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Penguin Presents…

penguin.com.au

Last Thursday and Friday i had the absolute pleasure in attending two great Professional Learning Days for teachers and librarians at the National Maritime Museum in Sydney (impressive location, i know!).

The days were hosted by Penguin and were titled “Penguin Presents a Professional Development Day for:” Primary Teachers and Librarians (Thursday) and Secondary English Teachers and Librarians (Friday).

Both days had a great turn out from participants – however the guest authors that Penguin had arranged, Graeme Base, Gus Gordon, and Robert Newton over the two days was outstanding! Hearing these very well-known authors and illustrators speak and share their literary journeys was outstanding!

I now have a dire need to write and illustrate a book!  Hearing these people speak about what it takes to get where they are as well as demonstrate some of their extraordinary talents was an inspiring experience. (This coming from someone who reads – not as often as they should mind you, and does not have a ‘love’ of books, certainly developed a new found respect for authors, illustrators and literacy in general!)

The conference programs are below for those interested;

– NSW_prim_PD_e-invite

– NSW_sec_PD_e-invite

 

Having been asked by Penguin to present during these days of PL was a highlight and something I very much enjoyed. I had 4 presentations to cover over the two days and i am happy to say that i think all 4 went reasonably well.

My 4 presentations covered the following:

– ICT for Primary Literacy

– Graeme Base Applications to Support Visual Literacy

– ICT in the Secondary Classroom

– Cyber Issues and Social Media for Secondary Students

Highlights as a result of  the two days of Professional Learning were many however, meeting and speaking with the fantastic educators who are passionate about literacy and ICT integration was a definite highlight. Also, of course, was having the chance to meet and speak with Gus, Robert and Graeme (a great experience in itself!)

I have aimed, or rather – attempted to add ALL of my resources and presentations below. Two of my presentations which were created as eBooks in iBook Author, are far too large to upload. I have in turn exported them as PDF eBooks which still work, except for the embedded video.

If there are people who attended and are reading this, and are looking for something that i spoke about yet have not added below, PLEASE email me at barclay.corrie@gmail.com

Thank you once again to Penguin and the organiser of the event (Tye Cattanach) for their hospitality and letting me share my waffling with those who attended.

Cheers.

 

PRESENTATIONS AND RESOURCES.

ICT for Primary Literacy – PDF eBook

ICT for Secondary Classrooms – PDF eBook

1:1 iPad App List Yrs 6-7 2012

1:1 iPad App List Prep 2012

Social Media Comm’s Strategy 2012 – DRAFT 

 

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Classroom A/V Setups…

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

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

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

So…

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

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Favourites (or, at least just a few of…)

Throughout the marvellous journey I have been on once i joined the Twitter fraternity, i have enjoyed, thoroughly, the many thousands of tweets that have been tweeted my way. To hear and often see what other educators are up to in their daily teaching lives has certainly open my own eyes to how i can improve my own practices.

To also have something so simple as Twitter be such an important and powerful resource, one which i now rely on frequently, at my disposal 24/7, is a great thing. To have created and developed a strong PLN, both locally and not, has been of great assistance to me, especially in my current role.

One thing that i gave found tricky with the whole Twitter thing is what to do with ALL of those great tweets and resources that come my way. Like many, i ‘favourite’ what i definitely want to come back to and occasionally even book mark items to my tool bar in Chrome directly. This has caused me a great deal of pain as my tool bar now has an utterly ridiculous amount of links associated with it, all of which has zero organisation!

So in my madness i have aimed to begin to collate what i have added as a ‘favourite’ over the years… and there’s a lot! If anyone out there in Twitter land, or somewhere else land, can assit me in the best way to orgainse these it’d be greatly appreciated!

Below i have included 20 links, yes, just the 20, that i’ve found to be of great value both in my owen role, as an educator, and as a coach!

Enjoy!

And a few extras…

 

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Term 2, here i come!

After having had 3 and a half weeks off for the birth of my beautiful daughter Lucy, I’ve had more than enough time to reflect on what my priorities are for the upcoming term!

I love my job and I hope that it loves me (fingers crossed) yet like most educators, time has this wonderful skill of escaping you when you need it most! I am going to ensure that this term, and hopefully for the terms beyond, I can get some kind of grasp of not only prioritizing what I want to do, but also what I need to do! 😉

So here are a select few items that are on my to do list that are both wants and needs for this term and beyond. Fingers crossed, yet again, that I can to the best of my ability get all of these done!

Teaching!

