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Social Media Use @ MLP12C

Of recent weeks, and in saying this we’ve only been at it for 4!, I have had a number of inquiries from keen staff wanting to integrate some form of Social Media in to their classroom teaching and learning programs.

There has often been in recent years a ‘stigma’ associated with Social media use at schools and colleges due to the negative connotation that social media has tagged with it. Cyber Bullying and Teen Suicide to name a select two.

My philosophy is quite simple in this matter. Seeing that the students we teach are digital natives and spend a great deal of time connecting and collaborating with their friends via social media, why should we as teachers not also try to connect with them outside of a school space, in an environment that is safe, secure and relevant to their learning? There are a number of online spaces that allow excellent online connection and collaboration with students in said environments  however, the likes of FaceBook and Google+ also allow this to occur if done so correctly.

The tool of choice for the majority of our staff thus far seems to be the use of Blogs and using these to share and liase with students and their families. Wiki’s have also been another tool strongly used, and encouraged. Of late, I’am also now seeing class Twitter accounts being used spasmodically with teachers, and students via the teachers, tweeting the happenings of that class and it’s students! Parents being able to follow this in real time either at work, at home or via their mobile device!

In all of the above however i have realised in my time within my role the key to success in all of this is the education of teaching staff. Making staff aware of the differences between moderating their own FaceBook account and that of a class group for example. Knowing that what they post, no matter the Social media forum, directly links back to the College and can bring the College in to disrepute.

So. To combat this i developed a ‘Social Media Communications Strategy’ that all staff need to have read and understand before undertaking any form of social media use with their students. I have included a great deal of information from the New South Wales and Victorian Education Departments as well as other high ranking resources in elation to online safety and digital citizenship.

I have attached this document below for your viewing pleasure! I hope that you may find it useful as part of your own setting’s if anting to include a more ‘Social’ approach online!

Thanks!

SMCSMLC2013

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!
1

Our iPad Amazing Race…

Our playground for the day…

Last Friday our College had a Curriculum Day which gave staff throughout the school the opportunity to attend relevant Professional Learning. Several hot topics were listed for staff to focus on such as Differentiation, ADC (Australian Developmental Curriculum), Literacy and the National Curriculum, and of course, Learning with iPads, just to name a few.

Staff were given the opportunity to place their name under the relevant professional learning that they wanted to attend in a Google Doc, and the rest as they say, is history.

Being given the option to run a Curriculum Day event based on ICT and more specifically Mobile Technology (iPads), was fantastic. As we run 2 1:1 iPad Programs (prep and years 6 and 7), it gave teachers a chance to learn more about how iPads and Mobile Tech could be integrated in to teaching and learning programs. I had a number of specialist staff from the Phys Ed and Arts areas also attend and this was great as they could gain a greater understanding of how Mobile Tech could be utilised within their own specialist programs!

As we place such a large emphasis on engagement within teaching, i thought it imperative that i do not give a ‘stand and deliver’ type of scenario as that is simply not engaging, no matter how good your Keynote Presentation is!

So…

The day that i orgainsed ran in the following manner;

1. An iPad Amazing Race. 

This involved staff being given an iPad with the selected year 6 and 7 applications, as well as a created eBook that I had produced in their iBooks library. This book outlined exactly what each staff member was to do for the morning and that being having staff visit and use Federation Square as the meeting point, as well as the surrounding landmarks and attractions, to complete a series of iPad based tasks using the app’s available to them! They were to do this in any order, individually, pairs or small groups, and aim to complete as many of the tasks set with the time that they had.

I have embedded all relevant documents below as well as the PDF File of the eBook.

PDF: Curriculum Day Information Document: ICT Curric Day 2012

PDF: iBook Author PDF Version: Curric Day 2012 – Mobile Tech

2. Lunch… at a pub of course! That’s always engaging! 

3. More structured PL held at our IT Partners (Xcite Logic) Offices in Collingwood. 

Anita L’Enfant, Xcite’s National Manager for Professional Learning, run my staff through effective iPad Use and showed them a number of applications that could be utilised within their teaching and learning programs. I have listed these applications below as well as a short piece about what they are and what they do. Thank you to Anita for running the afternoon’s session as it was great for my staff to have Professional Learning that was not ran by myself.

