I have after all these years decided to move to a more dedicated site that will host more information and to hopefully ALSO encourage me a lot more to blog more often! Thank you to all those who have subscribed and followed this particular site! If you’re interested in continuing to follow my journey, please head to my new, yet still in development, site linked below!
Recently I came across this article that has been floating around on social media for the past few weeks. It’s titled “Why Some Schools Are Selling Their All Their iPads” and comes from ‘TheAtlantic‘, the online version of a monthly news and entertainment magazine out of Boston in the United States.
The article amongst edtech circles has been frequently commented on and it’s been interesting to see the responses from those who have made mention of it.
The article begins by asking ‘is the iPad really the best device for interactive learning’. An interesting question. I can clearly remember when I first laid eyes on an iPad and had the opportunity to engage with one. The conversations immediately turned to the impact that such a device, and that being Mobile Tech, not specifically an ipad, would have on pedagogy and learning.
To this day I am unsure of whether or not the iPad is ‘the’ device for teaching and learning. I do not think there will ever be ‘one device to rule them all’.
Having been involved in the DEECD ‘iPads 4 Learning‘ Trial in 2010/2011, we were amazed to see that transformation of both pedagogy and learning behaviour change via teachers and students having access to this mobile technology. The results and findings from the trial gave very good insight into how the technology supported the delivery of content and students meeting learning outcomes.
Currently I am embarking on re developing a new eLearning Strategy for my college for 2015-2017. No easy task. A large component of focusing on student device allocation. Currently, we’re essentially an ‘iPad School’. 85% of our 1900 students have a 1:1 device and in saying this, in recent years, we’ve seen a shift from 1:1 to 1:many. Students engaging in multiple devices to support their learning.
The discussion as to what we do moving forward has played and weighed heavily on my mind and certainly that of other leadership staff within my setting. The debate of ‘Is the iPad the best device to support learning?’ has occurred time and time again and we can say at this stage that the general consensus to that question is a yes. Now by now means do we and I feel that, again, the iPad is our one saving grace and we can ignore all other devices. However… for OUR teaching programs, pedagogy and philosophies, the iPad is a great device.
There are several points in the article that I completely disagree with, and others that I firmly believe. At the end of the day, I believe that schools are not selling ‘all their iPads’. That schools are investing in devices which best suit their needs and the needs of their staff and students. The fact also that schools are beginning to invest more in BYOD models of integration again change the dynamics completely. Students being given choice as to what devices they use at school is great and although I do believe when schools adopt a true BYOT model, then there are a lot more variables in play that that can be detrimental to a schools eLearning practices.
To quote from the article and in particular Joel Handler, Hillsborough’s director of technology, “Our goal was [to find out] not really which device was better, per se, but which device met the learning goals,”. Great comment!
And this is why we will not sell the iPad devices we own. Because although it (iPad), for the third time now, may not be the one devices to rule them all, it is by large a great device in assisting students to meet learning outcomes and to foster and encourage 21st century learning skills.
I first caught wind of a 20th Anniversary ADE (Apple Distinguished Educator) Institute towards the end, if not after, my initial induction in to the ADE world following my the Institute I attended in Bali in April 2013.
After having experienced Bali alongside 300 other educators from all over South East Asia, Australia, and New Zealand, I was intrigued as to how another ADE Institute could top what I had experienced thus far. I had heard other ADE’s talk of their experiences in Cork, Ireland, a year beforehand and how that Institute was an experience for the ages!
Now usually my posts rant and rave and 200 words turn into 2000. I promise this will not be the case. 😉 As much difficulty as I am having in attempting to review what certainly was an amazing week, I am wanting to do that week justice but being conscience, to the point, and not ruin it through rambling lines of text.
It was this week in which I had a fellow ADE, Glenn McMahon (@mackas_ict) visit my college with several of his colleagues who were investigating eLearning and technology integration practices among other things. Whilst discussing all things teaching, learning, technology, and other, Glenn asked me what my biggest ‘take-aways’ were from San Diego. A great question, albeit a tough one. I have been thinking about my response to Glenn and additional ‘take-aways’ I had from attending #ade2014 and, briefly, these are outlined below.
1. Teachers as Learners.
There are a few ways in which I can take this however I will look at it from this angle… Being in a role which effectively is responsible for assisting staff in using technology to enhance teaching and promote student learning outcomes has over the years thrown up a few challenges. One of these being the reluctance at times of teachers ‘stepping back’ and allowing students to lead. The need to control a class and the way it is being run is for the most part shifting as it perhaps once was the near norm. I now often see students leading their peers and also their teachers in learning new methods to create, share, collaborate, connect and innovate within the classroom. In regards to the institute a key focus was the teacher being the learner. Using our own devices to engage and interact with the institute itself via an iTunesU course and a developed app for attendees was terrific. I look forward to seeing the day when students are personalising their own learning to the point where teachers are no longer teachers, where they facilitate learning and work alongside the students and not in front them.
