On Tuesday 29th March I, along with about 150 other people, attended a professional develolpment day hosted by the Penguin Group at The Wheeler Centre in Melbourne. The day was listed as “a fun and informative day full of special guests, books and resources” and certainly lived up to this. The first presenter was Dr Susan La Marca (amongst other things editor of Viewpoint and SLAV’s FYI) who spoke about the units of work that she has created for the Secondary Classroom (also available to us on CD) based on a number of novels currently available. Susan spoke of four books in particular ‘Thai-riffic’ (more on this later, ‘Big River, Little Fish’, ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’ and ‘Between Shades of Grey’ – giving us ideas on themes, activities, focus areas and assessment tasks. The CD contains 36 units of work in total and judging by the information given to us on these four the rest should be just as engaging.
Tony Palmer (author of ‘Break of Day’ and ‘Valley of Blood and Gold’) then chatted about his work as an author, and illustrator prior to this, giving us an insight in his research into background material for his books.
Cam Salton (Pearson’s English publisher and former teacher himself) spoke about “The Australian Curriculum – what does it mean for you?” – directing us to the ACARA website for updates and http://www.pearsonplaces.com.au for a selection of resources.
The fourth presenter of the day was Tye Cattanach, who presented two sessions – “Developing a Reading Culture” and “iPads, E-Readers and Electronic Whiteboards – new technolgies for encouring reading”. Tye is the Library Manager at Manor Lakes P-12 Specialist College where they are fortunate to be part of a number of 1:1 new technology trials through the DEECD. She has also been responsible for implementing the use of iPads and other new technologies to encourage reader engagement at her college and she spoke of this in more detail. Book trailers are used extensively and students are encouraged to create and share their own – sites such as ‘Book trailers for all’ and the ‘Center for digital storytelling’ were some of those mentioned. Tye spoke of how the use of iPads as eReaders were a great choice for engaging students as they could be used for text exploration (dictionary, zoom, notes), changing font settings, etc. catered for student abilities, visually exciting and interactive (student engagement), they are also portable bookshelves. (I did speak further with Tye at the end of the day regarding the iPads in more detail where she explained the downloading issues onto the iPads and also some of the sites she uses to source eBooks – I have collated this information together with information from other sources to be put on the ‘Sharing eLearning at MESC’ wiki.
Oliver Phommavanh (author of ‘Thai-riffic’ mentioned earlier) was our entertaining final presenter of the day. Oliver delighted us all with his stories of growing up as a member of a Thai family in Sydney with many of these antics making it into his first novel. Oliver is not only an author but also a primary school teacher and comedian whose first novel is certainly one to make all students laugh – and me too!
As I’ve mention previously I’m involved in a Year 7 Action Research Project titled “Portia 7/11” looking at the creation of a differentiated curriculum for Year 7 students. My role within the group (9 staff members) is to look at how online Web2.0 tools and new technologies can be integrated into the classroom. I have created a Design Space on the Ultranet (with a travel/flight theme) for the team (flight crew) to collaborate and share ideas throughout the year (the journey). Last week we had an official launch of this site with Principals and Year 5/6 teachers of our local feeder schools present, together with members of our own staff and our RN Leader. It was a little daunting for me to be speaking in front of this group but luckily Rhonda (first captain) introduced the aims and spoke what we hoped to achieved before I gave them a tour (as navigator) of the space. I’ve used tools such as Voki, Slideshare, Blabberize, One True Media, Animoto, etc. where possible and this has engaged the staff within the team and encouraged them to have a go themselves with their students. It now looks like I will be doing a little PD with the primary schools now on some of these tools hoping to “inspiring the uninspirable” was one quote!
I am also working with both classes (only 2 classes are involved in the project) through the ROK Reading Program and trying to integrate some of these technologies into the program in order to encourage and engage them. This term we participated in the Accelerated Reader ‘Ashes Reading Challenge’ and also conducted an inter-class challenge over the 6 weeks of the challenge. I emailed the students each week with the points together with a fun video clip that would hopefully keep them on track with their reading. A lot of fun and a great way for me to engage with the students and get to know them better.
Next term we are going to try making our own book trailers – below is my attempt using the Year 7 class text ‘Boy Overboard’ – I think the students will do better than me. Boy Overboard – Book trailer
If you ever get the chance to attend an Australian Copyright Council training session then just do it!! Ian McDonald, a lawyer working with the ACC, is such a dynamic speaker and so knowledgeable about what to many appears to be such a dry and complicated topic. I’ve attended some of these training sessions in the past and like to attend every couple of years to refresh my knowledge and also to ensure that the information I pass on to staff in my school is as up-to-date as possible. Ian often spends his morning tea break fielding questions from the audience and is more than happy to answer as many as possible. I attended sessions on new education technologies (Learning Management Systems and Content Management Systems, ClickView, Moodle, etc.), the ‘flexible dealing’ Section 200AB (especially useful for anyone working in educational institutions), websites and web2.0. There were lots of handy tips on how to deal with ‘3rd party’ material that you may wish to upload and also how to ensure that ‘moral rights’ as well as ‘copyright’ issues are dealt with when downloading material. On both days I was also fortunate enough to expand my learning network and gain some insights on how a university and another secondary school deals with copyright, as well as meeting an online publisher setting up her own blog (this is a plug – http://novelexpectations.wordpress.com). I’m all set to put my notes to keyboard and shoot off an email to all our staff reminding them, and their students that copyright is alright!
