4

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!

0

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.

0

Int.Books eBooks Conference 2012

http://www.intbooks.com.au/

On Saturday I had the pleasure of being a speaker at the “e-Books in the School, Classroom, and the Library” Conference hosted by Int. Books in Preston.

Some weeks ago I was approached by the organiser, Tom Danby, to speak and share our story of iPad implementation yet also how we have utilised these devices as eReaders at our College.

Now for starters, if you’re somewhat confused by what an eBook is, this may assist: Whatsanebook.

The conference was more or less ran in the style of a tech meet with presenters given anywhere between 10-15 minutes to share their thoughts, stories and other relevant information and being ‘second cab of the rank’, I was pleased to get my session out of the way, and be able to relax and focus on those who followed!

Being locked in a room with people passionate about literacy, books, ebooks, libraries (most of who attended I feel were librarians), was a great thing as all were there for a common cause. That being, to learn more about eBook use, distribution, and eBook creation. Occasionally you can find yourself at certain PL with people who either do not need to be there, have no interest being there, or are there and know it all and get little out of it. I didn’t get any of these feelings on Saturday.

The speaker list for the conference was 12 strong with all as i have mentioned keen to tell their thing and share their information with others. You can find the Speaker List here: IntBookeBookSpeakList2012.

Now. As for my own little spiel, I have uploaded the basic Keynote which i showed to those who attended and for those that did not attend, you can locate it below! If you’d like clarification on any of it, please drop me an email or comment!

What I presented was well received and i have numerous people offer feedback afterwards which was great. It’s a little like teaching in a way. In that by always offering immediate feedback greater reflection can take place by the person receiving it.
Overall it appears that there is a want from educators and libraries to push and head towards the eBook path. The technology is demanding this. Students, all with access to multiple devices, allows for this. For eBooks to be accessed anywhere, anytime.
For the remainder of the conference I took notes on what other speakers had to say and tried like a wild man to scribble down what I could. These, the most incoherent of notes, i have added here: IntBooksConfNotes2012. Maybe, just maybe you’ll be able to get some sense out of them!
Thanks to Tom and his team for the organisation of this conference. I am sure all got something out of it and took away a few more ideas and some new knowledge than what they had when they arrived.
Cheers.
0

Podcasting 101

Screen Shot 2011-11-07 at 8.31.41 PM

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!

0

Digital Storytelling @ ACMI

IMG_2801

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.

0

Game Creation in Yr 9

Screen shot 2011-06-20 at 9.31.41 AM

On Friday I took our second last session for Game Based Learning with my Yr 9 class. They have in recent weeks been working feverishly and putting in extra time and concentration, to ensure they complete their Games. It’s been no secret to myself that they’ve been finding this subject quite challenging, however, they have attempted to create some outstanding games!

I decided to interview 5 of my students and ask their thoughts/ hear their explanations on what they had created thus far, (which you can view below). All students that were interviewed, bar 1, are using GameSalad to create their game. I apologise for my ridiculous voice and the even more ridiculous questions that I ask my students!

After next weeks final class I will hopefully be able to share a link with you all to the games that the students have created and give you a greater insight in to what they’ve been working so hard on!

I will also interview several students from the other Games Based Learning Class and share with you what great little games they have also created.

1

Gaming for Learning!

video_game_characters

This term i have been running two Yr 9 classes based on IT, one titled Digital Media Creation, the other, Game Based Learning.

The  concept of using Gaming and Serious Games for education purposes has always been something that has intrigued me as i see that Serious games in particular, these being games with a specific leraning outcome or focus, certainly have a place in education and learning.

You just have to look at what a lot of my Year 7, 8 and 9 students do on their MacBooks during their spare time! Games galore! I am just happy that we made the decision not to update the student MacBooks so that they had access to the Apple MacStore!

I look back now thinking that i may have been a little ambitious in running a Yr 9 Discovery (elective) based solely of Game Based Learning. I feel to a certain extent that perhaps i may have rushed in to things a little to soon however… the students involved in this unit are loving it and there have been some absolutely outstanding conversations that have developed! Although, if i keep getting asked if we can play Call of Duty: Black Op’s i’ll break down in tears. The students have though been putting up very strong cases as to why we should play it at school, telling me that they learn all about history and weapons and the like! Hmmmm…

They way that i have been running my sessions started with an intensive three week theory session, much to the student’s disappointment, to drill in to them that games can in fact be educational! That a lot of games do in fact have specific learning outcomes. One of the key resources that I used was to educate the students about Serious Games was an educational Video on You Tube titled: Video Games in Education

The other 1 main resources that i have used is Adrian Camm’s Games in Education Wiki which is outstanding! A lot of the games that i ask my students to review come from here. The game making tools, presentations, resources and the games themselves are excellent! This site is linked above.

From here students have been on a weekly basis playing and reviewing games that i have suggested from the above Wiki. The way that students have been reviewing these games has been excellent and in depth. Students started out simply typing their reviews, then they moved to podcasts, then on to Vodcasts and screen capture technology (via the Screen Recording feature of Quicktime Player), and most recently using Web 2.0 tools, one of these being Xtranormal.

Several of the excellent Serious Games we have reviewed thus far are:

– US Mission
– Ayiti
– Stop Disasters
– Against All Odds
– Smokescreen

In relation to Game Creation I decided to use the software known as Kahootz, which is effectively software that allows the user to create many a thing, from Digital Stories to 3D Movies and of course Games. Kahootz is great software however it can run quite slowly on a Mac which can be very frustrating for the students. Students have chosen a curriculum area to focus on and have also listed an learning focus or learning intention that players of their games must grasp. Student developed games are incorporating a range of curriculum areas from Numeracy, Literacy, History and Geography.

I will upload the game files once they games are completed which is not to far away! You will need Kahootz however to view and play the games.

Where to from here? Hmmmm. I would love the students to be using a more developed Game Creation Tool. One perhaps that allows them to create more in depth games for learning. I have been trying to get my head around Game Salad, software which i know is being used to great effect in South Australia. So far i have found it a little tricky but i’ll endeavour to work on it! The other software that i’ll also investigate is Scratch, which i know is being used by other educators to great effect, one of these people being Ashley Proud (@ashleyproud). I am hoping to do some Collaborative work with Ashley next term re: Scratch.

As always, i will aim to keep you posted!