Priority number one. Having 3 classes of Multimedia to teach is not overly demanding however I find that other aspects of my role can dictate just how well I teach the great kids I do. I have been blessed in having students in my classes that are patient, understanding and extremely flexible, all of which certainly make my role as their teacher a lot easier! My students are focusing on film and video production and you can get a glimpse of their great work via our College’s YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/ManorLakesP12College?ob=0&feature=results_main

Apple TV Set-Ups.

We made a decision late last year to not continue the leasing of our current IWB’s. The cost of both leasing and purchasing was we felt to be quite high. My techs and I then had this wonderful idea, which we soon realized was not our idea, as a lot of schools and colleges are heading down this path, to install LED/LCD TV’s in to classroom along with Apple TV devices. Staff, especially those with iPad’s, would be able to mirror their device for the students to see! The great thing also being when Apple releases their OSX Mountain Lion, Mac Laptops will able to mirror as well! The cost of going down this path is we feel much cheaper and more cost effective than purchasing IWB’s. For a nominated amount, we can purchase a large flat screen TV, and Apple TV device, all mounting brackets etc. as well as an Nintendo Wii, for Game Based Learning Purposes! 😉 Watch this space! Here is a great article of a school and their experiences of doing something similar! http://esheninger.blogspot.com.au/2012/04/mobile-interactivity-that-wont-break.html

1:1 iPad Programs + PLT.

Our BYOD Model of our 1:1 iPad Programs in years 6 and 7 have begun extremely well! Students and staff have responded to using the devices so very well as a learning tool, which has been great to see! From this term onwards we will look at consolidating the practices and pedagogy that we are practicing! We also have our 1:1 iPad Program running in our Prep cohort and thus far also, the students are loving using the iPad to assist their learning! The comments thus far also from the staff in the prep area are very encouraging also. We will be running an iPad PLT (Professional Learning Team) this term to assist in the development of the iPad Curriculum and to assist staff in using the devices to compliment the teaching and learning that is already taking place.

1:1 MacBook Program.

As above I will be working closely with out year 8, 9 and 10 students and staff to ensure that Apple MacBook’s are being utilised as much as possible. Or should I say, as needed. Our older students are creating outstanding content via their Mac’s and it’s great to see staff ensuring students are using their devices not only correctly, but also competently.

Coaching / Staff PL.

A large part of my role is to work closely with staff in up skilling them with the tools and knowledge that they need to effectively and comfortably integrate ICT. Spending time in classes, running PL sessions, and coordinating ‘Techie Brekkies’, are all part and parcel of assisting my staff in this area. I am very lucky to have a staff, a very large staff, which see the integration of ICT as a means of fostering engagement and students meeting their intended learning outcomes. I intend to run a 2-day PL course either towards the end of this term, or the beginning of next, in creating ICT Peer Coaches for not only our college, but others as well.

Conferences.

I have a number of conferences that I am presenting at by myself as well as with colleagues coming up. I feel that one of the greatest things about being a teacher is having the ability to share your thoughts, skills, knowledge, and journey with others. The best PL comes from networking and professional discussions. ICTEV, VITTA, Slide2Learn, and now uLearn12 in New Zealand are all on my agenda and I look forward to attending and presenting! Click on the name of the mentioned conferences to read more about them.

ICTEV 2012

VITTA 2102

Slide2Learn 2012

uLearn12

College Website.

Towards the end of 2011 we had our College Website rebuilt and now it is up and running and looking and going great! Of course, with any websites, they need to have content added frequently and be update with the information and media that posted! A job I might add, in a school this large, is quite a task! The great thing being however I have a host of people I am working with to ensure this happens both regularly and in a manner that is not confusing! You can visit our college website here: http://www.manorlakesp12.vic.edu.au/

Professional Visits.

Last term was bedlam in relation to the number visitors we had from other schools coming to visit our College! As time consuming as this can be, and I do not mean that in a negative way what so ever, it was, and is, great to have schools and their educators come to visit to learn from the great things we feel that we are doing well. This area of my role is something that I enjoy, as I have mentioned, I feel that the best PL available is going and seeing others in action! One thing that I also hope to do more of as the year progresses!

As busy as i am sure i will continue to be i do look forward to all of the above! Very exciting times!

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BYOD, or… BYOT?

Last Tuesday my Principal Jason and I attended a breakfast/meeting,  hosted by our Mac supplier/partner Xcite Logic. The philosophy and ideology behind this breakfast meeting was to get together with other schools working with Xcite and discuss where we are all heading in relation to BYOD or, Bring Your Own Device.

