Revisiting the Classroom Blog

For my presentation this year at EdTechSA’s state conference I decided to revisit a previous presentation and reflect on my growth since that time.  In this prezi, I examined how my practices have changed as a blogger, what learning experiences have worked really well for my students, and what challenges I still face.

Here are the notes and live links from this presentation

 

EdTechSA 2015: How To Start A Class Blog

blog

At EdTechSA 2015 I presented a workshop on the journey my class and I have taken as we went about creating our class blog. As part of this workshop I created this prezi which I am more than happy to share.

Watch this space for the sketchnote of the discussion we had about interesting elements of a class blog.

 

The Power of the PLN

The networked teacher

These 2 images of Alec Couros’ never cease to amaze me. Quite often just the networked teacher image is shown in isolation, but I feel that the power of these images works best as a pair. For when you compare the opportunities of the second image to those of the first, who in their right mind would opt for being a just a typical teacher.

Typical Teacher Network

creative commons licensed (BY-NC-SA) flickr photo by courosa: http://flickr.com/photos/courosa/344832659

The networked teacher

creative commons licensed (BY-NC-SA) flickr photo by courosa: http://flickr.com/photos/courosa/2922421696

Recently I had the pleasure of being the tutor for the EDUC3625: Numeracy and ICT across the Curriculum topic at Flinders University. In one of our later workshops, we spent a session looking at the benefits of being a networked teacher, and how to go about starting your own PLN.

Over the last few years I have participated in this workshop virtually, being one of the online mentors who engages with the students as they take their first steps into the world of Twitter. This year, in my new role as tutor, I wanted to call upon my own PLN to engage in a Twitter Chat with the students about the benefits they see as being connected educators. I wanted this to be not just “text book” style information about why Twitter is a great resource for educators, but a practical example with real life advocates on the benefits of having a PLN.

A little before the workshop I, along with other workshop tutors, put the call out to my PLN and the response was fantastic. I was thrilled to have such educators that I look up to, for example Brett Salakas (@MRsalakas) from AussieEd, Simon McKenzie (@connectedtr) and Andrew Woodman from the Futuristex Project (@futuristex). My biggest professional thrill came when Kathy Schrock (@KSchrock) also joined in the conversation after I tweeted to her.

Please have a read through the Storify of our Twitter conversation from this week. I think you will agree that this was a great opportunity for these students to connect with some amazing educators and was a great way to take their first steps in building their PLN.

Choose Your Own Adventure: Digital Technologies

mrsknipeexamplebranchin

In term 2 of 2014, I had the pleasure of working on a new concept with the year 2/3 class that I teach as part of my role as ICT specialist at Modbury West School.

This was the concept of branching. Branching is defined in the Australian Curriculum as:

Branching occurs when an algorithm makes a choice to do one of two or more actions depending on sets of conditions and the data provided.

Now this might sound rather dry and boring, but the way we approached this new concept was very engaging and my students now have a solid grasp of some basic concepts covered in the Digital Technologies curriculum and how they can be applied in the tasks we undertook.

 

Resources

This is the unit planner that was developed for the “Choose Your Own Adventure” topic

My example of a ‘Fairy Tale’ algorithm

My example of a ‘Fairy Tale’ branching algorithm

My example of a CYOA fairy tale: The Three Little Pigs

What Do I Do?

I have been asked to present to the first year pre-service teachers who are visiting our school at the moment. When I asked our AP what they would like me to present on about ICT, I was told to tell them about what I do.

This posed the question, what is it that I do?

How have I learnt (and continue to learn) what I know about ICT?

I have put my thoughts on this into a prezi about Educational Technologies and it has been an interesting experience pulling together all of the different facets that make up this area I am so passionate about.

 

Telling a story…

Storytelling is one of the oldest forms of communication. It is a way of passing down wisdom and experience from one generation to the next and of glimpsing into the world through the eyes of another person.

Today we are going to look at how you could involve your students in telling their own stories and sharing them in a digital format.

 

afrenchdaymovie

 

This was my example from when I first learnt how to create a digital story

 

Some resources on the thinking and process behind digital storytelling by Bernajean Porter – an American guru on digital storytelling ( her website is http://www.DigiTales.us )

The Art of Digital Storytelling

Digital Storytelling Across the Curriculum

 

A great resource highlighting the steps used in the digitalstorytelling process

StoryMaking Steps

 

We are going to follow the story making process from beginning to end, exactly as you would with a class of students.

Our first step is to plan what our story is going to be about

With my students we do this as a hard copy, just for ease of spelling correction for me.

Here is the planner I would like you to use

I’m A Teacher planner

 

Pinning Teachers

"The Art of Pinterest" by mkhmarketing

“The Art of Pinterest” by mkhmarketing

I have decided to work with Pinterest as my main curation tool at the moment simply because I love the visual nature of this tool. I can organise the links I have into easy to understand categories and arrange these boards in the format I want them to be. Best of all I can see at a glance what links I have filed and Pinterest even tries to remember if I have already saved that link before!

So what is Pinterest

According to Pinterest itself it is

visual bookmarks for good stuff you find anywhere around the web or right on Pinterest.

