December 10

Marco Torres – Leadership and Fostering Creative Environments

Imagination is more important than knowledge – Einstein

Firestone
Pony express
Tells the story… Using the telegraph system as a guide to get through…which eventually superseded the pony express
How can you validate information that comes through wires… Pony express only lasted 11 months
Olympics….find the stories…as important as telling the story
How many medals were won sitting down?
good stories build empathy and hence connections
Space race…pen to write in 0 gravity
US had big budget, and made a pen that solved the problem, Russians took pencils
Are you educated? Better is “are you prepared?”
Are we preparing our young people to ask the right questions?
As educators that should be our role
Marco was given the role of determining what makes a principal who can take education to a new level.
How do we create chefs, rather than cooks in the classroom? Need to inspire them to be creative, try new things, ask questions, develop ideas
Principals need to be voracious learners, wonderful person to lead a school – not many show that passion
Making people feel special is important
Coffee, story, Latte art on Flickr
The Barista learned how to create latte art, not through formal classes, but through reading blogs, and YouTube, shares on Facebook
What are the indicators for getting better? Improving performance
Not always the best images posted, images ask for feedback, showcasing learning
Yarn bombing… Passion builds the energy to solve problems
Myth buster – watching people learn.. this is better learning than watching teaching
Learners are more successful teaching
More often experts in telling the story
master chef… Novices become the teachers to inspire cooking
More conscious audience, aware of elements because of normal learners, rather than experts
Learners vs learned
People with passion and curiosity
Love + curiosity + access + multimedia (network) = success
Stay in the question…Don’t rush to the solution, when you are learning the burden is in the question… What you do, not what you know
What makes a work of art?
What is your story?
Look at yourself as a learner with the students
Need to empower others to challenge the way they create learning in their classroom…
Other teachers need to get out there and learn tools and techniques
Pixar – he/she did everything possible to……
Dan Pink – Drive
Do we have a good sentence for our school?
What is my sentence?
Use it to navigate and create
Was I better today than yesterday?
phones…
How do we make a better phone?
This is the wrong question…end up with too many buttons…
Same with education, we over complicate it
Better question… How do we help to personalise how you communicate?
iPhone- 1st device to change as the human interface required
Not just extra keys/buttons, but music, vision, text, video to suit any need
Getting connected – what are the questions being asked?
Going to national curriculum, we need to be mindful of asking the right questions
It is not the strongest of the species that survives, but the one most responsive to change -Darwin
Tower records, Borders, flip cameras…. Made success, but closed, due to not really asking the right questions
Cisco killed flip camera, sacked 550
Kodak
Britannica
App developers, only 3% are professional developers
The app making is easy…the story is hard
Instagram, sold for 4 billion to Facebook…
Ideas sold –
Part 2
Prototype
Beta
All better words than “failing”
iMovie ken burns effect
Sports have a great stories
New Orleans saints… Broken team, broken city, win the world series
Vimeo – ken burns, 1+1 = 3 are the interesting stories
Storytelling is manipulation
Vimeo.com/40972394
Ken Burns – On Story
Iceberg… The facts on the surface, the story, under the surface
The more I learn bout you, the more I care
Digital vs analogue
What has digital added to the story
Einstein – its not that I’m so smart, it’s that i stay with the problem longer
Problem.  QUESTIONS.   Solution
The middle is more important than the end

Stephen wolfram – wolfram alpha
Why are you asking questions which can just be looked up?
Seth Godin quote
Got to get the kids to work at being smarter
Being able to use the apps to get the information
 Word lens, translates posters around the world
Kids can love learning, but sometimes school can get in the way
We have problems measuring “learning” the testing measures “knowing”
Challenge based learning challenge
Using YouTube, teachers don’t have to be experts in their field
YouTube and Siri saved a dog having a heart attack
Snap guide app
Using digital approach can. Learn and share immediately
How to play drums on your keyboard…experts don’t always make learning easy
In the past we relied on school to learn….now we crowd source knowledge, and are learning much more.
Repeat… Love, curious, wants to improve…
Learn, create, share
Cooking with remmi, clear essential question
Leanna, the CEO
Community, create,
Ben -the one man band
Feedback from audience means more than just a grade from a teacher
Commonality with all kids who love learning, are curious, have access to devices, a multimedia network will achieve success.
If things go static the story dies
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October 12

Exam time – review and revision strategies

That time of the year again, practical studies teachers swamped with folios to finalise assessment, teachers providing feedback on work to students, students panicking because they have left studying up until the last minute… There must be easier ways to do this! Clearly some things won’t change, as we have external assessments to prepare students for. There are ways to improve how and when we give students feedback on work, and help them to develop deeper understanding of concepts and ideas covered during coursework, without increasing our workload to the ridiculous extremes that seem to always happen at this time of year – teachers up ’til all hours marking practice tests and essays so as to get the feedback promptly returned to students, students up ’til all hours writing practice essays and exam papers, then having to wait for the teacher to mark it, and then get the feedback.

