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No Excuses!

Well. As the title suggests, it’s certainly been a while since i’ve blogged here and i certainly have no excuses. Definitely NOT good enough, so i apologise to those few who like to read my ramblings!

It has been such a hectic start to 2012, a start that i will say has been fun, yet also challenging, more so from an organisational point of view though. There have not seemed to be enough hours in the day lately and hence, chaos reigns!

The 2 1:1 iPad Programs which i am coordinating, in years Prep and 6 / 7, have begun smoothly and has certainly made for many excited students running app’s and hammering the app store for anything and everything which looks fun and enjoyable to play, and that’s FREE! Teachers, particularly those new to the college, are geting their own minds around how to best integrate iPads devices in to their learning and teaching programs and i will be running extensive PL for these staff in the coming weeks!

 

Parents have been super supportive and next week i’ll be running several parent based tech sessions to assist families in monitoring and utilising the iPad and its features.

We are also still running our 1:1 MacBook programs with our year 8, 9 and 10 students, with the year 10’s having just received their brand new MacBook Pro’s, which have certainly been a highlight and great addition to the tech stocks at out school. All 600+ devices have been re-imaged and updated to OSX Lion, which in itself has been a hit! Teachers have already been running with tech integration from the moment students had their devices handed back and are utilising the technology extremely well which, from my point of view, is excellent to witness.

Lately on Friday mornings i have been assisting staff via conducting Techie Brekkies, an idea which I originally picked up from a great teacher, Henrietta Miller in Sydney. These are a chance for teachers to come to school early and spend a morning with me to learn new and wonderful things! The two that have ran so far have been for new staff in assisting them to become familiar with all of our ICT happenings at the college and to access all of the countless information that they need. This mornings session was to assist staff in creating classroom blogs to use with their students! Both sessions went very very well!

2 weeks in to the year and we have already have had our first college visitors to witness our iPad programs in action. 2 wonderful staff Toni and Kim, from Dripstone Middle School in Darwin, NT, came to see what we were all about. I sensed the feeling that they enjoyed their visit and really took something away from the discussions we had. I have two more schools coming in the next week or so to show around which is fantastic. It s great that we as a college have the time, find the time, to share pedagogical practices with others.

It appears that it will also be a big year in relation to both attending, and presenting, at a number of conferences throughout 2012. I have been listed to present at this years ICTEV Conference in May and in a fortnights time, i will be presenting at the Int. Books conference, discussing all that is eBooks and education.

As a college we’ve brought a new management system on board, known as Compass School Manager, and since we’ve/they’ve completed the initial set up, this online school management system has certainly made a lot of little tasks a whole lot easier to manage. Everything from marking the roll, which can be done on smart phone devices and tablets, to checking staff and student timetables, to creating events for excursions and to now booking available classrooms, this software has been an excellent addition to our college.

On a more personal, school based level, i have been creating a number of documents to support the teaching and learning throughout the college. these have involved a School Wide Social Media Communication Strategy (that’s a mouth full)… which will assist staff in putting processes in to place if and when they decide to use social media with their students or a class as a whole. I have also been working on an updated eLearning plan for our college. This has been based on data received from teachers at the end of 2011, who all participated in the ePotential survey, stating which areas of ICT they felt that they needed assistance in. A few of these areas for example were incorporating more aspects of social media in to their learning and teaching along with blogging, podcasting, and working more collaboratively with others outside of the college setting.

My teaching load for 2012 has increased from last year also, making for an even busier year ahead. In saying that, i am not complaining at all! I am teaching Multimedia to year nine’s and ten’s, all of whom are actively engaged and loving, well appear to be, the subject and what they’re involved in! As i mentioned in a previous post, it’s great to have a class, or several, that i can utilise as, dare i say, guinea pigs, to test all the new web 2.0 tools and sites I come across. The teaching aspect of my role is one of the greatest parts of what i do! Being able to teach, and, work closely with staff to implement and embed excellent technological practices.

I am feeling like i have only scrapped the barrel here with what is occurring throughout this year however whatever lies ahead, i will be sure to keep you all posted and updated! One main aim for this year… to continue with this blog and add more content, more often!!!

