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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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BYOD, or… BYOT?

Last Tuesday my Principal Jason and I attended a breakfast/meeting,  hosted by our Mac supplier/partner Xcite Logic. The philosophy and ideology behind this breakfast meeting was to get together with other schools working with Xcite and discuss where we are all heading in relation to BYOD or, Bring Your Own Device.

This model of technology integration appears to be gaining momentum in schools across Australia and i know that school and ICT leaders and educators are somewhat divided by it’s happening. As a college we have decided to move down this path, as we feel that the benefits behind BYOD are the best fit for our college and community.

The BYOD model at my college is in direct relation to our year 6 and 7 students who have been asked to purchase their own iPad device. If only this was the case at the moment with a reduced price (that is a whole other story!)… We have received excellent praise and feedback from our parents in relation to moving down this path and as a college we are grateful for that. When parents are in full support of your decisions as a college it makes what you do more worthwhile and a lot more rewarding!

The day began hearing from Tony Panetta, the managing director of Xcite Logic. Tony gave background information on Xcite and the key people involved at the company who were working closely with schools to implement technology in any way, yet especially BYOD.

From here we looked at the following question: “What is BYOD and why would you do it?”. A good question! For us as a college we felt that it was the best fit. We are already a large college of 1500 strong, and rapidly growing. To lease and manage machines was not entirely feasible, especially as we are an Apple Mac School. To move from a leased laptop option to a BYOD iPad option we felt was a great avenue for success in meeting student learning outcomes and embedding a culture of effective pedagogy through ICT.

We next heard from Anita L’Faunt, Excites National Teaching and Learning Consultant. Anita spoke about BYOT (bring your own technology) and what the key +’s and -’s were in relation to this model. Now. BYOT means students can bring ANY device to the school. They are not railroaded in to one particular device or OS. Students can use iPads, laptops. MacBooks, smart phones, etc… This is my opinion is outstanding in theory. However… it does have certain implications in relation to teaching and learning, technical setup, back end setup, etc… Obviously though, this model does give students the flexibility to each have a device in their hand to foster anywhere, anytime learning. Some features of a BYOT model were discussed and here they are:

  • Choice. Choice in the device for the students and parents not having to purchase extra technology. They can use what they already have.
  • Equitable access to online learning.
  • Student centred learning and access.
  • The school provides a robust infrastructure for all learners to access information
  • Specific decisions about ICT support and service can be made.
  • Teachers focus on digital pedagogies rather than how things work.

From an Admin POV:

  • Schools can build a sustainable tech model.
  • Provide a technical solution that’s in line with the school beliefs.
  • Direct school funds to develop a sound infrastructure.

From a teaching and Learning POV:

  • Student’s motivation. Students using their OWN devices.
  • It becomes a learner centred environment.
  • Takes the focus of ICT training for teachers.
  • Solves issues of staff wanting to pigeon hole students through wanting to use a particular program.

From an IT Dept:

  • Less time taken and used on technical support.
  • Reduced load on ICT infrastructure.

Examples of colleges and districts heading down this path were also mentioned and i have included more information about these below, including a video from the Hanover Public School District in Pennsylvania.

The discussions then centred around our more traditional BYOD models and how we as schools and colleges could best implement this. Everything was discussed from security online, to iTunes accounts and iPad usage, to iPad management software such as Casper Suite, bandwidth and wireless issues as well as rolling out devices to families and students the best way possible.

Lastly, we heard from the Keynote speaker of the morning, Leanne Windsor, who is a staff member at TIGS (The Illawarra Grammar School), and their schools journey in BYOT. Key points taken from Leanne’s presentation were:

  • BYOT is very different to BYOD. Students are no railroaded in to one device. Options are plentiful for them to choose.
  • Parents need guidance in being part of a BYOT model. If none is given they may just well freak out. It is important to discuss with your families along the way all that you are doing and are about to do. Give them support.
  • Laptops are, at TIGS, the primary device. Other devices are optional, but laptops are the way to go.
  • 70% of devices at TOGS are Apple Mac based. This is purely a student driven thing. Not a school push in any way.
  • Leadership support is essential.
  • A sound infrastructure and network is needed!
  • Access is more or less guaranteed to ALL students.
  • Clear policies and guidelines are needed to assist in the implementation and running of a BYOT program.

