2

You can lead a horse…

http://bigseadesign.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/horse.jpe

http://bigseadesign.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/horse.jpe

We speak so often about the need to differentiate, personalise, and scaffold our teaching programs to our students to ensure that what is being taught is done so in a way that engages, enhances and gives purpose for the students at their particular point of learning need.

I am a big believer in building teacher capacity in a variety of ways which of course then has a direct flow on effect for the learners that a particular teacher is responsible for. Being in a role that oversees the effective use use of technology across 1900 students and 220 staff is, well, a large role, however one that is supported by a host of staff whose own skill sets and capabilities in using technology to support learning is outstanding. Those supportive staff have a particular drive and passion for continual self improvement that they are very willing to share with those around them and that is the difference that sets them apart.

I am a large believer that professional learning for teachers must be invested in heavily by schools if education is to progress in that particular setting. The challenge I find is that some settings do not either place a high enough focus towards this, do it in a way which is the opposite to what we should be doing, as mentioned earlier with our own students, that being said, providing a professional learning culture amongst staff that disengages, does not enhance capacity and has little to no purpose. The other issue I see is professional learning being driven based on the needs of the college or school, and not the staff, and there is a very large difference between the two.

I am pleased to say that I have attended some absolutely outstanding professional learning in my time. PL that has been engaging and had me thinking and challenging my own pedagogical practices and educational paradigms. PL that has been hands on with a focus on creativity and innovation and thinking in ways that I would perhaps normally not. I feel that these professional learning events were, and are rare. My recent trips via Apple to the ADE Institutes in Bali and San Diego, as well as attending the GTA in Sydney in 2011 certainly were (rare) examples of the above. The focus on these accounts were teachers becoming the learning and learning at points of need. Teachers knowing their own strengths and weaknesses and building their professional learning around these.

Recently I have delivered alot of professional learning to educators both within and certainly without of my college setting. This is something that I really enjoy and is a great part of my role. The fact that I can model lessons for other staff, assist them through planning processes, observe and deconstruct taught lessons as well as deliver more formal means of PL all allow me to assist in the building of teacher capacity. I think, or believe for the most part, I am very good at this. I am passionate about working with staff and it is this passion which drives me going forward. There are times that I have delivered professional learning that has not been wholly effective however and I have used these few experiences to better my own capabilities for future scenarios.

In saying all of the above I am keen to determine how I can better, or… be more effective at building teacher capacity. Does this comes down to the way in which I present and run professional learning, or am I needing to focus more upon inspiring staff before I worry about adding to their skill sets?

Regardless, I feel that I am needing to get more of a ‘buy in’ from staff to better and further improve their own practice. The image below sums it best.

Screen Shot 2014-04-03 at 8.26.28 am

 

Finding the time to run professional learning in a teacher’s, or teaching team’s hectic schedule can be very difficult. What is not difficult unfortunately is finding excuses to not run the professional learning. A personal goal from here forward is to ensure I keep working hard in supporting staff to build their own pedagogy no matter the focus, or lack of time. What will go a long in supporting this is that ‘buy-in’ from staff to want to improve. A want and desire to better their practice to ensure that they are delivering the highest quality teaching and learning programs that they can offer.

You could say that I will not force the horse to water if it is not thirsty. Teaching reluctant learners does not improve when I force content upon them. What does work however is finding ways in which to engage and hook them into wanting to learn and to improve… and this is my (exciting) challenge.

Watch. This. Space.

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Learning B4 Technology

http://ihs.wikia.com/wiki/File:Teaching_teachers_forum.jpg

http://ihs.wikia.com/wiki/File:Teaching_teachers_forum.jpg

It’s not often that I can get my hands on my staff, (not literally of course), to be able to run large scale Professional Learning to one of our four sub schools, or if I am extremely lucky, our entire (220) staff!

As much as I enjoy the smaller and more personalised approach to coaching and coordinating Professional Learning, especially either one on one or within teaching teams, that ability to deliver key messages to a larger cohort is always is something I find needs to take place. This ensures that same message is coming from one person, and is uniform across all teachers. What helps is having others spread those messages other than myself, which I am happy to say happens often!

With having a quite a few new staff teaching within our Middle Years sub school this year I felt the need to revisit a few key messages to ensure that the ideology behind how we go about integrating technology, effectively, is done so with one major thing in mind, and that being that good teaching comes first and the technology a second.

