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ALIA Seminar 2013

Lately I have been privileged to speak and present at a number of events and that trend continued on Saturday as I was asked to be the Keynote Speaker at the 2013 ALIA (Australian Library and Information Association) Seminar titled ‘App-iness – iPads and their use in the classroom’.

The seminar was held at the beautiful Mercy College in Coburg, Melbourne, in their newly refurbished Library space. I always feel like i am on an excursion when in other school and college settings as i love looking around, or sticky-beaking, at learning design spaces and evidence of technology integration.

As already mentioned the day was focusing on iPad use and integration. As stated by ALIA, “This morning seminar is for primary & secondary teacher librarians and others who are responsible for school library services. The use of apps in the classroom and a library setting will be explored. Workshop sessions will cater for those who are already using a range of apps as well as those who are just beginning to explore this technology. A group designed for those new to the technology will be created and each participant in this group will have access to an iPad to use on the day. Participants are encouraged to bring their own device if possible.”

As the Keynote i was not only wanting to focus on the device but also the learner, and how this device can support learning and the types of learners we as educators interact with every day. Rather than the old ‘death by PowerPoint’ method and bombarding them with a heap of information, i had created a (what I thought anyway) wonderful presentation using the great iPad Application Haiku Deck. This app is one that all our students are now using to present and share information as it is simple, effective and very powerful. And… it’s FREE!

As the guys at Haiku Deck explain… “Haiku Deck is rooted in a few basic principles. Keep it simple by limiting your text and focusing each slide on one idea. Make it beautiful by using full-bleed images to tell your story and tapping into one-touch themes, filters, and formatting. And, most of all, have fun. Fun is not a word most people associate with either creating or watching presentations, but we don’t see any reason why these things can’t be fun.”

Now… What i failed to mention is that having after created this wonderful Haiku Deck presentation I had a. Failed to upload it to the Haiku Deck site, and b. ummm… actually bring it to the ALIA seminar to present. I had indeed left the iPad at home. Rookie mistake! A valuable lesson that i learnt is to check, double check, and triple check that i have all i need for these events in the future! Anyway… I have embedded this presentation below for you all to see.

Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app for iPad

After the dilemma that was my stupidity, luckily enough i had presented similar presentations in the past and had a plan B and in fact a plan C if the presentation failed for me for whatever reason. In the short time that i did have i quickly adapted a Prezi, embedded below, that i had used in the past a generic presentation based upon Mobile Technology, Integration, and our College’s iPad Journey.

Once my Keynote was completed I was then involved in a panel discussion with three other great educators in Mark, Paul and Melanie show casing the pedagogy behind our Technology integration. This was a short 10 minute ‘snippet’ of what we do and why and what i shared can, once again, be viewed below.

And finally, once the panel had shared and morning tea had come and gone, it was then an opportunity for the attendees to be involved in a number of smaller breakout sessions where the presenters shared some of the great features and applications relating to iPad devices specifically.
Personally i ran through our College’s Middle Years Application List and highlighted some of the key applications that our students were using that foster collaboration and creativity as well as what we were finding to be beneficial. Several of these applications that i did focus on however on were;

1. Nearpod
2. Haiku Deck
3. Aurasma
4. Educreations
5. StoryRobe
6. Action Movie FX
I have attached our two application lists below for download.
In closing, it was an absolutely great day with what i am sure would have had many people thinking about iPad applications and uses within their individual settings. I know from the many many questions that i received that those who attended certainly would have left the day with a lot of food for thought and it is this that makes a conference / professional learning experience so powerful. I’d like to thank all the people from ALIA and Mercy College that were involved directly and indirectly in putting on such a valuable learning experience and i look forward to perhaps assisting ALIA in the future with more of these great events.
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Social Media Use @ MLP12C

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks!

SMCSMLC2013

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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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The end is nigh…

As part of my teaching load this year i have had a year class for an hour a week to… mould and do with as i please!!!

