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Learning B4 Technology

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Middle Years Sub School  – Moving Forward with eLearning

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

 

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

Show+and+Tell+Logo

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

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

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

2014 Middle Years CBL Unit: Digital Identity

2014 Middle Years CBL Unit: Digital Identity

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

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

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

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

2. Genius Hour Implementation.

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

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

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

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

3. Google Drive

Google Drive App

Google Drive App

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

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

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

4. Classroom Expectations.

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

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

For now. I think that’s all I will share as if this were a real show and tell session I would have been booted off the stage long ago!
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An Evening With Bill Rankin.

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

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

As Bill’s Bio states…

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

Impressive hey!

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

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

     

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Exciting times!

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Creativity and Learning!

This evening at our College’s latest ICT SIT (School Improvement Team) meeting we viewed Sir Ken’s 2006 TED talk on “How School’s Kill Creativity”. My colleague Michelle and I spoke about how there are some school settings out there giving their students 20% time, or ‘genius hour’ time to work on creative based projects of their choosing.

The notion of doing this is based on Google giving their employees 20% of their working week off, one day effectively, to work on company based projects of their choice that could add to Google’s offerings! A wonderful concept that fosters heavily on creativity and innovation. 2 things that we want our students to be aware of, and to attempt, as often as they can.

2 great local examples of this are from two fantastic teachers in Anthony Speranza and Narissa Leung, both educators in Melbourne. Their blog posts and online resources about what they are doing with their students is amazing and is certainly something I encourage not only our own staff to take up but are great for anyone wanting to ‘release’ their students to showcase what they are capable of!

What i really enjoyed reading was the way that both teachers went about integrating this and guidelines that they put in to place.This gave this idea I feel a greater purpose and meaning for the students as it guides their thinking to be more creative. This is evident in Narissa’s first project guideline where “Students had to learn something new while doing the project- it wasn’t enough to simply regurgitate information they already knew.” 

Reflecting on Sir Ken’s TED talk which i’ve seen several times now, he promotes a lot of thought provoking ideas and discussion points on the notion of innovation and creativity versus academic ability. The idea that the public education system does not cater for learners who have a need and drive for the creative. That schools are based on their academic success and results and it is this reason that our young learners grow to loose their creative ability.

As teachers and educators we need to ensure that we let all of our students have the chance to play to their strengths. That we do not simply rely on academic ability to judge how successful our students will be.

What do these 5 have in common…

  • Thomas Edison – Inventor
  • James Cameron – Director
  • Walt Disney – Animator
  • Mark Zuckerburg – Facebook Founder

and of course…

  • Steve Jobs – Apple Founder

They all are school dropouts. Oh, and all are known for their creativity and innovation in their respected fields.

The more we can encourage our students to be creative and showcase their skills and innovative capabilities the greater learning I feel we will see. By encouraging our students to think outside the box and move away from the norm is certainly something that needs to take place. The days of producing kids in the education system who are only academically driven are fast, if not already, becoming something of the past. Skills needed to be successful in the 21st century rely more not on reading, writing and numeracy, but on the ability for workers to be more technologically minded and globally connected.

The image below showcases 10 key skills and 6 key drivers our students will need by the year 2020. This has been developed by the ‘Institute for the Future‘ who have focused this work on future work skills, not future jobs. These skills being ones that are transferable across a range of jobs and work situations, all of which will aid workers to be successful in their chosen fields.

Click to Enlarge…

I seem to have gone off on some sort of tangent here however… there is a point! 😉

That point being creativity needs to have a greater focus placed upon it in our education system and i feel that in most cases that the buck stops with the teacher. We need to step back, make room and space, and give our kids time to showcase and demonstrate what they can do, and the notion of ‘Genius Hour’ and or ‘20% Time’ is one great way in which we can assist in making the above happen.

For more information on what both Narissa and Anthony have been up to please head to their respective blogs.

Narissa’s Blog – Teaching in the Big Wired World and her post titled – ‘Putting the G in ‘Genius

Anthony’s Class Blog – Year 5/6 @ St.Marks Primary School and his post titled ‘The Genius Hour!

