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#ADE2014

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I first caught wind of a 20th Anniversary ADE (Apple Distinguished Educator) Institute towards the end, if not after, my initial induction in to the ADE world following my the Institute I attended in Bali in April 2013.

After having experienced Bali alongside 300 other educators from all over South East Asia, Australia, and New Zealand, I was intrigued as to how another ADE Institute could top what I had experienced thus far. I had heard other ADE’s talk of their experiences in Cork, Ireland, a year beforehand and how that Institute was an experience for the ages!

Now usually my posts rant and rave and 200 words turn into 2000. I promise this will not be the case. ūüėČ As much difficulty as I am having in attempting to review what certainly was an amazing week, I am wanting to do that week justice but being conscience, to the point, and not ruin it through rambling lines of text.

It was this week in which I had a fellow ADE,¬†Glenn McMahon (@mackas_ict) visit my college with several of his colleagues who were investigating eLearning and technology integration practices among other things. Whilst discussing all things teaching, learning, technology, and other, Glenn asked me what my biggest ‘take-aways’ were from San Diego. A great question, albeit a tough one. I have been thinking about my response to Glenn and additional ‘take-aways’ I had from attending #ade2014 and, briefly, these are outlined below.

1. Teachers as Learners.

There are a few ways in which I can take this however I will look at it from this angle… Being in a role which effectively is responsible for assisting staff in using technology to enhance ¬†teaching and promote student learning outcomes has over the years thrown up a few challenges. One of these being the reluctance at times of teachers ‘stepping back’ and allowing students to lead. The need to control a class and the way it is being run is for the most part shifting as it perhaps once was the near norm. I now often see students leading their peers and also their teachers in learning new methods to create, share, collaborate, connect and innovate within the classroom. In regards to the institute a¬†key focus was the teacher being the learner. Using our own devices to engage and interact with the institute itself via an iTunesU course and a developed app for attendees was terrific. I look forward to seeing the day when students are personalising their own learning to the point where teachers are no longer teachers, where they facilitate learning and work alongside the students and not in front them.

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Teachers as Learners

2. Making it Mobile.

There’s no doubt the one of the greatest strengths of the iPad is it’s mobility. The simple fact that it can be taken anywhere and do just about anything to support teaching and or learning. This i have clearly seen evident when taking 100+ students to both Sovereign Hill and the Melbourne Aquarium¬†where their iPad devices have been fully integrated to support the learning programs taking place. San Diego in a way was also exactly that. Having our own devices out and about and using the suggested app’s given to us, especially also from an iBeacon point of view was fantastic. The point being made is that learning does not need to be restricted to the classroom or even the school grounds. That also yes, connecting with their learning at home is also great however, when students are engaged with technology to assist them to develop specific understandings when in other rich learning environments so much more understanding can be developed. The map below shows several points of reference where I used my own iPad device ‘out in the field’ and for what reasons.

3. I’m not Alone.

One of the, if not the, best part of attending such an event is being situated in a location alongside 400+ like minded people, all of which have the same drive, passion, and desire that you do. People who are having similar successes and triumphs as well as hitting similar walls and barriers. The professional conversations that were mostly held informally over a beer and dinner were amazing. The connections that I was able to make was outstanding and I have every confidence that through meeting these people, and staying in contact with them I will be a better teacher and leader for it. Thanks to social media, primarily Twitter, I can converse with these wonderful people virtually anytime and anywhere.

Clearly not alone...

Clearly not alone…

4. Break the Norm.

Hearing the stories and journeys that educators had embarked on within their own settings that ‘broke the norm’ of how technology was being utilised was outstanding. Again, hearing like minded educators sharing stories about how they have transformed their teaching practices within their settings was great. This was particularly evident during the ADE showcases where ADE’s had 3 minutes to share the AWESOME things that they were doing in their settings. The common theme throughout the showcase sessions was that these were educators who were willing to trial new things and take a risk within their own practice. They were willing to step out of their comfort zone. Hopefully the ¬†recording of these are made public soon so that other teachers the world over can be inspired as I was!