It’s been great having these keen and committed kids to use as guinea pigs to be able to trial new things on!!! 😉

Recently I have set up a PBL, Problem Based Learning, unit with these kids to really challenge their thinking and to get them creatively engaged in their learning. Earlier in the year i ran a Challenge Based Learning unit which did wonders for the students in terms of having them accept a challenge and trying quite hard in their groups to develop a solution to it. Even though as a class we’ve completed that unit, i have a number of groups STILL working towards meeting the challenge. From a teachers perspective, mind-blowing that i have students working after hours to continually make a difference! For more information on this, check out our CBL blog: http://yr7acbl.global2.vic.edu.au/

Following on from the success that i’d felt i’d had from the above, i decided to run a more structured type of PBL (Problem Based Learning) unit where basically i’ve asked my kids to, well, save the world from it’s impending doom!

Admittedly, this task was not of my own concoction but that of one Mr. Kevin Honeycutt (Twitter: @kevinhoneycutt). Kevin is a teacher form the U.S. who i heard as speak as a Keynote Address at the uLearn12 Conference in Auckland in October. Kevin was very inspiring and his thoughts on education, technology and teaching were great to listen to! One of the many fantastic things that i picked up from his talk was one of his teaching units titled the ‘D-1′ Project! This sounded like a great unit of work which has lead me to this blog post!

The idea of having my students ‘save the world’ was one that i could not pass up. The fact that they had to think beyond the hair brain schemes i knew i’d receive and look for genuine answers was enticing! I took what Kein had done and modified it slightly to suit our needs a little better and to make it a little more close to home. I’ve constructed a blog titled Doomsday-1, that contain all relevant information.

So far the students after 2 sessions have been working like mad to attempt to come up with a worthwhile plan for saving us all. The teamwork, collaboration and technology integration via their iPads has thus far been very rewarding to see. The ideas are coming thick and fast which is fantastic! What i am wanting now is more substance to these ideas… Will they work? Won’t they? Why not? As i’ve been saying to the students; “evidence, evidence, evidence!!!”.

I will be sure to keep you posted but for now, I’ve attached a few snapshots of the ideas that some students have thought of… some worth investigating… some.. perhaps not… 😉

 

 

 

 

 

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Mac Schools Net

Last night I had the pleasure of attending my first Mac Schools Net meeting for the year. Mac School Net is coordinated by two very dedicated educators in Deb Hicks and Mark Richardson, two very knowledgable and experience educators who love all things education and all things Mac!

These meetings run once a term and involve the participants investigating new technologies in both hardware and software forms as well as then investigating how these can be integrated back in to teaching and learning programs. As the Mac School Net Website states, the meetings are all about:

• Sharing knowledge
• Professional Learning
• Informal conversations
• Debating
• Providing a catalyst for ideas
• Networking
• 21st century learning
• Thinking
• Playing
• All things Apple
• Combining pedagogy with technology

What more could you want from a meeting!

Each meeting is held at a different venue which is a great idea as walking in and seeing other settings is always a highlight in itself. Last night we investigated a number of items, all of which were extremely relevant and beneficial no matter the specific role of those who attended, and i’ll now run through these briefly now. 😉

The first item that we looked at was an online resource called unrealfooty.com.au Now. This immediately had my attention being an avid Supercoach fan here in Victoria! Unreal footy is a resource for i would say middle to upper primary, and right up to middle secondary which involves integrating and using the mathematics of AFL to teach students about important mathematical concepts, all while involved in a Fantasy type Football environment. In short if you are looking for a way of engaging students in mathematics, and of course, without essentially stereotyping, disengaged boys!!!, this could work out very very well! There is a site licence fee of approximately $300, which is school wide however i am unsure if this is dependant on the size of the school. Below find the two great prestations, one for teachers and one for students to guide you through just how to use the valuable resource!

 

The next item on our agenda was a big one, and one i think we were all most wanting to hear about. This being, Apple’s VPP, or Volume Purchasing Program.

Michal Bogatko from Beyond the Box came to speak to us all about this and as I’ve mentioned, we were keen to see just what was involved and how to go about implementing such a thing if that’s what schools wished to do.

