July 21

Excited and weary

Looking forward to presenting on the weekend at DigiCon15, another look at Flipping the Classroom, hope I am up for it… still feeling knocked around by the lurgy… we are well into week 4, and all I want to do is sleep!

Now to get some work marked and organise myself!!

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July 3

Adobe T4T Live Session 2

This week as always the groups were shifted a little… numbers were down with the mid year break in Australia and a long weekend for the July 4th celebrations in the US – Happy 4th of July guys!

This week in our break out group we had Jill, Rusty, Rene, Lio and Manop and me… we seemed to have others pop in and out, and my connection wasn’t brilliant today either… still no voice, although it is coming back slowly. Everyone had really interesting backgrounds, and great ideas to bring to the table…. so if you are wanting to join us it’s not too late!! The Live sessions are not mandatory, but are lots of fun as you get to share ideas and build your professional learning network with voices and pictures as well as text 🙂

a) Creativity in Education
What is your definition of creativity?
Rene came up with a really great definition of creativity: “My definition of creativity is about letting your mind wander and use your imagination to either think of novelties that could created or using your imagination to think of how to improve a something that already does exist. However, with that in mind, if it’s a specific product that a user will interface with you have to make sure it’s something that will be useful and something people will want to use. You have to also think of UX (User Design) experience. You don’t want to create a product, website, app, or anything that is difficult for the user to figure out how to use…otherwise they won’t use it. You want it simple, but piques a lot of people’s interests.Creativity is a new way of thinking of how already existing products can be used in a different way.”
My thoughts: creativity is coming up with an idea or concept that is new for you and I agree that it doesn’t have to be unique… someone else could have the same problem to solve. Take for example the development of photography… quite a few people were coming up with different ways to solve the “problem” of creating a permanent image taken of a real situation. Many different ways were actually developed, and what we use today actually blends many of the ideas. It all linked into other technological developments as well.
Lio’s thoughts: “finding a different way to create or do something…”

We had some great discussions on this, and it clearly gets everyone thinking creatively as well!

Robinson defines creativity as the process of having original ideas that have value.
What do you think of his definition? What defines an original idea?

Jill and others in the group discussed this having issues with the second part, what is the definition of “original thought or idea”? It could be the first time a kid has thought of it, or a person thinks of something on one side of the world, and someone else also has the same problem to solve and comes up with an idea, is it any less valuable because someone else has already thought of it, even though you didn’t know?

It could also be expanding on something to make it fit… or solve a problem, which once again makes it valuable. So the value is in the user/idea developer.

b) Product Training Activities: Acrobat
What was your reaction to Acrobat edit PDF tutorial and the review and comment on PDF tutorial?
It is going to make life so easy – all files and software file types work together.

I am looking forward to getting the CC version, still working on AcrobatX

c) Professional Development Design: Adult Learning
What are your best practices in technology training ?
– giving them tools and examples to help them follow through
– Finding out where people are at… what skills they already have
– start with intro, make intentions for the session clear
– making all the tasks question form works really well
– have to work with the group/find out what their expectations are.
– sometimes more confident to write a question than actually say it… either on paper or on a digital form.

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July 3

Task 2 App Design, my Bio App

I really enjoyed this project, I was particularly proud that I used my own template files, not the supplied ones and was able to personalise the task, including adding links and images.

It has been a while since I have used HTML and CSS, but I found the brackets interface really intuitive, and easy to pick up when I had missed a semi colon or bracket etc. It was comforting how the code brain started to come back to me… I don’t use it much…LOL. I found the centering of the image i added was a bit of a challenge, even searching and trying the align=”middle” bit didn’t seem to work so, I added the css in the top, as we did for the other image, and that worked.

Interesting! was not making a separate html page for each page of information…

I am hoping to be able to use this with my students, later this term, we will be creating apps I hope… I have done web apps with students before, but not coded ones, so this will be interesting, and there will need to be a bit of differentiation as well for some of those not quite at the coding level. Questions “will it work in a school environment”? with blocks everywhere. The App itself could be quite useful as an “intro” card/business card.

The jQuery mobile site had heaps of features I look forward to exploring more.

Hope you enjoy

My Biography App from Suzanne Arnott on Vimeo.

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June 27

Product Training Activities – Intro to Acrobat

This week we looked at a range of support Adobe offers educators to make using their products, and training others to use them so much easier. What best practice tools and skills we use and shared with each other. And introduced Acrobat, the tool which allows your amazingly formatted document to look the same on any platform.

