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Classroom A/V Setups…

Reports. Exams. Teaching. Coaching. Learning. Assisting. Coordinating. Educating. And so….

Just a few of the things that i have had on the go lately! Usually, all at once!

With 2 weeks left of this term it’ll be great to have a break yet in saying this, it has certainly been a productive term and a lot of things have somewhat… been decided upon from a whole college perspective which has been pleasing. I have that it’s great to have a 1001 and ideas in integrating tech, embedding these ideas in to T&L programs, assisting staff, etc… yet it’s another to actually make choices on which of these ideas to implement first and to get started on!

So…

This term we formed the first official Manor Lakes ICT Committee. This committee, which consists of 10 staff from P-10 as well as specialist staff, meets every so often to make the ‘hard/er’ decisions about ICT integration in the College. A team of dedicated staff who love using IT to assist their teaching and learning programs.

One of the key decisions that was made this term, and the ball is already rolling, is to ensure that classes across the college, Early Years and Middle years, have adequate A/V equipment to use. IN the past, we have used a booking system where staff would book Digital Projectors to use with in their rooms. This has worked well, unless all are booked and you desperately need one!

With staff wanting a mix of devices we though we’d give them exactly that, and to then see how this went over the course of the remainder of the year. So here is what we have decided upon. Each team in our College from year Prep through to Year 8 will receive the following;

1. A Digital Projector Package which includes all relevant cabling, plus two Apple Mac VGA Connectors (ror older MacBooks, and newer MacBooks). Staff enjoy the fact that no matter there device, they can plug and play a D.P. quickly and easily and get their teaching happening asap! They’re lightweight, portable and these days, inexpensive.

 

 

 

 

2. A Mimio IWB with Capture Device + Supporting Digital Projector. Previously we have leased IWB’s, Smartboards, which were placed in our P-2 teaching and learning environments. We found these were mainly being used as projectors themselves and their full capabilities not being utilised, hence, our decision to move away from placing IWB’s across the college. For those unfamiliar to Mimio devices, they are IWB’s which utilise current Whiteboards and Whiteboard markers. They require either a standalone or roof mounted Digital Projector. The Mimio’s suction cup/stick to a whiteboard meaning that they can removed and are portable. I have in the past taken one from a school and used it at the Melbourne Zoo! Great devices, same interactivity and software as more traditional IWB’s, and at a slice of the cost!

 

 

 

 

3. An Apple TV Set-Up. This was the original plan. To place one of these set-ups in every 1:1 iPad room, then 1:2 for the rest of the College. The set up will involve a 50in Samsung HD Plasma, attached to a movable stand, hooked to an Apple TV Device. The reasoning behind this is the mirroring capabilities that can occur between an iPad and the Apple TV. Also that the iPad can be used, in essence, as an IWB. When Apple soon release 10.8, Mountain Lion, Apple MacBook’s will also be able to mirror! As these are portable, they do not become the focus of the room hence changing the pedagogy and the learning that is to occur.

 

I will be very keen to see how the staff utilise these technologies and how they are best introduced in to the teaching and learning programs throughout our College! I’ll be sure to assist staff where i can and as best i can to make sure also that these technologies are embedded and integrated and that the best teaching and learning can occur! As usual, i’ll keep you posted.

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Favourites (or, at least just a few of…)

Throughout the marvellous journey I have been on once i joined the Twitter fraternity, i have enjoyed, thoroughly, the many thousands of tweets that have been tweeted my way. To hear and often see what other educators are up to in their daily teaching lives has certainly open my own eyes to how i can improve my own practices.

To also have something so simple as Twitter be such an important and powerful resource, one which i now rely on frequently, at my disposal 24/7, is a great thing. To have created and developed a strong PLN, both locally and not, has been of great assistance to me, especially in my current role.

One thing that i gave found tricky with the whole Twitter thing is what to do with ALL of those great tweets and resources that come my way. Like many, i ‘favourite’ what i definitely want to come back to and occasionally even book mark items to my tool bar in Chrome directly. This has caused me a great deal of pain as my tool bar now has an utterly ridiculous amount of links associated with it, all of which has zero organisation!

So in my madness i have aimed to begin to collate what i have added as a ‘favourite’ over the years… and there’s a lot! If anyone out there in Twitter land, or somewhere else land, can assit me in the best way to orgainse these it’d be greatly appreciated!