So  after ALL of that, what are your thoughts? BYOD, or, BYOT? Is one a better fit for your college? At this stage, i think we are happy running with our BYOD model. Yes, we are dictating to kids what devices that they can use however… in relation to meeting student learning outcomes, we feel that is the best fit for our students, staff, and community. Would love to hear from others!

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Ballarat Cluster Curric. Day

This afternoon I had the arduous task of heading down to ‘The Sands’ Resort at Torquay in Victoria to present to a cluster of small schools from in and around Ballarat. I say arduous as the sun was shining, the golf greens were glistening and the resort itself was stunning.

All up I think there were approximately 10 schools who attended with roughly 52+ participants, all there to learn more about and discuss use of the iPad as a teaching and learning tool, implementation as well as differentiated curriculum.

For the life of me I cannot remember the names of all the attending schools however I can recall that Miner Rest PS, Caledonian PS, Skipton PS, Invermay PS, Amphitheatre PS and Landsborough were just a few!

It was impressive to see so many staff from so many schools congregate for a common cause. Something that I feel does not happen as often as it should. As I mentioned today, the best professional learning one can attend is that involving networking with other likeminded schools and sharing ideas. This can be done a couple of ways, either by meeting and discussing key issues and topics, like today, or visiting other schools and college’s to witness best practice.

I was contacted by Justin Marshman (Principal of Invermay PS) some time ago and asked if I’d like to come and share our college’s story of iPad implementation. I often feel that I/we are by no means masters of what we do however we have been down that path and are continuing to learn and build on our experiences. And, of course, we’re/I am, happy to share!

The first speaker of the conference was Simon Shaw, who is an Education Executive for Apple. His role is primarily that of a teaching and learning one whereby he assists teachers and schools in implementing the use of technology. I have known Simon for a little while had had heard of the excellent work that he had done at St. Albans Meadows PS in the Western Suburbs in relation to 1:1 computing and using Apple technology. Simon discussed and shared how the iPad can be best utilised through sharing some excellent applications such Factor Samurai, Brainstorm and Wordwizard.

Simon also spoke about the Horizon K-12 Report for Education. A document released each year by the New Media Consortium who take a whole load of data, trends in education, technology information and so on, and give a list of emerging technologies which will be implemented by educational institutions by a set time.

Simon focused on Personalised Learning and the effect that this can have, in a positive way of course, with differentiating the curriculum and learning spaces for our students. You can find the K-12 Horizon Report HERE.

Despite having heard about it before, but always happy to hear again, is the technology adoption model by Ruben Puente Dura. A model which I have discussed with my own staff in the use of technology and adopting it to use as a tool to assist meeting student learning outcomes. I have attached an image, albeit a shocking one, of this model below. The importance with this model, I feel, is for schools and educators to steer clear of the bottom 2 models of tech adoption. Those being substitution and augmentation. To read more about this model and the works of Ruben Puente Dura, visit his site HERE.

After Simon had presented it was a short break and then over to yours truly. I have embedded the Prezi i used below so as to show you what I presented rather than explain it in lengthy, mindless paragraphs!

Hopefully it makes some sense! If you have any questions of queries please feel free to email me, my details are on the Prezi!

I just would like to not only thank Justin for the invitation, but all schools and teachers in attendance for the kind feedback and questions afterwards. I really do look forward hearing how these school begin to utilise ICT, and in detail, iPads as Mobile Technology, in their own settings.

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Podcasting 101

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2 weeks ago I began a fantastic PL course offered by VITTA (Victorian Information Technology Teachers Association) labelled the Certificate in Emerging Technologies. This certificate involved attending four units, each which centered around an aspect of technology that are emerging at an ever rapid rate.

The first of these units focused upon Podcasting and how it can assist student learning. This great session was hosted by John Pearce (@mrpbps to you twitter fans), an excellent and experienced educator who ran us through the basics such as making podcasts to the more complex of digital story telling.

