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You can lead a horse…

http://bigseadesign.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/horse.jpe

http://bigseadesign.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/horse.jpe

We speak so often about the need to differentiate, personalise, and scaffold our teaching programs to our students to ensure that what is being taught is done so in a way that engages, enhances and gives purpose for the students at their particular point of learning need.

I am a big believer in building teacher capacity in a variety of ways which of course then has a direct flow on effect for the learners that a particular teacher is responsible for. Being in a role that oversees the effective use use of technology across 1900 students and 220 staff is, well, a large role, however one that is supported by a host of staff whose own skill sets and capabilities in using technology to support learning is outstanding. Those supportive staff have a particular drive and passion for continual self improvement that they are very willing to share with those around them and that is the difference that sets them apart.

I am a large believer that professional learning for teachers must be invested in heavily by schools if education is to progress in that particular setting. The challenge I find is that some settings do not either place a high enough focus towards this, do it in a way which is the opposite to what we should be doing, as mentioned earlier with our own students, that being said, providing a professional learning culture amongst staff that disengages, does not enhance capacity and has little to no purpose. The other issue I see is professional learning being driven based on the needs of the college or school, and not the staff, and there is a very large difference between the two.

I am pleased to say that I have attended some absolutely outstanding professional learning in my time. PL that has been engaging and had me thinking and challenging my own pedagogical practices and educational paradigms. PL that has been hands on with a focus on creativity and innovation and thinking in ways that I would perhaps normally not. I feel that these professional learning events were, and are rare. My recent trips via Apple to the ADE Institutes in Bali and San Diego, as well as attending the GTA in Sydney in 2011 certainly were (rare) examples of the above. The focus on these accounts were teachers becoming the learning and learning at points of need. Teachers knowing their own strengths and weaknesses and building their professional learning around these.

Recently I have delivered alot of professional learning to educators both within and certainly without of my college setting. This is something that I really enjoy and is a great part of my role. The fact that I can model lessons for other staff, assist them through planning processes, observe and deconstruct taught lessons as well as deliver more formal means of PL all allow me to assist in the building of teacher capacity. I think, or believe for the most part, I am very good at this. I am passionate about working with staff and it is this passion which drives me going forward. There are times that I have delivered professional learning that has not been wholly effective however and I have used these few experiences to better my own capabilities for future scenarios.

In saying all of the above I am keen to determine how I can better, or… be more effective at building teacher capacity. Does this comes down to the way in which I present and run professional learning, or am I needing to focus more upon inspiring staff before I worry about adding to their skill sets?

Regardless, I feel that I am needing to get more of a ‘buy in’ from staff to better and further improve their own practice. The image below sums it best.

Screen Shot 2014-04-03 at 8.26.28 am

 

Finding the time to run professional learning in a teacher’s, or teaching team’s hectic schedule can be very difficult. What is not difficult unfortunately is finding excuses to not run the professional learning. A personal goal from here forward is to ensure I keep working hard in supporting staff to build their own pedagogy no matter the focus, or lack of time. What will go a long in supporting this is that ‘buy-in’ from staff to want to improve. A want and desire to better their practice to ensure that they are delivering the highest quality teaching and learning programs that they can offer.

You could say that I will not force the horse to water if it is not thirsty. Teaching reluctant learners does not improve when I force content upon them. What does work however is finding ways in which to engage and hook them into wanting to learn and to improve… and this is my (exciting) challenge.

Watch. This. Space.

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1 iPad, 1 Task, 15 Ways

Recently my year 7 class were issued with an inquiry tasks asking them to select various pathways and answer various inquiry questions, many of which they themselves had created, relating to their current Inquiry topic of Ancient History with a focus on Ancient Rome and Ancient China.

I have embedded this task for you below.

Humanities Inquiry Task

Immediately after the task had been covered, discussed and picked apart, I set the students off to begin creating their presentations. Depending on what we are doing in class I often place a very heavy focus on ‘student voice, student choice’ (thanks @MichelleMeracis for allowing me to ‘borrow’ your phrase) as well as foster a ‘Gradual Release of Responsibility’ towards how work is presented. This essentially means that student can choose to create their work via just about any means they wish as long as they are meeting their success criteria and learning outcomes for that lesson.

After 15 mins or so I began conferencing with the students around the room what it is they had chosen to do and how they were going to go about presenting their work. The task itself involves also having students present their findings to the rest of the year seven cohort in an ‘exhibition’ style setting.

It became quickly apparent that the creativity I was hoping for was not entirely being embraced! A class conversation was quickly organised and a rushed ‘poll’ on NOT what each of the students were doing but HOW they were doing it. Their responses were mixed with a around half selecting to ditch their technology altogether. However,  those who were iPad bound were all looking to create in the same select few app’s.

