May 16

Creative Book Builder

A really powerful app to use in any class both as a teacher and a student is creative book builder.
Students love being able to easily include videos and images into their assignments. You can also create exciting “text” or topic booklets for your classes.
This can range from simple to amazingly complex.
The books can be easily shared as well, simply choose the “Share to Device” option when you publish the book, it will create a QR code and the students can scan it, and open it in their iBooks shelf. If they email the book all of the cool interactive features are lost …
My Year 8s at Beaui were very excited when I showed them how simple it was for me to collect their awesome Textiles assignments.
$4.49 from the iTunes store is a worthwhile taxable expense.

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May 16

Creative Book Builder

A really powerful app to use in any class both as a teacher and a student is creative book builder.
Students love being able to easily include videos and images into their assignments. You can also create exciting “text” or topic booklets for your classes.
This can range from simple to amazingly complex.
The books can be easily shared as well, simply choose the “Share to Device” option when you publish the book, it will create a QR code and the students can scan it, and open it in their iBooks shelf. If they email the book all of the cool interactive features are lost …
My Year 8s at Beaui were very excited when I showed them how simple it was for me to collect their awesome Textiles assignments.
$4.49 from the iTunes store is a worthwhile taxable expense.

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November 5

Supporting your professional learning apps

There are many resources online which focus on education, developing leadership, and teaching and learning. I thought I would share 3 apps I came across which can definitely be linked to your own professional learning development.
I haven’t checked the android market, but I would be disappointed if developers only make mac versions.
For my followers in other states and countries, the apps I will be referring to here are focused on Victorian and Australian structures, curriculum and leadership development.

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I will start with Teaching and Learning. The development of the national curriculum is a huge thing to get a handle on. The National Curriculum App has been around for a while now, and is been updated regularly to reflect the current stage of development. It is a handy resource tool for those involved with the Leadership of teaching and Learning, as you have all of the requirements clearly at your fingertips.

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The set out is easy to follow, and you are able to access the information even when not connected to the Internet.
Very clear capability statements, and no doubt will continue to add each of the learning areas as they are developed. Great information on cross curricular focus. The best part is the price: free
Search for Australian Curriculum on the App Store.

E5 is an organisational model which has some powerful and reflective strategies for improving individuals and whole school approaches to teaching and learning. It dovetails neatly with developing engaging pedagogical practices to excite our students. A few years ago the DEECD gave each teacher a reflective journal for E5, but if you came into teaching after that you missed out… But miss out no more…

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For the paltry sum of $2 (less than a cup of coffee) you can have your own electronic version of the journal. Much more useful than the enormous book.

Finally we hear that the DEECD’s Sergiovanni leadership model is on the way out, to be replaced with the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL)’s national professional standards for principals.

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The app guides you through the standards, explaining and elaborating on a number of areas. Great resource for those in or aspiring to leadership positions.

Check them out and let me know what you think of them, were they helpful? Do you know of other apps which can help support your professional learning as an educator?

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September 7

My iPad my classroom

I have had the the iPad2 for a few months now, and thought I would share how it is transforming my classes, and the way I reflect on my teaching, and my students achievements.
So….here are my top 10 iPad features or tools which make my life easier.

My Number 1 feature is the camera, which allows me to record assessment tasks, students working, video myself to create podcasts of processes or procedures they may like to refer back to. I do take into account student privacy, and most photos of them at work are just hands and garments, and I check with them to make sure I have their approval to post images to our shared group on Flickr, blog posts or YouTube, and our Facebook group.

My number 2 goes to Evernote: the must have app on all devices, android phone, iPad, tablet, pc, MacBook, or any computer connected to the Internet. I am able to take notes, and they are then stored in the “cloud”, allowing me to be able to access them from any computer. I can also publish my notes on a range of platforms. For example is notes I make while doing professional learning can immediately be tweeted to my followers on Twitter. You can search through Evernote to find a specific topic or discussion very easily.

Number 3 blogging and reflecting: I am writing this through the WordPress App, which allows me to have easy access to all of my WordPress based blogs (this includes the DEECD’s Global2 and Edublogs as well as WordPress itself). I have ready access to all of my blogs and am able to quickly and effortlessly reflect on learning, achievements, outcomes, ideas and share with my blogging community.
As a part of my VCE Unit 2 Product, Design and Technology course students are investigating the use of ICT in a team based approach to working, so my Textiles blog has regular guest bloggers from the class, reflecting on challenges and projects, sharing the development of their work to each other, as well as a broader community. They are able to take photos and add comments as to how their challenges are progressing. I have shared this blog with the college community, and parents, to have authentic and immediate understanding of what tasks the students are working on.