Below i have embedded a great video from the people at CommonCraft which explains Podcasting in a nutshell!

The 3 hour long workshop saw us using a variety of audio software such as Audacity as well as various web 2.0 tools to develop, enhance and share created podcasts.

We attempted creating our own podcasts (a general consensus being people hated the sound of their own voice, or that may have just been me!) and cutting and adding various aspects of what we recorded. Audacity as already mentioned is a great piece of software for this and its in built tools make it quite easy for the user to get their head around. For those of us who had a mac, we suggested that Garage Band is an excellent piece of software for podcasting and has many in built features for the user. The fact also that created podcasts can be exported as MP3 fils straight to your iTunes library was an added bonus.

The web 2.0 tools we investigated were varied and were great examples of the online resources available to those who did not have software such as Audacity and Garage Band. PhotoPeach was a great little online space which allowed users to create small yet effective digital presentationw online. We also investigated using PhotoStory3 from a PC perspective and although i am an avid Mac user, i do remember clearly using this Microsoft tool several years ago with year 2-4 students, who used it with great success! Very similar to creating a slideshow in Keynote or Powerpoint and exporting it as a movie, yet with a little more emphasis on image manipulation.

We discussed the notion of movie and video based podcasts or ‘Vodcasts’ and that Windows Movie Maker and Apple’s iMove were two excellent tools for this. Jaycut and Stupeflix were 2 online movie editing programs that were promising online alternatives to their software counterparts. Vodcast’s have been something that our year 6 iPad students had been using throughout the year with an application called ‘Show Me’. This app allows students to create a screen recording whilst also voice recording. The benefits of this being students can articulate their learning via a Vodcast.

The question arose of where to house your created podcasts so that people could suscribe to them. Podomatic appeared to be one of the best places online to house your podcasts. You also have the option of being able to record podcasts online here also.

The workshop got me thinking about how I have currently used podcasting and how i can continue to use it in a meaningful way. Here are 10 ways that i have incorporated Podcasting in to my teaching and learning:

– Having students reflect upon their learning at the conclusion of a lesson to demonstrate specific success criteria for a lesson or task.
– Students using podcasting to predict events, either in a text, for a lesson, or before going on an excursion.
– Older students subscribing to particular podcasts via iTunes and reflecting and reporting on these. Great for literacy.
– Students creating Podcasts for inquiry/integrated studies. I.e. Podcasting as a Australian Soldier in a trench during WW1.
– Students creating audio books for younger classes. Great for students to create an ‘audio library’. Focus on expression and speaking skills.
– During numeracy, incorporating mobile devices and students listening to directions given by another student via a podcast.
– For literacy students create a radio advertisement for a product. They also can create their own music via Garage Band or using something as simple as Isle of Tune.
– Students debating a topic in a group or as a whole class and embedding this on to a blog, seeking feedback.
– Students interviewing guests to their schools such visitors running incursions. These can become part of your eNewsletter.
– One for the teachers, when conferencing or completing running records for reading assessment, podcast the students reading and keep these over time. Great to give to parents throughout the year and use for parent teacher sessions!

Lastly, this LINK is to a Simple K-12 free eBook titled ‘Integrating Podcasts’. It has some great little ideas!

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Digital Storytelling @ ACMI

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Over the past two days i have been fortunate enough to have attended a wonderful professional learning experience at ACMI (Australian Centre for Moving Image) at Fed Square in Melbourne.

Now. Having been to Fed Square and ACMI one thousand times before i knew the emphasis that was placed on film and australian cinema. I also knew that ACMI ran professional learning for teachers and workshops for students but what i did not know was just how professional the experience was, until now. ACMI education resources can be found HERE.

As a result of our college, primarily one of our prep classes and their teacher, Sam (@sirwin2pt0), having recently completed a digital literacies grant, we were invited to attend a two day workshop to educate us about the power and process of creating professionally made digital stories.

Prior to attending the workshop we were given the following document: , and asked to write a 150-300 script which would be the basis for the digital story were were to create. After reading through the above document i decided to write about my honeymoon back in 2008, something which my wife and i will never forget for so many reasons.