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Copyright and Kids…

Image from: brisbanegrammar.com

Image from: brisbanegrammar.com

As you may be aware i have been completing a Certificate in Emerging Technologies through VITTA. Over 4 great workshops we have covered everything from Podcasting to Blogging to Wiki’s to Mobile Technology integration. The 4th and final session held this evening was focused on Copyright and Digital Citizenship. Thanks to Jo Mcleay for hosting this great workshop and sharing her resources!  

Students and copyright… Music, film, text, and image, all of which play a major factor in the technological lives of our digital natives. Students we have found can be so very blase’ about breaching copyright laws and using others’ work and, either claim it as their own, or use that persons works without referencing and citing it as they should.

Now.. in the big scheme of teaching students about ICT, educating them about Copyright, Cyber Safety and being a good ‘Cyber Citizen’ can be perhaps, arguably, quite mind numbingly boring! As teachers it is easy to see that students/teenagers do not place a large focus on the above, especially by the way that they can occasionally speak to one another online. As educators on a daily basis we do place a focus on teaching students to be great citizens, therefore we need to do the same whilst they are online. We need to model effectively how to deal with issues surrounding copyright and pirated material and how to use and where to find legitiamte digital material, whether it be audio, image or film. One small way i have combated students NOT using music for presentations in an illegal way, is to have them create their own music and audio tracks. Software such as Garage Band has been instrumental in educating students about the rigours of creating original scores of music to embed in to their own presentations. Once discussed, students usually get a very good idea as to how they’d be feeling if others were ‘using’ their created pieces without their permission. They feel even more strongly about this once they realise that they could also be loosing money as well, in theory!

Lately I have moved away from using the term ‘Cyber’ and moved to using ‘Digital’. I feel once students hear the word Cyber (safety, safe, smart), they immediately switch off. As an educator the most powerful way i can educate my students about copyright and being a good digital citizen is to model what i do in front of them.

During the latest workshop of completing my Emerging Technologies Cert, we investigated in depth copyright terms and conditions. Trying to get my head around what breached copyright, what did not, what OER was, what this meant and what that meant all started to do my head in! Slowly it all started to make sense and from the excellent resources that Jo has shared, I started to get a better understanding of all of this.

One great example we viewed of a short film NOT breaching copyright laws can be found below. As you watch you may be well aware as to why… 😉

To reflect upon the workshop i suppose that as i have mentioned it is about demonstrating good practice in front of students. By discussing copyright issues as you teach as they arise, you can inform your students that what they may be doing is illegal, and that they can be charged for it. As i have told my students not all that long ago, a 24 year old man in Queensland was sued and find $1,500,000 for illegally uploading a Super Mario Game via the web to share with others who, I assume, were too tight to pay for it! The article for this story can be found HERE. An interesting discussion piece.

We need to be teaching valuable notions throughout our teaching practice. Pull out these teaching moments and share them explicitly.

Several resources that we looked at this evening are linked below and are great for locating some excellent Creative Commons based material!

Flickr Creative Commons

OER Commons

Creative Commons.org

Creative Commons Australia.org

Australian Copyright Council

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Podcasting 101

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2 weeks ago I began a fantastic PL course offered by VITTA (Victorian Information Technology Teachers Association) labelled the Certificate in Emerging Technologies. This certificate involved attending four units, each which centered around an aspect of technology that are emerging at an ever rapid rate.

The first of these units focused upon Podcasting and how it can assist student learning. This great session was hosted by John Pearce (@mrpbps to you twitter fans), an excellent and experienced educator who ran us through the basics such as making podcasts to the more complex of digital story telling.

Below i have embedded a great video from the people at CommonCraft which explains Podcasting in a nutshell!

The 3 hour long workshop saw us using a variety of audio software such as Audacity as well as various web 2.0 tools to develop, enhance and share created podcasts.

We attempted creating our own podcasts (a general consensus being people hated the sound of their own voice, or that may have just been me!) and cutting and adding various aspects of what we recorded. Audacity as already mentioned is a great piece of software for this and its in built tools make it quite easy for the user to get their head around. For those of us who had a mac, we suggested that Garage Band is an excellent piece of software for podcasting and has many in built features for the user. The fact also that created podcasts can be exported as MP3 fils straight to your iTunes library was an added bonus.

