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  1. “Make, Share, Do: Active Online Learning”

    July 30, 2010 by Lynn

    OMG – sorry just had to borrow that from my teenage daughter! 

     Today I attended one of the most inspiring SLAV Professional Development conferences ever.  It was titled “Make, Share, Do: Active Online Learning” and featured the amazing Dr Joyce Valenza (of ‘The Wizard of Apps’ fame) from Springfield Township High School in Philadelphia. 

    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.


  2. Monday ESCape

    July 26, 2010 by Lynn

    This week I launched my new wiki “Sharing eLearning at MESC” and was also fortunate to have it featured on the ‘Bright Ideas’ blog.  It has taken me a few weeks and many hours of editing to get it to this stage but you know what I’ve had fun.  Fun using the new technologies I’ve discovered and fun deciding on themes and pages and widgets, etc.  I’ve also gained a lot of joy from sharing these online technologies with others and receiving their input.  In fact to borrow the words of Ze Frank in the clip below it’s been a case of  “Tech-Joy” for me this week!

    Ze Frank’s Nerdcore Comedy 


  3. Week 11 – Presentation Tools 2

    July 25, 2010 by Lynn

    Wow what a choice of presentation tools this week and what do I choose to share with you?   I’ve checked them all out and got quite enthused by Slideshare.  I didn’t like Storyz – couldn’t seem to get into any or did I? – it seemed confusing to me.  Scribd would be great for budding authors looking to expand their audiences beyond the classroom and especially for those more ‘mature’ students (I thought of a friend who has recently completed a TAFE course when looking at this one).  Docstocs appeared useful for small businesses looking to set up some proformas for various uses.  Google Lit Trips was just so vast and I was amazed at the amount of work that goes into each one.
    This Chris Betcher slideshare is something that I’ve had for some time now and hope you find it as thought provoking as I did.  It’s certainly made me think about my ‘mindset’ and what differences I hope to make within my own school through the use of ICT in the classroom.

     This week my ICTuesday PD session for staff is on creating an iGoogle search page, so I thought I’d make a powerpoint to share with them and you.  I’ve uploaded it to Slideshare so feel free to use it yourself and let me know what you think.

    View more presentations from Lynn Swannell. (I only have the one presentation available here at the moment!)
    All of these presentation tools are accessible, shareable and do-able!  I did get a bit ‘seasick’ with Prezi and Livebinders is probably not something I would use.  Google Lit Trips would be fantastic for SOSE and in particular I could see the Year 7 Ancient History staff being impressed with it.   The LOTE department are always looking for new ways to ‘engage’ the students and sending them on German or Indonesian ‘trips’ would be fantastic (and much cheaper for the parents too!)
    Only one week left of this program and I can’t believe how much I have learnt over the past eleven weeks and how much I still have to explore.   I hope to meet a few of you in person at the Joyce Valenza SLAV PD in Melbourne on Friday – only 5 more sleeps and ‘get-ups’ to go.

  4. Monday ESCape

    July 19, 2010 by Lynn

    I’ve just spent a relaxing hour listening to a new group (new to me that is) called ‘Celtic Woman’ who are about to tour Australia.  A friend of mine is a big fan and passed on the new album for me to listen to some weeks ago now I must admit.  My teenage daughter asked if I’d listened to the CD yet and told me all about them (what a surprise and what eclectic music tastes she has) which has prompted me to get around to listening to them.  I even have the headphones on now as I’m writing this.  Kochie and Mel of  ‘Sunrise’ described them as the “singing version of Riverdance” but they could also be described as the female version of “Il Divo”  I hope you take some time out to relax and enjoy this song (and some beautiful scenery as well).


  5. Week 10 – Gaming for Learning

    July 18, 2010 by Lynn

    Gaming for learning and for many other things as well according to the articles and posts this week. 

    Jane McGonigal spoke about having “epic wins” by utilising “collaborative online environments” via games such as World of Warcraft.  These often put players (students) on the same level with the same values and same rules, forming bonds and trust where this often would not happen out in the ‘real’ world.  How many ‘loners’ do you see at lunchtime who come to the library to sit in separate areas and read.  Yet put them on a computer next to another student playing the same game and they are engaging with each other about scores, strategies, and new sites.  Image what could happen if we were able to get the ’21 billion people playing a game that matters to save the world’ as Jane suggested – I wouldn’t be surprised if Jane didn’t come up with it herself.

    I must admit that this week’s topic was not one that I was particularly interested in at first, but after reading the articles, then listening to the Elluminate presentation (sorry I wasn’t able to make the live session) and following some of Rhonda’s links from the Ning I feel more comfortable and informed about the use of gaming in the classroom. 

    Some of our teachers are already using games within their classrooms within programs such as ‘Mathletics’ and ‘Stop Disasters’.  I have to admit that we have always resisted allowing students to ‘play’ online games in the library and direct them to a ‘computer games club’ run at lunchtimes by a couple of teachers.  I shall pass on many of these links to our teachers, as they look at how to ‘engage’ their own students and create ‘integrated classrooms’ and ‘enriching curriculums’. 