Below i have included 20 links, yes, just the 20, that i’ve found to be of great value both in my owen role, as an educator, and as a coach!

Enjoy!

And a few extras…

 

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Term 2, here i come!

After having had 3 and a half weeks off for the birth of my beautiful daughter Lucy, I’ve had more than enough time to reflect on what my priorities are for the upcoming term!

I love my job and I hope that it loves me (fingers crossed) yet like most educators, time has this wonderful skill of escaping you when you need it most! I am going to ensure that this term, and hopefully for the terms beyond, I can get some kind of grasp of not only prioritizing what I want to do, but also what I need to do! 😉

So here are a select few items that are on my to do list that are both wants and needs for this term and beyond. Fingers crossed, yet again, that I can to the best of my ability get all of these done!

Teaching!

Priority number one. Having 3 classes of Multimedia to teach is not overly demanding however I find that other aspects of my role can dictate just how well I teach the great kids I do. I have been blessed in having students in my classes that are patient, understanding and extremely flexible, all of which certainly make my role as their teacher a lot easier! My students are focusing on film and video production and you can get a glimpse of their great work via our College’s YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/ManorLakesP12College?ob=0&feature=results_main

Apple TV Set-Ups.

We made a decision late last year to not continue the leasing of our current IWB’s. The cost of both leasing and purchasing was we felt to be quite high. My techs and I then had this wonderful idea, which we soon realized was not our idea, as a lot of schools and colleges are heading down this path, to install LED/LCD TV’s in to classroom along with Apple TV devices. Staff, especially those with iPad’s, would be able to mirror their device for the students to see! The great thing also being when Apple releases their OSX Mountain Lion, Mac Laptops will able to mirror as well! The cost of going down this path is we feel much cheaper and more cost effective than purchasing IWB’s. For a nominated amount, we can purchase a large flat screen TV, and Apple TV device, all mounting brackets etc. as well as an Nintendo Wii, for Game Based Learning Purposes! 😉 Watch this space! Here is a great article of a school and their experiences of doing something similar! http://esheninger.blogspot.com.au/2012/04/mobile-interactivity-that-wont-break.html

1:1 iPad Programs + PLT.

Our BYOD Model of our 1:1 iPad Programs in years 6 and 7 have begun extremely well! Students and staff have responded to using the devices so very well as a learning tool, which has been great to see! From this term onwards we will look at consolidating the practices and pedagogy that we are practicing! We also have our 1:1 iPad Program running in our Prep cohort and thus far also, the students are loving using the iPad to assist their learning! The comments thus far also from the staff in the prep area are very encouraging also. We will be running an iPad PLT (Professional Learning Team) this term to assist in the development of the iPad Curriculum and to assist staff in using the devices to compliment the teaching and learning that is already taking place.

1:1 MacBook Program.

As above I will be working closely with out year 8, 9 and 10 students and staff to ensure that Apple MacBook’s are being utilised as much as possible. Or should I say, as needed. Our older students are creating outstanding content via their Mac’s and it’s great to see staff ensuring students are using their devices not only correctly, but also competently.

Coaching / Staff PL.

A large part of my role is to work closely with staff in up skilling them with the tools and knowledge that they need to effectively and comfortably integrate ICT. Spending time in classes, running PL sessions, and coordinating ‘Techie Brekkies’, are all part and parcel of assisting my staff in this area. I am very lucky to have a staff, a very large staff, which see the integration of ICT as a means of fostering engagement and students meeting their intended learning outcomes. I intend to run a 2-day PL course either towards the end of this term, or the beginning of next, in creating ICT Peer Coaches for not only our college, but others as well.

Conferences.

I have a number of conferences that I am presenting at by myself as well as with colleagues coming up. I feel that one of the greatest things about being a teacher is having the ability to share your thoughts, skills, knowledge, and journey with others. The best PL comes from networking and professional discussions. ICTEV, VITTA, Slide2Learn, and now uLearn12 in New Zealand are all on my agenda and I look forward to attending and presenting! Click on the name of the mentioned conferences to read more about them.

ICTEV 2012

VITTA 2102

Slide2Learn 2012

uLearn12

College Website.

Towards the end of 2011 we had our College Website rebuilt and now it is up and running and looking and going great! Of course, with any websites, they need to have content added frequently and be update with the information and media that posted! A job I might add, in a school this large, is quite a task! The great thing being however I have a host of people I am working with to ensure this happens both regularly and in a manner that is not confusing! You can visit our college website here: http://www.manorlakesp12.vic.edu.au/

Professional Visits.