This model of technology integration appears to be gaining momentum in schools across Australia and i know that school and ICT leaders and educators are somewhat divided by it’s happening. As a college we have decided to move down this path, as we feel that the benefits behind BYOD are the best fit for our college and community.

The BYOD model at my college is in direct relation to our year 6 and 7 students who have been asked to purchase their own iPad device. If only this was the case at the moment with a reduced price (that is a whole other story!)… We have received excellent praise and feedback from our parents in relation to moving down this path and as a college we are grateful for that. When parents are in full support of your decisions as a college it makes what you do more worthwhile and a lot more rewarding!

The day began hearing from Tony Panetta, the managing director of Xcite Logic. Tony gave background information on Xcite and the key people involved at the company who were working closely with schools to implement technology in any way, yet especially BYOD.

From here we looked at the following question: “What is BYOD and why would you do it?”. A good question! For us as a college we felt that it was the best fit. We are already a large college of 1500 strong, and rapidly growing. To lease and manage machines was not entirely feasible, especially as we are an Apple Mac School. To move from a leased laptop option to a BYOD iPad option we felt was a great avenue for success in meeting student learning outcomes and embedding a culture of effective pedagogy through ICT.

We next heard from Anita L’Faunt, Excites National Teaching and Learning Consultant. Anita spoke about BYOT (bring your own technology) and what the key +’s and -’s were in relation to this model. Now. BYOT means students can bring ANY device to the school. They are not railroaded in to one particular device or OS. Students can use iPads, laptops. MacBooks, smart phones, etc… This is my opinion is outstanding in theory. However… it does have certain implications in relation to teaching and learning, technical setup, back end setup, etc… Obviously though, this model does give students the flexibility to each have a device in their hand to foster anywhere, anytime learning. Some features of a BYOT model were discussed and here they are:

  • Choice. Choice in the device for the students and parents not having to purchase extra technology. They can use what they already have.
  • Equitable access to online learning.
  • Student centred learning and access.
  • The school provides a robust infrastructure for all learners to access information
  • Specific decisions about ICT support and service can be made.
  • Teachers focus on digital pedagogies rather than how things work.

From an Admin POV:

  • Schools can build a sustainable tech model.
  • Provide a technical solution that’s in line with the school beliefs.
  • Direct school funds to develop a sound infrastructure.

From a teaching and Learning POV:

  • Student’s motivation. Students using their OWN devices.
  • It becomes a learner centred environment.
  • Takes the focus of ICT training for teachers.
  • Solves issues of staff wanting to pigeon hole students through wanting to use a particular program.

From an IT Dept:

  • Less time taken and used on technical support.
  • Reduced load on ICT infrastructure.

Examples of colleges and districts heading down this path were also mentioned and i have included more information about these below, including a video from the Hanover Public School District in Pennsylvania.

The discussions then centred around our more traditional BYOD models and how we as schools and colleges could best implement this. Everything was discussed from security online, to iTunes accounts and iPad usage, to iPad management software such as Casper Suite, bandwidth and wireless issues as well as rolling out devices to families and students the best way possible.

Lastly, we heard from the Keynote speaker of the morning, Leanne Windsor, who is a staff member at TIGS (The Illawarra Grammar School), and their schools journey in BYOT. Key points taken from Leanne’s presentation were:

  • BYOT is very different to BYOD. Students are no railroaded in to one device. Options are plentiful for them to choose.
  • Parents need guidance in being part of a BYOT model. If none is given they may just well freak out. It is important to discuss with your families along the way all that you are doing and are about to do. Give them support.
  • Laptops are, at TIGS, the primary device. Other devices are optional, but laptops are the way to go.
  • 70% of devices at TOGS are Apple Mac based. This is purely a student driven thing. Not a school push in any way.
  • Leadership support is essential.
  • A sound infrastructure and network is needed!
  • Access is more or less guaranteed to ALL students.
  • Clear policies and guidelines are needed to assist in the implementation and running of a BYOT program.

So  after ALL of that, what are your thoughts? BYOD, or, BYOT? Is one a better fit for your college? At this stage, i think we are happy running with our BYOD model. Yes, we are dictating to kids what devices that they can use however… in relation to meeting student learning outcomes, we feel that is the best fit for our students, staff, and community. Would love to hear from others!