Number 4 Authentic Assessment: I have been using the Easy Portfolio App (developed by a Victorian teacher – Jarrod Robinson aka the PE Geek) to create my own portfolios of student achievement, which I use when writing reports. This allows me to have a voice recording, add images, documents and links to allow the student to demonstrate levels of understanding. At the end of the unit I will email the portfolios to them in PDF form, so they can add to their own portfolio. I used this for semester 1 reports, and found it was a great way to ensure relevant, authentic, achievement based comments.

Number 5 Sharing: Dropbox is a must have App for the easy sharing of documents or images created on the iPad. Like Evernote, you can put it on all devices and share your documents and files through your secure cloud. You can also create links to files which others can access, saving postage on emails…hehehe…or if you wanted to share a document with people who’s emails you don’t know.

Number 6 Internet: the fact the iPad is so quick to launch allows you to get on to Daymap really quickly to mark rolls, check bulletins etc. Moodle, the Ultranet and email are all ready to go at your fingertips.

Number 7 feedback: Socrative, excellent immediate feedback to students, create quizzes to determine starting points, or exit questions to see how well topics covered in class were understood.

Number 8 creativity: Augmented reality…I am creating a range of triggers and videos which will become a virtual tour of the school at work. I also am looking at using it for some of the mundane classroom tasks like “threading the sewing machine and bobbin”…
Explain everything and Show me are two apps I am exploring to create Support videos for students, and to get them demonstrating their understanding of a range of concepts covered in class. Some fantastic music apps like GarageBand, allow you to create your own music to accompany ideas or podcasts without having to worry about copyright infringement
Inspiration and Popplet lite are great mind mapping tools, allowing you to share your thoughts in an ordered way.

Number 9 lifelong learning: ITunesU is a most fabulous tool for those lifelong learners…allowing you to explore a wealth of inversion standard courses which are open and ready for you to participate in. SCOTutor is an App all about learning to use your iPad….great resource.

Number 10 curating information: Live binders is a an app and website which allows you to “collect” information and then store it in topic binders. I was participating in a MOOC and used this to collect all of my resources on the topic. You can have them open, so you could share yours with a class, or students could share with you. The app makes it very easy to collect and curate the information. DIIGO and ScoopIt are also great tools for curation.

My “to explore and try out more” list includes Nearpod, Wunderlist and others as I discover them on ScoopIt, blogs and Twitter.

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What are your favourite tools or features of the iPad? Do you have a top 10? I found it hard to limit it to so few… Always trying new ones out!

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July 16

Creating a web app

It’s cold and wet, perfect for sitting at home and getting computer things done… but many of the college remote sites are down, so you can’t set up Moodle… what to do???? How about creating your own app? Seriously…. If I can do it anyone can. There are a heap of programs out there, but a simple one which allows you to build a web app (which means you don’t have the red tape of the App Store hoops) and can be modified as you go… is iBuildapp.com I have created an app for my courses, which parents and prospective students will be able to access on their phones. I have included information on my courses, a gallery of work examples, links to VCAA details and contact information to view it use your QR code scanner on your mobile phone

Use a barcode or QR scanner and the app will load to your phone

Or on your phone go to http://ibuildapp.com/web-Textiles+at+Sandringham

It is a mobile web app, so won’t work on the computer… Would be great to have a few staff creating them for the upcoming subject selections… if you want to try I will run an afternoon session early in Term 3.

Also those of you with iPads… seriously need to get your hands on Portfolio and Easy Assessment… both by Jarrod Robinson, a secondary PE teacher in Boort (country Victoria) They are brilliant… and what I will be basing my mid semester interviews on… He has also created a range of apps for VCE PE and sports, well worth a look for those teaching those areas… More hints and tips on the iPad blog soon… ohhhhh with tons of augmented reality ideas too

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June 2

My List: A Collection on “ipads” (ipads,ipad,ios,apps) | Diigo

My List: A Collection on “ipads” (ipads,ipad,ios,apps) | Diigo.

