August 30

Teachers are learners too

Learning really is a lifelong thing, and what a wonderful and challenging (in a good way) time we are living in as there is so much to learn. Time is such a valuable commodity however, it can be a need to know basis that learning happens, or for a subject where you have a love or passion.

For me I know I had to learn scripting and HTML a few years ago to teach my Multimedia students, I found that challenging, and my kids have a giggle when I tell them I have to put on my other “head” (left brain) when I work through Action scripting and programming (my brain is not too logical,very right brain, – and I love the creative side, very much a wysiwyg kinda gal). I had to learn it, and I did, and it still surprises me when random logical thoughts when scripting come out. I think, scarily enough, my work with the programming stuff has actually trained my brain to see more from both sides. In the Dancer test I can make it go both ways….   ahh but I digress… I found lots of reasons to avoid completing the scripting stuff I had to do, yet, when there is something I am interested in, I will find the time, currently I have been working on using essential oils as an alternative therapy for a range of stuff… and created a wiki, and create blends and research oils and so on… learning, what I want to.

Where this path of exploring and embedding new technologies has lead me, is in a role of staff ICT support across the college. This has been a challenge in that other people are not necessarily seeing learning and embedding new technologies as a priority, after all they have been teaching successfully for a number of years, why should they get involved in this new stuff? Where would they find the time? what is the motivation? Getting this motivation to explore beyond their comfort zone has lead me to suggest a project which has got the support of the principal and the major curriculum drivers at the college….. and it starts next Tuesday.

The Redback Project Redback Project

The project is based on the Learning 2.0 project, or 23 Things, developed and used by librarians in the US. A similar style has been created by Michelle Martin in her Bamboo Project. I have also seen a few other similar projects around, but none of them were just the right fit for my staff. I wanted something that would not be too intimidating, and was available at school. There are many blocked sites (both from the department and ISP) so trying to explore something like Flickr would be frustrating, as there are still a number of staff who do not have access to the internet at home.

So my challenge was to provide something very accessible and usable, and yet provide challenges for those staff who may want it. And so the Redback Project was created. Why Redback… well I didn’t want anything tech in the name, and Redbacks are beautiful and alluring in their webs. So with the aim to entice more staff into the web to see some of the beauty, fun and maybe a little silliness.

The project will be running over 10 school weeks, with the term 3 break it will be 12 weeks. We will look at blogs, wikis, image generators, RSS, social networking, social bookmarking, tags, Moodle and other stuff. Tasks will be kept achievable for basic level skills, but also issuing challenges for those wanting a bit more. And the lure…. prizes, looking at a range of tech gadgets to give to those who complete the project, as well as weekly draws for those on track and trying out the challenges or just trying something outside their comfort zone.

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Posted August 30, 2008 by Suz Arnott in category bloggingcorner08, cool tools, Lifelong learning

7 thoughts on “Teachers are learners too

  1. Anne Baird

    This looks great Suzanne. I would love to encourage our teachers to get involved as well. as you know the biggest problem or blocker for many teachers is time. Although as an eLearning coach just as you are I feel that we are constantly battling both the time issue and the reluctance of many teachers to take on eLearning in any way. It’s an ongoing challenge and your idea of formalising it as well as making it a bit of fun in this way might just hit the mark. By the way I see that you have also done the Intel training. I think it looks like the Essentials course? How did it go? I am a Senior trainer with Intel in Victoria. I love the course although I focus more of my work on the Thinking with Technology course. I haven’t been able to work our where you are but I assume you are in Victoria?
    Cheers and good luck with your Redback project. BTW, Why Redback?The local footy team in the town where I teach, Wedderburn are the Redbacks so we often call activities or groups, the redbacks.

  2. Heather Bailie

    Love what you are doing here. I am in the process of applying for a leading teacher position as College ICT coach and one of the things I am proposing is something very like your redback project. My library team (almost) all completed the Learning with Web 2.0 program run by SLAV and the Yarra Plenty Regional Library which finished up at the start of August. It was a fantastic learning experience and now I just want to infect everyone with my enthusiasm. I’ve added your blog to my reader so I’m looking forward to finding out how you go. Are you at a primary or secondary school?

  3. Suz Arnott

    Hi Anne… I think I have seen your name pop up on the master trainers email list too…although that seems to have died, I tried posting something, and it bounced back. I am a Master Trainer, I have run two lots of the INTEL Essentials course, I was keen to become a Senior trainer, but the timing was not right the last time it was offered, and I haven’t heard anything more recently. The courses ran well. The online courses look good from what I have seen. I would like to do more, but again that whole time thing :(.
    I am at Elisabeth Murdoch College in Langwarrin – South East suburbs of Melbourne, top of the Mornington Peninsula.
    I would love to hear any feedback as the project unfolds… as I said I want it to be relevant to staff, not much point if we can’t get to the sites at school… I am already pushing things along with the sites that we should have access to but the ISP blocks. I’d like to find out if others have that issue too, or if it is just us….
    Why Redback – funny you should mention the footy team… the local club to me (not school) is also the redbacks. I didn’t want anything tech in the name, and Redbacks are beautiful and alluring in their webs. So with the aim to entice more staff into the web to see some of the beauty, fun and maybe a little silliness.

    Hi Heather…ahhh I read about the SLAV/Yarra Plenty version, it is great to see local version of the project. I am at a secondary college in Langwarrin. Good luck with your proposal, my prin has been fantastic in his support, and I think that makes all the difference. I hope we get that same level of enthusiasm, and people sharing and talking about the technologies and how they can use them. Most of the project will be on the redback blog and wiki, I think this place will be my sanity 🙂
    Thanks for your good wishes… I am getting nervous, in a good way.

  4. Trudy Brentnall

    I also think this is a fantastic idea and would love some feedback as to how it goes. Time is a problem for teachers and those who move ahead more quickly are those who are willing to play with tools and technology in their own time. I guess it’s a matter of making them excited enough to do this. I think when they can see how these tools can be used in their personal life they become important and useful and can then be transported to the classroom and professional lives.
    Although I didn’t take part in it, the Yarra Plenty Library Web2.0 program for the public looked sensational ( ) and I convinced my very elderly father to try it.
    Good luck with the project and keep us updated.

  5. Suz Arnott

    Thanks Trudy… I will post about how we go here… I am hoping that competitive spirit will come to the fore with some of those reluctant ones to start talking about and using the tools 🙂 and the prizes will be fun too… I have had lots of positive feedback about that 🙂 I hope that will work as incentive to get more people engaged 🙂

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