion and the need to place, always place, learning before technology.

Below I have embedded the presentation I showed to my staff as well as a list of just a few of their responses relating to how I could assist them to become greater enablers of technology to support and enhance their programs.

Middle Years Sub School  – Moving Forward with eLearning

  • Classroom management with iPad management.
  • Exploring Flipped Classroom concepts.
  • Use of Social Media for sharing student work
  • Use of ICT when students have limited access/support in the home (no internet/wifi)
  • Improving student outcomes in maths through student led activities
  • Using Edmodo
  • Projecting students work on the Apple TV via their iPad,
  • Classroom iPad management of students
  • App Tutorials
  • Assisting students making appropriate and relevant contributions to online class discussions
  • Storing digital work
  • Flipped Classrooms
  • developing digital individual learning tasks
  • How to manage student use of iPads more effectively.
  • How students can create their own tutorials in different ways.

 

So to completely and utterly agree with Steve, and to once again quote him via his recent post, “If you forget everything else, remember this: Don’t let technology get in the way of good teaching and learning.”
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Show & Tell

Show+and+Tell+Logo

I’ve been planning to write this post for the past few weeks however time has been getting away from me recently, how dare it, but alas, here it is! As mentioned in previous posts it’s been amazingly wonderful to be back in a classroom again teaching and learning with the squids! Working along side and relating to these young people during the week, on a consistent weekly basis, certainly has given me a new lease on my teaching life.

Now, do not get me wrong, I love my eLearning Director role, however, lately the drain that is constant meetings and administrivia has definitely weighed me down somewhat. So down to business. Below I have shared just a few of the things that I have been up to in my room. Mind you, I am in class 2 full days per week and am enjoying the Challenge of attempting to squash everything in to what is already a super crowded week but also making way for the ‘extras’ I am wanting to implement, both from a learning and classroom management perspective, such as a few of the items mentioned below! 🙂

1. 2014 Middle Years (Yrs 5-8) Challenge Based Learning Unit: Digital Identity

2014 Middle Years CBL Unit: Digital Identity

2014 Middle Years CBL Unit: Digital Identity

We were wanting to run a unit, an introductory unit, for our Middle Years Students based on Cyber Safety, Digital Citizenship, Copyright, Creative Commons, and several other things! The challenge was not so much what to cover and when but how. Dare I say that covering the above topics with Middle Years students is a challenge relating specifically to engagement.

I wanted students to take ownership of their learning and drive what it is they want to know and hence what better way to do that than through a CBL, or Challenge Based Learning Unit. What I love about CBL is that students relate personally to their learning. They are drawing on real life experiences that effected them, either in a positive or negative way and can use these to guide new knowledge and understandings. Already I am seeing some excellent learning taking place via what has been created and shared with the students and facilitated by the staff.

The ‘proposal movie’ that was developed, under CC licensing rights, is embedded below. This movie was shown prior to our Middle Years Students undertaking this unit. The aim of this movie was to get students thinking about what having a ‘Digital Identity’ is and how this affects them as learners and users of technology in the 21st Century.

To assist the staff I developed an eBook, via Apple’s iBook Author Software, and has staff download this as a guide to assist them in running this unit. To develop this, I used Apple’s Own CBL Guide as well as several awesome resources that had been created by Adam Brice, an Apple Education Executive. If you would like to view the CBL Unit as well as the other accompanying documents such as the Assessment Rubric and Student Workbook, head to the shared DropBox Folder linked here: 2014 Middle Years CBL Unit Resources

2. Genius Hour Implementation.

I am not overly sure where I first caught wind of ‘Genius Hour, but I do recall being excited by the notion behind it! For those who have no real idea behind this, it all stemmed from Google giving their employee’s 20% time. This meaning 20% of their working week, which theoretically means one day, to work on projects which interest them as they please during this time. From this, Google Applications such as gMail, AdSense, Google News and Google Talk just to name a few.

In previous years we have implemented students undertaking ‘Passion Projects’ which is similar to the notion of Genius Hour however with fewer restrictions I guess you would say. The presentation below explains in simple detail what genius Hour is and this is what i showed to my students. Currently the students are working through the ‘finding out’ phase in answering their Guiding or Driving Question.