Oh this is cool, I have added the “Press this” button to my bookmarks bar, so I can share what I find on the web directly to my blog… sensational.

Diigo is a fantastic social bookmarking tool, which can be used to share sites with groups, or just to store your bookmarks in the cloud, so you can access them anywhere… if you create a Diigo account, make sure to add me as a friend/contact “starnott” so we can share.

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June 1

Alan November and Flipping the Classroom

After listening to Alan November as part of the Guide To Innovation series on the Thursday for an hour session which just flew, I was really looking forward to spending a day immersing myself in his views on leading learning in the 21st Century. I love that the focus is on the learning and pedagogy, rather than the technology, which is a cool tool…. but just the tool.

Question…it has never been easier to be a teacher

We used Promethean clickers to provide immediate feedback – the results –

Is it easier to teach? Is it easier to learn in C21

 

Q. It has never been easier to learn something – Response… Agree

How to design a curriculum which involves the whole family in learning…. Those of us considered early adopters have seen many of the benefits and pitfalls of using new technologies, and have developed ways to minimise harm…. many parents often “don’t know what they don’t know”…we need to design curriculum for the whole family in order to have a whole community approach to ethical and responsible use. One way which was suggested was to create parent and family learning videos, to engage families. @HamishCurry mentioned this had been an approach used by the Libraries association and maternal child health practioners to assist in developing parent skills in reading with their children. This was working really well, until funding was lost.

Being able to think critically and validate information on the web was seen as a vital skill for all users of technology, and the old adage “don’t trust wikipedia” is no longer true, as we looked at ways of searching for information on “the earmouse” and realising that wikipedia actually had the correct information, where the more reputable news site (BBC) had information which was not correct.

“Actions of the mob, leads to accuracy” – in the case of wikipedia

3rd source should be a primary source…and by looking at your sources carefully and putting detailed search strings in (back to the Boolean search) such as the “:site” command in Google – site:MIT.edu limits the search to that extension, so you know you will probably be getting researchers data, primary source material, rather than reporters interpretation of the information.

The real revolution is not tech but info…do the kids know how to critical think, getting good quality info more important than being able to present it.

We must teach global empathy, as global citizen. I believe we do this better in Australia than they do in the US, mainly because we have so many more influences in our culture, having said that, showing students how to use country codes in searches to explore geographic and cultural differences in news reports is a great critical thinking skill… being able to view an opinion from both sides of the fence. Alan used the example of the Iranian hostage crisis, which of course was only called this in the Western media, and as the search continued the results in the Iranian news offered a totally different viewpoint.

Using Twitter to expand the conversation: Alan showed how following a hashtag (#) on Twitter could give you a wealth of information, and used the example of #Egypt which was nealy as fast moving as the #sbseurovision was over the weekend. A professor in the US posted a question on Twitter with the hashtag #Egypt, and ended up tweeting with someone on the streets of Cairo, about “What is freedom” This person agreed to then Skype with his class, and there in provide real primary source material. Needless to say the kids were enthralled.

The Flipped Classroom

The way you teach is more powerful than what you know, it’s all about asking the questions, developing inquiring minds

In her book: The Age of the Smart Machine,  1988 Shoshanna Zuboff explored the use of technology and how adding it to the classroom could add value. She generated the terms Automate and Informate

Automate…no change to structure, just adding technology does not lead to improvement on the whole

Informate …changes the balance of control, can lead to huge improvement, empowers and changes relationships. Process change

Flip model…changing the processes. Adding technology without process change adds no value. You can have as many 1:1 devices, but it does not mean there will be value added to the learning if the process is not changed.

All about the flip

Eric Mazur developed a flipped classroom approach in his Harvard Physics classes, to develop deeper understanding of the knowledge the students were covering

From Questions to Concepts

In fact Facebook was developed so his students could ask him questions (Mark Zuckerburg was in his class)

Game based learning is going to be one of the next big “things” according to the Horizon Report

#gbl #seriousgames

Of course kids prefer games to school, you don’t fail if you get it wrong in a game, at school there is punishment/failure if you get it wrong

Kids love learning, and getting to next level…they chose the level, in class teacher sets the level

They know the objective in a game, where often in school they don’t….”why do we have to learn this?”

