Over the last few weeks I’ve been working with a group of teachers who are exploring an action research project for 2011. The idea is for them to work with two Year 7 classes within Team Small Groups (TSG) – each class will have the same teacher for two subjects (ie English/Sose and PE/Health and Maths/Science). The timetable will also hopefully have the two classes ‘blocked’ together so that some of the time can be spent within our Open Learning Centre (OLC) shared classroom. The project is looking at a ‘differentiated curriculum’ for Year 7 students and incorporates a trial of netbooks for use by each student throughout the day (we are not a laptop school). The theme is based on a ‘journey’ in which students gain ‘visa stamps’ in their ‘passports’ as they complete set tasks within the curriculum and incorporate the use of a variety of Web2.0 tools. The project is still being ‘tweaked’ but we have been given the ‘all clear for takeoff’ from our Principal and are ready for our ‘simulation flight launch’ next week!
My role so far has been to put together a Design Space within the Ultranet for our group to share ideas and resources, blog about our ‘travels’, send out ‘postcards’ of our memorable moments, and generally put to use all the great ideas and knowledge that I gained on completing the SLAV PLN earlier this year. Wow, what an opportunity to get another group of people on board! I’ll also be looking after the reading program aspect together with the English teachers.
I’ve spent quite alot of time of the past couple of weeks (and my ironing basket is overflowing) putting together the Ultranet Design Space for staff. I’ll blow my own trumpet here by saying it’s all been through trial and error with some handy tips and training from a great friend (thanks Rhonda). Non-teaching staff here have not had any formal training as such which has been quite frustrating and I’ve also discovered that I’m not able to access the Learning Tasks area either, another frustration to contend with. Anyway back to the Design Space – it’s based around the theme of travel with the ‘Landing Page’ (Home), ‘Embassies’ (Subject areas), ‘Luggage’ (Web2.0 tools), ‘Flight Crew’ (Staff), ‘Passengers’ (Students),’Travel Diary’ (Blog), etc. A similar space will be set-up for students within the Learning Tasks area (hopefully someone will give me access before then). I have incorporated alot of the tools that we learnt about in the PLN on the pages and hopefully given the teachers an idea of how they too can use them in the classroom with their students.
On Wednesday we are having a ‘Simulation Flight at 15.15hrs’ with our ‘Captain’ (Principal) the first passenger and yes the classroom is being set-up with aisle seats, tea trolley, and ‘in-flight’ entertainment – so wish us luck as we launch ‘Portia’s Passport Flight 7/11’!
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!
I spent some time getting my Ultranet pages set-up this week and sharing these with my Personal Learning Team (we are working on a shared Personal Learning Goal looking at ‘student engagement’). Another group that I’m involved with are also putting together a proposal for a trial Team Small Group (TSG) project for Year 7 students next year. A dinner meeting ensued with lots of laughter and some great ideas being put together ready for presentation to the Principal this week – fingers crossed that we get the go-ahead! I’ve had fun playing with ToonDoo and Voki this week as well – some great ways of using both and I’ve added some Toons to the ‘new titles’ library display for this month.
The health plans are working well with 6/7 mornings up early for trips to the gym and a long walk with friends on Sunday followed by the ritual cappuccino and raisin toast – yummy! Enjoy this clip from John Clarke and Bryan Dawes on ‘School blues’ and remember only 4 more ‘get-ups’ to go before the school holidays!
Happy Father’s Day – hope you all enjoyed the day and stayed dry! Lots of wind and rain for us today so a day indoors with lunch and a movie provided was a great way to relax on a Sunday – just what was ordered!!
I’ve had a couple of quiet weeks away from technology (at home at least) after getting a little ‘burnt out’ after a few hectic weeks. I realised that things were getting a little ‘obsessive’ when I was juggling the mouse and the wooden spoon at the kitchen bench whilst cooking dinner and keeping up with the latest blogs – dinners were getting a little too ‘slap-dash’ and I was the one being nagged at for spending too much time in front of the computer screen. So a total week away from technology ensued and then a week of ‘essential’ work only. This not only helped me feel refreshed but also gave me time to think about what I would like to achieve for the rest of this year – set-up my Ultranet space, create a new wiki for our ClickView Users’ group and do a total revamp of our library website to include a reading blog and wiki. Together with this new ‘work plan’ we are also starting a ‘healthy family plan’ with healthier meals, more exercise and less time indoors as daylight savings approach next month – hope the weather works in our favour together with the planned 6am starts!
Fifteen weeks ago I was looking for a new challenge and signed up for the VicPLN Program which has brought about a new vigour to my work life. I did the same 15 years ago when I was looking for another direction in my work life and decided it was time to sign up to the BArts (Library and Info Science) at Charles Sturt Uni. It was an exciting time for me and my friend Angela (two heads are better than one) as we were both looking for new challenges. Unknown to Angela and I at the time, as we signed our enrolement forms there was actually a ‘third’ person joining us on this journey – yes I was pregnant. We had to travel to Wagga Wagga for an ‘on campus study week’ in late January and Angela not only managed to ‘map’ every hospital on the way (just in case) but also find the ‘hotspots’ on campus so the ‘mobile phone’ (a clunky contraption) would work! We had lots of fun over the next 4 years as we completed our ‘distance education’ with the occasional ‘phone call’ to our lecturers, trips to the local uni library, litres of late night cups of coffee and many, many trips to the post office to get assignments off in time, oh and we also both managed to fit in fulltime work. Well 15 years later Angela and I are still great friends, both working in school libraries and still sharing our learning. My daughter is just about to embark on her VCE years (with subject choices due this week) and I’m still looking for new challenges. But as I look back I wonder how much easier it would have been for us with the advances in mobile phone technology, the use of Google Maps, online PD, direct links to classrooms and our lecturers – certainly alot easier but we probably wouldn’t have had so much fun. I’m not sure what the next 15 years are going to be like but I know that there are lots more challenges out there for all of us in a world of 21st Century Learning!