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5. Celebrate the +’s

My last big take away, is that I realised that it is extremely important to celebrate the positives within our settings and with others. Everything from the big wins that we have such as rolling out 1000 iPad devices to perhaps that small win where one particular student has created a marvellous piece of work. To be within an environment that was extremely positive it encourages you to share more of what you do and to celebrate the things you and your setting do well. From this I hope to begin working on developing this positive culture not only throughout my staff but more so my students. Have them share and celebrate the awesome things that they are capable of!

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“Now usually my posts rant and rave and 200 words turns¬†into¬†2000.”¬†– Corrie Barclay, The beginning of this post!

LASTLY… I have strung together my own 10 favourite shots from the Institute that hopefully depict the learning, collaboration, and sites that were #ADE2014.

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1 iPad, 1 Task, 15 Ways

Recently my year 7 class were issued with an inquiry tasks asking them to select various pathways and answer various inquiry questions, many of which they themselves had created, relating to their current Inquiry topic of Ancient History with a focus on Ancient Rome and Ancient China.

I have embedded this task for you below.

Humanities Inquiry Task

Immediately after the task had been covered, discussed and picked apart, I set the students off to begin creating their presentations. Depending on what we are doing in class I often place a very heavy focus on ‘student voice, student choice’ (thanks @MichelleMeracis for allowing me to ‘borrow’ your phrase) as well as foster a ‘Gradual Release of Responsibility’ towards how work is presented. This essentially means that student can choose to create their work via just about any means they wish as long as they are meeting their success criteria and learning outcomes for that lesson.

After 15 mins or so I began conferencing with the students around the room what it is they had chosen to do and how they were going to go about presenting their work. The task itself involves also having students present their findings to the rest of the year seven cohort in an ‘exhibition’ style setting.

It became quickly apparent that the creativity I was hoping for was not entirely being embraced! A class conversation was quickly organised and a rushed ‘poll’ on NOT what each of the students were doing but HOW they were doing it. Their responses were mixed with a around half selecting to ditch their technology altogether. However, ¬†those who were iPad bound were all looking to create in the same select few app’s.

So being the teacher that I am I decided to show just a few select ways that were quick, pain free and simple to take what was a very ordinary task and ‘jazz’ it up a little!

Below I have completed the same basic task; under the ‘History Pathways‘ component, and the dot point titled ‘What are your thoughts/opinions on slavery?’. To answer this I have come up with three pretty standard opinions and attempted to represent these in 15 different ways using my iPad Mini. Some are extremely basic, others a little more complicated. Some tasks took a little longer to complete while others were completed in under 3 minutes.

Here we go!

# 1.

  • App: Pages
  • Cost: $12.99 however comes free with most recent model iPad devices.
  • Time: 3 minutes

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# 2.

  • App: KeyNote
  • Cost: $12.99 however comes free with most recent model iPad devices.
  • Time: 5 minutes

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Slavery KeyNote Preso!

# 3.

  • App: iMovie
  • Cost: $5.49 however comes free with most recent model iPad devices.
  • Time: 11 minutes (including export to YouTube)

# 4.

  • App: Haiku Deck
  • Cost: Free with in app purchases.
  • Time: 7 minutes (including upload time)

HISTORY PATHWAYS – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

# 5.

  • App: Adobe Voice
  • Cost: Free (An Adobe ID is needed, which is free.)
  • Time: 5 minutes (including upload time)

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Click on the image above to view the video…

# 6.

  • App: Pic Collage
  • Cost: Free with in app purchases.
  • Time: 5 minutes

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# 7.

  • App: Popplet LITE
  • Cost: Free, although a Pro Version is available.
  • Time: 4 minutes

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# 8.

  • App: Tellagami
  • Cost: Free with in app purchases.
  • Time: 3 minutes

# 9.

  • App: Video Scribe
  • Cost: $7.49
  • Time: 6 minutes (47min to export to camera roll!!!)

