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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!

 

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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!

 

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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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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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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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Digital Storytelling @ ACMI

IMG_2801

Over the past two days i have been fortunate enough to have attended a wonderful professional learning experience at ACMI (Australian Centre for Moving Image) at Fed Square in Melbourne.

Now. Having been to Fed Square and ACMI one thousand times before i knew the emphasis that was placed on film and australian cinema. I also knew that ACMI ran professional learning for teachers and workshops for students but what i did not know was just how professional the experience was, until now. ACMI education resources can be found HERE.

As a result of our college, primarily one of our prep classes and their teacher, Sam (@sirwin2pt0), having recently completed a digital literacies grant, we were invited to attend a two day workshop to educate us about the power and process of creating professionally made digital stories.

Prior to attending the workshop we were given the following document: , and asked to write a 150-300 script which would be the basis for the digital story were were to create. After reading through the above document i decided to write about my honeymoon back in 2008, something which my wife and i will never forget for so many reasons.

Day began out by discussing what digital stories are and for those who had already used them as part of their teaching, realising how to make them more authentic and give them a greater purpose in your teaching. We discussed the language and grammar that is often used in DS’ (digital stories) and how that language can change the nature of a digital creation. We discussed the power of digital literacy and the importance that learning through film and video can induce in people, especially students. A great example that was shown is below! An all time classic!

The morning was spent talking about the process of film and animation creation and the importance of having strong ideology prior to the production stages. The creation of a story board, after a script had been completed, was essential. The storyboards aim was to show, in a comic like format, the shots that would be needed and the camera angles that would be used. When completing the stryboard process the follwoing needs to be thought about:

  • what shots do you want to use?
  • what camera anges are appropriate?
  • where will the actors/characters be in the shot?
  • what sort of movement do you want the camera to have?

With a DS essentially being a recount text type or genre, we spoke about also the importance of the film giving the viewer background information to ensure that they would understand the story. The who, what, when, where. That being a DS, and a recount, it was imperative that personal comments were embedded thickly in to the film.

From the above we were asked to read and re-read the scripts we had brought in and worked with the ACMI staff leading the workshop to ensure that they were conveying our stories without giving un wanted language and text. One great idea, that we didn’t do yet discussed, was the idea of script circles. A process where those with completed scripts sit in a circle and read them aloud to the rest of the group. The invites feedback from others on how to improve the script as the scripts writer can often not realise that they have missed key information.

Once completed, we took turns to enter a sound recording booth and have our audio recorded, so that we could then embed in to the iMovie HD software we were using! (Can you imagine my joy when i realised we would be using iMacs!).

One of the ACMI iMacs in Action!

One of the ACMI iMacs in Action!

Once we had recored our audio, imported it into iMovie HD, it was then where the fun really began. We were also asked to bring along any images or audio to compliment our scripts and it was with these images that we would create basic overlays of a storyboard on top of our printed scripts, to show which photos would go where in our DS’. This was a time consuming process as we were told to overburden our stories with too many images and this can take away from what your story is aiming to achieve.

The remainder of day one and the majority of day two was spent pulling everything together. Ensuring that the audio and images were overlapping correctly and in the right places. That effects, transitions and text were included where needed, and here was were another major emphasis arose. As good as these effects and the like are, than can be overwhelming when creating a digital story. That students especially need to not get carried away with including too many of these effects.

So after a good 90 minutes of ensuring i was content with my completed digital story, it was exported as a full HD film, compressed and placed on to a memory stick. I was a little perplexed to see that a 2min digital story ended up being 550MB monolith.

Overall, it was a large 2 days of PL. In depth and rich in what we learnt about digital creation and creating stories as a whole. If my monolithically huge story was not so large i would gladly share it with you all.

Below i have also included some great links related to ACMI such as their 15second project, which has huge potential for student and teacher use!

ACMI 15 second Place.
ACMI Generato.r
ACMI Online Resources.
ACMI Teacher Development.

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Marco Torres

marco-torres

Firstly, apologies for the lacklustre efforts on my own behalf to keep adding to this Blog, it’s certainly been on my to do list, along with the other 14,567 things!

Anyway… Several Tuesdays ago i had the pleasure of attending a Professional Learning opportunity that was too good to resist, that being to hear the great Marco Torres speak and share his philosophies about teaching and learning and the importance of using technology in the classroom. I had heard Marco once before at an Apple ITSC Conference and was in awe really of what he had to say and what he shared. His knowledge and  beliefs about education are outstanding and the examples that he shares with those he speaks too are phenomenal.

For those of you who are thinking, “who the hell is Marco Torres?”, he can be defined simply in this little grab from http://www.novemberlearning.com/ – “Marco is a social studies teacher, media coach, and education technology director at San Fernando High School. He has received numerous honors and awards for his work helping students empower themselves through the mastery of multimedia. He serves as one of Apple’s Distinguished Educators and is an advisory board member of The George Lucas Educational Foundation.” Marco is also a television and film producer and has worked on such shows such as Myth Busters and the major motion picture ‘Collateral’.

So instead of hoarding all of my notes, I thought that i would simply share them with you, which were taken via my iPad using the Corkboard App, and hopefully via these, you will be able to take some key thoughts and ideology from what was is listed. Please excuse what does not make sense!

Mac1 PL

Several of the key points made by Marco that really reasonated i suppose with me were:

1. That ‘why’ is everything! Give everything you do as a teacher a context, a place in what it is that you are doing. Students need to understand that there is a reason behind what it is that they are doing in class and not simply because it’s in the curriculum.

2. It’s not about the content being taught, it’s about the delivery. There are ways to teach and there are was to engage. Go with the latter. Do not be, never be, afraid to mix it up in your class and teach differently. Take a risk. If it does not work, who cares. Move on and try something else.

3. Watching people learn and reflect is engaging. MasterChef, The Block, The Renovators and My Kitchen Rules are all examples of these! Get your students in the habit of watching each other learn and reflect on their own learning. Not about the task they are doing or have done, but about HOW they are learning.

4. Make Chefs, not cooks. If you then dont get a chef, you’ll always have a cook. Aim high and set the bar at a level that will challenge the students and their abilities. Average standards set by teachers get average results.

5. Ship you ideas and your learning. Do do and then do nothing. Share what you learn. Share how you learn. Collaborate with others!

6. It’s not about the final product, it’s about the process. Students, and teachers for that matter, will learn more from the journey they go on to complete a task rather than by looking at what they’ve created at the end.

At the end of the day i approached Marco and thanked him for the day and his time. He was very appreciative of that. He then responded with “So how are you going to reflect on the day”? Good question. Often I attend PL and conferences, think about what i have heard and seen, use a few ideas that i picked up along the way, take a few notes, and that’s about it! As a teacher i am always asking students to reflect on their learning, i am thinking after Marco’s comments it’s about time i start doing it myself.