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Google & GTA 2011

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This year i was luckily enough to be selected to part of the Google Teacher Academy (GTA) for 2011. I will be honest and say that I was quite ‘chuffed’ when i was informed of being chosen to be part of this amazing group of people and this wonderful learning experience!

I think, more so believe, that Google is a resource that is massively undervalued as an educational tool. The App’s that Google offers educators to assist teaching and learning highly out weigh a lot of what is already on offer out there in the World Wide Web!

So… what i would like to share are a few links and resources that i have come across in my time, mostly from having a great PLN,  that i have found to be both useful and practical. Resources that have assisted me in delivering specific content to my students and tools which have helped me with my teaching. I hope you find them useful.

1. Google for Educators. The official Google for education site. Here you will find excellent tools for your classroom including activities and posters to display, information on becoming part of the Google Teacher Academy and how you can become part of the Google Teacher Academy.

2. Google App’s for Education. The applications on offer from Google to be used in the classroom offer educators and students free and customizable tools that allow students to work more collaboratively and with greater ease. This is a path that i have gone down with my own College. One app, gMail, Google’s email application, offer schools up to 900 free gmail accounts, each with approx. 7.5 GB of online storage! A massive amount!

3. K-12 Guide to going Google. This links will give you tools and guidelines to assist you in getting your schools, teachers and students up and running regarding using all things Google App’s. A very helpful site!

4. 100+ Google Tricks that will save you time in School. What’s not to love about a title like that? Here you’ll find tips on everything from using Google Docs to Search Tricks to Google Books.

5. The Google Classroom. As this site states, “Google has not only taken over the world, but they are positioned to take over many of the classrooms!” There are great links here for everything Google and Education. Just follow the links.

6. Google Sites. The Quick and Easy way to create your own website, on anything, for free! Excellent alternative for a wiki or blog if you’re after something more in depth.

7. Google Earth. Sure, we’ve heard of it. I will be money that one of the first things you did on it was look for your house. Maybe used it for directions or looked for a famous landmark. But… it can be used for so much more…

8. Google Tools for Schools: Google Earth. An outstanding resource which will help you embed such a great application to your teaching and learning programs!

9. Google Earth World History Tours. This Wikispace gives you acces to specifically created Google Earth Files that trace the footsteps of some of the greatest events and people in mankind’s history. A classic example of someone taking a tool such as Google Earth and utilising its features for teaching and learning purposes.

10. Google Public Data Explorer. Here you’ll find excellent public data that Google has sourced and placed here for you to utilise and explore. Things ranging from European unemployment by country, road transport figures, global broadband performance, US Population and many more. Great classroom discussions can be had from the data sets given here. Well worth a look.

And last but not least…

11. Google Reader. I felt as though i was somewhat blind and deaf for not having seen or heard of  Google Reader before! For those who have a gMail account, Google Reader allows you to suscribe to specific blogs and websites that you love to get information and happenings from. I can hear the sceptic saying, but i suscribe anyway and get email alerts when a new post or blog is updated… Correct. BUT… Google reader allows you to collect all of these updates in one place, with out the need to visit all of the countless blogs, news related sites and the like you may follow. A great tool for making life in the technical world… easier!

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And I’m Back!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let 2011 begin!

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T.D.T. #1 – Teaching w/ Twitter

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Last Thursday i held our first ‘Tech Day Thursday’, which have replaced our Friday morning ‘Techie Breakies’. I decided to shift away from the Breakfast version as i know just how busy our staff can be before the school bell rings and the masses begin to roll in for the day!

Our held our first session on ‘Teaching with Twitter’. Whilst at the Ulearn10 Conference in Christchurch, NZ, i attended a breakout which was ran by Steve Wheeler, a Professor from the UK. Steve ran through the benefits of using Twitter as an educational tool and since i have been involved in sending and receiving ‘tweets’, it has been an outstanding way to further develop my PLN (Professional Learning Network).

I ran through with the staff who attended the benefits of using twitter as an educational tool and the great gains that can be made via the sharing of excellent online teaching and learning resources.

The staff appeared to be very engaged and i only hope that from what they learnt they too reap the benefits of such a great professional learning experience!

And… you’re not a Twitter user, get on board!

Cheers, @CorrieB

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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!