Joyce’s keynote addresses (there were two and I’m sure the room could have listened to her for a lot more too) were fascinating. I don’t think I lifted my pen from the page (and yes I must confess here to liking to take notes the ‘old fashioned way’) and will have to spend the next few evenings deciphering my scribbles before I can share the many (and I probably mean hundreds if not thousands here) of websites/apps that she mentioned or showed. If not wait for Judith’s ‘Bright Ideas’ post next week on the conference and links to the many sites, not just from Joyce but also the other presenters. Joyces’ work was just awe-inspiring (from wiki after wiki after wiki) and imagine my surprise when in the middle of her presentation up pops my own wiki and I’m hearing my name as she talks about ‘Sharing eLearning at MESC’ – only a small mention but wow!
Adrian Camm (McGuire College) showed some of the wonderful work he is doing in the classroom using apps (I seem to have picked up the word ‘apps’ from Joyce here instead of ‘Web2.0 tools ‘ description I used to use) such as Wolfram Alpha and MIT OpenCourseware. He spoke of the “unclassroom and beyond” and the fact that we (you) could “no longer opt out of this new media”. You learn by doing and extend students by getting them involved seemed to be Adrian’s motto and I would love to be a student in one of his classes – even if for me it meant learning maths!
Cecilie Murray (Delphian eLearning) spoke to us about “Imagination in your pocket: educational apps” and the endless possibilities it seems for iPhone/iPad users with their portability for learning. I didn’t take many notes on this – concerned about RSI at this stage!!! – seriously Delphian eLearning links will also be added to the Bright Ideas post.
Tony Richards (IT made simple) and of Kahootz fame, but known to me as a member of ‘EdTechCrew‘ creating podcasts of ICT in education that are well worth subscribing to and downloading. Tony provided some personal reflections on various online technologies. Without duplicating any of Joyce’s presentation Tony showed us a whole other side to Google (look for “more” and “even more” in the drop-down box), the power of Twitter and following/connecting with ‘like-minded’ learners. Teaching with TEDTalks, Screencasting for creating videos to demonstrate concepts, calibre for ebook management, Popplet for brainstorming, diigo for managing, saving and sharing websites, and my favourite from Tony’s session Jing for grabbing screen images to create easy screencasts and activities.
Paul Callaghan (Games consultant) then gave us an overview of the game creators world and experiences we as learners can get from the ‘critical thinking’ involved in these. I’m still a bit overwhelmed by games (as you would have gathered from an earlier post from the PLN when I confessed to still playing with a ‘Galaxy Invader 1000’ and hadn’t progressed much futher – actually does Bejewelled Blitz count here??
We then experienced a ‘Smackdown’ Plenary Session – something quite new to alot of the audience and probably not done to it’s full justice in such a short time. It involved a variety of speakers (well known to many of us including Tania Sheko, Rhondda Powling, Camilla Elliott, and Judith Way) showing us, and telling us, about various tabs on the wiki created by Joyce and themselves covering a variety of topics from today’s conference – SLAV wiki – everyone was encouraged to join this wiki and add their own suggestions.
So in getting all of this out – I just had to share, plus I have late-night pickup for said daughter mentioned earlier so need to stay awake and am on such buzz from today that I don’t think I’d sleep anyway!!!!
Thanks to SLAV, the many friends and colleagues I met/reconnected with today and RAECO for the bottle of bubbles I won from the trade displays.
I think Anna Maria Menezes summed up my thoughts on this week’s activities, and indeed the whole PLN program, when she said “you can only decide which is the best webtool to reach a certain goal once you have explored the many tools available”. The ‘technological revolution’ (Assn of Ind. Schools Qld newsletter) we are in the midst of is our own ‘industrial revolution’ – I too remember the purple ink of the gestetners at school, getting my 16mm licence when doing my first Library Technician’s Certificate, using a slide show(and I mean real slides) to present an assignment when I went on to do the Associate Diploma, and then having to grapple with the advent of web-based courses when going on to do my B. Arts (Library & Info Science) at Charles Sturt University – all in the last 25 years too! I’m still learning, I’m still keen to learn and I want to (in fact can’t wait sometimes) to share this learning with others.
Our Mount Eliza Cluster of schools has been involved in ‘The 4C Thinker Program” for a number of years now and the website was developed “as a resource for teachers who want their students to become dynamic thinkers in an ever changing world” – critical, creative, caring, competent.