So being the teacher that I am I decided to show just a few select ways that were quick, pain free and simple to take what was a very ordinary task and ‘jazz’ it up a little!

Below I have completed the same basic task; under the ‘History Pathways‘ component, and the dot point titled ‘What are your thoughts/opinions on slavery?’. To answer this I have come up with three pretty standard opinions and attempted to represent these in 15 different ways using my iPad Mini. Some are extremely basic, others a little more complicated. Some tasks took a little longer to complete while others were completed in under 3 minutes.

Here we go!

# 1.

  • App: Pages
  • Cost: $12.99 however comes free with most recent model iPad devices.
  • Time: 3 minutes

Screen Shot 2014-07-06 at 8.27.08 pm

# 2.

  • App: KeyNote
  • Cost: $12.99 however comes free with most recent model iPad devices.
  • Time: 5 minutes

Screen Shot 2014-07-06 at 8.33.37 pm

Slavery KeyNote Preso!

# 3.

  • App: iMovie
  • Cost: $5.49 however comes free with most recent model iPad devices.
  • Time: 11 minutes (including export to YouTube)

# 4.

  • App: Haiku Deck
  • Cost: Free with in app purchases.
  • Time: 7 minutes (including upload time)

HISTORY PATHWAYS – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

# 5.

  • App: Adobe Voice
  • Cost: Free (An Adobe ID is needed, which is free.)
  • Time: 5 minutes (including upload time)

Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 8.26.14 pm

 

Click on the image above to view the video…

# 6.

  • App: Pic Collage
  • Cost: Free with in app purchases.
  • Time: 5 minutes

photo

# 7.

  • App: Popplet LITE
  • Cost: Free, although a Pro Version is available.
  • Time: 4 minutes

screenshot

# 8.

  • App: Tellagami
  • Cost: Free with in app purchases.
  • Time: 3 minutes

# 9.

  • App: Video Scribe
  • Cost: $7.49
  • Time: 6 minutes (47min to export to camera roll!!!)

# 10.

  • App: Prezi
  • Cost: Free
  • Time: 7 minutes

# 11.

  • App: Google Doc
  • Cost: Free
  • Time: 3 minutes

Link to the EDITABLE document here: Slavery – History Pathway

# 12.

  • App: Survey Monkey
  • Cost: Free
  • Time: 6 minutes

Access the link to my created survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/M9GQ2SS

# 13.

  • App: Strip Design
  • Cost: $3.79
  • Time: 8 minutes

IMG_0862 IMG_0861

# 14.

  • App: iFunFace
  • Cost: Free with in app purchases
  • Time: 5 minutes

# 15.

  • App: Trading Cards
  • Cost: Free
  • Time: 5 minutes

tradingcard

 

And…. One more for good measure…

# 16.

  • App: Quick Voice Pro (embedded in to an iMovie and exported from an .MP3 to a .Mov)
  • Cost: $3.79
  • Time: 10 minutes

So there you have it… I do actually have ideas for another several however we’ll leave it at that! If you, the readers, have any ideas, I have embedded the Google Doc below so you can add your own ideas, apps, etc…

Your Ideas… 🙂

 

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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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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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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!

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ALIA Seminar 2013

Lately I have been privileged to speak and present at a number of events and that trend continued on Saturday as I was asked to be the Keynote Speaker at the 2013 ALIA (Australian Library and Information Association) Seminar titled ‘App-iness – iPads and their use in the classroom’.

The seminar was held at the beautiful Mercy College in Coburg, Melbourne, in their newly refurbished Library space. I always feel like i am on an excursion when in other school and college settings as i love looking around, or sticky-beaking, at learning design spaces and evidence of technology integration.

As already mentioned the day was focusing on iPad use and integration. As stated by ALIA, “This morning seminar is for primary & secondary teacher librarians and others who are responsible for school library services. The use of apps in the classroom and a library setting will be explored. Workshop sessions will cater for those who are already using a range of apps as well as those who are just beginning to explore this technology. A group designed for those new to the technology will be created and each participant in this group will have access to an iPad to use on the day. Participants are encouraged to bring their own device if possible.”

As the Keynote i was not only wanting to focus on the device but also the learner, and how this device can support learning and the types of learners we as educators interact with every day. Rather than the old ‘death by PowerPoint’ method and bombarding them with a heap of information, i had created a (what I thought anyway) wonderful presentation using the great iPad Application Haiku Deck. This app is one that all our students are now using to present and share information as it is simple, effective and very powerful. And… it’s FREE!