# 10.

  • App: Prezi
  • Cost: Free
  • Time: 7 minutes

# 11.

  • App: Google Doc
  • Cost: Free
  • Time: 3 minutes

Link to the EDITABLE document here: Slavery – History Pathway

# 12.

  • App: Survey Monkey
  • Cost: Free
  • Time: 6 minutes

Access the link to my created survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/M9GQ2SS

# 13.

  • App: Strip Design
  • Cost: $3.79
  • Time: 8 minutes

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# 14.

  • App: iFunFace
  • Cost: Free with in app purchases
  • Time: 5 minutes

# 15.

  • App: Trading Cards
  • Cost: Free
  • Time: 5 minutes

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And…. One more for good measure…

# 16.

  • App: Quick Voice Pro (embedded in to an iMovie and exported from an .MP3 to a .Mov)
  • Cost: $3.79
  • Time: 10 minutes

So there you have it… I do actually have ideas for another several however we’ll leave it at that! If you, the readers, have any ideas, I have embedded the Google Doc below so you can add your own ideas, apps, etc…

Your Ideas… ūüôā

 

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Quick Fire PL

Just one of the many shots I took whilst down that way!

2 weeks ago I had the absolute pleasure of running a quick fire PL for a small coastal school in Victoria down Aireys Inlet way, situated on the Great Ocean Road.

The PL was based on effectively integrating iPad devices into teaching and learning programs and how a device such as an iPad can leverage and enhance student learning.

As always when presenting and sharing to other staff in various settings, my main and number one point is that it is the teaching itself that matters most. Good, explicit teaching makes the greatest difference in determining students meeting specific learning outcomes. However. When technology is integrated into high quality teaching and learning programs to support what is being taught, then the learning that can take place can be taken to a whole new level.

I also impressed that to integrate technology is not difficult, anyone can do it. To do it effectively however to fully support teaching and learning is something else.

In recent years we have all be taken back by the iPad device and mobile technology in general. The capabilities of these devices for students to access anywhere anytime have allowed students to demonstrate and showcase their learning in many positive ways.

It’s great to walk into a school and see posters like this displayed!

Following on from my philosophical educational technology ramblings I then covered in greater depth just how an iPad device can support teaching and learning. I also discussed and showcased some powerful applications for learning that students at my own College utilise highly to support what they’re doing in class. The link to this presentation, which is an iBook that I created for the recent VITTA conference, is attached below. I have linked the PDF version as it is a whopping 250MB less in size. Click the image below to download this.

In discussing and showcasing particular app’s, I did have to mention that as great as certain applications are on the iPad, it is not about the applications themselves and what they can do. It is more so about how those applications are used! It all comes down to imagination! We are wanting students to drive and personalise what app’s they use to foster that creation and innovation as part of their learning.

With this school moving towards 1:1 iPad devices they will surely find themselves in an exciting space where students and staff have the technology to be able to build on current practices and hopefully, like with all 1:1 programs, encourage and promote learning outcomes to be met at a greater level!

Exciting times!

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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.


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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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Digital (Contemporary) Literacies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– USB Microscopes,

– Micro Cameras,

– QR Code Generators and Readers,

– Flip Cameras,

– Sony Bloggies,

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

– iPod Touches,

– Digital Voice Recorders,

– Digital Cameras

– and so on…

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

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

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

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What. A. Week.

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As the title suggests, what. a. week. Chaotic! Bedlam! Hectic! And… i loved every bit of it! Between teaching, working with staff, solving IT based issues, and everything else it was the week that was.¬†The two highlights for the week however would certainly have been our1:1 MacBook Parent/Student Rollout Evenings and the visitors we had to out College to see the great things happening in regards to our iPad trial!