Now. From what I understood from last nights meeting, it essentially runs like this… (here we go…)

The program involves a school to have what is known as a Program Manager. This person basically oversees the Apple VPP accounts and has complete control over the program. From here we move what is called a Program facilitator. This is a seperate person who is responsible for the purchasing of applications and books via the specialised iTunes VPP portal, volume.itunes.apple.com, as VPP cannot occur via the normal iTunes store. Now a manager and a facilitator can be be the same person but for some reason they require two separate Apple ID’s, one of which being tagged to your educational setting.

There are 3 ways to purchase the applications and or book (this apparently does not include text books as yet). These 3 ways are:

1. Via a Credit Card

2. Via a PayPal Account.

3. By purchasing Volume Vouchers. These are purchased via the online store and can be purchased using school written Purchase Orders!

Schools can only purchase volume vouchers in denominations of $100, $500, 1k, 5k, and 10k amounts.

Now. How do we go about purchasing what we want. Well. The first step one you have purchased your Volume Vouchers for example is to to purchase what app’s you require. You must note however that to even receive VPP you need to purchase 20+ of the one application of book, to then be elegible to receive %50 off the cost of that App or book. The third step is then redeem these codes on the devices you’re wanting the app’s on. These codes can be emailed or, if using an MDM (Mobile Device Manager) such as Apple’s Device Configurator or Casper Suite, the App’s can be pushed out to the devices wirelessly and then installed.

A few important points… Being still coordinated via Apple in the U.S., all Australian School will need to obtain a DUNS number, which i think is the equivalent to an ABN here is Australia. Businesses and Organisations out of the U.S. are able to obtain these at no cost, just like an ABN number. Why do you need one. It is via this number that your school is then checked i believe to see if it is a legitimate educational setting and that you’ll be required to enter this number when doing your app purchasing.

I think that is it! I hope i got the info correct… In the next week or two i am planning on trialling this and seeing how it all pan’s out! I’ll aim to keep you posted! The slideshow the Michal went through will soon be up online and i’ll be sure to embed it here.

Need to catch my breath!

The final item on the agenda was looking at FREE, yep, FREE app’s for your Macbook. Deb ran us through a great list of applications which are available from the Mac App Store. Without going in to a whole lot of detail, as the excellent Wikispace that Deb and Mark have created, says it all! I’ve included a screen shot of the several of the great Applications that Deb mentioned and discussed however head to the Wiki and you’ll be able to see them all for yourself!

I say a lot of the time to my own staff as well as other educators that the applications you find, wether they be iOS or Mac orientated  are only limited by your imagination! Hopefully you’ll be able to see the great potential that what Deb has shared have in a teaching and learning environment.

So… If you are in and around the Melbourne area and a keen Mac user, keep your eyers posted to the mac Schools Net webpage for dates, times and venues of the meetings and… well… get along! 😉

Cheers!

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2012 GTAV Conference – Keynote!

Today i gave my first ever Keynote Address.

Nervous. Excited. Honored. Grateful.

In the past i have presented at numerous conference all a wide variety of ICT based topics and content. I can remember being asked by the GTAV, The Geography Teachers Association of Victoria, if i would be a willing a Keynote presenter, i jumped at the opportunity. In saying this, i also remember thinking what the heck do i know about the teaching of geography! In further discussion with GTAV, my presentation was to be technology based. Thank god!

Talking up a storm!

Geography has always been i suppose a love or loathe type subject for kids. One that bore the pants of them, or, one that fully engages them! A real mixed bag. In saying this, and as i said today, the number one thing that drives students learning outcomes: good teaching. On top of that, the number one thing that promotes innovation in education: good teachers. We can have all the technology in the world in the greatest schools with the best resources. But good teachers matter most!

It is this notion of good teachers that makes me clearly remember my own Geography teacher from year 8, Mr. Kumar. A guy who went out of his way to ensure the content being taught was understood. Someone who would take time out of his day to assist you in every way. Now his teaching of geography was perhaps not the most engaging but this is not the point point. The point is that he understood the kids he taught and was willing to teach them accordingly.

