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ICT Provisioning…

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Teaching with Technology. Hmmmm. It was a good idea at the time! Now the bane of my life! Well, not entirely true! I couldn’t live without it. However, it’s certainly something that presents challenges every single day and this evening, as part of my role as eLearning Coordinator at my College my largest challenge to date, loomed!

It had nothing to do with inappropriate student use of our MacBooks, nothing to do with damaged or stolen devices, nothing to do with staff being difficult and blocking the processes I would like in place. It was all about the continuing creation of a whole College ICT Vision! (Not an easy thing to do I have found).

So… what’s the issue you ask? Well I say… there are a few. But first a bit of background knowledge on our College and where we stand! We are a 1:1 MacBook College in our Yr 7, 8 and 9 cohorts, (roughly 380 MacBooks). We also have a 1:1 iPad Trial in Yr 6 with 110 students. In addition to those programs we have iMacs, iPod Touches, more iPads in our Specialist Learning Centre, Digital Projectors, Flip Cameras, Digital Cameras, IWB’s and even more MacBooks in classes for our younger students! Safe to say we are an Apple Mac School! If I have my way, we always will be!

As you can see we have a lot of technology at my College. Technology, we love and use on a daily basis. Technology that is used, effectively and efficiently by students beyond the expectation of our Teachers to create outstanding work. Work that promotes their learning and actually demonstrates that they have achieved a learning outcome!

So… once again, what are the challenges? Ready? I am sure you can all relate to this…

1. Finance.

The cost of the technology listed above is not cheap. Apple technologies are not cheap, but they are worth every cent (personal opinion). Our iPad Trial is funded by DEECD (Gov. Education Department) so there’s no cost there. Our 1:1 MacBook Program however is the costly part. Now, I am not going to divulge figures however it is very expensive and as a College we need to find a greater model that is more sustainable! This in turn will free up more funds in my budget for the purchasing of even more technology and the building of sustainable infrastructure! More IWB’s for the junior areas, iPads for Preps, and so on and so on!

NSSCF Funding.

In a nutshell, our previous Prime Minister’s promise to place a device (net book) in the hands of every Yr 9, 10, 11 and 12 students hands! A GREAT election promise! Fantastic! Excellent way for school to implement 1:1 programs in their senior Secondary Year without schools themselves having to pay for it. So what’s the problem you say? That’s great! Well, it is! BUT… Each child in those Yr levels is allocated $1250 and can choose from ONLY 6 devices, and therein lies the problem. 5 of the 6 listed, are Windows based Net Books. The other is the MacBook, which is great for us, however the cost (and here comes more funding/finance gripes) of a MacBook is a lot more than a Net book. Not $1250 worth, but close. The remaining funds of the $1250 once a device has been purchased is to support the College in it’s 1:1 Implementation. Wireless Infrastructure, Risk Mitigation, Laptop Trollies, Electricity Costs, etc… Purchasing the MacBook does not leave us a lot. We can though, manage, but it will be a challenge.

Now. As I said we are a Mac school. Net Books are no good to our College. I am not saying that Net Books are a terrible device and that schools who have gone down that path have made a poor choice, etc, etc… Net Books are simply NOT suitable for us and our setting. We as a College have worked too hard working with students to assist them to create such outstanding pieces of work that going from MacBooks to Net Books simply would not suit the Multimedia purposes that we have and that the students currently use.

So that is THE challenge!

Where to now? A Vision! What would and do I want for our College? To create a vision, a provision for ICT across the College, from P-9 is a challenging task. I’d love to put an iPad in the hand of every student! How do I go about that? What funding models do I follow? Lease? Share costs with parents? Parent funded? School purchased? Do I not have any iPads and go MacBooks? Perhaps then only from 5-9, or, when we are a fully fledged College, 7-12? Then who funds that? The NSSCF? The College? This is my challenge!

To all of you out there who may read this… if you had the chance to create an ICT Vision for your College, a vision that will last for 3-5 years, what would you want? Would an iPad for every child be a good thing? Would you want a MacBook for the older students? Is 1:1 the way to go full stop? There is so much discussion that I could continue with, discussions that I’ve had with Apple and their Education and Finance people, my College’s Leadership team, our Mac Provider and Parents. These conversations I’ll save for the update!