Just a selection of some of the Guiding Questions my years 7’s have come up with so far;
  • How will I learn to create and mix my own DJ beats?
  • Why is their cruelty in the world? (Tough One… but I am interested to see where this leads!)
  • How should people react in a bushfire emergency? (I am hoping that a ‘how to’, or ‘what to do’ video stems from this!)
  • How can I make a iPad Game App, on my iPad?
  • How do violent video games affect the way people think?
  • What is the best way to help endangered animals and what can I do about it?

To inspire my chargers I then showed this great You Tube Clip starring Kid President, which my students loved!

3. Google Drive

Google Drive App

Google Drive App

The joys of Google Drive! This is more than likely not a big deal to most however, having spoken about, presented about, coordinated PL about and modelled and demonstrated about, the positiveness of Google Drive as an App to assist iPad Workflow has thus far been amazing. All teachers within our Yr 7 Team are now planning via Google Drive and sharing all planners, resources, links, PDF’s, etc via this means. The real power is now having students use this effectively to share work, receive work, and access learning materials needed not only via teachers, but also with each other. Collaboration is a major focus as part of our eLearning Capabilities and to now be entrenched in this with my own class is great.

The best part? It’s ease of use and set up!

Lastly, and as an add on to this, I have just discovered Kaizena, an online program that accesses your Google Drive Account and all your files. From here, you can highlight text on documents and leave Voice Comments. Something that I think will save teachers a lot of time in allowing them to give quick, effective and thorough feedback! View the clip below to see how all this works! 🙂

4. Classroom Expectations.

I loathe classroom rules, not to be negative, but, I find them extremely negative, and more often than not against what a classroom should be about. In saying this, I believe there is a need for something to assist and guide students in demonstrating expected behaviours. The power from developing classroom expected behaviours is that these are student created and driven. If the ownership comes from the students then they are much more focused towards behaving in ways that are conducive to what a learning environment should be!

Below are the expectations that the students developed. Expectations which had to relate to at least one of our College’s values (Aiming High, Valuing Our Community, Respecting Others, Being Safe). 

For now. I think that’s all I will share as if this were a real show and tell session I would have been booted off the stage long ago!
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Back In The Trenches

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Excited. Anxious. Stressed. Thrilled. Flat. Pumped. Frustrated. Inspired.

Just a select few words that have described the past 10 days, the first 10 days in fact, of 2014 for me professionally.

I knew that going back in to a classroom this year would be a challenge. Not because I had simply forgotten how to teach and  inspire and engage, but due to the workload that i knew would come my way and having that trepidation around not wanting to do either of my roles any injustice to what they deserve!

I think that i have learnt more in these past ten days about prioritising, being organised (which I am obsessive compulsive about anyway), and working against the clock than I ever have before. I have said all along from last year that the one thing that I wanted to ensure never happened was for my role as eLearning Coordinator to hinder in anyway the students that I teach, as they are, and always will be, the priority. In saying this I do not want to let the ball drop either in regards to my eLearning position. In a school of 215 staff, 1850 students, and with 10 out of 13 cohorts from P-12 running 1:1 programs, there is never a dull moment. Working across the college with teachers and students is great and makes what I do extremely worthwhile however it can be very tedious.

Thus far I have loved being back in a class. The 22 students I grade share my class with are an amazing bunch of young people, all of whom have their own wonderful personalities that enable our class to be truly diverse. They’re attentive, respond very well already to feedback and certainly have shown a want and desire to learn.

My teaching partner, Tegan, has been outstanding, as has the entire year 7 team I am part of. Great and committed staff who, like the students, all bring something different to the table which is what I feel an effective team needs. People who are not completely alike and perhaps may not always agree on the same thing can make for a stronger and more effective teaching team to be formed. As referenced in a previous blog post, Dan Gregory’s comment of “Diversity and collaboration is about making a group smarter collectively. Not about playing nicely.”, truly rings home and although we all get along extremely well, we also have that ability to say what we feel for the benefit of the students!

I am sure that this year will bring many a challenge, it already has in saying that, however for every challenge and frustration I encounter I am sure that I will also see all of my students at some stage feel success towards their learning that they have strived to achieve. It will be this that pushes all those challenging moments and and frustrating scenarios that may have arisen well and truly out of my mind!