Mazur’s model is Socratic, an exchange of ideas. Our brains are wired to be social, Socrates meets Facebook. The role of a good teacher is to ask the questions to generate debate

Quality of feedback is important- Hattie

If the brain records a misconception when young, the misconception trumps good teaching. It is harder to unlearn misconceptions.

Flipping saves time

1:1 should be about the teacher talking to each student everyday, not devices

Khan academy shows the whole game – students can choose their sttarting point and path with immediate feedback

Khan academy based on game theory, not punishment model

Beautiful chaos is kids working towards their goals, linear teachers have trouble with this

Coach feature gives teachers a wealth of information

Differentiation…perfection

Dan Pink – Drive

Purpose – autonomy – mastery

Our schools and way of teaching often moves on before some students are at mastery level. If you give them the chance of mastery, the kids will flourish. Flipping the classroom gives back time to teachers to develop the creative questioning

WrAP … Www.erblearn.org

The writing assessment program, ai to mark papers….gives data to free teachers from the hours of reading assessment

Fan fiction

Kids use a pseudonym to avoid criticism of self, only the work is criticised in reviews

Go figure…posting work to the world for feedback is more motivating than posting to your teacher

Publishing student work for a global audience

Get kids to produce tutorials for other kids

  • Look at critical thinking
  • Flip model…process change
  • Global relationships, world wide audience

Some great reference sites were shared to help harness the information

Hashtag.org

Trendsmap.com

Www.dipity.com – timeline creator, keep timelines, and build on each year

History pin works well with dipity and google maps

Mathtrain.tv kids making tutorials for kids

Hattie – peer tutoring

Ask a friend is always the first option

The teacher knows too much – explains at a level higher than the child can understand, math train has a rewind.

All in all a wonderful day. I have already started using Socrative Teacher as a feedback tool for my classes….with positive results from students.

 

 

 

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March 6

Getting your class into blogging

Blogging and bloggers are a vibrant part of the online communities many of us belong to. Technorati investigates what is going on in the blogging world with their “State of the Blogosphere” report. As well as you and I and our blogs, there is much blogging going on in the corporate world. Every company seems to have a blog link on their website, where media news and reviews are often posted. There are even people who get paid to write blog posts…for a writer, what a wonderful opportunity…

What better way to get your class going with their own blogging adventure, than to be a part of a global student blogging challenge. It’s not to late to join in. Simply pop along to the Edublogs Student Challenge information page, and look around to get some ideas if you have not blogged before.

Totally confused about what a blog is and where to start, check out the Redback Project blog for some info on what a blog is, and what it is used for.

So you just want to jump straight in and set up your blog? Go along to http://global2.vic.edu.au this is an Edublogs campus site set up by the DEECD, so you get all the safety and functionality of an edublogs subscriber, with none of the cost (if you are a Victorian Government or Catholic school).

Kathleen Morris has put together a brilliant “Getting started with blogging” post on her Integrating Technology blog, so for the nitty gritty on setting up your blog take a look.

Blogging is a great way to let parents see the good stuff that happens in your classroom. It is also a valuable reflection tool for your own ongoing learning. Developing a professional blog where you can reflect on your reading and learning is another weay you can record your professional learning hours for VIT registration.

Feel free to post questions here… the comments, feedback and dialogue is just part of what makes blogging so very powerful, and a fun way to learn, regardless of your age.

What do you enjoy about blogging? What is stopping you from blogging? What is stopping you from getting your class into blogging?

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February 17

Social Media and the Educator

’21st Century education integrates technologies, engaging students in ways not previously possible, creating new learning and teaching possibilities, enhancing achievement and extending interactions with local and global communities.’ MCEETYA.

There is no escaping it… social media is here, and no matter how much a teacher may want to ignore it, they need to embrace it to give their students more informed approach to using these tools. Educators also need to be well aware of the pitfalls…. many which are widely publicised in the news media.

Unfriendly Fire

Porn Star Teacher

It’s not however all doom and gloom and scariness, social media can be used safely and effectively with a few simple guidelines. It can bring a new level of connectedness to you and your students. An example, one of the first comments my 2012 Year 12s asked is if we were still going to use Facebook, as they found my reminders for due dates etc very useful. Other staff have told me their discussions with students about using online tools have been along the lines of: “If it’s not on Facebook, we won’t see it”.

DEECD and VIT  have very clear guidelines for the use of Social Media and working and playing in an online world.