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Promoting Digital Citezenship

Below you will find three great videos that i have recently shown to my students re: being a good digital citizen and posting appropriate content online. Both videos prompted outstanding discussion and learning and from this it became very clear to me that the students i teach know the answer and know how to behave whilst online. Ensuring that they do this is yet another thing! 😉

 

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Ballarat Cluster Curric. Day

This afternoon I had the arduous task of heading down to ‘The Sands’ Resort at Torquay in Victoria to present to a cluster of small schools from in and around Ballarat. I say arduous as the sun was shining, the golf greens were glistening and the resort itself was stunning.

All up I think there were approximately 10 schools who attended with roughly 52+ participants, all there to learn more about and discuss use of the iPad as a teaching and learning tool, implementation as well as differentiated curriculum.

For the life of me I cannot remember the names of all the attending schools however I can recall that Miner Rest PS, Caledonian PS, Skipton PS, Invermay PS, Amphitheatre PS and Landsborough were just a few!

It was impressive to see so many staff from so many schools congregate for a common cause. Something that I feel does not happen as often as it should. As I mentioned today, the best professional learning one can attend is that involving networking with other likeminded schools and sharing ideas. This can be done a couple of ways, either by meeting and discussing key issues and topics, like today, or visiting other schools and college’s to witness best practice.

I was contacted by Justin Marshman (Principal of Invermay PS) some time ago and asked if I’d like to come and share our college’s story of iPad implementation. I often feel that I/we are by no means masters of what we do however we have been down that path and are continuing to learn and build on our experiences. And, of course, we’re/I am, happy to share!

The first speaker of the conference was Simon Shaw, who is an Education Executive for Apple. His role is primarily that of a teaching and learning one whereby he assists teachers and schools in implementing the use of technology. I have known Simon for a little while had had heard of the excellent work that he had done at St. Albans Meadows PS in the Western Suburbs in relation to 1:1 computing and using Apple technology. Simon discussed and shared how the iPad can be best utilised through sharing some excellent applications such Factor Samurai, Brainstorm and Wordwizard.

Simon also spoke about the Horizon K-12 Report for Education. A document released each year by the New Media Consortium who take a whole load of data, trends in education, technology information and so on, and give a list of emerging technologies which will be implemented by educational institutions by a set time.

Simon focused on Personalised Learning and the effect that this can have, in a positive way of course, with differentiating the curriculum and learning spaces for our students. You can find the K-12 Horizon Report HERE.

Despite having heard about it before, but always happy to hear again, is the technology adoption model by Ruben Puente Dura. A model which I have discussed with my own staff in the use of technology and adopting it to use as a tool to assist meeting student learning outcomes. I have attached an image, albeit a shocking one, of this model below. The importance with this model, I feel, is for schools and educators to steer clear of the bottom 2 models of tech adoption. Those being substitution and augmentation. To read more about this model and the works of Ruben Puente Dura, visit his site HERE.

After Simon had presented it was a short break and then over to yours truly. I have embedded the Prezi i used below so as to show you what I presented rather than explain it in lengthy, mindless paragraphs!

Hopefully it makes some sense! If you have any questions of queries please feel free to email me, my details are on the Prezi!

I just would like to not only thank Justin for the invitation, but all schools and teachers in attendance for the kind feedback and questions afterwards. I really do look forward hearing how these school begin to utilise ICT, and in detail, iPads as Mobile Technology, in their own settings.

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Int.Books eBooks Conference 2012

http://www.intbooks.com.au/

On Saturday I had the pleasure of being a speaker at the “e-Books in the School, Classroom, and the Library” Conference hosted by Int. Books in Preston.

Some weeks ago I was approached by the organiser, Tom Danby, to speak and share our story of iPad implementation yet also how we have utilised these devices as eReaders at our College.

Now for starters, if you’re somewhat confused by what an eBook is, this may assist: Whatsanebook.

The conference was more or less ran in the style of a tech meet with presenters given anywhere between 10-15 minutes to share their thoughts, stories and other relevant information and being ‘second cab of the rank’, I was pleased to get my session out of the way, and be able to relax and focus on those who followed!

Being locked in a room with people passionate about literacy, books, ebooks, libraries (most of who attended I feel were librarians), was a great thing as all were there for a common cause. That being, to learn more about eBook use, distribution, and eBook creation. Occasionally you can find yourself at certain PL with people who either do not need to be there, have no interest being there, or are there and know it all and get little out of it. I didn’t get any of these feelings on Saturday.

The speaker list for the conference was 12 strong with all as i have mentioned keen to tell their thing and share their information with others. You can find the Speaker List here: IntBookeBookSpeakList2012.

Now. As for my own little spiel, I have uploaded the basic Keynote which i showed to those who attended and for those that did not attend, you can locate it below! If you’d like clarification on any of it, please drop me an email or comment!