On reflection, and apart from the weather being terrible in the morning, and the iPads not have decent Wifi connectivity, i was very pleased with how the day ran. Feedback from staff was outstanding and i also need to thank them for their patience and participation throughout the day! One thing that I would liked to have altered was the activities within the morning ‘Amazing Race’ component. I would have liked these to not be as… one dimensional as they were, meaning i found them to be a little in the ‘substitution’ mould of things. Meaning, I would have liked a more creative element to them, to really showcase what the iPad can do. But alas, something for next time. I felt the lack of wifi hindered this also and although Federation Square has free Wifi, it’s not reliable for what i would have liked to do.

Working Hard!

Collaborating!

Below I have included some feedback from staff about the day which I was very happy to receive!

“Last Friday was really good. It was really worthwhile. I learnt how I could use some the apps in an engaging and practical way that then could be taken back into the classroom and be extended upon for learning. I enjoyed having the opportunity at Excite to explore Apps and work on our books. I liked the application of using it at Fed Square as that is an accessible venue for us to visit for excursions, particularly with years 9 and 10’s.”

“I thought that all of the planned activities were great. It gave me a chance to really think about how I can utilize ICT in a PE environment. Personally it gave me time to experiment with assistance the use of different Apps. I would feel more comfortable in using iPads in PE after being exposed to using an iPad and the various Apps.”

All in all I’d love to run a similar day again, perhaps a whole day of the mornings activities with more staff, with more of a creative and collaborative focus. As mentioned i hope that the staff who attended took some valuable things away for future use because as we know, PL that assists us in becoming better educators is PL worth attending!

 

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Favourites (or, at least just a few of…)

Throughout the marvellous journey I have been on once i joined the Twitter fraternity, i have enjoyed, thoroughly, the many thousands of tweets that have been tweeted my way. To hear and often see what other educators are up to in their daily teaching lives has certainly open my own eyes to how i can improve my own practices.

To also have something so simple as Twitter be such an important and powerful resource, one which i now rely on frequently, at my disposal 24/7, is a great thing. To have created and developed a strong PLN, both locally and not, has been of great assistance to me, especially in my current role.

One thing that i gave found tricky with the whole Twitter thing is what to do with ALL of those great tweets and resources that come my way. Like many, i ‘favourite’ what i definitely want to come back to and occasionally even book mark items to my tool bar in Chrome directly. This has caused me a great deal of pain as my tool bar now has an utterly ridiculous amount of links associated with it, all of which has zero organisation!

So in my madness i have aimed to begin to collate what i have added as a ‘favourite’ over the years… and there’s a lot! If anyone out there in Twitter land, or somewhere else land, can assit me in the best way to orgainse these it’d be greatly appreciated!

Below i have included 20 links, yes, just the 20, that i’ve found to be of great value both in my owen role, as an educator, and as a coach!

Enjoy!

And a few extras…

 

0

Term 2, here i come!

After having had 3 and a half weeks off for the birth of my beautiful daughter Lucy, I’ve had more than enough time to reflect on what my priorities are for the upcoming term!

I love my job and I hope that it loves me (fingers crossed) yet like most educators, time has this wonderful skill of escaping you when you need it most! I am going to ensure that this term, and hopefully for the terms beyond, I can get some kind of grasp of not only prioritizing what I want to do, but also what I need to do! 😉

So here are a select few items that are on my to do list that are both wants and needs for this term and beyond. Fingers crossed, yet again, that I can to the best of my ability get all of these done!

Teaching!

Priority number one. Having 3 classes of Multimedia to teach is not overly demanding however I find that other aspects of my role can dictate just how well I teach the great kids I do. I have been blessed in having students in my classes that are patient, understanding and extremely flexible, all of which certainly make my role as their teacher a lot easier! My students are focusing on film and video production and you can get a glimpse of their great work via our College’s YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/ManorLakesP12College?ob=0&feature=results_main

Apple TV Set-Ups.