I was overly impressed today by the amount of people in the room for my Keynote presentation. 350+. All just to see me. No, of course not. Who am i kidding! What i was impressed by was the willingness of so many people who enjoy the teaching of geography and were wanting to develop their own professional capabilities in this area. As i mentioned today, there are not too many other fields that this occurs well in.

My keynote presentation was based around the kids we teach. These kids digital natives. These kids knowing not but the technology that engulfs and enriches their lives. As educators we need to understand the kids we teach. The technology that is involved. And, how we can best integrate that technology to engage and educate.

So for all intensive purposes, i have embedded my keynote presentation below for your viewing pleasure. I hope that those who witnessed it today as well as those of you who view it online can take something away from it that leaves you thinking about your own teaching and the digital learners you teach.

Lastly, thank you to all of the GTAV staff who ran an excellent conference. A special thanks to Steve, Libby and Trish, who made me feel very welcome throughout the day and were extremely helpful.

 

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VITTA 2012

On Monday and Tuesday this week I once again had the wonderful opportunity to attend VITTA 2012 – Reign of the Cloud, conference at Caulfield Racecourse. VITTA, or the Victorian Information Technology Teachers Association, run excellent professional learning programs with the VITTA Conference being their swan-song!

As like most other conference based PL, the process is the same in having to register, attend keynote presentations, and select workshops and breakout sessions to attend based on your interest and that of your setting. This being i feel the great thing about such conferences, the ability to select what learning you’d like to be involved in. Wouldn’t it be great if kids had the same opportunity! Hmmm…

OK. Starting with the Keynote addresses. 4 Keynotes. 4 very different presentations. 4 very passionate people. Now rather than go in to paragraph after paragraph about their addresses, i thought that i would simply let you all see them for yourselves. Below i have included the key note addresses for your viewing pleasure. Highlights for myself were certainly the talk from Yong Zhao and that from Greg Whitby. Two men very passionate about education, technology, and the path that both of these are taking heading towards the future!

To access the Keynote addresses, head to the following site: VITTA 2012 Conference Videos

More keynote presentations as well as videos from other presenters will be added over the coming weeks so watch this space.

From the two Keynotes which I found most relevant, i have outlined 10 dot points from each that resonated with myself and really got me thinking about not only technology integration and education, but in some instances life in general.

Yong Zhao – Presidential Chair and Associate Dean for Global Education, College of Education at the University of Oregon, where he is a full professor in the Department of Educational Measurement, Policy and Leadership(EMPL). He is a fellow of the International Academy for Education.

1. Its not about the technology, it about the ICT skills and kids we want to produce.

2. Why when we have mobile technology and Internet, we place restrictions upon it for learners?

3. What kind of education can we give that promotes success and happiness?

4. In years to come, large workforces such as those found in factories will cease to exist. The only sectors to employ large groups of people will be education and governments.

5. Is humanity loosing key skills through being creative? I.e. The ability to grow food for yourself as to now simply be able to just buy it?

6. China is ranking as one of the ‘smartest’ countries in the world in mathematics, reading and science. However, they are one of the worst at developing entrepreneurs, unlike the U.S., which is the opposite.

7. The current curriculum is based on producing academics. Knowledge is very important, but it is by no mean imperative.

8. That all curriculum should be personalised and product based.

9. All learning should be taking place in a global context. i.e. – obaworld.com

10. We need to develop entrepreneurs for the future, not just kids who do well on assessment.

Greg Whitby – is the Executive Director of Schools and leads a system of 78 Catholic schools in greater western Sydney serving over 42,000 students and employing over 4,500 teachers and staff. He has extensive experience in senior system leadership and K-12 schooling in government and non-government sectors.

1. Staff and schools across Australia need to focus on developing better practices of teaching.

2. We can reflect over the past 150 of education here in Australia, but lets NOT base where we want to head to on where we have come from!

3. We need to build schools that enhance the professional life of teachers and promote learning.

4. We need to focus on change and adaptability. This being adapting teaching and learning where appropriate to the technology.