What I presented was well received and i have numerous people offer feedback afterwards which was great. It’s a little like teaching in a way. In that by always offering immediate feedback greater reflection can take place by the person receiving it.
Overall it appears that there is a want from educators and libraries to push and head towards the eBook path. The technology is demanding this. Students, all with access to multiple devices, allows for this. For eBooks to be accessed anywhere, anytime.
For the remainder of the conference I took notes on what other speakers had to say and tried like a wild man to scribble down what I could. These, the most incoherent of notes, i have added here: IntBooksConfNotes2012. Maybe, just maybe you’ll be able to get some sense out of them!
Thanks to Tom and his team for the organisation of this conference. I am sure all got something out of it and took away a few more ideas and some new knowledge than what they had when they arrived.
Cheers.
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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!!!

1

The Only Danger Is…

imgres

Yesterday I had the pleasure once again of attending a session hosted by Stephen Heppell. Having heard Stephen talk on several occasions before I knew that seeing him speak, or more so listening to him speak, was yet an another opportunity that I could not pass up.

As an educator I have quickly learnt in my short career that hearing people such as Stephen talk can give you a greater insight in to how as an educator you can develop your practices to become a more effective teacher.

Hearing what was discussed throughout the session certainly got me thinking yet once again about how i could challenge myself, my students and others.

Below I have written 5 quotes from Stephen that resonated with me from the session, one’s that may hopefully get you thinking about your own practices and or thoughts in education and learning…

1. “What would the best school in the world look like?”. Hmmm. Ripping question! I have absolutely no idea. It might have a water slide and a pool and be very play and inquiry focused. We’d be trying to solves the planets problems and that of of humanity as well. Learning by being involved in authentic tasks that are risk and purposeful. The layout would be open and spacious, colourful, as well as challenging. You might have to walk through a maze to get to a particular class or scale a giant cargo net to get to the canteen! It may look a little like a Google Head Office! Kids would go from one floor to the one below via a fireman’s pole or twisting slide! There would be technology available to those who want it, and other tools to assist learning to cater for those with varied learning styles. There would be outside areas where students could work. Places that fostered creativity and imagination. The learning would be challenging. The teachers would take risks and push boundaries.

2. “Doing things differently is the only way forward”. Who really wants to be doing the same thing day in day out? One of the greatest aspects of teaching is that each and every day is different. Presenting new challenges and bringing with those varied emotions. The greatest part of my role currently is that with all of the IT that i manage, i still have 3 year 9 classes that I teach to use as Guinea Pigs! I can do things with them that i would do with other classes and push those boundaries and do things differently. In saying this, the best people at doing things differently and finding new ways of doing particular things are the students. Hence… the next quote…

3. “Let Kids Go. Let’s see how far they can get”. I have often thought that we place a huge amount of time assisting those student to learn who need it. Those students who may not quite be at their expected level. And, of course we should, it is our job, that’s what we do. However… how much time do we spend on the other students who are flying along? Those who complete their work with 40 mins left. Those who can, and could, if left alone push the boundaries of their learning. Why should we hold kids back. Those kids who want to learn and develop their own knowledge will. Let’s get out of their way.

4. “Focus on the process”. I think that we are too focused on the content that we teach. The end result. We place little focus on the skills that it actually takes to get to that result. This got me thinking in regards to my teaching. Obviously teaching film creation via stop animation and claymation techniques, it is generally the final product that i look at. Until recently i have not placed a great focus on what it took to get to that end product. The hours of editing. The management of tools and resources needed. The IT skills to create the stop motion and tie it all together. Embedding music that is not breaching copyright. The ability to upload to the internet to a hosting site such as You Tube. And so on… I know that instead of focusing on the end result, i can develop a greater understanding of my students via carefully watching the process unfold.

5. “The only risk is to take no risk”. I love this saying. Might get it tattooed on my back! Or maybe not. It’s been great to see the young and enthusiastic staff we have here at our college push the boundaries and take risks in their teaching. To attempt new things and to get kids working out of their comfort zones. Being judgmental about the way that they are teaching and reflecting on their own practice. I think this saying resonates deeply with all of the others above. As a teacher i perhaps can take more risks. Push the boundaries of learning more often. Not be afraid of getting caught out or crossing the line. I believe as long as students are engaged, learning, and enthralled in what they are doing, then, basically, who cares.

Lastly, as the title of this post begins, and as Stephen quoted, “The only danger is not being brave enough”

A lot to think about!