2. Making it Mobile.
There’s no doubt the one of the greatest strengths of the iPad is it’s mobility. The simple fact that it can be taken anywhere and do just about anything to support teaching and or learning. This i have clearly seen evident when taking 100+ students to both Sovereign Hill and the Melbourne Aquarium where their iPad devices have been fully integrated to support the learning programs taking place. San Diego in a way was also exactly that. Having our own devices out and about and using the suggested app’s given to us, especially also from an iBeacon point of view was fantastic. The point being made is that learning does not need to be restricted to the classroom or even the school grounds. That also yes, connecting with their learning at home is also great however, when students are engaged with technology to assist them to develop specific understandings when in other rich learning environments so much more understanding can be developed. The map below shows several points of reference where I used my own iPad device ‘out in the field’ and for what reasons.
3. I’m not Alone.
One of the, if not the, best part of attending such an event is being situated in a location alongside 400+ like minded people, all of which have the same drive, passion, and desire that you do. People who are having similar successes and triumphs as well as hitting similar walls and barriers. The professional conversations that were mostly held informally over a beer and dinner were amazing. The connections that I was able to make was outstanding and I have every confidence that through meeting these people, and staying in contact with them I will be a better teacher and leader for it. Thanks to social media, primarily Twitter, I can converse with these wonderful people virtually anytime and anywhere.
4. Break the Norm.
Hearing the stories and journeys that educators had embarked on within their own settings that ‘broke the norm’ of how technology was being utilised was outstanding. Again, hearing like minded educators sharing stories about how they have transformed their teaching practices within their settings was great. This was particularly evident during the ADE showcases where ADE’s had 3 minutes to share the AWESOME things that they were doing in their settings. The common theme throughout the showcase sessions was that these were educators who were willing to trial new things and take a risk within their own practice. They were willing to step out of their comfort zone. Hopefully the recording of these are made public soon so that other teachers the world over can be inspired as I was!
5. Celebrate the +’s
My last big take away, is that I realised that it is extremely important to celebrate the positives within our settings and with others. Everything from the big wins that we have such as rolling out 1000 iPad devices to perhaps that small win where one particular student has created a marvellous piece of work. To be within an environment that was extremely positive it encourages you to share more of what you do and to celebrate the things you and your setting do well. From this I hope to begin working on developing this positive culture not only throughout my staff but more so my students. Have them share and celebrate the awesome things that they are capable of!
“Now usually my posts rant and rave and 200 words turns into 2000.” – Corrie Barclay, The beginning of this post!
LASTLY… I have strung together my own 10 favourite shots from the Institute that hopefully depict the learning, collaboration, and sites that were #ADE2014.
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!
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 Learning first, technology second, 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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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!
Of late I have been attempting to, when my poor memory serves me well enough, share 1 great ICT tool per week with my staff across our College.
This is do need to admit was the idea of a Colleague of mine who simply has a way with words, hence, ‘Tool of the Week’!
So as to be able to share these with you all, i have added some of our most current documents for your download. Staff at my setting have found several of these to be very very useful within their teaching and learning programs as they are all free, simple to use, and fun!
Lastly, as i say to my staff often, “Technology integration is what you make it so don’t let your imagination hold you back!!!”.
During our recent School Improvement Team meeting, our first meeting, we discussed the many ways that staff were already integrating technology in to their teaching and learning programs. One such way that was brought up and discussed was the integration of Minecraft in to the classroom! The old adage of “if you cannot beat them, join them!”
One of our marvellous specialist teachers, Yati, has integrated the use of iPad devices, and Minecraft in particular, into her teaching program to engage her students through both effective technology integration but also by giving them a space in which to represent their learning in a way that is;
- promotes higher order thinking
- and differentiates for her students at varying levels of understanding towards her subject area
Yesterday I had the absolute pleasure of presenting a Professional Learning day for the Penguins Teachers Academy teachers at Penguin HQ in Melbourne. The focus for the day being ‘Integrating ICT within Primary Literacy’
Firstly i must thank Penguin for asking me to present for the day which was a great experience. The professionalism and set up was outstanding! Secondly, thank you also to those who attended yesterday. Your questions and conversations throughout the day caused for some excellent discussions to take place which certainly caused for additional content to be covered and talked about!
Without going in to a whole plethora of details I have embedded some of what i had covered yesterday below for your perusal and download.
Penguin have, and are, running a number of excellent professional learning opportunities based upon everything around literacy and teaching! The goal that has been derived form the development of the P.T.A. is – “To provide teachers, librarians and educational support staff with valuable professional learning, relevant and topical in your libraries and classrooms. Professional learning that can inform teaching and learning practices, complete with resources to take away and use immediately.” What more could you ask for? 😉
For more information on what Professional Learning The P.T.A. offers, head here: Penguin Teachers Academy
As mentioned above, I have included several of my resources that I shared yesterday.
Below is my introductory Keynote Presentation which covers three basic component: Digital Learners, ICT and the Aus. Curriculum, and being a Responsible Digital Citizen.
Here is a PDF version of my iBook based on ICT Resources for Literacy in the Primary Years.
Here i have embedded a presentation that i did for the Strategic Partnership Program as I demonstrated and discussed several components of this focusing heavily on the SMAR model that we adopt at my College.