0

iPads w/ Amber X2!

Recently my College was lucky enough to be asked to host a Professional Learning Event for teachers across the Victorian South-West Region.

The PL was ran by a wonderful American educator by the name of Amber Kowatch, a MACUL Teacher of the Year recipient and all round iPad and technology integration guru!

It was great to have Amber out at our College and hear her story around her school districts challenges and success in providing technology to their students. It was also wonderful to listen to some of Amber’s key messages in both integrating iPad devices from scratch and using these to support teaching and learning.

Amber’s session highlighted the work that had been done in her school district, Ludington, MI,  in running and coordinating a 1:1 iPad pilot program and the massive success that came from this pilot.


View Larger Map

Due to the success that had come from the work of Amber and her colleagues, a 30min film was professionally produced and tells the story of Amber’s journey in detail demonstrating all of those challenges and successes that were evident before and after the journey. The trailer for this film is embedded below and can also be can be located on Amber’s “Look, I’m Learning” website. This film is a must watch for any school looking to move forward down a 1:1 path and wanting some inspiration!

Look, I’m Learning from Allyson Rockwell on Vimeo.

Also that must be mentioned is the excellent ‘FAQ‘ page that probes in to a number of questions relating to the pilot Amber was directly involved in as well as questions directly related to the use of the iPad device in education.

This session will highlight how “Look! I’m Learning!” began. It will give details as to how the iPad pilot program in Ludington, Michigan got started and the success that soon followed. It will highlight the many incredible ways that the iPad changed the classroom environment as well as showcase the bond initiative that allowed the entire community to share in its success. This session will be ideal for administrators, School Council members, and educators that are interested in hearing about how to the program started and what led to its success.

Participants watching “Look, I’m Learning!”.

Following some great discussion about what we’d just viewed and delving a bit deeper in to Amber’s journey, we then proceeded to to discuss more about the actual  ‘nuts and bolts’ of using an iPad to support learning. The great thing here was once again, with all those in attendance from a variety of settings, all had great things to contribute and put forward.

Amber covered and discussed a multitude of iPad Applications that have supported her teaching, focused on learning, and assisted her iPad pilot program to become the success it has been. A variety of the applications that were covered were;

App’s Formative Assessment…

  • eclicker
  • Socrative
  • Poll Everywhere

 App’s for Creating Tutorials (by both teachers and students)

  • Educreations
  • Showme
  • Ask3
  • ScreenChomp

App’s to Support Reading

  • A to Z App
  • RAZ Kids
    • Levelled Readers
    • Guided Reading Groups
    • App Skills
  • OverDrive

 App’s to Support Math

  • Splash Math
  • Math Series
  • Clock Master
  • Pearl Diver
You can find a list of the above and other applications that Amber and her colleagues recommend HERE.
As a group and facilitated by Amber was the concept of publishing students school work in a traditional sense versus that of a digital method. The fact that having students create digital ebooks that could be shared amongst the class, the running of a class or individual blog, and the creation of online scavenger hunts, all encouraged students to share their work with a greater audience.

This also as we know fosters a greater notion of best practice amongst our students as what they are creating will be viewed by a larger audience, hence the quality of what we as teachers see produced by the students increased.

So, in summary of what Amber spoke about, shared, and discussed… Fantastic! Hopefully we see her back in Australia in the future to once again share her knowledge with us!

0

Educational Blogging

Last Friday I presented my first ‘techie brekkie’ for the year focusing on educational blogging for my staff. These sessions are fully optional and are run before school on a Friday morning. They are informal, fun, and a great way to learn a lot in a little amount of time!

I first heard about ‘techie brekkies’ from a great teacher in NSW, Henrietta Miller, who ran them often for her staff to help up skill them in all things tech and teaching. Now, like all good ideas, I decided to pinch it!, and run similar sessions with my own staff to assist those who were perhaps wanting more professional learning based upon technology integration, yet in a more informal manner.

A lot of my staff run their own class blogs and the like for a whole number of reasons, mainly to connect their classrooms to the outside world and share their amazing internal happenings externally. As we have a number of new staff to our college in 2013 I thought this a great opportunity to get their own skills in this area up and running.

Now. In the big scheme of things I know a little about blogging from a teaching point of few but I am by no means an expert! In saying this, I do know an expert in this area and it is this person to whom i directly turned to!

Kathleen Morris, the 2012 Primary Victorian Teacher of the Year, is who I consider an expert in Education Blogging and her personal blog, http://primarytech.global2.vic.edu.au/, proves that this is so! Kathleen’s knowledge and resources on blogging is outstanding, a highlight for me being a film her students created on the benefits of having a class blog and explaining this in good detail. I have embedded this here.

Only having half an hour with my staff, and wanting this session, like them all, to be rich, relevant and purposeful, I broke down what I wanted to discuss and made sure I covered the following….

  • Why bother with blogging?
  • The benefits of having a class blog.
  • How to give your students maximum input…

And

  • Where to create and start your very own blog.
To explain the benefits of Blogging i used the diagram below which represents the benefits extremely well. I touched upon each point and linked each to a real educational context.
To gain a more in-depth understanding of the points made above, head here: http://primarytech.global2.vic.edu.au/2011/01/17/a-reflection-on-the-benefits-of-blogging/

From the above I then spent some time focussing on 3 specific to create Blogs for educational purposes and these were:

Global 2

http://global2.vic.edu.au/

Global 2 is an offset of the EduBlogs website however is supported by the Victorian Department of Education. As teachers working in a DEECD school you are able to create these blogs for free, just like the others sites listed here, however, you gain a little more online storage space.

eduBlogs

http://edublogs.org/

This is regarded as the best site for creating educational blogs. It has a host of features and blog themes, is free, and is designed specifically for educational purposes.

Blogger

www.blogger.com

Blogger is a Google App and if you have Google App account, i.e. gMail account, then you can easily create a free blog via this service. Blogger, like those mentioned already, is outstanding and being linked directly to Google App’s, make this an excellent online option

So…

Once our staff get their blogs up and running i will be sure to share them with you to hopefully showcase the great things they are doing in their classrooms and with their students!

0

Continuing w/ Second Life!

This morning i continued my quest with my Yr 9 students in using Second Life, or SL, for their learning. I can honestly say the work that the students are producing is outstanding and as their teacher i was very impressed with their work ethic today.

Recently we’ve been using SL as a means to learn and engage with what Paris, the place, not Hilton, would have looked like in 1900. As you may have read from the following Blog Post, students have been accessing the ‘Paris1900’ island in SL, which has been created to demonstrate what Paris would have been like throughout this time.

Students have been walking, flying and even driving around the Island and viewing all of the famous Parisian landmarks that are available to them. Examples of these include the Eiffel Tower, Le Arc de Triomphe, The Moulin Rouge, and the Notre Dame.

Students have also been blogging about using SL themselves and what they have found so far about being in an accessing a Virtual World.

Once the students have completed their tasks i will be sure to share them with you!

I have also attached a SL Task that students were also asked to complete explaining the issues associated via living in a real world to that compared of a virtual one and the effects that using Virtual Worlds can have on unsuspecting people.

Virtual v Real