Int.Books eBooks Conference 2012


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.

iPads vs Netbooks vs Laptops…

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Last night I was lucky enough to be asked to participate in an EdTechCrew Podcast via Skype, which was a great experience! The EdTechCrew, which consists of Darrel Branson (The ICT Guy) and Tony Richards from itmadesimple.com, upload weekly discussions via PodCast on a whole range of topics all relating to digital education, technologies, web based tools, web 2.0 and much much more!

The topic of discussion, as you can see from the title of the this post, was a great one! The whole iPad / Netbook / Laptop debate! Via the Skype call which Darrel and Tony hosted, i was fortunate enough to be joined by Adam Brice (@adambrice), an Assistant Principal at Ringwood Nth Primary School who is doing great with with iPads as part of the DEECD iPads 4 Learning Trial.

We also had Narissa Leung (@rissl) who is the Ultranet Coach in the Goldfields Network of the Loddon Mallee Region who is also very Passionate about eLearning and all things Cyber Safety. Last by certainly not least was Brett Moller (@brettmoller) who is Head of Learning and Educational Technologies at King’s Christian College on the Gold Coast. Brett has an extensive knowledge of ICT and worked with schools through Australia, Asia and the US.

The chat started with an introduction from Tony about each of the speakers and then it was down to the nuts and bolts of what we were there for. Each speaker was given roughly 3-5mins to present their case about which piece of Technology they saw to be most beneficial to student learning and teaching practices.

Rather than bore you all with my recount of the evening i will add a link below, when it arrives, of the actual Podcast itself. All i will say for now is that all guest speakers spoke strongly about which device they believed was the best for students and their learning.

It was great to have such an easy going conversation about such a debatable topic and to have the opportunity to hear such great educators speak and hear their pasion for ICT was a great experience. One thing that i certainly took away was that it was awesome to to hear not so much about what digital device is the ‘best’ to use, but that digital devices were in fact being used with students! I strongly feel also that depending on your schools setting and student needs, which cohorts will be using the devices and for what purposes, the need for different devices is paramount.

I am sure that all of you have your thoughts on which device you feel is the best fit for student learning, weather you’re a fan of Apple Technologies or a lover of PC and Windows based devices, I am sure that this debate will continue to rage on and continue to challenge those of us who are avid about using and embedding technology in to teaching and learning programs!


Ultranet Mk I.

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Mission: To have all year 7 and 8 students accessing the DEECD Ultranet by Friday. Day one of three completed. 4 classes down, 10 to go.

I must start by saying that the students that i took today for their first foray in to the world that is the Ultranet responded very well! Their first encounter with such a full on, hands on, lesson was well received. The Ultranet in itself has its complexities and after seeing the students respond as well as they did, has given me hope that it will all come to fruition in the coming weeks! The biggest thrill of today though, without a doubt, was the Ultranets fuctionality and the absolute minimal fuss that the online Learning Portal gave me, and the students.

Bar 4, all 90 odd students were able to access the Ultranet and its features and what was more impressive than this was that these features actually worked, and worked well.

The students responded very very well to what the Ultranet had to offer and seemed excited by the opportunities that were available to them via this portal. I think that comparing such a resource to ‘Facebook’ assisted this and in saying that, Ultranet and Facebook, do have very common similarities which the students enjoyed.

The biggest issue i had was having students access the IDAM (Identity & Access Management) for their first time login. The students’ usernames and passwords did not allow them to complete the process which was required. Hopefully i can sort out this issue in the coming days.

On the plus side, the students had a very successful time in adding applications to their spaces. iFrames, RSS Feeds, Notice Boards and Calendars just to name a few. The students began to update their Profile Pages as well as change the space layout and settings.

Overall, it was a successful day. It was amusing though that i had less trouble today working with 13 and 14 year olds on the Ultranet than i had running through the same sessions with the staff… twice! The Ultranet appears not to like adults!

If you are after more information about the DEECD Ultranet itself, head here! http://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/directions/ultranet/default.htm