We made a decision late last year to not continue the leasing of our current IWB’s. The cost of both leasing and purchasing was we felt to be quite high. My techs and I then had this wonderful idea, which we soon realized was not our idea, as a lot of schools and colleges are heading down this path, to install LED/LCD TV’s in to classroom along with Apple TV devices. Staff, especially those with iPad’s, would be able to mirror their device for the students to see! The great thing also being when Apple releases their OSX Mountain Lion, Mac Laptops will able to mirror as well! The cost of going down this path is we feel much cheaper and more cost effective than purchasing IWB’s. For a nominated amount, we can purchase a large flat screen TV, and Apple TV device, all mounting brackets etc. as well as an Nintendo Wii, for Game Based Learning Purposes! 😉 Watch this space! Here is a great article of a school and their experiences of doing something similar! http://esheninger.blogspot.com.au/2012/04/mobile-interactivity-that-wont-break.html

1:1 iPad Programs + PLT.

Our BYOD Model of our 1:1 iPad Programs in years 6 and 7 have begun extremely well! Students and staff have responded to using the devices so very well as a learning tool, which has been great to see! From this term onwards we will look at consolidating the practices and pedagogy that we are practicing! We also have our 1:1 iPad Program running in our Prep cohort and thus far also, the students are loving using the iPad to assist their learning! The comments thus far also from the staff in the prep area are very encouraging also. We will be running an iPad PLT (Professional Learning Team) this term to assist in the development of the iPad Curriculum and to assist staff in using the devices to compliment the teaching and learning that is already taking place.

1:1 MacBook Program.

As above I will be working closely with out year 8, 9 and 10 students and staff to ensure that Apple MacBook’s are being utilised as much as possible. Or should I say, as needed. Our older students are creating outstanding content via their Mac’s and it’s great to see staff ensuring students are using their devices not only correctly, but also competently.

Coaching / Staff PL.

A large part of my role is to work closely with staff in up skilling them with the tools and knowledge that they need to effectively and comfortably integrate ICT. Spending time in classes, running PL sessions, and coordinating ‘Techie Brekkies’, are all part and parcel of assisting my staff in this area. I am very lucky to have a staff, a very large staff, which see the integration of ICT as a means of fostering engagement and students meeting their intended learning outcomes. I intend to run a 2-day PL course either towards the end of this term, or the beginning of next, in creating ICT Peer Coaches for not only our college, but others as well.

Conferences.

I have a number of conferences that I am presenting at by myself as well as with colleagues coming up. I feel that one of the greatest things about being a teacher is having the ability to share your thoughts, skills, knowledge, and journey with others. The best PL comes from networking and professional discussions. ICTEV, VITTA, Slide2Learn, and now uLearn12 in New Zealand are all on my agenda and I look forward to attending and presenting! Click on the name of the mentioned conferences to read more about them.

ICTEV 2012

VITTA 2102

Slide2Learn 2012

uLearn12

College Website.

Towards the end of 2011 we had our College Website rebuilt and now it is up and running and looking and going great! Of course, with any websites, they need to have content added frequently and be update with the information and media that posted! A job I might add, in a school this large, is quite a task! The great thing being however I have a host of people I am working with to ensure this happens both regularly and in a manner that is not confusing! You can visit our college website here: http://www.manorlakesp12.vic.edu.au/

Professional Visits.

Last term was bedlam in relation to the number visitors we had from other schools coming to visit our College! As time consuming as this can be, and I do not mean that in a negative way what so ever, it was, and is, great to have schools and their educators come to visit to learn from the great things we feel that we are doing well. This area of my role is something that I enjoy, as I have mentioned, I feel that the best PL available is going and seeing others in action! One thing that I also hope to do more of as the year progresses!

As busy as i am sure i will continue to be i do look forward to all of the above! Very exciting times!

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

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

A Second Life…

So… I thought that i’d attempt to teach using the online Virtual World/s of Second Life, or SL, with a group of keen Yr 9 students. Great idea at the time, and i am pleased to report, after 3 lessons i finally have things on track, up and running and moving along nicely!