By creating self correcting quizzes, or collaborative documents students can get immediate feedback, and strengthen the depth of their knowledge and understanding of topics and concepts. Yes it can take teachers some time to prepare these, but once they are done and online, just annual tweaking will reduce the workload significantly. Alternatively you can start to flip your classroom and get your students to develop the quizzes as a learning task. Win – Win in my books, developing deeper student knowledge of core concepts being taught, reducing teacher workload AND playing games – educational of course 🙂

Where to start?

Quizstar the fantastic people who brought you Rubistar – for developing rubrics online also now provide access to free online game making. You can

With QuizStar you can:

– Manage classes and quizzes

– Attach multimedia files to questions

– Make quizzes in multiple languages

– Access from any Internet-connected computer

– Allow students to complete and review

You need to add students, or have them add themselves, and then you can create your quiz in a number of forms – Multiple choice, True/false and short answer (Short answer ones do not self correct). You can modify your quiz, and see your students results. You can make student accounts, they don’t need an email address, so this is great for the little ones, and also some of the big ones who may need some incentive, or lack access at home. You create “class groups” and add your students, really simple process to use, I created quizzes for my senior Textiles students very quickly. There are lots of other resources on the website too.

Kubbu is a simple to use online quiz creator. Quickly and easily create a Teacher account then you are able to create a range of different types of quiz including: Crossword, matching, catergorising and dynamic quizzes.

kubbu quiz typesYou then have the option of either creating student groups (the free account allows you to have 30 students)  or you can get a web link, which allows you to post the link onto your LMS (Moodle, Ultranet, Daymap etc), email students the link, or pop it on your facebook or Edmodo group. The data from results is anonymous in the weblink version, but if you are using it as student revision and self correction this could be helpful. Creating student groups is much like the Quizstar option. If you like this the cost per year is quite reasonable.

Wanting more control of how and wherer your quiz is shared? Perhaps Hot Potatoes is for you. The Hot Potatoes suite includes six applications, enabling you to create interactive multiple-choice, short-answer, jumbled-sentence, crossword, matching/ordering and gap-fill exercises for the World Wide Web. Hot Potatoes is freeware, and you may use it for any purpose or project you like. It is not open-source.

You will need to download the application, but this also means you don’t need an internet connection to create your quizzes. It also means you have control over where they are placed and who has access to them.

This is also a great way to get kids to create their own quiz as a learning task. Get them to put Hot Potatoes onto their Netbooks or Notebook. Have them share each others games!!

Socrative I mentioned in detail not so long ago, but just to reflect on this great tool for getting instant feedback. If you have an extended test you can send yourself a spreadsheet with all of your results. You can use it as a spontaneous pop quiz, with the responses on the IWB or Data projector.

Google Docs – Google Drive Fantastic tool to get students collaborating and sharing knowledge. ast year my year 12 students loved working together to create a study sheet. They felt really well prepared for their exams, and their results reflected this. Sometimes,, just hearing one of their peers explain a concept in a slightly different way becomes the “aha” moment for them.

So…. how do you prepare your students for exams? Is it fun or arduous? Do you use ICT to improve student preparation for exams? How?? I would love to hear about how others are using these and other great tools.

 

 

 

 

 

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September 14

A Model to Transform your use of ICT

The SAMR model has been around for a while, but I think it is time for a revisit. Most of us have been working with some element or other of 1 to 1 access, but has our pedagogy – the way we use the technology to teach in our classes – changed or shifted in that time? I would like you to take some time to reflect on how you are using ICT in your classroom. Think about which level of SAMR you are at, and what steps you can take to get to the next level.

First what is SAMR? was developed by Ruben R. Puentedura  who has shared a wealth of pedagogical development resources on his website.

 Substitution and Augmentation look at keeping things basic, but enhancing the learning, while Modification and Redefinition Transform Learning opportunities for our students.