The web 2.0 tools we investigated were varied and were great examples of the online resources available to those who did not have software such as Audacity and Garage Band. PhotoPeach was a great little online space which allowed users to create small yet effective digital presentationw online. We also investigated using PhotoStory3 from a PC perspective and although i am an avid Mac user, i do remember clearly using this Microsoft tool several years ago with year 2-4 students, who used it with great success! Very similar to creating a slideshow in Keynote or Powerpoint and exporting it as a movie, yet with a little more emphasis on image manipulation.

We discussed the notion of movie and video based podcasts or ‘Vodcasts’ and that Windows Movie Maker and Apple’s iMove were two excellent tools for this. Jaycut and Stupeflix were 2 online movie editing programs that were promising online alternatives to their software counterparts. Vodcast’s have been something that our year 6 iPad students had been using throughout the year with an application called ‘Show Me’. This app allows students to create a screen recording whilst also voice recording. The benefits of this being students can articulate their learning via a Vodcast.

The question arose of where to house your created podcasts so that people could suscribe to them. Podomatic appeared to be one of the best places online to house your podcasts. You also have the option of being able to record podcasts online here also.

The workshop got me thinking about how I have currently used podcasting and how i can continue to use it in a meaningful way. Here are 10 ways that i have incorporated Podcasting in to my teaching and learning:

– Having students reflect upon their learning at the conclusion of a lesson to demonstrate specific success criteria for a lesson or task.
– Students using podcasting to predict events, either in a text, for a lesson, or before going on an excursion.
– Older students subscribing to particular podcasts via iTunes and reflecting and reporting on these. Great for literacy.
– Students creating Podcasts for inquiry/integrated studies. I.e. Podcasting as a Australian Soldier in a trench during WW1.
– Students creating audio books for younger classes. Great for students to create an ‘audio library’. Focus on expression and speaking skills.
– During numeracy, incorporating mobile devices and students listening to directions given by another student via a podcast.
– For literacy students create a radio advertisement for a product. They also can create their own music via Garage Band or using something as simple as Isle of Tune.
– Students debating a topic in a group or as a whole class and embedding this on to a blog, seeking feedback.
– Students interviewing guests to their schools such visitors running incursions. These can become part of your eNewsletter.
– One for the teachers, when conferencing or completing running records for reading assessment, podcast the students reading and keep these over time. Great to give to parents throughout the year and use for parent teacher sessions!

Lastly, this LINK is to a Simple K-12 free eBook titled ‘Integrating Podcasts’. It has some great little ideas!

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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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ICT Provisioning…

Learn-image-apple-and-blackboard-300x200

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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GBL & Digital Media Creation!

Screen shot 2011-02-14 at 1.59.40 PM

1 week in and my students appear to be engaged, enthused and enjoying what it is that they are doing. The two discovery units that I am running for Yr 9 this year have a strong Inquiry focus through largely implementing ICT and IT ideology!

GBL, or Games Based Learning, is something that I heard about several years ago and is an idea that has not really taken off here in Oz as yet. I know that the discussions around GBL are becoming more in depth and that Educator’s around the country are trying to implement more of a Games Based focus within their teaching and learning practices. The work of people such as Mark Prensky and Adrian Camm (his Games in Education Wiki is Excellent) have certainly pushed the notion of GBL into many educators minds. The mention that GBL also received in both the 2010 and now 2011 K-12 Edition of the Horizon Report also have assisted GBL to be seen as a more serious method of teaching in the 21st Century. The Horizon Report 2010 states –

“The interest in game-based learning has accelerated considerably in recent years, driven by clear successes in military and industrial training as well as by emerging research into the cognitive benefits of game play. Developers and researchers are working in every area of game-based learning, including games that are goal-oriented; social game environments; non-digital games that are easy to construct and play; games developed expressly for education; and commercial games that lend themselves to refining team and group skills. At the low end of game technology, there are literally thousands of ways games can be — and are already being — applied in learning contexts. More complex approaches like role-playing, collaborative problem solving, and other forms of simulated experiences have broad applicability across a wide range of disciplines, and are beginning to be explored in more classrooms.”