Last term was bedlam in relation to the number visitors we had from other schools coming to visit our College! As time consuming as this can be, and I do not mean that in a negative way what so ever, it was, and is, great to have schools and their educators come to visit to learn from the great things we feel that we are doing well. This area of my role is something that I enjoy, as I have mentioned, I feel that the best PL available is going and seeing others in action! One thing that I also hope to do more of as the year progresses!

As busy as i am sure i will continue to be i do look forward to all of the above! Very exciting times!

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No Excuses!

Well. As the title suggests, it’s certainly been a while since i’ve blogged here and i certainly have no excuses. Definitely NOT good enough, so i apologise to those few who like to read my ramblings!

It has been such a hectic start to 2012, a start that i will say has been fun, yet also challenging, more so from an organisational point of view though. There have not seemed to be enough hours in the day lately and hence, chaos reigns!

The 2 1:1 iPad Programs which i am coordinating, in years Prep and 6 / 7, have begun smoothly and has certainly made for many excited students running app’s and hammering the app store for anything and everything which looks fun and enjoyable to play, and that’s FREE! Teachers, particularly those new to the college, are geting their own minds around how to best integrate iPads devices in to their learning and teaching programs and i will be running extensive PL for these staff in the coming weeks!

 

Parents have been super supportive and next week i’ll be running several parent based tech sessions to assist families in monitoring and utilising the iPad and its features.

We are also still running our 1:1 MacBook programs with our year 8, 9 and 10 students, with the year 10’s having just received their brand new MacBook Pro’s, which have certainly been a highlight and great addition to the tech stocks at out school. All 600+ devices have been re-imaged and updated to OSX Lion, which in itself has been a hit! Teachers have already been running with tech integration from the moment students had their devices handed back and are utilising the technology extremely well which, from my point of view, is excellent to witness.

Lately on Friday mornings i have been assisting staff via conducting Techie Brekkies, an idea which I originally picked up from a great teacher, Henrietta Miller in Sydney. These are a chance for teachers to come to school early and spend a morning with me to learn new and wonderful things! The two that have ran so far have been for new staff in assisting them to become familiar with all of our ICT happenings at the college and to access all of the countless information that they need. This mornings session was to assist staff in creating classroom blogs to use with their students! Both sessions went very very well!

2 weeks in to the year and we have already have had our first college visitors to witness our iPad programs in action. 2 wonderful staff Toni and Kim, from Dripstone Middle School in Darwin, NT, came to see what we were all about. I sensed the feeling that they enjoyed their visit and really took something away from the discussions we had. I have two more schools coming in the next week or so to show around which is fantastic. It s great that we as a college have the time, find the time, to share pedagogical practices with others.

It appears that it will also be a big year in relation to both attending, and presenting, at a number of conferences throughout 2012. I have been listed to present at this years ICTEV Conference in May and in a fortnights time, i will be presenting at the Int. Books conference, discussing all that is eBooks and education.

As a college we’ve brought a new management system on board, known as Compass School Manager, and since we’ve/they’ve completed the initial set up, this online school management system has certainly made a lot of little tasks a whole lot easier to manage. Everything from marking the roll, which can be done on smart phone devices and tablets, to checking staff and student timetables, to creating events for excursions and to now booking available classrooms, this software has been an excellent addition to our college.

On a more personal, school based level, i have been creating a number of documents to support the teaching and learning throughout the college. these have involved a School Wide Social Media Communication Strategy (that’s a mouth full)… which will assist staff in putting processes in to place if and when they decide to use social media with their students or a class as a whole. I have also been working on an updated eLearning plan for our college. This has been based on data received from teachers at the end of 2011, who all participated in the ePotential survey, stating which areas of ICT they felt that they needed assistance in. A few of these areas for example were incorporating more aspects of social media in to their learning and teaching along with blogging, podcasting, and working more collaboratively with others outside of the college setting.

My teaching load for 2012 has increased from last year also, making for an even busier year ahead. In saying that, i am not complaining at all! I am teaching Multimedia to year nine’s and ten’s, all of whom are actively engaged and loving, well appear to be, the subject and what they’re involved in! As i mentioned in a previous post, it’s great to have a class, or several, that i can utilise as, dare i say, guinea pigs, to test all the new web 2.0 tools and sites I come across. The teaching aspect of my role is one of the greatest parts of what i do! Being able to teach, and, work closely with staff to implement and embed excellent technological practices.