Anthony’s Personal Blog – ReconfigurEd If you scroll down you’ll find a number of posts related to his Genius Hour exploits as well as presentations that he has completed on this topic.
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VITTA 2013

Well another amazing VITTA conference has come and gone and as per usual when I attend something of this ilk I like to take this opportunity to reflect upon the two days that were!

One of the 4 keynote presentations about to get underway…

Personally, i like to judge a PL or conference on 3 main things;

Purpose.

Is this PL relevant to me as an educator and is it relevant to to 21st Century Teaching and Learning?

Practice.

Will attending this PL improve my teaching practice and allow me to improve that of my colleagues?

–  Performance

– Will the gained knowledge led to improved learning performance amongst my students?

It’s safe to say that VITTA ticked all those boxes. As it has in the past. The quality of presenters and speakers was again extremely high and for teachers and IT Leaders to have the ability to not only hear from these minds, but to also network with them, which I feel is just as, if not, more powerful the the presentations themselves.

It is quite astounding the amount of brilliant minds I have met through having developed a very strong PLN via the likes of Twitter and Google+, yet still, even only now, I am meeting people face to face for the time! Having had met over the past two days the likes of Richard Olsen and Louise Duncan face to face was fantastic. To have also attended their sessions and gained a greater insight in to the work that they do was also just as brilliant.

My own presentation was one that I feel was great in theory, yet due to me rushing it’s contents, came off a little… scattered! I’ll wait eagerly for the feedback! 🙂 You can access my presentation in either ibook or PDF formats by clicking on the image below.

So. Rather than give an in depth overview of all the keynote and the presentation sessions I attended, here are 5 things that I learnt and/or had reaffirmed over the course of the two days. There were THAT…

1. …teachers of all areas in all settings are continuing to push boundaries and take risks within their teaching and learning environments. The notion of wanting to create and foster students who are innovative and creative has never been more prevalent, and that technology integration has been and will be a major driver of this.

2. …the time is now. Teachers are THE ones who are the major drivers in technology integration and who can cause the biggest shift in 21st century pedagogical practices. The questions, as asked by Bruce Dixon, of what school is, what should it be, and what could it be, need to not only be answered but acted upon.

3. …teachers and educators are not alone. Through working together, networking, and developing collaborative practices, the ability to be able to ask for ideas, assistance and to tap in to great educational minds can happen anywhere and anytime!

4. …the hot topics are revolving around 21st century teaching and learning, mobile technologies and the integration of BYOD models within schools and colleges. That also when these three things are merged together we can have absolutely amazing teaching and learning exhibited!

5…lastly… as educators, we need to continue to develop a need to better understand our students. The need to develop that understanding based upon the ‘Modern Learner’ and our students learning in a technology rich world. Also, adding to this, that it’s not only about the technology itself, it’s about how our students learn along side that technology.

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School Improvement Team 2013

Recently on Monday I was involved in the co-running of one our College’s newly formed SIT’s, or School Improvement Teams for this year.

Oddly enough, with a great focus on our college being placed on technology and effective technology integration, the SIT i am coordinating is based on fostering Student Learning through Technology Integration.

It was great to see the amount of staff who nominated to be part of this SIT as well as those particular staff being from right across the College ranging from Prep to Year 8 teaching staff, specialist staff and a number of our support centre teaching staff.

To coordinate this SIT and keep all information in one place i created a Global2 Blog which can be located HERE.

The focus and goal that were developed for this SIT are as follows;

Our Focus: To investigate the improvement of student learning through technology integration.

Our Aim: To assist teachers in building their capacity in using using technology to support and enhance student learning outcomes.

One of the main aims that we have as a SIT is to determine if effective technology integration and pedagogy has a positive effect

Currently staff are, as homework!!!, writing me descriptive pieces of one major success relating to technology integration that they have been really proud of or have witnessed in their own classes, and, what they are hoping to obtain from being oinvoled in this team.

I am wanting the staff that are involved driving this team as their needs and wants are pivotal in them taking back their new found knowledge to their teaching teams, and continuing to spread the word about effective technology integration.

Be sure to keep track of our SIT and please also leave comments and questions that you may have about what we are doing via the blog as we’d love to hear from you! 

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This is why I do what I do…

Me!