Pinterest is a place to discover ideas for all your projects and interests, hand-picked by people like you

 

The main benefits that I see for Pinterest are:

  • saving links in an organised and visual way
  • following people of similar interests
  • having access to links that have already been tried and tested

 

Here is a link to a great website I found that has lots of ideas for educators who are starting out on Pinterest

 

Our goals for today are:

  • Setting up a Pinterest account (here’s a handy tutorial if you get stuck)
  • finding people to follow (you can start with me if you want – Jacqui Knipe)
  • learning how to search pinterest
  • pinning
  • learning how to pin from the web/uploads

Happy Pinning

 

 

What I Learnt From ISTE – A Brief Overview

Whilst I intend to post in a lot more detail about what I learnt at ISTE2013 in San Antonio, I am going to start with a brief overview that I am also sharing with my staff about the main “takeaways” I had from this experience.

So where to now…

 

Lots and lots of resources to check out!

Videos

AdamBellowISTE

  • First and foremost the must see video from the conference is the final speaker, Adam Bellow and his keynote entitled You’re Invited to Change the World. It was a very moving and inspirational keynote and I feel very privileged to have been in the room to witness it and to meet Adam throughout the conference. If you weren’t there though it is well worth the watch.
  • The Ignite Sessions that happened before the opening keynote were fantastic – 10 speakers with only 5 minutes each to present their ideas. It was fast paced and full of great ideas!
  • ISTE also have a great YouTube playlist that showcases a wide range of presentations on topics from iPads, Digital Image, BYOD, Storytelling and much more. I know I will be going back here to view some things I wanted to see but just couldn’t get to.

 

DSCF9714Keynote 1 Jane McGonigal

Her website can be found here

Her Twitter account is here

See some of the games she has worked on here

TED Talks

Jane McGonigal: The game that can give you 10 extra years of life

Jane McGonigal: Gaming can make a better world

 

DSCF9764Keynote 2 Stephen Johnson

His website can be found here

His Twitter account is here

TED Talks

Steven Johnson: Where good ideas come from

Steven Johnson: The Web as a city

 

DSCF9904Keynote 3 Adam Bellow

Adam’s Keynote from the Google Glass POV

Adam Bellow’s Educational Tech Commandments

His eduTecher website can be found here

His Twitter account is here

 

DSCF9887

Websites

My earliest email newsletters from Kathy date back to the early 2000’s and she was one of the first education technology gurus that I followed. That is why it was such a thrill to meet her at ISTE and to see that, all these years on, she is still sharing fantastic resources to a wide audience.

Kathy Schrock’s iPads4Teaching resources

Kathy’s Website http://www.schrockguide.net/

Another website with resources for iPads

The One iPad Classroom by Jennifer Bond

 

Other People’s ISTE Resources

While I haven’t necessarily had the time to go through all these resources myself – here is a whole host of resources tweeted out by other educators during the conference that cover a wide range of topics. A miscellaneous treasure trove of resources just waiting to be explored!

http://pinterest.com/edutopia/iste-2013/

https://www.evernote.com/shard/s97/sh/4348223c-7b9a-4625-bd9e-2bfe7b6032a6/0506763e836e33b61cf61bbfd5548c81

http://www.ipadartroom.com/iphoneography-apps-ideas-resources/

http://www.drhowie.com/

http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/1xSQF9/www.socialable.co.uk/16-tools-to-make-awesome-infographics/

https://www.evernote.com/shard/s95/sh/3cee1626-ed4d-4855-9874-0cee655f6fb2/d836ac758b31f1e6b93c2792df0e15cd

 

I Don’t Want To Be A SeaWorld Educator

DSCF9301

On my day off in San Antonio, while I was attending ISTE,  I was really looking forward to visiting SeaWorld. I had seen my husband’s photos from his visit the previous year to San Francisco and I couldn’t wait to experience the amazing orcas. Through the power of the internet, I had spent time researching how I was going to get to SeaWorld and what I was going to do to make the best of my time there and I was very excited to be going there.

After a long bus ride, which was made rather pleasant by the great free WiFi on the bus, I was finally at SeaWorld.

I excitedly made my way to the huge Shamu Stadium with many, many other people and followed my husband’s advice of not sitting anywhere in the splash zone if I wanted the camera to keep on working for the rest of my trip!

The show began and it was truly amazing to watch these beautiful creatures move so gracefully through the air and water. I loved watching them swim close to the glass so I could observe so clearly how they were moving.

But this was where my admiration of SeaWorld ended. What was really disappointing for me, and for the whole premise of SeaWorld was that this show was purely about watching these amazing animals perform tricks. There were absolutely no learning opportunities available, no explanation of why the animals might exhibit these behaviours in the wild or how they had trained them to “perform” these tricks.

The saddest testament to this is that when I returned to my school and was sharing my overseas experiences with my students, I wasn’t actually able to answer any of their questions about these creatures. I had experienced their show (twice in the one day in fact!) and didn’t actually know anything about them outside of the knowledge I brought with me.

I worry that educational technologies and education in general could go down this path though. That we are so in awe of the amazing things we can do, that we forget to go deeper and actually develop a greater understanding of what we are actually learning about and acquire the skills that allow us to continue to develop our learning. I would hate to see my students only learning amazing tricks that allow them to put on a show – I would much rather see the deeper, richer learning that only comes once the gloss is stripped away and the messier undertaking of real learning takes place.

I definitely don’t want to be a SeaWorld educator!