It’s safe to say I am more than happy to be back in those trenches!

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2014: Change is the Focus

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So here we go again. 🙂

It it certainly surreal that tomorrow I head back to work for an ‘unofficial’ Leadership day which will no doubt look to direct what our foci will be for the year ahead. It is a safe bet to say that I look forward to 2014, professionally speaking, with a want and need in some regards to change the way I go about my role as an educator and  leader.

My new years resolution for this year is all about “Change”. Changing certain things in my own life physically, mentally and socially as well as fostering that notion of change in my professional life. Change for this year has already occurred in quite a large way with the birth of my third daughter just before Christmas 2013. That in itself has certainly led to a whole lot of new changes in my own life as when adding a newborn baby to the mix of a near 4 and 2 year old certainly makes for some interesting times! 😉

A reason for change to be needed is that I felt 2013 interrupted my family life considerably and this is one change that I plan on making. Finding that better work life balance that many of us dream of will be a priority. This in turn has implications of course on my work and what I do as the need to be more ‘streamlined and efficient’ with my time will need to happen.

In saying that, this year will see me teaching  in a year 7 classroom 2 days per week and team teaching with another wonderful staff member. The priorities and effective changes that I will need to look at making will be focused on being the best teacher I can be for those students as well and ensuring that I do not ‘drop the ball’ in relation to my Whole College eLearning Role. I already know this will be a challenge. The ability to be able to lead and drive learning in my classroom whilst aiming to also inspire change and action with my staff will take some effort. Effort that I say I am more than willing to put in as I have what I believe is needed to fulfill both of these roles and that being a Passion for what I do.

Some of this ‘change’ thought process, primarily once again professionally speaking, has come from my last blog post and hearing Dan Gregory speak towards the end of 2013. The 6 key messages that I took from that session, outlined below, are in fact going to drive a lot of this change that I have mentioned. I have unlike the previous post elaborated on these a little further.

  • Real leadership. Helping people to be what they want to be. Not telling people what to do. 

I am a firm believer in modelling effective Leadership, either modelling that myself or having those above me showcase what it means to lead and show what effective leadership looks like. In my role I am very lucky to be able to work with all staff from Prep right through to Year 12 and because of this I believe that I have the ability in leading staff to become better educators.

  • Being famous for something. Break the mould. Be different. 

The whole idea of creating a brand and a label for oneself is very interesting. I will never forget Kevin Honeycutts keynote presentation at uLearn12  in Auckland where he discussed the importance of ‘bragging’ about what you are good at and telling everyone about your successes. The need not to be humble and the fear of one looking arrogant if they do. What I can be famous for… I am yet to decide! 😉

  • Diversity and collaboration is about making a group smarter collectively. Not about playing nicely. 

Being back in a teaching role and working within a team and sub school and having more direct contact with staff with our Middle Years will allow me to showcase and work on my leadership skills. I love this quote from Dan as it amazes me when I see teachers receive criticism for anything about their professional practice the large majority immediately turn defensive and see it as a negative and personal insult. Because of this I have also witnessed leaders reluctant to speak to staff for the fear or a simple professional conversation being turned in to WW3! I plan to be more open and honest in the attempt to better the teaching practice of others. To do this in ways that is not only conducive to the individual, but the teams that people are working within.

  • Achieve wins. Prove what you’re doing works! 

Having spent some time with Narissa Leung (Leading Teacher ICT / Curriculum at Campbells Creek Primary School) mid to late last year via the Department of Education’s ‘Teaching and Learning in the 21st Century” Professional Learning series, I had the chance to hear Narissa speak as a guest keynote presenter. One of the comments that she made links beautifully to the above statement in that she aims to find research based evidence to support and back up the work that she is doing. To have that hard evidence that the decisions being made are the right ones and that actually work is great thinking . The great thing here also is that with what evidence I cannot locate myself, I can turn in to my own research based evidence / paper.

  • Start a movement that people can participate in. Don’t sell an idea. Create change and let people participate. 