From previous posts you may well be aware that I recently ran a CBL, Challenge Based Learning, Unit with a group of year 7 students. In short, as you can find more information about that unit here: http://yr7acbl.global2.vic.edu.au/, our Big Idea was ‘Cyber Bullying’. The students in their respective groups were outstanding for the most part in attempting to better their knowledge of Cyber Bullying and put put something in place to, in their words, “eradicate it”. Several groups made awareness posters and displays to have placed around the college, another group of boys attempted a stop motion animation television commercial to have shown on our website. All in all, great ideas to bring Cyber Bullying and the issues associated with it to the forefront of student’s minds. Two groups however, and one in particular, went far above the expectations that we set by myself and i do need to say that i am known for setting those expectations and that bar quite high.

Firstly, one group decided to coordinate a mediation type lunchtime group, where victims of cyber bullying or bullying in general could come, relax, and chat to one another re: their experiences. The girls running this then enlisted the help of our College Social Worker and Psychologist to be there if students needed that assistance and someone to talk to. They’ve now ran this session over the past few weeks and although slow going to get people to attend at first, their resilience has certainly paid off with students beginning to attend and come on board! The girls coordinating this are still very keen to keep this running and this i feel is Authentic Learning! The girls involved would learn just as much if no-one showed up, perhaps more, than if they had a ‘full house’ of students during these sessions!

Lastly, another group within this unit has really made me as a teacher extremely proud, as they all have, and it is through them doing what they’ve done, the reason being why i love to teach!

Raising money for Youth Beyond Blue was always going to be a winning idea. But how to go about this? Where to start? The group involved certainly had the ideas and goals of what they wanted to achieve, but the knowledge to put in place and the processes that needed to take place was certainly lacking to begin with. Their ideas ranged from making t-shirts to sell, having a lolly jar guessing competition, selling icy-poles at recess, among others, were all great however, they wanted to do more! They wanted to to not only raise money for Youth Beyond Blue but make those within and out of immediate College Community aware of the dangers associated with Cyber Bullying. They also wanted to assist those who had been Cyber Bullied and help people through making them aware of the services externally to the College that were on hand.

The group started by making contact with Beyond Blue to see if they could in fact donate ANYTHING that they could use to promote what they were doing. They made a few calls and were directed to a website that allowed them to order what they thought would be helpful. A week later, I had 5 boxes, and quite size-able i may add, arrive to my office that were full of pamphlets, wrist bands, DVD’s, Posters, Bags, and Balloons.

Packing the bags!

The group then made packs to to hand around to people but were unsure about how and when to distribute these goods. Then it hit them. Our College Fete! They decided to create and set up a stall, and market what they had on offer! A GREAT idea! But what to sell? How to raise Money? Well. This started with the Lolly Jar Guessing Competition which raised a respectable $42. The idea was to then purchase white t-shirts, Tie-Die them, and sell these to raise even more Money! After being involved in some math, it was soon realised that the cost to do this would exceed what money they had so they needed a plan B. Now, where does one find ideas for the creation of things, especially to sell…. THE ART TEACHERS!

Card Creation #1

Card Creation #2.

From here the girls made gift cards, that were quite well constructed and beautifully designed and sold these on the day of the fete, along with yellow and blue jelly cups they’d made, and also collecting money for a raffle, for which they purchased a first prize of a toy motorbike! After having spoken to the girls this morning, and even through their modesty, i could tell that they were very very happy with their achievements. They managed to hand out the majority of their goods to raise awareness for Youth Beyond Blue and raise what they felt was a good amount to donate to the Beyond Blue Organisation, which turned out to be $83!!! Not a bad effort!

What’s so pleasing as their teacher and watching them go through this process is what they as young learners have been involved in, that being involved in the process of what it took them to end up at the point that they did. The problem solving, collaboration, and creative practices that they were involved in were mind blowing. These students, in all groups, learnt more on being able to reflect on their work, as well as coordinating the processes they took to get where they did, than what they would have if it were me leading their learning. Seeing the individuality of these students shine, seeing them overcome obstacles, seeing them develop new skills and then put these in action, to THEN reach a desired outcome, was outstanding… this is why i teach!