The discovery that I am running with two Yr 9 classes is seeing my students talk about and discuss the relevance of GBL and weather or not they as students, as digital learners, see a place for GBL in the education system. It has been interesting to see their notion between games and gaming and how these seem to differ. That playing a game and gaming involve different skills and can be worlds apart. As a class we view the following You Tube Video which explained quite well, albeit quite fast, the differences between educational games and gaming for entertainment. We held several discussions about the notions shown in the video which promoted plenty of rich and relevant thoughts to be shared.

Students have since been asked to complete a research paper on GBL and what it involves, how can we assist other people to see the benefits of GBL in a classroom, and what examples of GBL can we get involved in to promote GBL amongst the educational community.

One major aim for this unit is to have each and every one of my students having developed, researched and constructed a Serious Game that can be used within a classroom setting! I am sure that they will rise to that challenge!

Over the past 2 years working with Secondary students in a 1:1 Program, it has been an amazing journey to see them progress with their ICT skills and to see them create the outstanding pieces that they have. The use of CORE Apple Technology and the Applications via iLife and iWork have certainly assisted both students and teachers alike with the learning and teaching that occurs. My discovery unit titled Digital Media Creation has been based around a Document written by Marco Torres and Ross Kallen, which was sponsored by Apple, called ‘A Curriculum for Digital Media Creation‘. I have modified the lesson involved to suit the needs of my students as well as the resources on offer at my College.

The discovery essentially involves the students looking at film and media creation, from the thought processes of thinking up ideas for a project, to creating the storyboard, to then placing that storyboard in to action! As the document mentions “Every day digital media becomes more important as a means for receiving, producing, sharing and broadcasting information tools and resources that were once the exclusive property of a few are now available to many more people.”

This week will see my students create a 60sec video staring a day in the life of… an inanimate object! A rock, water bottle, laptop… whatever! This should be a laugh! I am sure all of the students will do extremely well! I will aim to have all film uploaded by the end of the week  to you all to see!

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And I’m Back!

IMG_0947

Here I am back at work having left off straight from where i left myself and my workload in 2010. I was thinking that the beginning of 2011 back at school would be somewhat of a smooth process. WRONG! It seems there is truly no rest for the wicked and in the world of ICT it seems that things keep evolving, changing and occasionally, crashing and burning to make life difficult!

But… In saying this i would not have it any other way! In the week and bit i have now been back it has been one of the most hectic work times of my life but i have enjoyed every minute of it. I have rolled out with the assistance of my great Tech’s 130+ MacBooks for classroom use, ensured that all 130+ iPads are up and running for all our students involved in the DEECD iPads for Learning Trial, and made sure that all students in our 1:1 MacBook program in years 8 and 9 have smooth running machines, all of which were re-imaged and raring to go!

Next week I hold two 1:1 Laptop Information Sessions for parents and Students in Yr 7. Parents and students will be spoken to myself of course about our 1:1 Program as well as Tony Richards from ITMadeSimple, who discuss the importance of Cyber Saftey and Cyber Bullying. We also have one of our Apple Supplier representatives from Mac1 talking as well on MacBook care and support. This has been a great night in the past with 80-90% of all parents and their students attending.

A key focus for myself this year, along with teaching my Yr 9 Discovery units on Game Based Learning and Digital media Creation, is to get in to the junior section of the school to assist teachers in that area embed ICT more frequently in to teaching and learning practices. We will be running a buddy program with our Prep and Yr 6 students based upon the use of iPads, integrate and place a greater focus on the use of our IWB’s, and aim to get all students up and running on the all mighty Ultranet!

Since we’ve started back i have already been contacted by two Colleges to come and see the great work our students and teachers are doing with the iPads as well as being visited by the Independent Evaluators of the DEECD iPads for Learning Trial who are keen to see and hear all that’s happening in regards to the trial!

I am keen also this year to utilise the expertise of the excellent people i work with across the college! I have staff who are excelling in the use of Web 2.0 tools, cloud computing and the use of all Apple Applications, especially those associated with iWork and iLife. I even have a staff member creating his own iPad/iPhone4 Applications for use with his prep class! I will certainly keep you informed.