I love this. This relates directly to a TED Talk which I have seen countless times, embedded below, that encourages the notion that it is those directly below the ‘Leader’ who are the real change drivers when starting a movement. I can bang on all day about the wonders of my work and what can be achieved however if those I am preaching to do not get actively involved then it is all for nothing. In a perfect world (school) I wish to be the one igniting those ideas yet have others be the ones who participate, engage with and push the change.

  • Build trust as trust is currency. This creates and fosters change. 

Lastly, this binds the above together. It comes down to being an effective leader and working with teachers to foster change. For staff to have trust in you and what you do is very important. They are so much more willing to follow you and what you do if that trust is there. Last year as part of my eLearning Role, the coaching that I was involved in led to a lot of this trust being developed, something that was a highlight for me personally as it reinforced what I was doing actually was not only working but creating change in the way teachers taught and students learnt.

So there we have it. Reading back I have a fair bit to do! 😉 Or do I? I feel that it is not a matter of out with the old and in with the new, it is about doing things differently and focusing the change I need to make on making those differences.

Lastly, I have embedded another TED Talk by Simon Sinek titled: How Great Leaders Inspire Action. There are some great messages here from Simon that resonate very closely to what it is I want to achieve. Happy viewing!

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Apple ADE / ADS Catch Up

2 weeks ago I attended a wonderful Apple event that was being hosted by Apple for members of the Apple Distinguished Educator Community as well as educational settings that have received Apple Distinguished School certification.

I always look forward to attending such events hosted by Apple as the networking that these events involve is outstanding. Being surrounded by like minded educators all with an interest in Apple Technology, but more so technology integration in education, certainly causes for some great discussions to take place in what we are all doing within our own settings. A chance to discuss the highs, lows and the otherwise!

The highlight of this event was of course the invited speaker, Dan Gregory. Rather than try to justify Dan’s credentials myself, I best leave it to his own website bio to explain….

“Dan Gregory is a author, educator, and social commentator. He is the President and CEO of The Impossible Institute™, an innovation and engagement organisation founded to make what’s not… possible.

Dan’s specialization is human behaviour – our motives, drives and belief systems, the things that make us buy, the things that make us buy in and the things that pull our strings.

Dan has helped develop new product lines for Coca-Cola and Unilever, invented new media formats for Murdoch Magazines, created interaction systems for categories as diverse as fast food chains and government departments and launched internal and external engagement campaigns for companies as varied as Aussie Home Loans, the National Rugby League, News Ltd, Vodafone and MTV.

He has worked as a director and lecturer at Australia’s premier creative school, AWARD, taught post-graduate students at Macquarie and Sydney Universities as well as privately coaching and mentoring CEOs and non-executive board members.

Dan is a captivating speaker whose business acumen is matched by a rapier wit and rare human insight gained during a three year sabbatical working on the US and UK stand-up comedy circuits – skills put to great use in front of 1.4 million viewers as a regular on ABC TV’s The Gruen Transfer.

His goal is to turn Impossible Thinking™ into an epidemic.”

As mentioned above, Dan is a panelist for the ABC TV’s The Gruen Transfer and I have embedded a short You Tube Clip below that shows Dan in action!

As usual with a lot of my posts, which can quite easily turn in to short novels, I will aim to summarise of lot of Dan’s messages that he covered throughout his 3 hour presentation and workshop! Hopefully I can do what messages and thoughts that Dan discussed justice!

Below are just six messages that really resonated with me personally. I must add that i responded quite lengthy to each of these to only have the ‘save draft’ link fail and lose all i wrote!  I’ll plan to use the comments below as a driver for my next post!

  1. Real leadership. Helping people to be what they want to be. Not telling people what to do. 
  2. Being famous for something. Break the mould. Be different. 
  3. Diversity and collaboration is about making a group smarter collectively. Not about playing nicely. 
  4. Achieve wins. Prove what you’re doing works! 
  5. Start a movement that people can participate in. Don’t sell an idea. Create change and let people participate. 
  6. Build trust as trust is currency. This creates and fosters change. 

To take these messages further, Dan engaged us with a number of small activities that aim to really provoke our thinking and drive discussion in our small groups. I personally found these quite challenging, which was great! These I plan on doing with my staff if the opportunity arises in the near future to hopefully prompt some of that innovate and creative thinking!