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DEECD SPP All Networks Meeting

Not too many venues better than the State Library!

Today I had the pleasure to speak at the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development’s (DEECD) Strategic Partnership’s Program All Networks Meeting at the State Library of Victoria! That’s a mouthful.

Until recently after I had never heard of the SPP and what was involved with this network. After attending their meeting today I must admit I was left wondering “how on earth do educational settings such as my own NOT know about this?”.

In brief, and I am sure that I will not do it justice, the SPP involves a wide array of State Based organisations who, under the ever watchful eye of DEECD and the Victorian State Government, liaise and collaborate to develop educational based programs. These programs are aimed at promoting student learning outcomes that are focused towards their own setting. DEECD chip in with funding for these setting to assist them in running engaging, efficient and rich learning programs. It will make even more sense now when I tell you that these organisations are places such as;

  • Sovereign Hill
  • State Library of Victoria
  • The National Gallery of Victoria
  • Science Works
  • The Melbourne Zoo

 

From the words of DEECD – Five networks have been established during the triennium 2009-11 to provide information to organisations and associations on current government policy and initiatives. The networks also enable the sharing of ideas and the work of organisations and associations and promote the development of collaborative partnerships and implementation of innovative programs for schools, students and teachers.”

The ‘Welcoming’!

Earlier this year my setting had developed a close bond with Sovereign Hill in Ballarat that strongly involved the use of mobile technology to enhance both the learning of our students and the programs being coordinated at that setting. The outcomes of that partnership, which I hope are ongoing, led me to today where I had that pleasure of speaking to the partners involved. For more information on that partnership please visit: http://ipads4learning.global2.vic.edu.au/2012/09/18/sovereign-hill-ipad-excursion/

I was asked to share our technology journey as well as some of the pedagogy behind how we use the technology to support our students learning. I was to do this following Mr. Michael Phillips, the Principal from Ringwood Secondary College, who are also very very well know for their own way of integrating technology to support learning. I was very pleased to hear what Michael and one of his teachers, Simone, had to say about their own journey, where they were currently at and where they were headed. At the same time as hearing their presentation I was also beginning to worry ever so slightly as everything both Michael and Simone were saying, was in fact the entire basis for my own presentation!

Michael Phillips, RSC Principal Presenting

What I soon very quickly realised was just how similar our two settings were and that it was fantastic that we were discussing similar things. As they say, GREAT minds think alike.

My presentation is embedded below and you’ll soon see after viewing it that it is a short, sharp and to the point reflection of the way technology is integrated at our setting. Below this you wil aslo find that of Michael and Simone’s presentation with some great examples and snapshots of student work.

The highlights from days like to day are many, such as the networking that can occur and be developed and the programs and partnerships that can be be put in place. What i absolutely love though is the fact that when you are speaking to such a diverse range of people from a diverse range of organisations, everyone of them has nothing but improving student learning outcomes in mind through the rich educational experiences that they offer.

It would be highly beneficial for such a network of organisations such as the SPP, through greater support from DEECD, to be able to share and promote what they are all doing in relation to the programs that they are running. To have one site that links all these places where schools can visit, ask questions, post ideas, upload resources, etc would be a very powerful thing.
I would like to thank Gina Panebianco and Linda Sproul from the NGV for their welcoming nature and assistance this morning along with Hamish Curry and Cam Hocking, who after following on Twitter for some time now finally got to meet face to face!
It’d be great to continue to have something, although i am not sure what, to do with future SPP meetings as their work and what they do is certainly very worthwhile. At the end of the day, we’re in it for the same thing, to provide quality education!
3

Mac Schools Net

Last night I had the pleasure of attending my first Mac Schools Net meeting for the year. Mac School Net is coordinated by two very dedicated educators in Deb Hicks and Mark Richardson, two very knowledgable and experience educators who love all things education and all things Mac!

These meetings run once a term and involve the participants investigating new technologies in both hardware and software forms as well as then investigating how these can be integrated back in to teaching and learning programs. As the Mac School Net Website states, the meetings are all about:

• Sharing knowledge
• Professional Learning
• Informal conversations
• Debating
• Providing a catalyst for ideas
• Networking
• 21st century learning
• Thinking
• Playing
• All things Apple
• Combining pedagogy with technology

What more could you want from a meeting!