Personally, i have applied to become an ADE (Apple Distinguished Educator) and am hoping that I receive the magical message that informs me that i have been successful! And if not, so be it. I will also continue to run my ‘Tech day Thursday’s’ to assist all staff at my College, especially with all and anything ICT.

Let 2011 begin!

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My 211 Happenings!

Screen shot 2011-01-20 at 1.12.21 PM

Well. Here we go. What will 2011 hold for me? What are my aims and goals and challenges?

I must say that I am looking forward to this year. I have a number of things that I have in the pipe works in which I am greatly looking forward to. This year will see me teaching Year 9 for the first time in my teaching career. Not that I see this a challenge as I have been fortunate enough to teach the same cohort of students the past two years. Rather than being a generalist class teacher as I have been in the past, I will be teaching two ICT based Discovery Units (Electives) covering two areas I am very interested in.

Game Based Learning has certainly grabbed the attention of educators in the last 18 months and had been a proven hit for those educational settings that have trialed the teaching of this. I look forward to investigating through inquiry why games, video games in particular, are so popular and how they are created. Students will also be given the chance to create their own basic games and to then share these with others. People such as @adrian_camm have been somewhat of an inspiration for me after hearing him speak about game based learning at the recent Ulearn10 Conference in Christchurch. Adrian’s Games In Education Wiki can be found HERE.

The other Discovery that I will undertaking will be titled ‘Digital Media Creation’. This will involve my students looking at film and how technology assists in the creation of certain programs. My students will investigate how films are made, primarily documentaries, and put in to action the creation of storyboards, working with audio and various techniques as well as investigating lighting and trouble shooting lighting issues. I have a core group of budding IT Savvy students who are keen to get involved in this and I greatly look forward to rolling with this.

Another large part of my role for this year will be to Peer Coach staff at my College. Working closely with staff and assisting them as much as I can in regards with implementing ICT in to their teaching and learning programs is something which I enjoy and through the ICT Peer Coaching Professional Learning that I undertook in 2010, I feel I have a great grounding to really set some great Peer Coaching in practice.

The 1:1 MacBook and iPad Trails that I coordinate are certainly two things that I am deeply passionate about! Having seen our Secondary students grow in to the excellent Digital Learners that they are today and to witness the great things they are able to create on their MacBooks is outstanding. The iPad trial also with our Year 6 cohort has been a revelation at our College and has paved the way in opening the eyes of parents, staff and other students in just how valuable mobile technology is and how beneficial it can be.

Teaching teachers and sharing my experiences is also something I look forward to in 2011. I look forward to presenting at several conferences and have already been booked in for a few! Sharing the experiences of our iPad trial and our 1:1 MacBook program are always great fun.

So there. I am sure there are another 24 things I have failed to mention and there will be zero shortage of things to be done in 2011 but, if I didn’t enjoy it, I would do it!

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2010 Comes To A Close!

Apple Winter Holiday Mac Christmas Leopard

What a year! A year which promised so much for myself and the College i am part of and having just about all of those promises come to fruition!

This was my first year in a role that saw me out of a classroom full time since i began teaching WAY back in 2003! Being given the eLearning Coordinator/ICT Leading Teacher gig was a major highlight for me personally at the end of 2009 and then to put that role and its responsibilities in to action this year was a great learning opportunity for myself. I reflect back along the course of this year and think that there are so many more things that perhaps i could of achieved but maybe that is setting expectations somewhat high for myself.

Managing ICT at such a fast growing College, one which is set to be the largest single campus P-12 in Victoria, certainly will have it’s challenges, some of which i have already met and conquered is part and parcel if the role i am in. Technology is an area the generally people love or hate because it either works for them, or it doesn’t. The main responsibility i am assigned with is to help people see the light! Help them to integrate ICT in to their teaching and learning practices and to make other educator realise that technology is a tool to be used and embraced, not shunned.