As the guys at Haiku Deck explain… “Haiku Deck is rooted in a few basic principles. Keep it simple by limiting your text and focusing each slide on one idea. Make it beautiful by using full-bleed images to tell your story and tapping into one-touch themes, filters, and formatting. And, most of all, have fun. Fun is not a word most people associate with either creating or watching presentations, but we don’t see any reason why these things can’t be fun.”

Now… What i failed to mention is that having after created this wonderful Haiku Deck presentation I had a. Failed to upload it to the Haiku Deck site, and b. ummm… actually bring it to the ALIA seminar to present. I had indeed left the iPad at home. Rookie mistake! A valuable lesson that i learnt is to check, double check, and triple check that i have all i need for these events in the future! Anyway… I have embedded this presentation below for you all to see.

Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app for iPad

After the dilemma that was my stupidity, luckily enough i had presented similar presentations in the past and had a plan B and in fact a plan C if the presentation failed for me for whatever reason. In the short time that i did have i quickly adapted a Prezi, embedded below, that i had used in the past a generic presentation based upon Mobile Technology, Integration, and our College’s iPad Journey.

Once my Keynote was completed I was then involved in a panel discussion with three other great educators in Mark, Paul and Melanie show casing the pedagogy behind our Technology integration. This was a short 10 minute ‘snippet’ of what we do and why and what i shared can, once again, be viewed below.

And finally, once the panel had shared and morning tea had come and gone, it was then an opportunity for the attendees to be involved in a number of smaller breakout sessions where the presenters shared some of the great features and applications relating to iPad devices specifically.
Personally i ran through our College’s Middle Years Application List and highlighted some of the key applications that our students were using that foster collaboration and creativity as well as what we were finding to be beneficial. Several of these applications that i did focus on however on were;

1. Nearpod
2. Haiku Deck
3. Aurasma
4. Educreations
5. StoryRobe
6. Action Movie FX
I have attached our two application lists below for download.
In closing, it was an absolutely great day with what i am sure would have had many people thinking about iPad applications and uses within their individual settings. I know from the many many questions that i received that those who attended certainly would have left the day with a lot of food for thought and it is this that makes a conference / professional learning experience so powerful. I’d like to thank all the people from ALIA and Mercy College that were involved directly and indirectly in putting on such a valuable learning experience and i look forward to perhaps assisting ALIA in the future with more of these great events.
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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!

4

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!
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The end is nigh…

As part of my teaching load this year i have had a year class for an hour a week to… mould and do with as i please!!!

It’s been great having these keen and committed kids to use as guinea pigs to be able to trial new things on!!! 😉

Recently I have set up a PBL, Problem Based Learning, unit with these kids to really challenge their thinking and to get them creatively engaged in their learning. Earlier in the year i ran a Challenge Based Learning unit which did wonders for the students in terms of having them accept a challenge and trying quite hard in their groups to develop a solution to it. Even though as a class we’ve completed that unit, i have a number of groups STILL working towards meeting the challenge. From a teachers perspective, mind-blowing that i have students working after hours to continually make a difference! For more information on this, check out our CBL blog: http://yr7acbl.global2.vic.edu.au/

Following on from the success that i’d felt i’d had from the above, i decided to run a more structured type of PBL (Problem Based Learning) unit where basically i’ve asked my kids to, well, save the world from it’s impending doom!

Admittedly, this task was not of my own concoction but that of one Mr. Kevin Honeycutt (Twitter: @kevinhoneycutt). Kevin is a teacher form the U.S. who i heard as speak as a Keynote Address at the uLearn12 Conference in Auckland in October. Kevin was very inspiring and his thoughts on education, technology and teaching were great to listen to! One of the many fantastic things that i picked up from his talk was one of his teaching units titled the ‘D-1′ Project! This sounded like a great unit of work which has lead me to this blog post!

The idea of having my students ‘save the world’ was one that i could not pass up. The fact that they had to think beyond the hair brain schemes i knew i’d receive and look for genuine answers was enticing! I took what Kein had done and modified it slightly to suit our needs a little better and to make it a little more close to home. I’ve constructed a blog titled Doomsday-1, that contain all relevant information.

So far the students after 2 sessions have been working like mad to attempt to come up with a worthwhile plan for saving us all. The teamwork, collaboration and technology integration via their iPads has thus far been very rewarding to see. The ideas are coming thick and fast which is fantastic! What i am wanting now is more substance to these ideas… Will they work? Won’t they? Why not? As i’ve been saying to the students; “evidence, evidence, evidence!!!”.

I will be sure to keep you posted but for now, I’ve attached a few snapshots of the ideas that some students have thought of… some worth investigating… some.. perhaps not… 😉