Each meeting is held at a different venue which is a great idea as walking in and seeing other settings is always a highlight in itself. Last night we investigated a number of items, all of which were extremely relevant and beneficial no matter the specific role of those who attended, and i’ll now run through these briefly now. 😉

The first item that we looked at was an online resource called unrealfooty.com.au Now. This immediately had my attention being an avid Supercoach fan here in Victoria! Unreal footy is a resource for i would say middle to upper primary, and right up to middle secondary which involves integrating and using the mathematics of AFL to teach students about important mathematical concepts, all while involved in a Fantasy type Football environment. In short if you are looking for a way of engaging students in mathematics, and of course, without essentially stereotyping, disengaged boys!!!, this could work out very very well! There is a site licence fee of approximately $300, which is school wide however i am unsure if this is dependant on the size of the school. Below find the two great prestations, one for teachers and one for students to guide you through just how to use the valuable resource!

 

The next item on our agenda was a big one, and one i think we were all most wanting to hear about. This being, Apple’s VPP, or Volume Purchasing Program.

Michal Bogatko from Beyond the Box came to speak to us all about this and as I’ve mentioned, we were keen to see just what was involved and how to go about implementing such a thing if that’s what schools wished to do.

Now. From what I understood from last nights meeting, it essentially runs like this… (here we go…)

The program involves a school to have what is known as a Program Manager. This person basically oversees the Apple VPP accounts and has complete control over the program. From here we move what is called a Program facilitator. This is a seperate person who is responsible for the purchasing of applications and books via the specialised iTunes VPP portal, volume.itunes.apple.com, as VPP cannot occur via the normal iTunes store. Now a manager and a facilitator can be be the same person but for some reason they require two separate Apple ID’s, one of which being tagged to your educational setting.

There are 3 ways to purchase the applications and or book (this apparently does not include text books as yet). These 3 ways are:

1. Via a Credit Card

2. Via a PayPal Account.

3. By purchasing Volume Vouchers. These are purchased via the online store and can be purchased using school written Purchase Orders!

Schools can only purchase volume vouchers in denominations of $100, $500, 1k, 5k, and 10k amounts.

Now. How do we go about purchasing what we want. Well. The first step one you have purchased your Volume Vouchers for example is to to purchase what app’s you require. You must note however that to even receive VPP you need to purchase 20+ of the one application of book, to then be elegible to receive %50 off the cost of that App or book. The third step is then redeem these codes on the devices you’re wanting the app’s on. These codes can be emailed or, if using an MDM (Mobile Device Manager) such as Apple’s Device Configurator or Casper Suite, the App’s can be pushed out to the devices wirelessly and then installed.

A few important points… Being still coordinated via Apple in the U.S., all Australian School will need to obtain a DUNS number, which i think is the equivalent to an ABN here is Australia. Businesses and Organisations out of the U.S. are able to obtain these at no cost, just like an ABN number. Why do you need one. It is via this number that your school is then checked i believe to see if it is a legitimate educational setting and that you’ll be required to enter this number when doing your app purchasing.

I think that is it! I hope i got the info correct… In the next week or two i am planning on trialling this and seeing how it all pan’s out! I’ll aim to keep you posted! The slideshow the Michal went through will soon be up online and i’ll be sure to embed it here.

Need to catch my breath!

The final item on the agenda was looking at FREE, yep, FREE app’s for your Macbook. Deb ran us through a great list of applications which are available from the Mac App Store. Without going in to a whole lot of detail, as the excellent Wikispace that Deb and Mark have created, says it all! I’ve included a screen shot of the several of the great Applications that Deb mentioned and discussed however head to the Wiki and you’ll be able to see them all for yourself!

I say a lot of the time to my own staff as well as other educators that the applications you find, wether they be iOS or Mac orientated  are only limited by your imagination! Hopefully you’ll be able to see the great potential that what Deb has shared have in a teaching and learning environment.

So… If you are in and around the Melbourne area and a keen Mac user, keep your eyers posted to the mac Schools Net webpage for dates, times and venues of the meetings and… well… get along! 😉

Cheers!