Jon Traversial

Zag

Meta5

The Noble Fight

There are things that I will take away from Dan’s session that will resonate with me for a quite a while I feel. Discussions, statements, and ideas that have… initiated me to do more to foster and drive change at my setting, no matter how difficult that proves to be. 😉

 

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DEECD TL21C Course(s).

Hello and yes, I know, it’s been a while as usual! My apologies!

Here we go!

Some time ago i was approached along with a group of other excellent educators, much more skilled than I, and better looking to boot!, by John Thomas, a highly skilled teacher and Department of Education Course Facilitator.

John was coordinating a professional development series of events for Victorian school teachers focusing on Teaching and Learning in the 21st Century and needed the assistance of the aforementioned people, and myself, to help ‘coach’ participants involved. Seeing this as both a wonderful opportunity to be involved in as well as thinking it would benefit my own development caused me to jump at the chance.

Without going in to a great amount of detail, the course involved 2 Face-2-Face days and 6 BlackBoard Collaborate Webinars thrown in the middle of each of those days. The initial F2F day involved all 88 teachers involved developing an understanding of what 21st Century Teaching and Learning looks like as well as how the technology we now have access to can make such a positive difference in our teaching and learning professional lives.

Before I continue I need to add that there we so many applicants for this course that DEECD decided to offer it twice! A testament to teachers throughout Victoria who were and are continually wanting to improve digital teaching practices.

John T giving an introduction on the first F2F Day!

Now, I am wanting this post to be informative yet if I list all details in detail we’ll be here well into the New Year! So i’ll aim to cut it short!

As mentioned, the course was split into 3 parts. A Face-2-Face day, the 6 webinars, and the final F2F day. It must be mentioned that on the first Face-2Face days the amazing Jenny Luca presented 2 awesome Keynote presentations that had all those involved, and even the coaches, engaged in deeper thinking about the positive change that we can all make. The change that needs to be made. You can find Jenny presentation below;

DEECD Teaching and Learning in the 21st Century – Keynote presentation
9th August 2013

During that initial day members of the course were asked to sit a particular table which was titled a particular ‘verb’. These ranged from;

  • innovate
  • construct
  • connect
  • collaborate
  • create
  • inquire
  • curate

…I am sure there were others! These verbs were to drive each groups work and progress throughout the next 7 weeks to assist them to either individually or as a group, complete a project based upon that verb. I hope that makes sense!

A snapshot of some of the more informal sharing that occurred during the F2F days.

The webinars that followed were based on a range of things all related to technology, inquiry, and , of course, 21st Century Teaching and Learning.

For a full list of these head to either one of the 2 blogs that listed the program and course in its entirety!

The real learning that took place, from my point of view, were in the form of the 2 final Face-2Face days. The culmination of all that had been achieved by so many shared on one/two, occasions.

It was pleasing to witness first hand teachers who perhaps had some form of trepidation to use and integrate technology participate in what essentially was a huge learning journey for them. Several of the positives that I personally witnessed were;

  • Witnessing and being involved in first hand the willingness for the teachers involved to step out of their comfort zones to attempt unfamiliar pedagogies in their classrooms with the focus being on digital teaching and learning.
  • To see that teachers had completely integrated GAFE (Google App’s for Education) in their setting/s
  • Developed strong PLN’s (Professional Learning Networks) to learn from and collaborate with
  • Using online social sites such as Global2, WikiSpaces, Google Sites and Edmodo to engage with their students, and staff
  • Undertake ‘Genius Hour’. Something that I myself am keen to engage with! For more information relating to the idea of Genius Hour head to Narissa Leung’s blog here: Putting the G in Genius Hour.
  • The willingness of teachers to get up and share their learning in front of others

A staff member from my own setting sharing how he used Google Sites with his Year 7 Class!