Substitution

 In substitution technology is a direct replacement for non technical/digital tools. There is no real change to how the learning occurs. Function remains the same.

Examples: Students use the Internet to search information, as they would have done with encyclopedias in the past. They write up a word document assignment, adding in images collected from web sites and print this out as evidence of their learning.

AugmentationIn Augmentation technology is a direct tool substitute, however function is improved.

 

Examples: Using Google Maps or Nearmaps (in Australia) students can view  up to date changes of global issues. Learning is supported by students being able to view multi modal learning objects, and enhancing the function of the learning. Students are able to play online maths games, and get immediate feedback on results. improving the function through the immediate feedback.

ModificationModification allows for learning tasks to be significantly redesigned through the use of technology.

Examples:  Instead of presenting a poster on a famous person students can create a multimedia presentation, or website which includes video, text and images. This transforms the learning, and students develop deeper thinking about the subject when a range of modalities are used.

RedefinitionNew tasks, previously not even thought of or possible can now be created through the use of ICT.

Example: Students with a topic of civil unrest use Twitter to follow the hashtag #Eygpt (which was the hashtag used during the 2011 and recent civil unrest). They post a question onto Twitter with the Hashtags #Eygpt #Freedom and follow the responses. They end up connecting with a woman on the streets of Cairo, who is a lawyer, and Skype chat with her about what the civil unrest in Eygpt is about. (This is based on a true story) Students can connect with others around the globe and create truly powerful transformative learning opportunities.

I think I use all elements of the SAMR Model… the most transformative in my classrooms has been using Google Drive for students working on a collaborative task to be able to edit together (they are still getting their heads around how that one works, and it is easier for them to slip back into old paper based habits, but after a miss-saved document went missing they are starting to really see the benefits.) The live blogging we are doing sharing processes and products on our blog and on YouTube are pretty exciting. And creating electronic portfolios, as they develop their work – this has been fantastic, as they are finishing off their folios, realising they didn’t take photos, but they are all available on our group Flickr page. I am giving my students the option for producing a presentation on a Fashion Designer… they can present it as a website, podcast, powerpoint or keynote, which will be presented to the class.

So… you have the tools in your classrooms, the kids have the tools in their pockets, what is stopping you from transforming the way your students learn? The most important person in the classroom should be the learner, and we all know that the most engaging learning is the deepest. We are all learners…so add a comment here, particularly those who are using iPads, netbooks and laptops, to share with us which stage(s) you are up to? How are you transforming your classroom?

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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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June 13

That time again

Reports…. although it is mandated that we write reports to let parents and students know how we believe they are going with understanding the topics we present them, just how much is really relevant? Are there better ways to report on student learning. At the recent Alan November conference which was a part of #ICTEV2012, he discussed the notion that kids respond best to feedback given within seconds, not days or even months. So it does make me wonder how we can improve our response times, and I have started to explore a few tools which do indeed make life and responding to students much simpler and faster. There are so many being developed, there is bound to be one that suits your needs and environment. Teaching on the senior campus, I know the students always have their phones on them, and in surveys I have done in my classes there are generally only one or two in the class who cannot access the internet on their phones. Here are a couple of Apps I have had some success with!

SocrativeThe first one I will mention is Socrative…. available in Teacher and Student versions… beautifully integrates with ANY device. So I am able to set up quizzes, general questions or use those already created on my laptop, PC, Macbook, iPad, tablet, ipod, iPhone or Android phone, any mobile device which is able to access the internet. This also means you can harness the powerful devices found in the students pockets… their phones – regardless of the platform they use. When you create a Socrative Teacher account you are allocatted a “Room Number”. When students login to the m.socrative.com they are asked to enter Your “Room Number” and then join – no creating accounts, or having to remember passwords…. simple and straight to the action. The exit quiz gives you immediate feedback as to how the kids are understanding the concepts you have taught them. Very much in the vein of Eric Mazur and his Flipped Classroom. The feedback I have had from the students I have used this with is very positive, they are engaged, and enthused to learn more.

Teachernotes in the App store

The second one I will mention is Teachernotes – developed for iPhone and iPad – not there for Android yet. I had been looking for a simple recording device where I can take photos of students work, record their progress, and primarily use it as my marking book…. This App offers all that and more. I can create up to 3 classes with the free version… the paid version is $5.49 and you can have unlimited classes. I can enter the names of my students, and record details of assessments on the fly, from conversations, folio development, interaction etc, the stuff that often gets overlooked in the recording and reflection processes, unless you have an amazing memory. Each note can be saved under the student’s name, and come report writing time, you have a list a mile long to draw from, reflecting on their learning over the semester, including potentially images and voice recordings. But wait there’s more….. as I have been recording my assessment of folios, I am then able to email their assessments/my reflections on areas which need work etc directly to the students! Win – win as far as prompt feedback and reflection is concerned!.