I had the opportunity to not only attend, but to also present at several outstanding Professional Learning sessions throughout the year and these made a huge difference in how i went about my new role. ACEC 2010, ITSE10, VITTA 2010 and Ulearn10 were all sensational outings in which i learnt a great deal from. I heard some amazing keynoters speak, people whom i had heard of, yet never heard speak, or, in some instances meet and converse with in person or even have dinner with! Marco Torres, Steve Wheeler, Gary Stager, Lee Crocket, Sylvia Martinez, and Stephen Heppell just to name a few. Amazing educational minds with even more amazing educational thoughts to share.

Being involved in and coordinating the DEECD iPads for Learning Trial was also a major highlight this year. Being one of nine schools in the State to be selected was great news for our College and would, and has, complimented our excellent ICT programs we currently have running. The 100 iPads being placed in our Yr 5 cohort as well as 10 more for our Specialist Learning House certainly placed us on the map for IT Innovations. The iPads have been a revelation in our College and it was not until recently in the trial that the staff and students really started to demonstrate just how powerful the iPad as a Mobile Technological Device could be in an Education setting. I will certainly keep you posted on all of the happenings relating to this trial!

Next year i am very much looking forward to Peer Coaching. I am looking forward to assisting staff where i can in integrating ICT in to their teaching and learning practices. A great part of this i am sure will be the learning that i will undergo throughout this process. I am sure that i will learn just as much from those that i am Peer Coaching with as perhaps, fingers crossed, that they learn from me!

The learning that i witnessed throughout the year from the students who had ICT firmly embedded in to their daily practices was astounding and i am mainly talking about here students involved in our 1:1 MacBook Program. The students have developed so far over the course of the year, especially our Yr 8 students who started off with their MacBooks last year in the program. The work that all our Yr 7 and 8 students have developed has been excellent. The movies and creative flare that has been shown was by no means lacking. Students used a wide array of applications and software on their Macs such as iMovie, Comic Life, and Garage Band just to name a few!

Overall it has been a year of many learning curves. I am greatly looking forward to 2011 and what it holds! I will be teaching two Yr 9 Discovery Units, Media Creation and Game Based Learning, assisting all staff with their Ultranet endeavours, coordinating the last 12 months of the iPad Trial, as as i have mentioned Peer Coaching fellow staff! I am also booked in already to present at specific conferences next year which i enjoy immensely also!

Have a great Christmas and New Year, and thanks for taking interest in what i have to share!

Cheers!

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ICT Peer Coaching PL

On Wednesday I participated in my last ICT Peer Coaching Professional Learning Session for the year. It was a little surreal as the the PL had been ran over 5 sessions consisting of whole and half days. the information that I gained from this was excellent and certainly the knowledge that I learnt i know i will utilise.

My AP, Helen Otway, ran the PL Sessions and did a great job in doing so! Helen has an expansive knowledge in ICT and has been involved in  some great teaching and learning initiatives. We had a number of visitors from surrounding College’s and Schools attend. There were a mix of educators ranging from Accomplished Teachers, to ICT Leading Teachers and eLearning coordinators and even other Assistant Principals.

One of the highlights that came from the PL sessions was the discussion that was derived from what we were all there for, ICT, Peer Coaching, and 1:1 computing. Having the chance to talk, share and discus al things ICT with others from outside of your own school setting is a great opportunity.

The final session of the ICT Peer Coaching PL had us investigating a great topic in relation to ICT Peer Coaching but ICT in general: Roadblocks!

roadblock

As a group we spoke about what Roadblocks we encounter in our own settings. The responses were wide and varied and these responses can be viewed HERE.

We also looked at a ‘mock’ roadblock situation and the steps involved in tackling such issues.

You can view the document that we investigated below:

1. Sample Coaching Roadblock

From the Roadblocks discussion we then discussed Trust and what it means as a coach to trust and be trusted. We looked at the diagram below and spoke about the importance of building strong relationships with the person that you are Peer Coaching alongside.

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Overall, the 5 sessions that i attended were excellent. The sessions were relevant, engaging and prompted a massive amount of discussion which is always valuable. For anyone who is looking to begin ICT Peer Coaching in their setting i urge you to look at the ICT Peer Coaching Link and investigate the great material that Helen had put together!