This is a message that I have been preaching religiously, no pun intended, for quite a while now.  The importance that our number one craft is teaching and that that craft needs to be focused on and honed over time. The absolutely wonderful thing about this profession is that we can all do it in various ways which enrich, engage and foster the meeting of student learning outcomes. We are all charged with delivering a set curriculum however they way in which we as educators can go about that can be extremely varied to cater for our students needs. There are not many professions I feel that allow for differentiation to occur amongst its staff. Teaching is certainly one of those.

Technology Integration, for example, allows for an educator to drastically alter the way they not only deliver the curriculum, but also, and more importantly, the way that students choose to learn that same curriculum.

Way back in… 2009, when I first started at my current setting all students I taught were involved in a 1:1 MacBook Program. The 6 teachers, including myself had never encountered such a thing, that being a 1:1 program of any description. During those first few weeks it is safe to say we used those MacBooks all day every day which in the end turned out to be detrimental to our teaching programs. First lesson learnt, “Just because they have the technology does not mean you need to have them using it”. 

After time we realised that it was the teaching that we need to get back to focusing upon. The way that we planned our curriculum and the ways that we  were deliver the content were more important than the technology itself. The learning and teaching, that was the priority. Not that we felt the consistent need to use the technology because it was there, and it was certainly evident as the year progressed, that through having that technology support the learning and teaching that was taking place, where applicable, made greater inroads to supporting students than what it did at the beginning.

These thoughts have recently been reaffirmed to me in the form of another blog post written by Steve Wheeler, the  ‘Associate Professor of learning technology in the Plymouth Institute of Education at Plymouth University’. Further to this, Steve’s credentials are too many to mention.I have had the pleasure of meeting him once at uLearn12 in Christchurch, New Zealand and have followed his blog and other learnings fairly intensely since then. At the time of writing this, his latest blog post, titled , talks in depth about this notion and the need to place, always place, learning before technology.

Below I have embedded the presentation I showed to my staff as well as a list of just a few of their responses relating to how I could assist them to become greater enablers of technology to support and enhance their programs.

Middle Years Sub School  – Moving Forward with eLearning

  • Classroom management with iPad management.
  • Exploring Flipped Classroom concepts.
  • Use of Social Media for sharing student work
  • Use of ICT when students have limited access/support in the home (no internet/wifi)
  • Improving student outcomes in maths through student led activities
  • Using Edmodo
  • Projecting students work on the Apple TV via their iPad,
  • Classroom iPad management of students
  • App Tutorials
  • Assisting students making appropriate and relevant contributions to online class discussions
  • Storing digital work
  • Flipped Classrooms
  • developing digital individual learning tasks
  • How to manage student use of iPads more effectively.
  • How students can create their own tutorials in different ways.

 

So to completely and utterly agree with Steve, and to once again quote him via his recent post, “If you forget everything else, remember this: Don’t let technology get in the way of good teaching and learning.”
1

Show & Tell

Show+and+Tell+Logo

I’ve been planning to write this post for the past few weeks however time has been getting away from me recently, how dare it, but alas, here it is! As mentioned in previous posts it’s been amazingly wonderful to be back in a classroom again teaching and learning with the squids! Working along side and relating to these young people during the week, on a consistent weekly basis, certainly has given me a new lease on my teaching life.

Now, do not get me wrong, I love my eLearning Director role, however, lately the drain that is constant meetings and administrivia has definitely weighed me down somewhat. So down to business. Below I have shared just a few of the things that I have been up to in my room. Mind you, I am in class 2 full days per week and am enjoying the Challenge of attempting to squash everything in to what is already a super crowded week but also making way for the ‘extras’ I am wanting to implement, both from a learning and classroom management perspective, such as a few of the items mentioned below! 🙂

1. 2014 Middle Years (Yrs 5-8) Challenge Based Learning Unit: Digital Identity

2014 Middle Years CBL Unit: Digital Identity

2014 Middle Years CBL Unit: Digital Identity

We were wanting to run a unit, an introductory unit, for our Middle Years Students based on Cyber Safety, Digital Citizenship, Copyright, Creative Commons, and several other things! The challenge was not so much what to cover and when but how. Dare I say that covering the above topics with Middle Years students is a challenge relating specifically to engagement.

I wanted students to take ownership of their learning and drive what it is they want to know and hence what better way to do that than through a CBL, or Challenge Based Learning Unit. What I love about CBL is that students relate personally to their learning. They are drawing on real life experiences that effected them, either in a positive or negative way and can use these to guide new knowledge and understandings. Already I am seeing some excellent learning taking place via what has been created and shared with the students and facilitated by the staff.