The last app I will mention is Nearpod… currently only available for iOS devices (that’s iPhones. iPod and iPads) and I have been hearing wonderful reports about it…. so once I finish my reports I will put together some personal feedback and a plan of attack.

 

NearPod

Engage and create

 

Of course all of these apps can only be really useful with effective teaching practices. These tools give us the opportunity to reflect on how we teach the kids we have in our classes, and it has the potential to transform the way we teach to produce better outcomes….. if we use the tools and don’t change how we teach, the bottom line will be not much change will happen! Let’s transform learning and teaching!! What do you think? Would love to hear from other people as to what apps they find most useful! And how they have transformed your classrroom…. are you flipped yet??

 

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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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April 27

Are you free on……..?

Catching busy people for a face to face meeting can be a real challenge, email and phone ping pong can be frustrating, and then you just put it in the too hard basket. There is a solution, but it does involve you using your calendar effectively.

There are a couple of online programs which can help you to schedule meetings, or share your availability with others… either in a local group or much wider, depending on who you share your information with. Tungle  and Timebridge work seamlessly with Outlook or Google calendar to allow you to share your availability with your audience. You copy a link and send people directly to the times you are available, where they can “book in” a meeting.

Using just Outlook you can achieve a similar result, by being able to look at your contacts availability.

By filling out your calendar with each class, yard duty, regular meetings etc you give others the opportunity to see when you are available and schedule a meeting with you.

To access your calendar open Outlook and on the left of the screen you will see your mail boxes, and a list of other options, including “Calendar”

To create a new Meeting click on “New Item” and select “Appointment, then fill in the required details

To avoid the email ping pong, and get the best time you can click on your contact to get their available times (provided of course they have filled in their calendar see below)

When you click on the “Schedule a Meeting: link on the contact card you will get information on each person you have invited to the meeting – as to when they are available or busy.

So I hope this clarifies and simplifies meetings on Outlook. There are no doubt many ways to set up meetings online, but I have found this to be effective for me. So the tasks for you now are to set up your calendar, blocking out your busy times (teaching, yard duty or meetings already scheduled) and start booking your meetings through Outlook. Questions? Thoughts? would love some feedback.

 

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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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October 16

QR Codes and getting to know your way around the campuses

I guess it sounds like a bizarre title… probably even more bizarre if you haven’t heard of QR codes. Even if you don’t know what they are you have probably seen the little boxes in the newspapers and magazines which invite you to see extra bits of information. These are QR (quick response) codes. They work in the same way as bar codes, by using a QR reader to access more information on a particular topic.

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QR Codes

To access the code information you need to have a phone or other mobile which can take photos. You have to load a QR code reader application onto your phone, (so it does have to be a bit of a smart phone… mind you my phone is only a bit smart and it works a treat. I use Lynkee however I did have to test out a couple before I found one that worked well for my phone. There are heaps of Android phone or tablet and iPhone/iPod touch/iPad2  QR code reader apps, most of which are free. I have used QR Droid Private on the Acer and Lenovo tablet, and found it reliable and simple to use.


QRprocessWhy use the QR code? Why not just put the information out there in the first place? Many reasons – to engage the learner/audience – a hook with a need to investigate, to put a lot of information into a little space, multimedia content, web address…all without having to type anything into your phone/device… which can be a drag with some longer web addresses in particular.

The information contained in a QR code can be wide and varied – a simple web address as in the newspaper examples above, a v-card (virtual business card, with contact info which can be imported directly into the person’s phone/device contacts, textual information – words, paragraphs, stories, an entire book, etc… email details, images, an event (vCalendar), iTunes link, YouTube link, Googlemaps link and much more. How you can use it in the classroom will only be limited by your imagination.

A quick internet search will produce a ton of QR code generators. I have used
QR Stuff and snap.vu and Kaywa which are simple and straightforward. You simply put in your text, web address, phone number, etc and it is converted into a QR code. You can even change the colour your code is generated into.
I used the QR codes on handouts at our recent VCE Expo night, where the QR code linked to the VCAA website information on my subjects – VCE Design and Technology and VETApplied Fashion. It meant parents and students could “read” the code with their reader, and go directly to the information.