I am feeling like i have only scrapped the barrel here with what is occurring throughout this year however whatever lies ahead, i will be sure to keep you all posted and updated! One main aim for this year… to continue with this blog and add more content, more often!!!

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ICT Provisioning…

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Teaching with Technology. Hmmmm. It was a good idea at the time! Now the bane of my life! Well, not entirely true! I couldn’t live without it. However, it’s certainly something that presents challenges every single day and this evening, as part of my role as eLearning Coordinator at my College my largest challenge to date, loomed!

It had nothing to do with inappropriate student use of our MacBooks, nothing to do with damaged or stolen devices, nothing to do with staff being difficult and blocking the processes I would like in place. It was all about the continuing creation of a whole College ICT Vision! (Not an easy thing to do I have found).

So… what’s the issue you ask? Well I say… there are a few. But first a bit of background knowledge on our College and where we stand! We are a 1:1 MacBook College in our Yr 7, 8 and 9 cohorts, (roughly 380 MacBooks). We also have a 1:1 iPad Trial in Yr 6 with 110 students. In addition to those programs we have iMacs, iPod Touches, more iPads in our Specialist Learning Centre, Digital Projectors, Flip Cameras, Digital Cameras, IWB’s and even more MacBooks in classes for our younger students! Safe to say we are an Apple Mac School! If I have my way, we always will be!

As you can see we have a lot of technology at my College. Technology, we love and use on a daily basis. Technology that is used, effectively and efficiently by students beyond the expectation of our Teachers to create outstanding work. Work that promotes their learning and actually demonstrates that they have achieved a learning outcome!

So… once again, what are the challenges? Ready? I am sure you can all relate to this…

1. Finance.

The cost of the technology listed above is not cheap. Apple technologies are not cheap, but they are worth every cent (personal opinion). Our iPad Trial is funded by DEECD (Gov. Education Department) so there’s no cost there. Our 1:1 MacBook Program however is the costly part. Now, I am not going to divulge figures however it is very expensive and as a College we need to find a greater model that is more sustainable! This in turn will free up more funds in my budget for the purchasing of even more technology and the building of sustainable infrastructure! More IWB’s for the junior areas, iPads for Preps, and so on and so on!

NSSCF Funding.

In a nutshell, our previous Prime Minister’s promise to place a device (net book) in the hands of every Yr 9, 10, 11 and 12 students hands! A GREAT election promise! Fantastic! Excellent way for school to implement 1:1 programs in their senior Secondary Year without schools themselves having to pay for it. So what’s the problem you say? That’s great! Well, it is! BUT… Each child in those Yr levels is allocated $1250 and can choose from ONLY 6 devices, and therein lies the problem. 5 of the 6 listed, are Windows based Net Books. The other is the MacBook, which is great for us, however the cost (and here comes more funding/finance gripes) of a MacBook is a lot more than a Net book. Not $1250 worth, but close. The remaining funds of the $1250 once a device has been purchased is to support the College in it’s 1:1 Implementation. Wireless Infrastructure, Risk Mitigation, Laptop Trollies, Electricity Costs, etc… Purchasing the MacBook does not leave us a lot. We can though, manage, but it will be a challenge.

Now. As I said we are a Mac school. Net Books are no good to our College. I am not saying that Net Books are a terrible device and that schools who have gone down that path have made a poor choice, etc, etc… Net Books are simply NOT suitable for us and our setting. We as a College have worked too hard working with students to assist them to create such outstanding pieces of work that going from MacBooks to Net Books simply would not suit the Multimedia purposes that we have and that the students currently use.

So that is THE challenge!

Where to now? A Vision! What would and do I want for our College? To create a vision, a provision for ICT across the College, from P-9 is a challenging task. I’d love to put an iPad in the hand of every student! How do I go about that? What funding models do I follow? Lease? Share costs with parents? Parent funded? School purchased? Do I not have any iPads and go MacBooks? Perhaps then only from 5-9, or, when we are a fully fledged College, 7-12? Then who funds that? The NSSCF? The College? This is my challenge!