I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments about the above.

Thanks!

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DEECD Innovations Showcase 2011

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Earlier this year I had never heard of the DEECD Innovations Showcase. Had no idea whatsoever what it was or what was involved, and I am a little bemused as to how that came to be!

I have been fortunate enough to attend several outstanding conferences in the past, on Local, State, National and International levels. So when I cottoned on that this event was happening I was all over it, and having been granted permission from the Powers That Be to attend the DEECD Innovation Showcase, and it proved to be a great experience.

To hold a conference that showcases the outstanding things that educators are doing across the state of Victoria is a remarkable feat, seeing that there are so many of us doing so many great and wonderful things.

The Masses!

The Masses!

The day began with 2 wonderful young Secondary Students, Elizabeth and Shafiqah, being introduced to MC the days events. Both girls, currently in Yr 12 and members Victorian Students Representative Council did an outstanding job of introducing speakers and holding their own throughout the proceedings.

After we’d heard from the likes of the Hon. Martin Dixon, MP, Minister for Education, Katrina Reynen, Innovation and Next Practice Division, DEECD as well as other Key Speakers, sharing their thoughts, beliefs and goals for Victorian Education is was time to move to the first of my 3 sessions for the day. In saying this, it’s the biggest pitfall of attending a conference, having to choose and select sessions to attend and if you’re like me, picky and wanting to go to everything, making the choices can be extremely difficult. Now in saying this… I feel I chose exceptionally well!

Learning through Games (catchy title!), was my first session and it was impressive! 8 schools showcasing the extraordinary things they do in relation to using Games in the Classroom to foster and encourage learning! There were Yr. 11 students developing their own games for the Xbox Games Console, a number of Xbox Consoles attached to the Xbox’s Kinect device in which student’s actual movements controlled the character on the screen! This was a great way in getting students actively engaged in what they were doing and there were so many varied applications for using such an innovative gaming device in the classroom. The number of mobile devices being showcased was also astonishing. iPod Touches, iPads, Nintendo DS’ and Sony PSP’s were all being used to compliment learning. This was such a great hands on session to attend and I must say that it was a first for me attending a conference and dancing and singing to Michael Jackson in front of a group of strangers (well sober at least)…

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Xbox Kinect at it's best (Meredith PS)

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Yr.11's from Melbourne High writing games for Xbox.

Yr.11’s from Melbourne High writing games for Xbox.

From here I moved to ‘Better Blogging’ which was hosted by a fellow GTA Graduate in Kelly Jordan and her colleague Kathleen Morris. The session, as the title states was devoted to how teachers and students can use Blog within their classroom settings. Both Kelly and Kathleen had their audience thoroughly engaged and wanting to know more. The examples shown of what they had done, and were currently doing, were outstanding and made participants of this session want to create a Blog and get started immediately! Links to both Kelly’s and Kathleen’s Blogs are below!

2KM/2KJ Blog: http://2kmand2kj.global2.vic.edu.au

Kathleen’s Blog: http://primarytech.global2.vic.edu.au

Kelly’s Blog: http://teachingliteracy.global2.vic.edu.au

My last session for the day was attending ‘Learning in Little Big Classrooms’ run by Anne Mirtschin, a very success educator who does amazing things with technology, even when her access to technology has been limited. Anne’s session demonstrated and highlighted the importance of Global Collaboration between schools, teacher’s and students and how software, as simple as Skype for example, can be used as such a powerful tool! The highlight of the session was a live hook up via Skype with a Malaysian School who performed their adaptation of ‘The Lion King’, in song and dance, which was spectacular! It was simply great to see someone with a passion for technology, working in a small rural school achieve so many wonderful things. It was a session the proved that technology can enhance teaching and learning opportunities in so many ways, no matter where you’re located or what resources you have.

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And then, like all good things, we had to come to an end, and WHAT and end it was. I have been to quite a few Professional Learning Days and Conferences of recent times and I can say that the finale’ that was put on show by DEECD was fantastic. To have Anh Do, one of Australia’s greatest comedians finish off such a great day was a perfect fit (I know that DEECD are perhaps not known for their sense of humour however this was a great!).

There are so many things that I’ve not discussed or shared, owing mainly to there being far to much, and I feel I’ve gone on long enough!