I first caught wind of using Second Life a means of engagement and as a valuable teaching tool at the recent DEECD Innovations Showcase where i spoke to a representative from HTVA (History Teachers Association of Victoria), who were looking at creating Islands/destinations that had a strong history focus.

From accessing this place in SL, students could explore and learn about all things history and although the details i was given about this were a little sketchy, i believed that it was a great idea. I had also heard of Deakin University in Geelong, Victoria using SL with their Arts students to enhance their learning whilst away from actually attending the University itself.

Me, just having a fly around Le' Eiffel Tower!

Me, just having a fly around Le' Eiffel Tower!

The first hurdle that i encountered was actually getting myself and my students to access the SL Software and Servers. Our net provider had placed a block on SL for particular reasons, and with a change here and a change there of certain settings from the fabulous Tech’s that i work with, all began to work quite fluently.

The students were asked to create their own free accounts, which they did very easily, and then choose their avatar. What we have found with choosing your avatar is that you can change it to look like pretty much anything you want. Some of my students are assembling Angels, others Demons, some have heads of a rabbit and others have no legs! Quite bizarre but fun and engaging at the same time!

I went in, as did the students, the show was not on though. Maybe a good thing!

I went in, as did the students, the show was not on though. Maybe a good thing!

Once i’d pushed out the software to all my students via ARD (Apple Remote Desktop), which saved each student downloading the software individually, they all logged in for the first time and off they went! The first destination that students visit, (as do all SL users), is what is known as Orientation Island. A place that teachers use for learning the basics of SL, such as getting around by walking, flying and teleporting, looking at objects and zooming in, as well as many other simple, yet imperative to know facets of the program.

Now, having access to this great software and program is one thing, but obviously i needed an authentic purpose for it. A Teaching and Learning plan that would enrich my students some way, shape or form. I had originally designed the unit or discovery (as we call them), an Inquiry based teaching unit focusing on the Humanities area of our Curriculum, these being Geography, Economics and History.

Visiting the Notre' Dame!

Visiting the Notre' Dame!

So, now let me explain what i have done with my students so far…

The first session (lasting 2hrs), involved an in-depth discussion about the need to be extra careful and vigilant when participating online in Virtual Worlds. That there is a very strong possibility that people are not who they say they are and this can lead to all sorts of dramas.

We viewed parts of a documentary titled ‘TallHotBlond’ (i had cut this film down to edit out the parts that were inappropriate as there were a few…). This Doc told the story of a murder that occurred in the US several years ago due to lies online and people pretending to be not who they said they were! This prompted outstanding discussion and dare i say was a wake up call for several of the more ‘that won’t happen to me’ students!

We conducted several mind mapping exercises about being safe online and the respect that needs to be given to the software/program being used as well as the other users.

During week 2 we looked at alternatives to SL, as by this stage we were still having issues accessing the program due the filters in place. Several students suggested RuneScape and World of Warcraft. Both great online Virtual Worlds/MMORPG, but perhaps not designed for the purpose that i was after. The students investigated just how using such online tools could benefit their learning. They discussed and mentioned that it appeared to be an excellent learning tool (if we could get it to work), and something they were keen to try.

Once again we brainstormed and discussed just how we could go about using it for an authentic purpose and lots of great things were discussed, and some… not so great. Towards the end of the session we’d/they (the tech;s) managed to get it up and running and we then pushed out the software to the students ready for the week 3, which was yesterday!

So… yesterday i had developed a mini lesson that i asked my students to complete and then set them off on their first assessment task using SL as a means to engage and assist their learning! I have begun to find several great resources that will compliment what it is i would like to do with my students. These i have attached below.

I wont go in to what yesterday’s session involved, i’ll leave the following two documents to do the talking! I’ll be sure to keep you posted on the SL happening of MLC!

Week 3 Tasks; SL 1Paris 1900

SL Teaching Resources:

http://secondlife.com/destination/paris-1900

http://zoomlab.org/wiki/index.php?title=Kids_Connect_Second_Life_Activities

http://www.simteach.com/wiki/index.php?title=Second_Life_Education_Wiki

http://learningfromsocialworlds.wordpress.com/learning-to-teach-in-second-life/

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Digital (Contemporary) Literacies

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Recently I was successful in obtaining a Grant from the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD) to investigate the effects that Contemporary Literacies have on young students in relation to literacy outcomes.