5. We need better teachers in Australia now more so than ever.

6. Diversity needs to be the norm, every teachers and student is unique and individual.

7. It’s all about learning. Period!

8. Data is not the driver. It is the catalyst. The driver is god instruction led by instructional leaders.

9. Teachers, Educational leaders need to shape the agenda of learning and teachers. Not others. I.e. Politicians. Governments.

10. It’s not about the device. it’s about the software. We all have a device, who cares what it looks like, it’s about what it can do!

 

I was was fortunate enough to present myself on a topic that seems to be quite hot at the moment in BYOD. I have embedded my presentation below and you have any questions, please email!

 

Over the two days i can say that i took away a lot of learning experiences from the sessions that i was involved in. Having attended sessions based upon iPad integration and app’s for learning, Adobe Photo-shop, Unity 3D and 3D Design, and Game Maker, certainly left me with a lot to think about and some fantastic new ideas to attempt to ‘smash’ my students with!!!

Thanks very much to all those who presented and made the conference what it was, that being a great success!

 

 

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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’s.”

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

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

 

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A Few iPad App’s for CBL

apple.com

Soon, as of… this afternoon, i am about to embark on a Challenge Based Learning Journey with a year 7 class. This class i am covering for one hour per week and was given the chance to run virtually any program that i liked and hence, i selected to run a CBL based unit with them! Plenty of learning happening of course!

Challenge Based Learning is something that I have used in the past and a model of teaching and inquiry that is very powerful. As the students i’ll be working with are involved in a 1:1 iPad Program, I thought this would be a very good model to adopt as the technology is readily accessible and anywhere, anytime learning can occur!

For those who do not know a lot about Challenge Based Learning, which was develop by Apple Inc. and a group of ADE’s (Apple Distinguished Educators), here are two great sites to help explain it in more detail and most likely a more cohesive and understandable way than I! I have also embedded a great Slide Share Presentation that explains the process well also!

Apple in Education – Challenge Based Learning

Take Action and Make A Diference – Challenge Based Learning

 

So in my quest to plan and undertake the CBL process, i have also made it a core focus to utilise the technology that the students have. As always, I tell my staff that there’s a need for technology when there’s a need. The technology will not be the be all and end all, even if kids have 24/7 access. So that is my plan. To use the tech when there’s a need, and use it well, with purpose and intention!
I recently came across this Scoop.it site focusing on CBL which is moderated by Katie Morrow, the same person who created the above presentation. This led me to the following site, Learning in Touch, where i found the great image below of iPad applications to use with Challenge Based Learning.

http://www.digitalcreator.org/dvined/?p=1663

 

It will be great to hopefully create one of these myself or, even better, have the students in my year 7 class do their own, which of course i’ll certainly share with you all! We will also be using the following Blog to document some of our Journey along the way, so watch this space – Our CBL Journey 

Thanks!

 

2

Slide2Learn 2012

Right. It’s now been a week, and a bit. Had plenty of time to reflect, so here we go.

Last Monday I had the pleasure of attending and presenting at the Slide2Learn Conference hosted at Albert Park College, Melbourne. S2L has been a conference that i have been aiming to attend for a few yeas now as it’s reputation is quite seeing that it is a conference ran by teachers, for teachers, as well as being heavily focused upon Apple Mac technology use in education. Fr more about Slide2Learn and its inner workings, head to the website HERE.

Now S2L was a two day conference and due to prior family commitments i attended only the Monday, a which was filled with learning and engaging sessions for attendees to… attend.