One of the discussions that popped up on both final Face-2-Face days was the listing of the barriers and challenges that a lot of what we were doing and implementing threw up at us. Having so many teachers attend from a very wide variety of settings did not all seem to matter that much, with the majority of teachers listing the same ‘blocks’ over and over again. These being;

  • Time! The time that it can take to learn, create, share, trial, and set up all the great tools etc…!
  • The amount of various tools being used by different teachers in the same setting. This for me was an interesting one as in my setting I encourage the use of various online spaces and tools to be used. Teachers can make up their own minds as to which tools they feel best suit their needs and that of their students.
  • Internet! With such a heavy reliance on online sites and spaces the need to fast, reliable internet is needed now more than ever. If we’re wanting students to be connected to capture, communicate and collaborate then this is essential.
  • Staff reluctance. I am a firm believer that fear is the biggest motivator in teachers not wanting to integrate and trial new technologies and tools. This means that it is up to us to be the drivers of change and innovation and to engage our reluctant colleagues!
I suppose in summarising that it is great that DEECD is supporting teachers towards becoming more mindful about 21st Century education. The fact also that two of these courses were needing to be offered is once again testament to the ongoing professional learning that teachers are willing to engage in. I’d like to thank John and the other coaches for allowing me to be part of this great course as well as those staff members that I was responsible for coaching as it was working with you and seeing your growth that made this such a experience.

 

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EYSS Professional Learning

Last night I finally got hold of all of my Early Years Teachers in one room and ran through some quick fire PL relating to Technology Integration happenings for 2014. In a college of my size it can be difficult to obtain access to a large cohort of staff so to be able to to get 30+ in one room to spread the word was great.

Only having an hour I wanted this to be informative yet practical and for these teachers to leave with at least 1 idea to take away and think about!

The embedded slideshare below basically covers the majority of what was discussed however i’ll elaborate a little further on a few of the key points that I shared.

 

Next year will see our Early Years sub school expand quite heavily in regards to our BYOD Framework and provisioning and this of course has it’s implications for our staff. Currently there will be approximately 17 1:1 iPad classes in years P, 1 and 2 with classes in years 3 and 4 having upwards of 8-10 MacBooks per class also. From all of this the need for effective PL to be ran for all of these staff is imperative to ensure that the technology available in these areas is being utilised where it is applicable to support student learning.

I ran staff through our newly developed ‘1:1 ipad Implementation Guide’ which is a 60+ page Multi Touch Book that contains policies, interactive keynote presentations and informative videos. This has been created for our college community including our staff, students and parents. Currently I am in the process of developing a similar document for our Seniors Technology Program and making that specific for our students in years 9 – 12.

 

 

I discussed in depth, during the time i could, about our two main models of technology integration. These being the well know SAMR Model developed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura which is depicted below in a simple graphic.

SAMR

 

The other Model that we will be focusing upon, and there will more information to come regarding this as it is still in its infancy, are our own College’s ‘5 Key technology Integration Capabilities’. These being:

  • Capture
  • Create
  • Communicate
  • Collaborate
  • Connect

 

The two hands on activities that were coordinated were focused upon looking at our newly developed iPad Application list for 2014. We have cut this back from 60-70 applications to a Core 20 that our students need to have to support their learning. From here i had all staff access a Google Doc which listed the core applications that students would have for 2014 and then list ways in which those applications could support the teaching and learning programs offered! See the screen shot below.

 

From here I aimed to make what we did next more personal and related to all staff, not just those in a 1:1 area. Through accessing a Padlet wall I had created, I asked staff to briefly list ways in which they had used technology in their teaching. Once this was completed staff were re-directed to the SAMR Model of Technology Integration and asked to audit what examples of technology integration were placed on the Padlet. To do this staff were asked to place an S, A, M or R next to each post detailing where they felt that particular use of technology lied on the SAMR model.

This was a challenging activity, but an activity that promoted a lot of discussion and nonetheless, that is what I was hoping for! 😉

 

After this was discussed, and discussed well amongst the staff may i add, I finished off with some parting thoughts, which i’ll leave you all with also… 🙂

When Integrating Technology Effectively, remember…

  • Good Teaching Comes First.
  • Technology Integration Is Not Difficult, It Is Fear That Gets In The Way.
  • Take A Risk. Try something New.
  • Let The Kids Lead The Way.

 

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An Evening With Bill Rankin.

This Wednesday evening I was fortunate enough to attend an ADE (Apple Distinguished Educator) meeting that was hosted at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education.

The focus for this meeting was to spend a good hour and a half with Dr. Bill Rankin, and educational technology wizard, and a Director of Learning for Apple Inc. World Wide.