I’ll start with the 1:1 Rollout Evening. These nights are always chaotic. The setting up, the ensuring that all documentation is ready to go and be handed out, that all MacBooks, Bags, Key Tags, and Student Login Details are ready to be distributed all make for a lot of work! We ran four rollout sessions over two massive nights and and i am pleased to say that all went smoothly! Students and parents were informed that they had to attend and sign all relevant documentation to recieve their MacBooks, which, of course, meant that over the two nights just about all 150 students and their parents showed up, which was fantastic to see.

The hour long sessions were broken down in to three parts involving three speakers, one of those being myself introducing the evening and giving an overview of our 1:1 MacBook program. We had two representatives in James and Hayley from Mac1, our Mac Supplier, talk to parents and students about looking after and caring for the MacBooks which was great. The highlight of our sessions however was having Tony Richards (@itmadesimple) from ITmadeSimple attend all sessions and talk to those who attended re: the issues of Cyber Safety and Cyber Bullying! Tony really gave an eye opening presentation outlining the importance for our students to not give away detailed personal information, any personal information as a matter of fact, to any online site. Tony demonstrated just how easy it is for students to be tracked using the information that they post via Social Networking sites which really got people in the audience talking, none more so than teachers who were attending the sessions also. It was just as eye opening to see the importance we all must place on Cyber Bullying and the lasting effects that it can have on all those involved. I’ll be posting about these issues and sharing resources with you all soon!

So… we now have 99% of all Yr 7 students with their own MacBook and all looking like kids in a lolly shop! The staff in Yr 7 can not also contain their excitement as all their planned lessons are containing rich and relevant I.T. based activities!

The other major event to occur last week was the hosting of two College’s to our school to see the exemplary things happening in our iPad trial. The first of our visitors was Holly from¬†Mallauna College. Holly is currently involved in Professional Learning Leave and is looking at how the implementation of mobile technologies can assist and foster learning in students. Holy got to see the Yr 6 students in action and was impressed to the great ways in which the iPads were being implemented in in to the teaching program. It will be great to see the results of Holly’s Professional Learning Leave findings and whether her College decides to go down the 1:1 iPad path.

The second group of visitors that we hosted were from Braemar College. Paul, the AP, Rod, the manager for IT, and Christine, eLearning Coordinator all were keen to see the iPads in action as well as they are considering going 1:1 in specific areas of their College. It was a pleasure to host these groups of visitors and answer their questions about anything and everything related to iPads, 1:1 learning and mobile technologies. It is great that people out there are hearing about the great things the staff at MLC are doing with the iPads and are willing to take time out of their busy day to visit us and see what we are doing!

I hope that i was some assistance to these visitors and that they do decide to go down the path of 1:1 iPads in their educational settings. Each day i am seeing more benefits to using iPads for learning and can see these devices becoming more and more popular amongst education institutions.

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And that was a small part of the week that was.

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Welcome!

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Welcome to my Blog. During my very first blog post I am pleased to discuss the greatness that was the 2010 Ulearn10 conference that was recently held in Christchurch, NZ.

It was a pleasure to be able to hear from great educational minds such as Lee Crockett, Steve Wheeler, Stephen Heppell, and Lane Clark. The philosophy on education and teaching in a digital world with digital learners was exceptional to hear.

The Breakout sessions that i took part in were also outstanding. I can honestly say that in my 8 years of teaching i have never attended a Professional Learning opportunity like this one. I learnt more in the 3 conference days that i attended than i have in quite a while. Game Based Learning (Adrian Camm), Teaching with Twitter (Steve Wheeler), Learning Spaces and Places (Stephen Heppell) and the Apple Tools Smackdown (ADE + Others), which was awesome!, all were great and wonderful learning opportunities!

The discussion around online teaching resources as well as creating PLN’s (Professional Learning Networks) showcased the importance of creating and using specific online tools. I have been a Twit (what i call a Twitter user) now for a week and a half and the learning that i have achieved through this is outstanding! Get on board, i recommend it!

I will collate several of the excellent resources that i came across, and share these with you! Be sure to stay posted, as these links will keep on coming!