Now, rather than give a minute by minute experience, which may bore some to the utter death, i thought i’d be a little more proactive in giving more detail about some of the excellent tools that i came across. These tools being one’s that could easily be embedded in to a Teaching and Learning program. Tool’s that i know i’ll be keen to use with my own students! Some of these may be new, others, perhaps not, so here we go… Thanks to Simon Shaw from Apple for these… 

1. Nearpod Application – iPad

Nearpod is an application that has been released only recently and allows some amazing things within a classroom to occur. Teachers can create a slideshow online via the Nearpod website. Nothing special. Yet. Teachers can embed in these presentations quizzes, videos, polls, sketching tools, and more. Still not impressed? From here, students have on their own iPad devices the “Nearpod Student App”, which allows them to view the created presentation on their own device, in real time with the teacher. So when the teacher swipes to the next slide, it will do so on the student devices. Now this can only happen if all devices are connected to a wifi network, however, 3G will also allow sharing to happen! If creating and sharing slideshows is not your thing, then PDF documents can be uploaded, exported as a slideshow, and shared with students this way also.

All of the above can be a little better explained i suppose through the image below, sourced from the Nearpod Website.

All in all, and my VERY brief summary has not done it justice, Nearpod has a plethora of applications for classroom use. Head to the website for a much better description! www.nearpod.com

2. dotEPUB

dotEPUB allows users to embed a Widget/Bookmarklet in to their browser (Firefox and Chrome only) and then, once on a web page of interest, by clicking this installed button the text from that webpage is automatically converted to an e-book! A great way to share specific content that is web based with others. As a teacher, excellent resources can be created from this, such as converting a current event news story to an e-book and then sharing this with students. And, as the e-book can be read offline, great for students who have zero Internet access at home if the e-book or reading material is distributed at school.

3. TEDeD Talks

Most of us are familiar with TED Talks. Well, for those who may not know, we have now have TED-Ed Talks. This site focuses solely on educational based material that educators can use with students. Currently, at time of timing… there were 89 Videos that have been uploaded for use. Not much hey… HOWEVER! These videos have been ‘Flipped’ 4,740 times! Now what do i mean by flipped? Rather than me trying to explain it, i’ll TED do that… “Flipping” a video allows you to turn a video into a customized lesson that can be assigned to students or shared more widely. You can add context, questions, and follow-up suggestions to any video on TED-Ed or YouTube.”

Check the screen shot below for a snapshot of what each ‘flipped’ video can contain!

This amazing resource is well worth a look see!

4. Book Creator Application – iPad

When i first had a play with this it reminded me of the iBook Author software for my Mac. This is a great App for eBook creation right on the iPad itself. Now, there are other eBook creation type app’s for the iPad, yet i found this one to be easy to use, effective and most of all, student friendly. Create great eBooks in minutes, as i did at Slide2Learn! A very worthwhile app. Once created, students can read their eBook directly in iBooks, or email and share their creation with friends. The app gives a lot of features for students to be able to edit the content they include, which of course, is very important. Cost: $5.49… App linked here.

5. Posterous – Online Sharing

Like a lot of online tools and sites, i had heard of Posterous, know of people using it, but never had a chance to see it in action properly. Now i have, and i can say i am glad i did. One of the first questions i am asked re: our 1:1 iPad Trial at my College is the whole sharing work of an iPad scenario… Connecting to a server? Printing work? Etc… Currently, we use email being a Google K-12 App’s College. This works great for us and our setting. We also ustilise Dropbox and using these extremely well also! In saying all of this, i have not yet had a chance to use, or play around with Posterous, yet from what i did see and have heard, it looks to be a winner. In my eyes anyway.

Posterous looks to be along the lines of a Dropbox type scenario, yet it also appears so much more! In a few words… students create an account. Then they have a ‘wall’ or space so to speak. Once they have created on their iPad device, they email it to their Posterous Space. Rather than displaying as a link or attachment, the actual document or file is displayed. How easy is that! How good is that! Spaces can be private, public, limited to a select few, etc… and this is a great thing about Posterous. I am excited to have a greater play with this to see if it would be a great fit for our students.

Lastly, Posterous supports a wide range of file types so the uploading/sharing of created content by students is a no brain-er. Posterous will also automatically re-size and convert image and video for optimum viewing via the Spaces that the dos’c are going to. Impressive.

So… I hope you find the above 5 tools useful. They may be great for you and your students, they may not, but definitely worth a share. Thanks to the Slide2Learn team and Simon Shaw from Apple for giving me a great insight in to these applications and tools!