So on to the second part of the title of this post: after discussions about moving from campus to campus and people not feeling confident about finding their way around, I thought it could be fun to post some QR codes around the place with information about who, what where etc. I will be adding challenges as we go, so, started exploring and have some fun, maybe learn a bit about the different campuses. So start with decoding the QR code posted above, and join in the fun.

Some links to other examples of how QR codes are being used follow… how would you use QR codes?

Using QR codes to update out of date references

Turn a paper based book into an interactive book

41 interesting ways to use QR codes in the classroom

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October 5

Holiday meanderings, Google+ and Digital Story telling

I have spent these holidays catching up with reading and getting my head around the new Google Plus… which I had an invite to a while ago, but had few people I knew using it… so it was left on the backburner as the end of term chaos consumed life.

So Google + wow… I have been using Twitter since the early days, and have loved how I can expand my professional learning network by following people whose tweets I find interesting and relevant. I have eLearning connections all over the world now as a result. The only thing is that most comments are limited to 140 characters – which can be good, a bit like a haiku, you really have to think about how you say what you want to say, to get the full meaning and context.

Facebook I have mainly kept as a friend space… not wanting to bore my non techy friends with tech stuff… and vice versa with my other pastimes. I did create a “school” facebook account this year, because with a range of other tech issues and unreliability I at least knew all of my students would be able to log in and see my reminder posts etc.

The benefits so far with what I have played with and seen on Google+ is all the great things about twitter…lots of sharing of ideas with people you allocate to circles… you can also share publicly with the world. You can share your thoughts or ideas with as many or few people as you like by simply selecting the relevant circles.

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G+02

Google+ is still in testing… but so far it’s looking very good for educators wanting to develop their skills and knowledge with educators worldwide.

One of the features is a “Hangout” where you can get together with others and have a face to face chat over the internet. At the moment I believe up to 9 people can be involve, but this can present a great range of sharing opportunities not only locally but globally.

I was luck enough to participate in viewing a hangout session about Digital storytelling.  There were educators from all over the US who shared with us how they have used Digital Storytelling to get students to develop not only their literacy, but a wide range of skills including digital citizenship.

VoiceThread allows you to collaborate via text voice or image as you and your class discusses images, either as a starting point, or analysis of an artwork. There are education versions, which allow students to post with more security http://ed.voicethread.com/

Youth Voices Youth Voices is a school-based social network that was started in 2003 by a group of National Writing Project teachers. They have found that there are many advantages to bringing students together in one site that lives beyond any particular class. It’s easier for individual students to read and write about their own passions, to connect with other students, comment on each others work, and create multimedia posts for each other.It’s also an opportunity for educators to develop their knowledge about curriculum and digital literacies.

Storybird is a lovely site which has artists who collaborate by providing artworks which can be used to stimulate and illustrate story creation.

Teachers Teaching Teachers check out here for the next talk

GoogleLabs is being phased out… but has an amazing set of resources… imagine 3D Google earth for the body…or the Google Art Project, giving you tours of the worlds greatest galleries…Get in quick!!

Sketchfu is an online drawing and sharing program… very easy to use, and some great artworks to stimulate ideas.

Handling the enormous amounts of information is something we have to try to help our students resolve… Where do you find reliable sources? How do you know what is reliable? Where do you store the information. The easiest way is using a social bookmarking platform such as Diigo, Delicious or Google, where you can save your bookmarks on the cloud, and always have access to them, using keywords and tags to search for them.

Another couple of apps I came across over the break have been Scoop.it and Storify both allow you to create a “feed” of information on a specific topic.

With Scoop.it you can have a tool which sits within your web browser, and allows you to scoop any relevant topics for your area of interest. You then add new links each day or week, or when ever. Others can follow your topic, and add further relevant “scoops” to your page. You can in turn follow others who are “curating” topics which interest you. The topics are wide and varied.

Storify uses a range of social media such as Twitter, facebook, Google+, YouTube etc to draw information together to form a “story” on a specific topic. This could be a unit of work you have created with your students, or it could be the information you want your students to explore.

Both of these would be great ways for students to collaborate and sift though information to create a really useful knowledgebank of information.

Whatever way you want to delve into the digital classroom of the 21st Century, don’t imagine it can just happen… it needs a lot of pre-planning and organising by the teacher to ensure students don’t get lost in the information, or the technology.

Well… some correction to get done…..

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