To all of you out there who may read this… if you had the chance to create an ICT Vision for your College, a vision that will last for 3-5 years, what would you want? Would an iPad for every child be a good thing? Would you want a MacBook for the older students? Is 1:1 the way to go full stop? There is so much discussion that I could continue with, discussions that I’ve had with Apple and their Education and Finance people, my College’s Leadership team, our Mac Provider and Parents. These conversations I’ll save for the update!

I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments about the above.

Thanks!

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TDT… Apple Remote Desktop!

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Last night after a what was a busy day and all of the little cherubs had departed,  I hosted a short, yet fast paced, Tech Day Thursday session for our new staff involved in our 1:1 MacBook program. Having several new staff, mainly graduates, in our 1:1 area, who had never used a MacBook before made, and still makes, for interesting times. It had been super however to see these new staf take on board the Core Apple Technologies being used at our College and keeping up with and in front of the expert students we have in our 1:1 program.

One key piece of software that we utilise for both the monitoring of student laptop usage and for the sharing of student work is Remote Desktop, or as it’s more affectionately known, ARD. This great piece of software allows staff in our 1:1 area to view what it is students are doing on their MacBooks in real time. Staff can view 1 machine at a time or several depending on their ARD settings. It is a great way to ensure that all students within a particular class or cohort are on task and completing the great work they are known to complete.

It is important as always that staff are up and roving the room as they would normally however ARD gives the teacher another avenue of monitoring what the students are doing. Students have become very very cleaver at utilising the Expose’ and Spaces features on their MacBooks to ‘hide and cover’ what it is that they are looking at!

Since last nights session staff have been actively involved in monitoring student usage throughout today which has been great to see. It has been ever greater to see staff using ARD for teaching and learning purposes!

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What. A. Week.

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As the title suggests, what. a. week. Chaotic! Bedlam! Hectic! And… i loved every bit of it! Between teaching, working with staff, solving IT based issues, and everything else it was the week that was. The two highlights for the week however would certainly have been our1:1 MacBook Parent/Student Rollout Evenings and the visitors we had to out College to see the great things happening in regards to our iPad trial!

I’ll start with the 1:1 Rollout Evening. These nights are always chaotic. The setting up, the ensuring that all documentation is ready to go and be handed out, that all MacBooks, Bags, Key Tags, and Student Login Details are ready to be distributed all make for a lot of work! We ran four rollout sessions over two massive nights and and i am pleased to say that all went smoothly! Students and parents were informed that they had to attend and sign all relevant documentation to recieve their MacBooks, which, of course, meant that over the two nights just about all 150 students and their parents showed up, which was fantastic to see.

The hour long sessions were broken down in to three parts involving three speakers, one of those being myself introducing the evening and giving an overview of our 1:1 MacBook program. We had two representatives in James and Hayley from Mac1, our Mac Supplier, talk to parents and students about looking after and caring for the MacBooks which was great. The highlight of our sessions however was having Tony Richards (@itmadesimple) from ITmadeSimple attend all sessions and talk to those who attended re: the issues of Cyber Safety and Cyber Bullying! Tony really gave an eye opening presentation outlining the importance for our students to not give away detailed personal information, any personal information as a matter of fact, to any online site. Tony demonstrated just how easy it is for students to be tracked using the information that they post via Social Networking sites which really got people in the audience talking, none more so than teachers who were attending the sessions also. It was just as eye opening to see the importance we all must place on Cyber Bullying and the lasting effects that it can have on all those involved. I’ll be posting about these issues and sharing resources with you all soon!

So… we now have 99% of all Yr 7 students with their own MacBook and all looking like kids in a lolly shop! The staff in Yr 7 can not also contain their excitement as all their planned lessons are containing rich and relevant I.T. based activities!

The other major event to occur last week was the hosting of two College’s to our school to see the exemplary things happening in our iPad trial. The first of our visitors was Holly from Mallauna College. Holly is currently involved in Professional Learning Leave and is looking at how the implementation of mobile technologies can assist and foster learning in students. Holy got to see the Yr 6 students in action and was impressed to the great ways in which the iPads were being implemented in in to the teaching program. It will be great to see the results of Holly’s Professional Learning Leave findings and whether her College decides to go down the 1:1 iPad path.

The second group of visitors that we hosted were from Braemar College. Paul, the AP, Rod, the manager for IT, and Christine, eLearning Coordinator all were keen to see the iPads in action as well as they are considering going 1:1 in specific areas of their College. It was a pleasure to host these groups of visitors and answer their questions about anything and everything related to iPads, 1:1 learning and mobile technologies. It is great that people out there are hearing about the great things the staff at MLC are doing with the iPads and are willing to take time out of their busy day to visit us and see what we are doing!