The ‘proposal movie’ that was developed, under CC licensing rights, is embedded below. This movie was shown prior to our Middle Years Students undertaking this unit. The aim of this movie was to get students thinking about what having a ‘Digital Identity’ is and how this affects them as learners and users of technology in the 21st Century.

To assist the staff I developed an eBook, via Apple’s iBook Author Software, and has staff download this as a guide to assist them in running this unit. To develop this, I used Apple’s Own CBL Guide as well as several awesome resources that had been created by Adam Brice, an Apple Education Executive. If you would like to view the CBL Unit as well as the other accompanying documents such as the Assessment Rubric and Student Workbook, head to the shared DropBox Folder linked here: 2014 Middle Years CBL Unit Resources

2. Genius Hour Implementation.

I am not overly sure where I first caught wind of ‘Genius Hour, but I do recall being excited by the notion behind it! For those who have no real idea behind this, it all stemmed from Google giving their employee’s 20% time. This meaning 20% of their working week, which theoretically means one day, to work on projects which interest them as they please during this time. From this, Google Applications such as gMail, AdSense, Google News and Google Talk just to name a few.

In previous years we have implemented students undertaking ‘Passion Projects’ which is similar to the notion of Genius Hour however with fewer restrictions I guess you would say. The presentation below explains in simple detail what genius Hour is and this is what i showed to my students. Currently the students are working through the ‘finding out’ phase in answering their Guiding or Driving Question.

Just a selection of some of the Guiding Questions my years 7’s have come up with so far;
  • How will I learn to create and mix my own DJ beats?
  • Why is their cruelty in the world? (Tough One… but I am interested to see where this leads!)
  • How should people react in a bushfire emergency? (I am hoping that a ‘how to’, or ‘what to do’ video stems from this!)
  • How can I make a iPad Game App, on my iPad?
  • How do violent video games affect the way people think?
  • What is the best way to help endangered animals and what can I do about it?

To inspire my chargers I then showed this great You Tube Clip starring Kid President, which my students loved!

3. Google Drive

Google Drive App

Google Drive App

The joys of Google Drive! This is more than likely not a big deal to most however, having spoken about, presented about, coordinated PL about and modelled and demonstrated about, the positiveness of Google Drive as an App to assist iPad Workflow has thus far been amazing. All teachers within our Yr 7 Team are now planning via Google Drive and sharing all planners, resources, links, PDF’s, etc via this means. The real power is now having students use this effectively to share work, receive work, and access learning materials needed not only via teachers, but also with each other. Collaboration is a major focus as part of our eLearning Capabilities and to now be entrenched in this with my own class is great.

The best part? It’s ease of use and set up!

Lastly, and as an add on to this, I have just discovered Kaizena, an online program that accesses your Google Drive Account and all your files. From here, you can highlight text on documents and leave Voice Comments. Something that I think will save teachers a lot of time in allowing them to give quick, effective and thorough feedback! View the clip below to see how all this works! 🙂

4. Classroom Expectations.

I loathe classroom rules, not to be negative, but, I find them extremely negative, and more often than not against what a classroom should be about. In saying this, I believe there is a need for something to assist and guide students in demonstrating expected behaviours. The power from developing classroom expected behaviours is that these are student created and driven. If the ownership comes from the students then they are much more focused towards behaving in ways that are conducive to what a learning environment should be!

Below are the expectations that the students developed. Expectations which had to relate to at least one of our College’s values (Aiming High, Valuing Our Community, Respecting Others, Being Safe). 

For now. I think that’s all I will share as if this were a real show and tell session I would have been booted off the stage long ago!
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An Evening With Bill Rankin.

This Wednesday evening I was fortunate enough to attend an ADE (Apple Distinguished Educator) meeting that was hosted at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education.

The focus for this meeting was to spend a good hour and a half with Dr. Bill Rankin, and educational technology wizard, and a Director of Learning for Apple Inc. World Wide.

As Bill’s Bio states…

“I am a Director on the education team at Apple, Inc., with responsibility for promoting and enhancing innovative teaching and learning. Prior to joining Apple, I worked as an academic in higher education for 24 years, concluding my time as a Professor of English and Honors College Fellow at Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas. As ACU’s Director of Educational Innovation, I helped design the world’s first one-to-one that gave every student an iPhone or iPod touch as a platform for exploring next-wave mobile learning. With ACU’s Honors College, I consulted on a radically new kind of in situ learning that leverages just-in-time, differentiated instruction and media to prepare learners working to solve issues of urban poverty and social justice in South Dallas. I have received numerous awards for teaching and have presented on the implications of educational technology and emerging pedagogies in more than 25 countries.”

