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Show & Tell

Show+and+Tell+Logo

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

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

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

2014 Middle Years CBL Unit: Digital Identity

2014 Middle Years CBL Unit: Digital Identity

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

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

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

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

2. Genius Hour Implementation.

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

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

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

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

3. Google Drive

Google Drive App

Google Drive App

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

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

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

4. Classroom Expectations.

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

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

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

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

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

As Bill’s Bio states…

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

Impressive hey!

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

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

     

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

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

In summation… the creation of a presentation is more than just images and text on a slide. To effectively engage an audience and convey powerful messages, you need to consider those messages and specific design principles that will allow present your information in the most effective manner possible.
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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 ‚ÄúLook! I‚Äôm Learning!‚ÄĚ 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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Yr 10 Multimedia Productions!

screenart.com

As part of my teaching load for 2013 I lucky enough to have a year 10 class for Multimedia where we focus primarily on digital media and digital media creation.

The first task that I have issued over the past few semesters is having the¬†students¬†in groups producing a ‘SuperBowl Commercial’. This focuses heavily on the planning aspects of producing film via investigating storyboarding techniques along with¬†script¬†and¬†screenplay development.

In the past few years I must admit that the quality and effort that’s been placed in to these projects has risen considerably which has been great! I see this task as a mini test if you will as i do not cover a whole lot about camera use and technique. I leave all of this solely to the students to demonstrate which then gives me an indication of their knowledge behind camera and filming techniques!

So, without continuing to rant… Here they are.

Enjoy!

 

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This is why I do what I do…

Me!

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

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

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

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

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

Packing the bags!

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

Card Creation #1

Card Creation #2.

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

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

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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‚Äôs.”

“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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Classroom A/V Setups…

Reports. Exams. Teaching. Coaching. Learning. Assisting. Coordinating. Educating. And so….

Just a few of the things that i have had on the go lately! Usually, all at once!

With 2 weeks left of this term it’ll be great to have a break yet in saying this, it has certainly been a productive term and a lot of things have somewhat… been decided upon from a whole college¬†perspective¬†which has been pleasing. I have that it’s great to have a 1001 and ideas in¬†integrating¬†tech, embedding these ideas in to T&L programs,¬†assisting¬†staff, etc… yet it’s another to actually make choices on which of these ideas to¬†implement¬†first and to get started on!

So…

This term we formed the first official Manor Lakes ICT Committee. This committee, which consists of 10 staff from P-10 as well as specialist staff, meets every so often to make the ‘hard/er’ decisions about ICT integration in the College. A team of dedicated staff who love using IT to assist their teaching and learning programs.

One of the key decisions that was made this term, and the ball is already rolling, is to ensure that classes across the college, Early Years and Middle years, have adequate A/V equipment to use. IN the past, we have used a booking system where staff would book Digital Projectors to use with in their rooms. This has worked well, unless all are booked and you desperately need one!

With staff wanting a mix of devices we though we’d give them exactly that, and to then see how this went over the course of the¬†remainder¬†of the year. So here is what we have decided upon. Each team in our College from year Prep through to Year 8 will¬†receive¬†the¬†following;

1. A Digital Projector Package which includes all relevant¬†cabling, plus two Apple Mac VGA Connectors (ror older MacBooks, and newer¬†MacBooks). Staff enjoy the fact that no matter there device, they can plug and play a D.P. quickly and easily and get their teaching happening asap! They’re¬†lightweight, portable and these days, inexpensive.

 

 

 

 

2. A Mimio IWB with Capture Device + Supporting Digital Projector. Previously we have leased IWB’s, Smartboards, which were placed in our P-2 teaching and learning environments. We found these were mainly being used as projectors themselves and their full capabilities not being utilised, hence, our decision to move away from placing IWB’s across the college. For those unfamiliar to Mimio devices, they are IWB’s which utilise current Whiteboards and Whiteboard markers. They require either a standalone or roof mounted Digital Projector. The Mimio’s suction cup/stick to a whiteboard meaning that they can removed and are¬†portable. I have in the past taken one from a school and used it at the Melbourne Zoo! Great devices, same¬†interactivity¬†and software as more traditional IWB’s, and at a slice of the cost!

 

 

 

 

3. An Apple TV Set-Up. This was the original plan. To place one of these set-ups in every 1:1 iPad room, then 1:2 for the rest of the College. The set up will involve a 50in Samsung HD Plasma, attached to a movable stand, hooked to an Apple TV Device. The¬†reasoning¬†behind this is the mirroring capabilities that can occur between an iPad and the Apple TV. Also that the iPad can be used, in essence, as an IWB. When Apple soon release 10.8, Mountain Lion, Apple MacBook’s will also be able to mirror! As these are portable, they do not become the focus of the room hence changing the pedagogy and the learning that is to occur.

 

I will be very keen to see how the staff utilise these technologies and how they are best introduced in to the¬†teaching¬†and learning programs throughout our College! I’ll be sure to assist staff¬†where¬†i can and as best i can to make sure also that these technologies are embedded and integrated and that the best teaching and learning can occur! As usual, i’ll keep you posted.

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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…

 

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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: ‚ÄúWhat is BYOD and why would you do it?‚ÄĚ. 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‚Äôs in line with the school beliefs.
  • Direct school funds to develop a sound infrastructure.

From a teaching and Learning POV:

  • Student‚Äôs 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!

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Ballarat Cluster Curric. Day

This afternoon I had the arduous task of heading down to ‚ÄėThe Sands‚Äô 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.