Well as promised here is part two of my final week in the SLAV Personal Learning Network Program (intake 1 for 2o10). I was asked to do a presentation about Web2.0 for our staff during the ‘Ultranet’ training day – plan B! I was very nervous and thank goodness the first few minutes of the taping are missing but I soon got on a roll (must remember not to wave my hands so much if there’s a next time!)
In putting the presentation together I tried to look at how I could link Web2.0 to our school motto of “Protect, Nurture, Grow” and also incorporate alot of what I had learnt during the program. I spent quite a bit of time trying to keep it within 30 minutes but went a little longer (sorry Russell). I was quite pleased with the result and had lots of positive feedback from our staff. There have been lots of requests for up-coming ICTuesday PD sessions which is great and I made sure to ‘plug’ the ‘Sharing eLearning at MESC’ that I created earlier in the program. A number of departments have now created their own wikis to share information amongst staff within their departments, as well as some classroom wikis happening – I did tell them that they can be addictive once you get started!
I’ve included some snapshots and the slideshare presentation here for your comments.
So did you spend your weekend cleaning up after kids – “clean your room, put your stuff away in the cupboard, why is that on the floor?” – and do you get sick of it? Well after watching this video I think I’d prefer a clean mirror door with an unseen mess behind it (today’s effort along with “I’m going to finish it tomorrow”) than this view! Kids!
Wiki’s have taken off at MESC this week since the launch of my own wiki ‘Sharing eLearning at MESC’. I ran an ICTuesday session on the basics of putting together a wiki using Wikispaces and now each AOL (Area of Learning department) is creating a wiki for their staff. It’s been a flurry of activity as one person in each area puts the basic wiki together and tomorrow (Ultranet day) some time has been put aside for AOL’s to discuss how each will work, the topics (pages) required, and how to join. Other staff have also got in on the act and are creating them for use with their classes and for particular topics. It’s fantastic to see all this collaboration and learning happening amongst our staff. It’s also been great for me to be able to pass on some great online tools.
I’ve also been putting together the finishing touches of a presentation I will be making on Web2.0 – it was very hard to narrow it down and keep it interesting. Time will tell tomorrow so keep your fingers crossed for me – it will be my biggest ICTuesday (even if it is on a Monday) session yet with about 90 staff! I will post the video and link to Slideshare later in the week – after I’ve previewed and edited!
In the meantime I’m off to catch up on my emails, twitter, blogs (seen some great VicPLN final postings already) and anything else that has passed me by this week.
Well the end has come and it’s almost time to say goodbye but I’m not going to! I’ve had a wonderful time completing this PLN Program and have ‘met’ some wonderful people during the past 12 weeks. I am going to continue writing this blog – it’s become addictive.
I have learnt so much and not just how much is out there waiting for us to discover and explore. I’ve also learnt how knowledgeable you all are and how willing you are to share at times of crisis (when I had a ‘laptop’ meltdown and then got stuck with ’embedding’).
I’ve learnt that there are only 24hours in a day and 7days in a week – I can’t spend all of them Elluminating even if I really want to go to everything – and especially when I’ve managed to get others enthused about them too (must start to go incognito so I don’t get a reputation for attending the opening of an envelope!)
I have also rediscovered a love of learning and sharing with others through my blog (I don’t always plan what to put up here as you can probably tell) – I love the feedback no matter what. I have gained so much more confidence from writing this and also being a part of a wonderful network. It has led to me doing regular PD sessions for staff on new (to them and me sometimes) online tools.
The wiki that I created for sharing with our staff has also led to other departments wanting to create their own and I am doing a PD session tomorrow in preparation for our Ultranet day next Monday. This day will also incorporate some time for departments to spend as a group working on wikis. They will decide what pages are needed and the information that goes up on them. The ‘Wellbeing Team’ has already started with information about the team and links to documents and information sessions for parents and students. One of our maths teachers has started a blog with her year 7 class (and they love it); another has started a wiki (it’s still to take off but the outline is there); one of the SOSE teachers uses a wiki with all his classes to varying success (in terms of discussion /participation). Tomorrow the English staff will get a start on theirs and are thinking about having pages for teachers working in each year level, together with links to relevant text information, minutes of their department meetings, etc. (we’ll see what they have decided tomorrow.)
The Part 1 in my title does mean that there is more to come here. I am putting together a short presentation to staff on Web2.0 for Monday and hope to get someone to film it – so if all goes to plan I will put that up next week together with the presentation. My problem is what to include and what to leave out – so much to choose from and even more after being at the SLAV Conference on Friday!
In the meantime thanks for listening, thanks for your support, thanks for caring and most importantly thanks for sharing.
Congratulations to Rhonda who wrote comment no.50 on my blog – unknown to my vast (ha ha!) array of readers I have secretly been hoping to get 50 comments or more on my blog before the end of the PLN program and it happened on Saturday – whoo hooo!
Luckily for me (cos I save on postage for the prize – a bottle of bubbles) it was a friend and colleague Rhonda (What a journey Lynn! You definitely have helped to drag MESC staff out of the dark ages. I hope you never lose your interest in helping us!) Comments such as this and the support of a personal learning network are what keep me inspired in the world of online learning.
So a big THANK YOU to everyone else who has contributed and shared this journey with me – hope you continue the ride!