Impressive hey!

I first met Bill when i attended the ADE Institute in Bali earlier this year where Bill was a headline act and speaker sharing his knowledge and wisdom about all things technology and education. Bill also gave us an insight into just some of the powerful tools Apple has to offer, most notably Apple’s Keynote software, which as I found out in Bali, is more than just a slide presentation creation tool!

The presentation that Bill ran us through on Wednesday focused heavily on design presentation principles and the use of Apple’s Keynote software to showcase these. Design Principles that have been adapted from people such as Garr Reynolds and Robin Williams (not the actor!). Both of whom have written outstanding texts on these design principles that Bill discussed and showcased. Links to these texts via Amazon.com are below.

     

This session made me radically rethink the way i go about creating my own presentations, i suppose not just via Keynote but via all presentation tools that I use. Some of Bill’s messages that resonated with me were:

  • Bad design is like static, it distracts people.”
  • “Put things on the slide that put words in the audiences’ head. Don’t give them the answers…”
  • “Presentations need to be explicit and relate to your content.”
  • “You want to give the audience you’re presenting to that ‘pop’!” 
  • “Your presentation needs to have tension and release”
A Great example of what Apple’s KeyNote Software can do is embedded below. An animation created  in Keynote which demonstrates just some of the high quality effects than can be created! The Video itself has been created by Ray Nasher, an educator based in Melbourne. Not only is this a great animation as mentioned, the content contained within gives educators and educational minds a lot to digest and think about!

In summation… the creation of a presentation is more than just images and text on a slide. To effectively engage an audience and convey powerful messages, you need to consider those messages and specific design principles that will allow present your information in the most effective manner possible.
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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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VITTA 2013

Well another amazing VITTA conference has come and gone and as per usual when I attend something of this ilk I like to take this opportunity to reflect upon the two days that were!

One of the 4 keynote presentations about to get underway…

Personally, i like to judge a PL or conference on 3 main things;

Purpose.

Is this PL relevant to me as an educator and is it relevant to to 21st Century Teaching and Learning?

Practice.

Will attending this PL improve my teaching practice and allow me to improve that of my colleagues?

–  Performance

– Will the gained knowledge led to improved learning performance amongst my students?

It’s safe to say that VITTA ticked all those boxes. As it has in the past. The quality of presenters and speakers was again extremely high and for teachers and IT Leaders to have the ability to not only hear from these minds, but to also network with them, which I feel is just as, if not, more powerful the the presentations themselves.

It is quite astounding the amount of brilliant minds I have met through having developed a very strong PLN via the likes of Twitter and Google+, yet still, even only now, I am meeting people face to face for the time! Having had met over the past two days the likes of Richard Olsen and Louise Duncan face to face was fantastic. To have also attended their sessions and gained a greater insight in to the work that they do was also just as brilliant.

My own presentation was one that I feel was great in theory, yet due to me rushing it’s contents, came off a little… scattered! I’ll wait eagerly for the feedback! 🙂 You can access my presentation in either ibook or PDF formats by clicking on the image below.

So. Rather than give an in depth overview of all the keynote and the presentation sessions I attended, here are 5 things that I learnt and/or had reaffirmed over the course of the two days. There were THAT…

1. …teachers of all areas in all settings are continuing to push boundaries and take risks within their teaching and learning environments. The notion of wanting to create and foster students who are innovative and creative has never been more prevalent, and that technology integration has been and will be a major driver of this.

2. …the time is now. Teachers are THE ones who are the major drivers in technology integration and who can cause the biggest shift in 21st century pedagogical practices. The questions, as asked by Bruce Dixon, of what school is, what should it be, and what could it be, need to not only be answered but acted upon.

3. …teachers and educators are not alone. Through working together, networking, and developing collaborative practices, the ability to be able to ask for ideas, assistance and to tap in to great educational minds can happen anywhere and anytime!

4. …the hot topics are revolving around 21st century teaching and learning, mobile technologies and the integration of BYOD models within schools and colleges. That also when these three things are merged together we can have absolutely amazing teaching and learning exhibited!

5…lastly… as educators, we need to continue to develop a need to better understand our students. The need to develop that understanding based upon the ‘Modern Learner’ and our students learning in a technology rich world. Also, adding to this, that it’s not only about the technology itself, it’s about how our students learn along side that technology.

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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.


View Larger Map

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 “Look! I’m Learning!” 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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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.
3

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!