    Now I’m off to play with my ‘Galaxy Invader 1000’, which generated much discussion at a recent family gathering and cries of  “I remember playing with that when…”  and  “my turn next” amongst not only the children but adults too!

    Galaxy Invader 1000


  6. Monday ESCape

    July 14, 2010 by Lynn

    Yes, I know it’s Wednesday today but it’s been a hectic week and it ain’t over yet!  Jenny Luca this week spoke about taking time out from social networking over the recent school holidays and how good it was to spend time with her family – something we all agree on no doubt.  The first day of a new term is always busy as you get into the swing of things, catch up on news, meet new staff and students, and generally pick up from where you left off two weeks ago.  But do you also get the feeling that perhaps you’ve forgotten something, or missed something, and that perhaps next time you’ll write it in your diary and check it!

    Perhaps this is why dinosaurs are extinct!

    Perhaps this is why dinosaurs are extinct!


  7. Monday ESCape

    July 5, 2010 by Lynn

    Well it’s week 2 of the school holidays and I’ve almost finished all the household tasks that I set myself (get to the bottom of the ironing basket, clean out a cupboard or two, up the ladder to get the cobwebs in the corner, and clean the oven – well hopefully I’ll get to that before the end of this week!) so now I’m going to enjoy a couple of days catching up with friends and family.  Tomorrow it’s off to the local shopping centre with my 4-year old niece to catch up with a friend for lunch and see a children’s show while we’re there.  “The Cat in the Hat” is a favourite of ours and it’s good timing as our school production in August this year is “Seussical – the Musical” (this is a YouTube clip of another school).  I love all the Dr Seuss books and I know that they are a family favourite for many generations around the world. 

    Here’s a Dr Seuss quote to remember as your holidays come to a close – enjoy them whatever you choose to do.

    “The more that you read,
    The more things you will know.
    The more that you learn,
    The more places you’ll go.”

    Dr Seuss ‘I Can Read With My Eyes Shut’ (1978)


  8. Monday ESCape

    June 28, 2010 by Lynn

    Well it was a week of firsts last week with the first female Australian Prime Minister in Julia Gillard,  the first anniversary of the death of Michael Jackson and my daughter getting her first interview for a part-time job and then getting her first job – whoo hoo!!

    Here’s a  ‘thriller’ and one wedding dance these guests won’t forget.


  9. Week 9 – What Comes First, Pedagogy or Technology?

    June 28, 2010 by Lynn

    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!

    Wordle: LynnsPLNWordle: Technology


  10. Week 8 – Presentation Tools 1

    June 22, 2010 by Lynn

    I have to admit that it’s been a busy week and I haven’t spent as much time as usual on this week’s topic. 

    Some of these tools are used quite successfully in school – Glogster, ToonDoo, Wordle – with a variety of classes from LOTE to VCE Health.  Wordle is often used to start a new topic and/or revise a topic and teachers loved the idea of a ‘tag cloud with style’ which is how Tagxedo promotes itself.  I tried putting in my own image (the school logo) but it doesn’t come out very well because of the design.  The soccer ball is quite popular at the moment in German classes due to the World Cup and I’ve seen many students sharing their images – all in German of course! 

    ToonDoo has been used in Year 7 English as an extension activity for those who have finished their novel report.  They get to put together a little animation (3 slides) explaining an aspect of the novel.  It’s also great to engage a few reluctant students into producing work.  Our VCE Health teacher liked the idea of using VoiceThread with her class when revising topics as well.  Her classroom walls are full of ‘visual reminders’ regarding the various health topics they are studying.  She thinks this would be great to use with them and also for them to be able to share with each other. 

    I’m presently using Wikispaces for Educators to create an ‘eLearning-MESC’ wiki highlighting many of the online tools that we have used in this program.  It is  very much a ‘work in progress’ at the moment and of course I am editing and adding to it all the time at the moment.  It’s been a great way for me to learn about wikis and how they can be used, as well as get a few other staff involved in setting up their own.  The Echuca College eLearning wiki showcased on Bright Ideas recently was certainly a catalyst for me in getting this one started as well – so thank you to them.

    I’ve really enjoyed using animoto – so much fun for home as well.  I’ve signed up for animoto for education and in the meantime here’s a little clip that I made for you to look at http://bit.ly/bmWOSJ

    I’m going to explore issuu further as I think this would be a great ‘online school brochure’ to put on (or link – will need to investigate further) our website – looks alot better than a pdf document for sure!  Some other staff are also interested in using it as a way of presenting their TPL Project instead of a ‘written report’ – will see how they go with this too.

    Storybird would be great not only at school with some of our Year 7 reading classes, but also at home with children on a rainy day.  I’m going to pass this one on to family and friends I know with younger children and I’ll try it out next time I’m babysitting my 4 year old niece who loves it when we make up our own stories.


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