Teachers warned not to friend kids on Facebook

CONTACTING students by mobile phone or email “without a valid educational context”.

POSTING any “offensive or slanderous” material about students, parents or colleagues.

SHARING content from personal social media sites, such as their Facebook accounts, with students.

UPLOADING images of themselves that have “potential to negatively affect their reputation”.

“VENTING” about their work, or posting personal or political opinions.

Victorian Independent Education Union secretary Deb James welcomed the campaign, saying social networking had become a minefield for teachers.

So how to work around this minefield, stay safe, with integrity AND use that fantastic resources on offer? A few simple steps is all it will take for you to be able to have personal fun with friends, AND have professional relationships with students.  The DEECD website covers a range of elements you will need to be aware of, and strategies for staying safe, respectful, responsible and showing integrity in your digital footprint. In general:

  • You need to be aware of the code of conduct under which you work as a teacher, the VIT one is linked to above, and any other local policies your school may have in place. Does your school have a Social Media policy?
  • Is you profile/account on a Facebook/Twitter/etc for personal or professional purposes? The recomendations are that you set up seperate work and play accounts. I find this really useful personally, particularly when you want to chill out, and not think of work!! I actually have 3 online profiles, one for personal, one for students and one for professional – which is where I have developed a wonderful personal learning network through blogging, twitter and a range of other social media sites.
  • If you are working with students – particularly at junior levels you may need to get parental approval, and you will need to be explicit in your expectations of online behaviour. We are the ones it falls upon to ensure the students leave us with better netiquette, and understanding of the ethics of living in an online world. More often than not, parents are at a loss about how to best support their children, and sadly the news media is filled with tales of children (and adults) making silly mistakes which will hurt their reputation in the future. Things we may well have done as younger people – but we didn’t have the ability to share our stupid acts with the world as easily as the kids do now. Some social media sites require users to be over 13, and it is policy of the department that this ruling is supported by teachers.
  • Privacy – are you aware of the DEECD privacy policy, have you checked that appropriate approval has been given to allow student’s images and work to be posted online? Have you restricted your personal privacy settings to ensure unwanted visitors are not able to see your information, images, etc.
  • The DEECD guidelines takes you through a range of other considerations, mainly relating to professional image, reputation and copyright. Remember that just because it’s on the internet does not mean you are free to use it.

What are some of the strategies you use in your classes to maintain the teacher student protocols? Have you used social media with your students? How have they responded? Thoughts??

Further resources

Educator’s guide to Facebook

The Case for Social Media in the Classroom

Policies for staff use of social media

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July 19

Preparing the way

Awesome, we have a bunch of funding coming to us to buy new equipment to provide students with better access to eLearning opportunities. The government is aiming for us to have a 1:1 ratio of students:computers in years 9 – 12 by 2011. Fantastic. What an incredible opportunity for our students to truly be prepared for life outside of school in this digital world.
The big question we have to ask, before we rush out to buy the goodies is “Are we ready?”
Do we have the infrastructure to support so many computers accessing the network, will the wireless coverage be able to cope? What do we have to do to make sure it does? We all know that any flakiness of the system will often lead to students and staff not willing to trust they can use them, and we end up with all of these computers either not being used, or being damaged when students get frustrated when they don’t work.
We are working to improve and strengthen the infrastructure, but that will take time and money.
The other huge question is are teachers ready to have students in their classes with access to a computer? Will it mean there are just more word documents, powerpoint presentations and internet searches? For some it will be a huge and fearful learning curve, away from the security of how you have always taught, into this new digital world. This is not a passing fad, which you can ignore, and hope it will just go away. This is the world we are preparing our students for, a digital world, and we need to be providing exciting learning opportunities for them, as you have always done, but now we have the world at the click of a button, and the most amazing opportunities to inspire and teach our students.
What are some ways you can think of which will be different, better or worse, teaching students who each have a computer? What are some of the pitfalls you will need to be aware of in order to be best prepared to use the technology yourself, and in your class?
I know you have heard of blogs, wikis, web 2.0, nings, but how do you see these being useful in your classroom. Would you use twitter or facebook? Learning Management systems like Moodle, and in the future Ultranet are tools you can use as a starting point. How will you make sure your students are safe, and yet ethical users of the technology? How will we work towards developing a cohort of digital citizens?
Feel free to add your comments to this blog post, I would love to know your thoughts.

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