What challenges do you face when introducing Adobe tools to audiences of educators with no prior experience? What successes have you had?
All of the tools are so amazing and sooooooo huge I find the biggest challenge is to start small. I am having successes with teaching small groups of staff Adobe Photoshop at the moment, and they are really getting a lot out of it…
What’s your level of expertise with Acrobat?
I would have to say basic to intermediate. I have played with a few basic functions, but not regularly
If you’re familiar with Acrobat, what best practices can you share with your fellow course members?
Being able to create interactive documents, where participants can add their comments to a “live” document. You can also embed multimedia applications.
I “print” to Acrobat – PDF to allow documents to look the same regardless of what device they are looking on

I would showcase some exemplars, showing the amazing potential each of the products have to make a difference in their classroom, or professional or even personal lives, as an outlet for their own creativity, as well as an easier way to streamline tasks.
– What strategies and best practices for introducing Adobe tools to new learners do you incorporate in your professional development sessions?
Starting with small chunks of information. Most of the products are so big they can be daunting, small achievable steps will give new users the confidence to explore further. Then sharing spaces such as EdEx and YouTube, Adobe.TV and Lynda.com to support their continued learning.
– Do you modify existing training materials to meet the needs of educators? If so, how do you do approach this? What tips can you share?
Always modifying to best suit the target audience. Training can be affected by timing and the people involved. 
Find out who the audience will be prior to delivery if possible, what their background with the tools. Also find out how long you have.
In that way you know if you are starting with raw beginners or more experienced users, and will not bore them with the basics, or baffle them with complexity depending on the audience. 
You will also be aware of being able to work out which aspects to leave out, or to be able to send them to specific sites for further information if time is too limited.
– What was your biggest takeaway from this week’s Product Training Activities section? 
Some excellent Visual Learner resources. The new look Acrobat… can’t wait to try it
– Which of the strategies and resources from this week’s Product Training Activities section will you most likely use in your professional practice? Why?
Making sure to showcase product strengths and capabilities… something I do, but can always work to improve further.
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June 22

Getting started with iPads

Well, I have had my hands on an iPad for a term now, and thought I would share some of the hints and tricks and resources I have discovererd…. Some of you will have been playing with your iPad for a lot longer, and may already know all of what I am about to share…but if you could add any thoughts or hints and tips to the comments that would be awesome.

Getting started : First thing is to set up your email

Click on the “Cog” icon (Settings). Scroll down to “Mail, Contacts and Calendars”.

Add Account > fill in your details… If you need help with the details see your friendly tech.

You can also add any of your other email accounts, your home ISP account (Netspace, Optus etc) or webmail accounts such as Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoomail etc

From your settings zone you can personalise your iPad, adding images and details.

You will need to create an iTunes account – this should be a separate one from your personal account, although you can run two accounts on the one device. If you need an iTunes card, buy it through your classroom budget, keep an ear out for those discount weekends at JBHI and Coles etc. It is easiest to set up your account on a computer, which you can back up your apps etc.

Add the details for your account to the Store icon in the Settings menu, and you are ready to go and get apps. You don’t have to have any money on your iTunes account to download free apps.

In the settings area, go down to store and add your account details. You are now ready to browse the thousands of apps available.

App is short for application, and it is a little program which allows you to do a set series of tasks. There are some brilliant and productive ones out there… also some shockers…. so read through the feedback before purchasing.

Some shortcuts:

  • double clicking on the Home button (the circle at one end of the screen) will get you to the most recently used apps. They will appearalong the bottom of the screen.
  • holding the home button and the on/off button will take a screen capture, great for students to be able to show you quickly what they have done
  • There are a range of screen hand gestures, which can be edited in the settings menu
  • To create a Home Screen button, such as a direct link to roll marking, Moodle the Ultranet or Daymap, simply open it in Safari, then click the arrow icon to the left of the address bar. Add to Home Screen will create an icon which you can easily use to head to those most used sites without having to look up bookmarks etc.
  • Along the bottom of your screen are the quick links to move an icon here, press your finger on the icon until the wobbly x’s appear. Carefully drag the icon you wish to include in your quick links to the base of the page. Release the icon, and unslect everything by pressing the home button.

Below is a handy quick start guide… Please post any questions or comments, and I will try to answer them.

DEECD Quick start guide to using the iPad

iPad_Quick_Start_Guide_DEECD.pdf Download this file

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June 2

iPad tips and tricks

I have been exploring a heap of great tools using the iPad, and thought I swould take this opportunity to share.

The iPad allows you to use hand gestures to to various tasks. Simon Ng has picked out his top 6 gestures on his blog. These include, shaking to undo, multitasking bar, home screen pinch, thumb typing, gesture assistance and custom gestures. Great tools for getting around your iPad, and accessing stuff easily.

Moms with Apps is a great place to find family friendly apps with an educational focus.

Getting started with your iPad and want an easy to follow tutorial? Screencasts online provide tutorials for iPhones, Macs and iPads, and they have a free app so you can have the tutorial on your iPad, at your fingertips, ready to peruse as you have time.


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February 17

Staying Safe Online

As an educator, what do you really need to know about staying safe online? Why do you need to? How can you share your understanding of safety with the students in your care.
Google Safety has a lot of easy to digest information on:
Secure sites
Safe networks
Mobile security
Check your Gmail account
Family safety
Shopping safety
Signing out
Google’s security tools

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