I am fortunate in that there are staff at my school who are just as keen as me to introduce new technologies into the classroom. I received an email mid-class from one staff member last week “Lynn, what’s that new presentation thingy (animoto) you showed me the other day – I want to tell my kids about it – what else can they use instead of powerpoint – I want to tell them now?” Of course I emailed back straight away with a range of presentation tools that could be used – luckily I was at the my desk at the time in order to get back to her. Our school has also just applied for funding from the federal ICT Innovation Fund 2010 to put into place a PD program for staff. We hope to be able to introduce them to some new (to them) Web2.0 tools that they can use in class and also be able to follow up by going into the classroom with them as they introduce it to their students. We’re very excited about our model (I won’t go into too much detail other than to say it’s a vertical continuum which ‘invites’ staff and students from all areas of learning and levels to get involved) and we have our fingers crossed to see whether the funding comes through.
I’ve known Jenny Sargeant for some time and always found her to be very insightful regarding not only library trends but also technological trends. As JennyG said I too don’t think Jenny Sargeant sounds retired yet at all!
So what have I learnt this week after completing Week 3 of the PLN Project on Professional Learning – just how supportive you all are when we have only just ‘met’. Thank you to everyone who helped me out earlier this week when my computer had a ‘mini meltdown’ resulting in me losing my blog subscriptions, tweet followers, and gmail account.
I was unable to attend Anne Mirtschin’s Elluminate session ‘live’ but did watch the session later than evening at home. I do wonder how a live Elluminate session will work at my library now as we have changed ISP this week and I have watched previous sessions at home. I’ll soon find out. I like being able to attend PD in my own time (sorry family!) and the fact that I can re-watch sessions at my own pace. It was also good to see much happening on Twitter after the event as well.
It is very hard to rank my top ‘professional learning’ tool this week but I do think that the Elluminate webinars, whether they be via Learn Central, Australia Series, or other links are very hard to go past. They are available to anyone, easy to refer to, and allow everyone to get as involved as they feel comfortable.
Week 3 started off just like any other week – work, home, play, study… then I became reacquainted with’ TED’ and I was once again addicted! I watched James Cameron talk about his life as a small boy, allowed Bobby McFerrin to hack my brain in 3 minutes, laughed at Einstein the parrot and then I met 12-year old blogger Adora Svitak who believes that “learning between kids and teachers should be reciprocal” and that the world has much to learn from “childish” thinkers who are the leaders of tomorrow. This reminded me why I was here and I started to explore all the other resources provided in this week’s PLN learning.
TED started in 1984 showcasing ‘Technology, Entertainment and Design’ talks and has since grown into a phenomenal series of audio and video podcasts that available online for free, allowing access to “some of the world’s greatest thinkers, leaders and teachers” – I have watched many TED talks over the past couple of years and they are great to use as a starting point to many discussions or to lighten a moment. I often check out links provided by other people which invariably leads to me spending an hour or more ‘looking and listing’ links that I may use later or forward on to others.
FUSE professional learning links took me into the depths of the Department of Education and Early Childhood Develpment website and one that I shall be revisiting again to find out about a possible professional learning grant (looks like I just missed the cut off date for this year too – oh well!)
The State Library of Victoria’s Programs and Events provides a world of learning for all age groups and it is just amazing to see what is on offer. I often pop into the SLV (a friend of mine works there I must admit) and I loved taking my daughter in when she was young – at first she was amazed at the size of it and then when the ‘Experimedia’ section opened it was hard to get her out. Linda Angeloni (‘ergo’ Education Officer) came along to a school staff meeting shortly after ‘ergo‘ was created and she was very enthusiastic about what it had to offer. Quite a few of our staff agreed with her too. It’s well worth asking to have someone out to explain what is on offer to both staff and students from this site.
I noticed a few familiar names when going to the TL Virtual Cafe for the first time – Buffy Hamilton who is far from the ‘unquiet librarian’ that her blog suggests and Carolyn Foote who blogs about a ‘not so distant future’ of technology, libraries and schools. This is yet another site for me to revisit when looking to the future of ICT in schools and two educators well worth following.
#edchat tweets form an ‘ongoing’ meeting with no start or end time for topics. Start a discussion by ‘tweeting’ about it, add the #edchat tag to your ‘tweet’ and see where it leads. I like the thought of being a part of a discussion and not feel that you are being rude to the presenter when you have to leave part way through – you can always come back to it and catch up on the bits you missed too!
Steve Hargadon is Elluminate’s Social Learning Consultant who blogs about educational technologyand is the founder of the Classroom 2.0 social network. He is passionate about a number of issues and these are reflected in his blog posts and the many activities in which he is involved. I have now added him to my Twitter followers and subscribed to the blog – again a person whom I can learn alot from.
Edtechcrew – now if you are still reading this post then it is now time to confess that I do not have an iTunes account in fact I still use a Sony walkman when going for my early morning walks (I like listening to talk radio, early morning Red Symons and the news, oh and also finding out what time it is in case I’m running late!) However I am going to investigate these Edtechcrew podcasts by downloading them into the ClickView system that we use in our school and who knows perhaps some other staff will be interested in them too.