I had to think for a moment what did DEECD mean by ‘Contemporary’, and this is what was discussed. Contemporary Literacy refers to new forms of literacy made possible only by digital technology.

Before I head in to the nitty gritty of the Grant and it’s intentions, a little background information first. There are 20 schools involved in this program, all of which are investigating contemporary literacies with Prep students, which is approximately 400 students in all. Daphne Cohen, who is the Manager of Emerging Technologies in Education, Innovation & next Practice Division is heading this project and very excited to witness it’s outcomes come the end of the program.

The big question that was posed to us was “What role do digital technologies play in the education of early learners” (in this case, preps). From here the big 4 questions that were to guide our grant were the following:

1. How do preps learn using digital technologies in and out of school?

2. What are parents and teacher attitudes towards, and expectations of, technology use in the Early Years?

3. What are the challenges and opportunities in providing children with contemporary literacies as they start school?

4. What are the possible implications of the findings for existing literacy teaching/assessment practices in the Early Years?

Ian Burrage set the scene for the day discussing the questions above and where we are at in relation to 21st Century Learning and Thinking Skills, of which have been around since DaVinci! Perhaps time for us as educators to move on and forward. An interesting thought!

Following from Ian we heard from Judi Hanke, the Victorian Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat, who discussed that Literacy is more than reading writing and speaking and listening. It involves students making ethical choices in a knowledge rich age and being a critical consumer and creator. We looked at and spoke about the picture below and the importance of a child’s development at an early age.

images

As a group we discussed briefly what the ‘teddy Bear’s Picnic’ should look like in the 21st Century! Using google maps to plan the walk, and recipe based websites to cater the event, and creation tools to make invitations, Shazzam iPhone/iPad Application to find appropriate music!

Following on from the conversation above we also spoke about the importance of the transition that young people go through between pre-school and prep and the importance for children of this age to become familiar with technology. For them to develop the background knowledge that they need as they progress to school.

The main guest speaker for the day came in the form of Daniel Donahoo (@ddonahoo, @prjct_synthesis) an Author and Tech Addict among many other things. Daniel spoke to us about technology, children and the future. We heard that the pace of change is extremely rapid, especially in relation to technology and its ever changing ways. It is difficult to keep up with the rate of change as once we gain a great understanding of one thing, we have already moved on to the next, which does make it difficult for people, especially children, to become experts in the field of technology.

The afternoon sessions involved many short and sharp discussion around many topics relating to the days proceedings. We discussed safe and ethical behaviour and the resources that were available to us as educators such ad the DEECD FUSE website and Hector’s World.

We also heard from Daniel again, this time discussing the types of technology that is available to us to enhance Digital, or Contemporary Literacy. Daniel showed us a range of tools and devices that we as schools may like to purchase with our grant money to support the literacy programs we already have in place. An example of these being:

– USB Microscopes,

– Micro Cameras,

– QR Code Generators and Readers,

– Flip Cameras,

– Sony Bloggies,

– iPads (App’s being Toon Tastic, Little Explorers, Toca Tea Party, Motion Math,

– iPod Touches,

– Digital Voice Recorders,

– Digital Cameras

– and so on…

So… after all that was discussed throughout the day our decision is now this… What do we spend our grant money on to support the Literacy programs we currently have set in place in our Prep cohort? One prep class will be the focus of the program, that being our Prep Teacher Sam Irwin (@sirwin2pt0). Being a Mac School we are thinking iPod Touches, as we can purchase a greater quantity with what money we have. The fact that these devices are also portable, smaller than an iPad, and can have a lot of the same applications seems a clear winner for us. Students can take a photo and record voice which is also a benefit of these devices.

Sam and I will be sure to keep you informed of our happenings of this program and it’s outcomes. What would you purchase to support you literacy program? A big decision!

Overall, it was a great day, heard from lots of great speakers with great ideas and a real passion for embedding technology in to the Early Years of Schooling! I look forward to getting underway!