I hope that i was some assistance to these visitors and that they do decide to go down the path of 1:1 iPads in their educational settings. Each day i am seeing more benefits to using iPads for learning and can see these devices becoming more and more popular amongst education institutions.

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And that was a small part of the week that was.

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GBL & Digital Media Creation!

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1 week in and my students appear to be engaged, enthused and enjoying what it is that they are doing. The two discovery units that I am running for Yr 9 this year have a strong Inquiry focus through largely implementing ICT and IT ideology!

GBL, or Games Based Learning, is something that I heard about several years ago and is an idea that has not really taken off here in Oz as yet. I know that the discussions around GBL are becoming more in depth and that Educator’s around the country are trying to implement more of a Games Based focus within their teaching and learning practices. The work of people such as Mark Prensky and Adrian Camm (his Games in Education Wiki is Excellent) have certainly pushed the notion of GBL into many educators minds. The mention that GBL also received in both the 2010 and now 2011 K-12 Edition of the Horizon Report also have assisted GBL to be seen as a more serious method of teaching in the 21st Century. The Horizon Report 2010 states –

“The interest in game-based learning has accelerated considerably in recent years, driven by clear successes in military and industrial training as well as by emerging research into the cognitive benefits of game play. Developers and researchers are working in every area of game-based learning, including games that are goal-oriented; social game environments; non-digital games that are easy to construct and play; games developed expressly for education; and commercial games that lend themselves to refining team and group skills. At the low end of game technology, there are literally thousands of ways games can be — and are already being — applied in learning contexts. More complex approaches like role-playing, collaborative problem solving, and other forms of simulated experiences have broad applicability across a wide range of disciplines, and are beginning to be explored in more classrooms.”

The discovery that I am running with two Yr 9 classes is seeing my students talk about and discuss the relevance of GBL and weather or not they as students, as digital learners, see a place for GBL in the education system. It has been interesting to see their notion between games and gaming and how these seem to differ. That playing a game and gaming involve different skills and can be worlds apart. As a class we view the following You Tube Video which explained quite well, albeit quite fast, the differences between educational games and gaming for entertainment. We held several discussions about the notions shown in the video which promoted plenty of rich and relevant thoughts to be shared.

Students have since been asked to complete a research paper on GBL and what it involves, how can we assist other people to see the benefits of GBL in a classroom, and what examples of GBL can we get involved in to promote GBL amongst the educational community.

One major aim for this unit is to have each and every one of my students having developed, researched and constructed a Serious Game that can be used within a classroom setting! I am sure that they will rise to that challenge!

Over the past 2 years working with Secondary students in a 1:1 Program, it has been an amazing journey to see them progress with their ICT skills and to see them create the outstanding pieces that they have. The use of CORE Apple Technology and the Applications via iLife and iWork have certainly assisted both students and teachers alike with the learning and teaching that occurs. My discovery unit titled Digital Media Creation has been based around a Document written by Marco Torres and Ross Kallen, which was sponsored by Apple, called ‘A Curriculum for Digital Media Creation‘. I have modified the lesson involved to suit the needs of my students as well as the resources on offer at my College.

The discovery essentially involves the students looking at film and media creation, from the thought processes of thinking up ideas for a project, to creating the storyboard, to then placing that storyboard in to action! As the document mentions “Every day digital media becomes more important as a means for receiving, producing, sharing and broadcasting information tools and resources that were once the exclusive property of a few are now available to many more people.”

This week will see my students create a 60sec video staring a day in the life of… an inanimate object! A rock, water bottle, laptop… whatever! This should be a laugh! I am sure all of the students will do extremely well! I will aim to have all film uploaded by the end of the week  to you all to see!

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And I’m Back!

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Here I am back at work having left off straight from where i left myself and my workload in 2010. I was thinking that the beginning of 2011 back at school would be somewhat of a smooth process. WRONG! It seems there is truly no rest for the wicked and in the world of ICT it seems that things keep evolving, changing and occasionally, crashing and burning to make life difficult!

But… In saying this i would not have it any other way! In the week and bit i have now been back it has been one of the most hectic work times of my life but i have enjoyed every minute of it. I have rolled out with the assistance of my great Tech’s 130+ MacBooks for classroom use, ensured that all 130+ iPads are up and running for all our students involved in the DEECD iPads for Learning Trial, and made sure that all students in our 1:1 MacBook program in years 8 and 9 have smooth running machines, all of which were re-imaged and raring to go!

