June 26

Adobe CC Train the Trainer

Yes I am going back for more and more… #love2learn will become my hashtag! #AdobeT4T is a train the trainer model which I did using the elements platform earlier in the year, and really want to get my head around some of the secrets of CC. CC is Creative Cloud – the new subscription based way to access the Adobe software. We have access to it through school which is awesome, but as I am about to change over computers I don’t have it on this one YET! but can’t wait!!

Today was our first live class using Connect, and unlike some of the Connect sessions I have participated in, it ran really smoothly tech wise… and absolutely brilliantly participant wise. I did the 11pm New York time (11am Melbourne time) session and there were about 22? participants from all around the world. A few from Melbourne and Sydney, a bunch from all around the USA, Canada, some from Tunisia and even Jordan… sorry if I missed any other countries.

After the intros we broke into smaller discussion groups of about 5-6, I was with Deb, Deb D, Rusty, Lana? Deb and Rusty kept the chat going really well while Deb D and I chatted in the text box, we had some great discussions. We were all in one way or another involved with creative and visual arts, and felt that was one of the reasons we had a strong connection with creativity in what we do and how we teach! As far as Adobe products go, a range of skills, with mostly being self taught.

Some excerpts from our discussion notes… hope I recorded them ok girls ūüôā

“Creativity: We all seem to work in the visual arts and hands on learning, it lends itself perfectly to the creativity in Sir Ken Robinsons talks.
Kids often find it hard to experiment, in case they “get it wrong” they need to get past that.
Everything helps with creativity. It takes the basic idea and gives it another spin… no pun intended
Kids today are used to instant gratification, they want instant feedback, so if it takes time they seem to find it difficult. But this is truly what develops their creativity.
Middle school kids not so scared to step outside the box. That’s what I like about mid-school kids. You can get them before they get too locked into the cookie cutter idea syndrome.
Too much standardised testing… globally!! means many teachers feel they can’t go off the beaten track as this will reduce the testing scores.
WE often have to fight for the arts to be included in curriculum… which gives the kids their opening to creativity
Gardiner’s multiple intelligences link in perfectly as kids¬†are all different and learn differently.
Teachers need to step out of the box too, to take creativity into all classes, not just creative arts classes.

Teachers fear making mistakes with tech, and not looking like they know everything
“I work with a great staff with varying amounts of technical expertise. However, most don’t venture out of Microsoft Office and grading software.” Deb D
They “don’t have time” to explore different or new software
Staying up with tech is a global issue, that is what makes a huge divide being able to access technology.
In our state we have access to Adobe Elements and a great range of software that barely gets touched
Our arts and tech areas bought a site licence for CC out of our budgets (Suz)
Deb D: Our district is a little behind the times. We have recycled computers – PC based and CS4

Adobe Training videos are excellent
Staff development has to be geared to what teachers are interested in, showing them how it will save them time!
There is always going to be a learning curve when new products and techniques are showcased

We all have similar backgrounds and passions, and embed our creativity in what we do as well as what we teach!”
We found it quite interesting that in a random grouping we were all so alike!
And as always it is great to be able to do some great PD while in my sick bed with no voice, and still in my pjs ūüôā
Web cam and sign language

Web cam and sign language

March 17

Online overload

Wow… I have been involved for the past 2 hours in two outstanding online learning opportunities.¬† I was struggling with connection issues tonight, but luckily only lost about 5-10 minutes of the 2 hours.

7pm was the weekly face to virtual face get together of the #AdobeGenPro Photoshop/Digital Imaging course. We started with looking at the work, and students work of Ross Wallis. Focusing on the techniques of traditions and blending digital imaging techniques… makes me miss my photography days! It was a wonderful showcase of images.

Participating in Photo a day groups was suggested to develop creativity and stimulate ideas, and having participated in a couple for a few years now I totally agree. I have even started a local Photo a Day group on Facebook for our local community to celebrate the lovely area we live in.

Ross’s slight scary blips are at :¬†https://www.polaroidblipfoto.com/rosswallis
Pinhole Photography and more
Time exposure app was mentioned but he couldn’t remember the name of it… arghhh will have to search
Ross mentioned “Snapseed” as being a brilliant photo app
Cindy Sherman – takes lots of selfies, using makeup to distort images
Some creative techniques using HDR: High Dynamic Range 
Ian Usher then took us through the practical task for this week, which was to create a meme… I am not a fan of this task, as I know teens will always take it that step too far. If wanting to use layers and text on an image I think a project like a magazine front cover would be far more effective. Again, taking old school assignments and putting them into the 21st Century.
We were also told the final assessment item for this course will be a lesson plan… brilliant as I am already putting them together in my head ūüôā and starting with my year 9s on Creative Commons image searches next week! Then manipulating them in Photoshop Elements.
The second hour was a hangout with other members of the Digital Pedagogy stream who’s abstracts have been selected to present at DigiCon15 the DLTV annual conference. I found out I will have 45 minutes… hmmm guess it won’t be as hands on as I had hoped, will have to flip that around hey! My topic? Getting Ready to Flip Your Classroom, which I am working on in the Adobe EdEx¬†Train the Trainer Elements and eLearning Course!
Connection is getting flaky again… better post this now!

 

February 21

Can you teach creativity?

Week 5 of Adobe Train the Trainer and eLearning, and I am loving the exploration, focus and resources for creativity.

Can creativity be taught?
hmmmmm good question, I think people can be shown ways to think more creatively and allow them to feel free to be more creative
 
Sir Ken Robinson

Part II: Creativity Workshops

“Take a look at the self-paced professional development workshops on The Adobe Education Exchange that focus on teaching creativity. You can explore these workshops to develop your skills, and direct the educators you work with to these resources for additional professional development.”

The creative process

Jeff speaks about the creative process within his classroom. He mentions exposing students to multiple resources to inspire them, and then letting them explore and play, plan, build, and ultimately refine their projects. He used techniques including:
  • Sketching to generate ideas
  • technique building
  • play
  • planning
  • refining
  • building
  • multiple influences
  • talk, reflect
Creativity is an important part of the learning process
Creativity provides a challenge… and often makes students more willing to put in the extra work,¬†creating products, showcasing to others, presenting to an audience, giving them a voice.

 

  • Which resource from this week’s Creativity in Education resonated most with you? Why?
    • Using the design/creative process to foster creativity in my classroom
  • How can you apply the information from this week‚Äôs Creativity in Education section to your professional practice?
    • making sure to continue to use the creative process across all of my presentations as well, to foster creativity regardless of audience.

How will you be using creativity in your classroom? How do you already??

June 3

New MOOC underway

Tonight I started a new MOOC, deMOOC
This is looking at designing eLearning through tools including my much loved Moodle, and Mahara, which is an online ePortfolio which links neatly with Moodle…I have wanted to explore this for ages.
Also using connected learning by using #deMOOC to tag posts on Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and Facebook…
So, ok, perhaps I should have been doing reports….but I am certainly the queen of procrastination!

June 3

New MOOC underway

Tonight I started a new MOOC, deMOOC
This is looking at designing eLearning through tools including my much loved Moodle, and Mahara, which is an online ePortfolio which links neatly with Moodle…I have wanted to explore this for ages.
Also using connected learning by using #deMOOC to tag posts on Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and Facebook…
So, ok, perhaps I should have been doing reports….but I am certainly the queen of procrastination!

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
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!

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 Рstudents 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.

 

 

 

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

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.