The DEECD Ultranet has taken hold at Mount Eliza Secondary College this term with our Ultranet coach inservicing students and staff each Tuesday afternoon. As the coach is based in the library over lunchtime it’s been a great opportunity for me to ask questions and improve my understanding of the Ultranet. I have spent quite alot of time navigating my way around, with very little formal training, and feel quite confident in it’s use now. Not to say that I know everything there is about this, there are always changes, updates, upgrades and things I never thought possible to be discovered. It can also be frustrating as I do not have full access to all spaces (Learning Tasks for students) as I am not a teaching staff member. However, I have been able to create ‘spaces’ in both the Design and Collaborative areas for use by staff and students alike.
I have mentioned the Portia Design Space before and the new MESC Online Library (transferred from our old Library website) is gaining members as I continue to add and refine pages. This will hopefully continue to grow as more students are logged on the Ultranet and introduced to the various features. I am now about to help with the creation of some collaborative class spaces for Year 7 students.
This week I was also a guest presenter at an Ultranet workshop on Collaborative Spaces (held at Belvedere Primary School, Seaford on Thursday 19th May) for teachers. The workshop was an opportunity for participants to find out about some spaces that have been created already and how they are being used. It was also a great opportunity for me to showcase my work to date and show how education support staff can assist teachers and students within the Ultranet.
I’m looking forward to attending, and participating in, a workshop on creating Community Spaces next month and getting my teeth into a new project.
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
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!
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.