Next week I hold two 1:1 Laptop Information Sessions for parents and Students in Yr 7. Parents and students will be spoken to myself of course about our 1:1 Program as well as Tony Richards from ITMadeSimple, who discuss the importance of Cyber Saftey and Cyber Bullying. We also have one of our Apple Supplier representatives from Mac1 talking as well on MacBook care and support. This has been a great night in the past with 80-90% of all parents and their students attending.

A key focus for myself this year, along with teaching my Yr 9 Discovery units on Game Based Learning and Digital media Creation, is to get in to the junior section of the school to assist teachers in that area embed ICT more frequently in to teaching and learning practices. We will be running a buddy program with our Prep and Yr 6 students based upon the use of iPads, integrate and place a greater focus on the use of our IWB’s, and aim to get all students up and running on the all mighty Ultranet!

Since we’ve started back i have already been contacted by two Colleges to come and see the great work our students and teachers are doing with the iPads as well as being visited by the Independent Evaluators of the DEECD iPads for Learning Trial who are keen to see and hear all that’s happening in regards to the trial!

I am keen also this year to utilise the expertise of the excellent people i work with across the college! I have staff who are excelling in the use of Web 2.0 tools, cloud computing and the use of all Apple Applications, especially those associated with iWork and iLife. I even have a staff member creating his own iPad/iPhone4 Applications for use with his prep class! I will certainly keep you informed.

Personally, i have applied to become an ADE (Apple Distinguished Educator) and am hoping that I receive the magical message that informs me that i have been successful! And if not, so be it. I will also continue to run my ‘Tech day Thursday’s’ to assist all staff at my College, especially with all and anything ICT.

Let 2011 begin!

1

My 211 Happenings!

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Well. Here we go. What will 2011 hold for me? What are my aims and goals and challenges?

I must say that I am looking forward to this year. I have a number of things that I have in the pipe works in which I am greatly looking forward to. This year will see me teaching Year 9 for the first time in my teaching career. Not that I see this a challenge as I have been fortunate enough to teach the same cohort of students the past two years. Rather than being a generalist class teacher as I have been in the past, I will be teaching two ICT based Discovery Units (Electives) covering two areas I am very interested in.

Game Based Learning has certainly grabbed the attention of educators in the last 18 months and had been a proven hit for those educational settings that have trialed the teaching of this. I look forward to investigating through inquiry why games, video games in particular, are so popular and how they are created. Students will also be given the chance to create their own basic games and to then share these with others. People such as @adrian_camm have been somewhat of an inspiration for me after hearing him speak about game based learning at the recent Ulearn10 Conference in Christchurch. Adrian’s Games In Education Wiki can be found HERE.

The other Discovery that I will undertaking will be titled ‘Digital Media Creation’. This will involve my students looking at film and how technology assists in the creation of certain programs. My students will investigate how films are made, primarily documentaries, and put in to action the creation of storyboards, working with audio and various techniques as well as investigating lighting and trouble shooting lighting issues. I have a core group of budding IT Savvy students who are keen to get involved in this and I greatly look forward to rolling with this.

Another large part of my role for this year will be to Peer Coach staff at my College. Working closely with staff and assisting them as much as I can in regards with implementing ICT in to their teaching and learning programs is something which I enjoy and through the ICT Peer Coaching Professional Learning that I undertook in 2010, I feel I have a great grounding to really set some great Peer Coaching in practice.

The 1:1 MacBook and iPad Trails that I coordinate are certainly two things that I am deeply passionate about! Having seen our Secondary students grow in to the excellent Digital Learners that they are today and to witness the great things they are able to create on their MacBooks is outstanding. The iPad trial also with our Year 6 cohort has been a revelation at our College and has paved the way in opening the eyes of parents, staff and other students in just how valuable mobile technology is and how beneficial it can be.

Teaching teachers and sharing my experiences is also something I look forward to in 2011. I look forward to presenting at several conferences and have already been booked in for a few! Sharing the experiences of our iPad trial and our 1:1 MacBook program are always great fun.

So there. I am sure there are another 24 things I have failed to mention and there will be zero shortage of things to be done in 2011 but, if I didn’t enjoy it, I would do it!