Day began out by discussing what digital stories are and for those who had already used them as part of their teaching, realising how to make them more authentic and give them a greater purpose in your teaching. We discussed the language and grammar that is often used in DS’ (digital stories) and how that language can change the nature of a digital creation. We discussed the power of digital literacy and the importance that learning through film and video can induce in people, especially students. A great example that was shown is below! An all time classic!

The morning was spent talking about the process of film and animation creation and the importance of having strong ideology prior to the production stages. The creation of a story board, after a script had been completed, was essential. The storyboards aim was to show, in a comic like format, the shots that would be needed and the camera angles that would be used. When completing the stryboard process the follwoing needs to be thought about:

  • what shots do you want to use?
  • what camera anges are appropriate?
  • where will the actors/characters be in the shot?
  • what sort of movement do you want the camera to have?

With a DS essentially being a recount text type or genre, we spoke about also the importance of the film giving the viewer background information to ensure that they would understand the story. The who, what, when, where. That being a DS, and a recount, it was imperative that personal comments were embedded thickly in to the film.

From the above we were asked to read and re-read the scripts we had brought in and worked with the ACMI staff leading the workshop to ensure that they were conveying our stories without giving un wanted language and text. One great idea, that we didn’t do yet discussed, was the idea of script circles. A process where those with completed scripts sit in a circle and read them aloud to the rest of the group. The invites feedback from others on how to improve the script as the scripts writer can often not realise that they have missed key information.

Once completed, we took turns to enter a sound recording booth and have our audio recorded, so that we could then embed in to the iMovie HD software we were using! (Can you imagine my joy when i realised we would be using iMacs!).

One of the ACMI iMacs in Action!

One of the ACMI iMacs in Action!

Once we had recored our audio, imported it into iMovie HD, it was then where the fun really began. We were also asked to bring along any images or audio to compliment our scripts and it was with these images that we would create basic overlays of a storyboard on top of our printed scripts, to show which photos would go where in our DS’. This was a time consuming process as we were told to overburden our stories with too many images and this can take away from what your story is aiming to achieve.

The remainder of day one and the majority of day two was spent pulling everything together. Ensuring that the audio and images were overlapping correctly and in the right places. That effects, transitions and text were included where needed, and here was were another major emphasis arose. As good as these effects and the like are, than can be overwhelming when creating a digital story. That students especially need to not get carried away with including too many of these effects.

So after a good 90 minutes of ensuring i was content with my completed digital story, it was exported as a full HD film, compressed and placed on to a memory stick. I was a little perplexed to see that a 2min digital story ended up being 550MB monolith.

Overall, it was a large 2 days of PL. In depth and rich in what we learnt about digital creation and creating stories as a whole. If my monolithically huge story was not so large i would gladly share it with you all.

Below i have also included some great links related to ACMI such as their 15second project, which has huge potential for student and teacher use!

ACMI 15 second Place.
ACMI Generato.r
ACMI Online Resources.
ACMI Teacher Development.

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Marco Torres

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Firstly, apologies for the lacklustre efforts on my own behalf to keep adding to this Blog, it’s certainly been on my to do list, along with the other 14,567 things!

Anyway… Several Tuesdays ago i had the pleasure of attending a Professional Learning opportunity that was too good to resist, that being to hear the great Marco Torres speak and share his philosophies about teaching and learning and the importance of using technology in the classroom. I had heard Marco once before at an Apple ITSC Conference and was in awe really of what he had to say and what he shared. His knowledge and  beliefs about education are outstanding and the examples that he shares with those he speaks too are phenomenal.

For those of you who are thinking, “who the hell is Marco Torres?”, he can be defined simply in this little grab from http://www.novemberlearning.com/ – “Marco is a social studies teacher, media coach, and education technology director at San Fernando High School. He has received numerous honors and awards for his work helping students empower themselves through the mastery of multimedia. He serves as one of Apple’s Distinguished Educators and is an advisory board member of The George Lucas Educational Foundation.” Marco is also a television and film producer and has worked on such shows such as Myth Busters and the major motion picture ‘Collateral’.