As Bill’s Bio states…

“I am a Director on the education team at Apple, Inc., with responsibility for promoting and enhancing innovative teaching and learning. Prior to joining Apple, I worked as an academic in higher education for 24 years, concluding my time as a Professor of English and Honors College Fellow at Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas. As ACU’s Director of Educational Innovation, I helped design the world’s first one-to-one that gave every student an iPhone or iPod touch as a platform for exploring next-wave mobile learning. With ACU’s Honors College, I consulted on a radically new kind of in situ learning that leverages just-in-time, differentiated instruction and media to prepare learners working to solve issues of urban poverty and social justice in South Dallas. I have received numerous awards for teaching and have presented on the implications of educational technology and emerging pedagogies in more than 25 countries.”

Impressive hey!

I first met Bill when i attended the ADE Institute in Bali earlier this year where Bill was a headline act and speaker sharing his knowledge and wisdom about all things technology and education. Bill also gave us an insight into just some of the powerful tools Apple has to offer, most notably Apple’s Keynote software, which as I found out in Bali, is more than just a slide presentation creation tool!

The presentation that Bill ran us through on Wednesday focused heavily on design presentation principles and the use of Apple’s Keynote software to showcase these. Design Principles that have been adapted from people such as Garr Reynolds and Robin Williams (not the actor!). Both of whom have written outstanding texts on these design principles that Bill discussed and showcased. Links to these texts via Amazon.com are below.

     

This session made me radically rethink the way i go about creating my own presentations, i suppose not just via Keynote but via all presentation tools that I use. Some of Bill’s messages that resonated with me were:

  • Bad design is like static, it distracts people.”
  • “Put things on the slide that put words in the audiences’ head. Don’t give them the answers…”
  • “Presentations need to be explicit and relate to your content.”
  • “You want to give the audience you’re presenting to that ‘pop’!” 
  • “Your presentation needs to have tension and release”
A Great example of what Apple’s KeyNote Software can do is embedded below. An animation created  in Keynote which demonstrates just some of the high quality effects than can be created! The Video itself has been created by Ray Nasher, an educator based in Melbourne. Not only is this a great animation as mentioned, the content contained within gives educators and educational minds a lot to digest and think about!

In summation… the creation of a presentation is more than just images and text on a slide. To effectively engage an audience and convey powerful messages, you need to consider those messages and specific design principles that will allow present your information in the most effective manner possible.
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Quick Fire PL

Just one of the many shots I took whilst down that way!

2 weeks ago I had the absolute pleasure of running a quick fire PL for a small coastal school in Victoria down Aireys Inlet way, situated on the Great Ocean Road.

The PL was based on effectively integrating iPad devices into teaching and learning programs and how a device such as an iPad can leverage and enhance student learning.

As always when presenting and sharing to other staff in various settings, my main and number one point is that it is the teaching itself that matters most. Good, explicit teaching makes the greatest difference in determining students meeting specific learning outcomes. However. When technology is integrated into high quality teaching and learning programs to support what is being taught, then the learning that can take place can be taken to a whole new level.

I also impressed that to integrate technology is not difficult, anyone can do it. To do it effectively however to fully support teaching and learning is something else.

In recent years we have all be taken back by the iPad device and mobile technology in general. The capabilities of these devices for students to access anywhere anytime have allowed students to demonstrate and showcase their learning in many positive ways.

It’s great to walk into a school and see posters like this displayed!

Following on from my philosophical educational technology ramblings I then covered in greater depth just how an iPad device can support teaching and learning. I also discussed and showcased some powerful applications for learning that students at my own College utilise highly to support what they’re doing in class. The link to this presentation, which is an iBook that I created for the recent VITTA conference, is attached below. I have linked the PDF version as it is a whopping 250MB less in size. Click the image below to download this.

In discussing and showcasing particular app’s, I did have to mention that as great as certain applications are on the iPad, it is not about the applications themselves and what they can do. It is more so about how those applications are used! It all comes down to imagination! We are wanting students to drive and personalise what app’s they use to foster that creation and innovation as part of their learning.

With this school moving towards 1:1 iPad devices they will surely find themselves in an exciting space where students and staff have the technology to be able to build on current practices and hopefully, like with all 1:1 programs, encourage and promote learning outcomes to be met at a greater level!

Exciting times!