So instead of hoarding all of my notes, I thought that i would simply share them with you, which were taken via my iPad using the Corkboard App, and hopefully via these, you will be able to take some key thoughts and ideology from what was is listed. Please excuse what does not make sense!

Mac1 PL

Several of the key points made by Marco that really reasonated i suppose with me were:

1. That ‘why’ is everything! Give everything you do as a teacher a context, a place in what it is that you are doing. Students need to understand that there is a reason behind what it is that they are doing in class and not simply because it’s in the curriculum.

2. It’s not about the content being taught, it’s about the delivery. There are ways to teach and there are was to engage. Go with the latter. Do not be, never be, afraid to mix it up in your class and teach differently. Take a risk. If it does not work, who cares. Move on and try something else.

3. Watching people learn and reflect is engaging. MasterChef, The Block, The Renovators and My Kitchen Rules are all examples of these! Get your students in the habit of watching each other learn and reflect on their own learning. Not about the task they are doing or have done, but about HOW they are learning.

4. Make Chefs, not cooks. If you then dont get a chef, you’ll always have a cook. Aim high and set the bar at a level that will challenge the students and their abilities. Average standards set by teachers get average results.

5. Ship you ideas and your learning. Do do and then do nothing. Share what you learn. Share how you learn. Collaborate with others!

6. It’s not about the final product, it’s about the process. Students, and teachers for that matter, will learn more from the journey they go on to complete a task rather than by looking at what they’ve created at the end.

At the end of the day i approached Marco and thanked him for the day and his time. He was very appreciative of that. He then responded with “So how are you going to reflect on the day”? Good question. Often I attend PL and conferences, think about what i have heard and seen, use a few ideas that i picked up along the way, take a few notes, and that’s about it! As a teacher i am always asking students to reflect on their learning, i am thinking after Marco’s comments it’s about time i start doing it myself.

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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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iPads vs Netbooks vs Laptops…

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Last night I was lucky enough to be asked to participate in an EdTechCrew Podcast via Skype, which was a great experience! The EdTechCrew, which consists of Darrel Branson (The ICT Guy) and Tony Richards from itmadesimple.com, upload weekly discussions via PodCast on a whole range of topics all relating to digital education, technologies, web based tools, web 2.0 and much much more!

The topic of discussion, as you can see from the title of the this post, was a great one! The whole iPad / Netbook / Laptop debate! Via the Skype call which Darrel and Tony hosted, i was fortunate enough to be joined by Adam Brice (@adambrice), an Assistant Principal at Ringwood Nth Primary School who is doing great with with iPads as part of the DEECD iPads 4 Learning Trial.

We also had Narissa Leung (@rissl) who is the Ultranet Coach in the Goldfields Network of the Loddon Mallee Region who is also very Passionate about eLearning and all things Cyber Safety. Last by certainly not least was Brett Moller (@brettmoller) who is Head of Learning and Educational Technologies at King’s Christian College on the Gold Coast. Brett has an extensive knowledge of ICT and worked with schools through Australia, Asia and the US.

The chat started with an introduction from Tony about each of the speakers and then it was down to the nuts and bolts of what we were there for. Each speaker was given roughly 3-5mins to present their case about which piece of Technology they saw to be most beneficial to student learning and teaching practices.

Rather than bore you all with my recount of the evening i will add a link below, when it arrives, of the actual Podcast itself. All i will say for now is that all guest speakers spoke strongly about which device they believed was the best for students and their learning.

It was great to have such an easy going conversation about such a debatable topic and to have the opportunity to hear such great educators speak and hear their pasion for ICT was a great experience. One thing that i certainly took away was that it was awesome to to hear not so much about what digital device is the ‘best’ to use, but that digital devices were in fact being used with students! I strongly feel also that depending on your schools setting and student needs, which cohorts will be using the devices and for what purposes, the need for different devices is paramount.

I am sure that all of you have your thoughts on which device you feel is the best fit for student learning, weather you’re a fan of Apple Technologies or a lover of PC and Windows based devices, I am sure that this debate will continue to rage on and continue to challenge those of us who are avid about using and embedding technology in to teaching and learning programs!